Aditi Ray Chowdhury / IAT
With more than 25000 young Africans staying in India to pursue their dreams of higher education, India and Indians not only need to acknowledge their valuable presence but also mutually develop a shared vision for better India-Africa relations. Taking a big step in this direction, Africa- Asia Youth Foundation (AAYFO), a convergence of progressive thinking African and Asian youths agreeing to forge a common goal in fostering youth cooperation between both continents, recently organized an International symposium on “Africa-India Relations: Boosting Ties, Exchanging Values and Leveraging Impact” to mark the launch of its ‘Virtual Research and Innovation Centre’.
AAYFO has identified key areas of exchange in Education, Culture, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Research, and Development to spur sustainable growth and development in alignment with UN Agenda 2030 and the symposium was part of this initiative. “Exploring synergies between the youth of India and Africa ” was the centre of discussion at the event held at the Shyamlal College, Delhi University on the November 8, 2019.
The first speaker in the Symposium was Dr. Kusha Tiwari (Convenor, IQAC – SLC), who gave a brief introduction on the need to strengthen and boost ties among the Indian and African youth. Prof. Rabi Narayan Kar, Principal of Shyamlal College, highlighted the educational arena as a strong ground for collaboration between the two countries. He pointed out that around 25,000 African students pursue their higher education in India and suggested the need of summer or winter schools for Indian students in the African countries. Vansh Ahuja, Secretary General, Confederation of Young leaders (CYL) was the next speaker in dais who emphasized on ‘education’, ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘skill development’ as the basis for boosting ties among the two countries. He threw light on the need of being aware about Africa as a region and the bonding between the people of both Africa and India.
The necessity of reposing trust in each other and of growing and prospering together was the key note that was brought forward by the Secretary General of the Association of African Students in India (AASI), Chidozie Agumadu. Speaking in the symposium, Indrayani Mulay, Deputy Director at Confederation of Indian Industry, shared her journey of mentoring African students studying in India and how she got the title of “Mama Africa” from all her mentees.
The speakers emphasized on the dire need to educate Indians about Africa and Africans, so that they don’t live with a stereotypical negative image of Africa and it’s people. Then only a safer environment devoid of discrimination could be created for African students in India.
It was followed by a student panel discussion on “Shaping Young Minds for Sustainable Development”. Key Panelists were, Prabhu Prasad Kirtania, State Director, AAYFO: India Chapter (Moderator), Nayan Kulshreshtha, Associate, AAYFO: India Chapter, Ashna Vig, Associate, AAYFO: India Chapter, Myrrha Mussusa, Assistant Chief Resource Director, AAYFO, Sharda University, and Thandolwenkosi Sibanda, Campus Ambassador, AAYFO: India Chapter, Galgotias University. It concluded with a valedictory session conducted by Angad Anand, Country Director, India Chapter, AAYFO.
On this occasion, Virtual Research and Innovation Centre of the Africa Asia Youth Fountain was also launched by His Excellency Dr. Christopher Nwanoro, Minister Counsellor, Nigeria High Commission, New Delhi.
(Photo: Divakar Yadav)