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Connecting the Dots!

Subhash Ghimire's picture

Let’s be honest. As a youth growing up in Nepal, it is sometimes very hard to get people – and by people I mean seniors in decision-making positions - to take you seriously. It is even more difficult to get them to listen to your ideas or acknowledge you as an important demographic, capable of more than burning tires and picketing politicians.

In the one week I spent in Washington DC, at the World Bank and IMF annual meetings, rushing madly between meetings, presentations, discussion forums and Indian restaurants, I learnt that this deep-rooted attitude is changing. And fast.

Maybe it is the Arab Spring. Maybe it is the realization that without embracing youth into the South Asian market economy, we will have made zero progress in terms of development even ten years down the line. Or maybe, it just makes sense – maybe we are finally realizing the inherent interconnectedness in our world. Realizing that one project from a little village in Nepal is directly linked to the socio-economic structure of our communities, countries and regions.

It was a pleasant surprise to us six South Asian delegates when we met senior officials from the World Bank Group and various other institutions, and they not only gave us an opportunity to share and express our opinions on youth and development issues, but they were keenly interested to work with us for the long haul. They were not only listening but also seeking ideas for collaboration and action! Every meeting we had, every discussion we were a part of, there echoed the same sense of urgency – to encompass youth in decision-making processes and working with them to accelerate development in South Asia.

I had always thought of the World Bank as unapproachable. Well, my experience was certainly different from my preconceived notions. My experience in DC was an affirmation of my faith in the power of collaboration and development. The people whom I met at the Bank were not only extremely knowledgeable and experienced, but they cared deeply and honestly about the development issues of the region. They were passionately interested in integrating and working with the youth in South Asia. And this gave me hope. Hope that, despite the politics, the conflict, the corruption, the seemingly-insurmountable challenges, we can still work together to create better lives for ourselves.

Making sense of everything

In the end, I think, it is all about connecting the dots. A school for slum children in New Delhi might be able to collaborate with a peace school in Nepal. An entrepreneur from Sri Lanka can learn from a business in Bhutan and that is exactly what we need to do. Embrace differences, celebrate similarities and above all, respect each other.

And maybe, just maybe, a South Asia free of poverty might not seem as distant a dream anymore.

 


 

For more information on the Sarswati Peace School.

Comments

Sounds like attitudes and opinions are changing on all sides. Congratulations on a unique and valuable experience, and insight!

Submitted by Anup Aryal on
I am happy to see young man doing something for his town..i too wis to contribute someday..if we get such youths, we will have every town n village with best of education and development. Good start..all the best for ur endeavors!!

Submitted by keshab on
Thanks for sharing your nice views, we are really much behind. World Bank is there for many years working for poor and poor nations. It is not only the money that can impress you, but the behavior of a person is one of the greatest ‘AMRIT’ for another person and that they have learned through millions of experiences.

Submitted by Subhash on
I thank you all for your comments and views. We have a long way to go. We can only move forward with proper collaboration in the region!

Submitted by Aneesh Lohani on
Hello Subhash Ji, Interesting read! Thank you for sharing your experience and the optimism accompanying it. I also believe in the idea of collaborations among South Asian nations to facilitate democracy, peace and prosperity in the region. I particularly believe in common people, organizations and enterprises in South Asia - and not just governments and international bodies - being able to communicate, collaborate and contribute openly on commonly beneficial endeavors. Globalization, mass communication and the internet has brought human capital closer than ever before in human history. I have often wondered what could be achieved with this mass convergence of capital if it could be put to good use. Free, physical passage of people and goods across borders in South Asia will not materialize soon. The internet, however, has no boundaries. Facebook, the popular social networking site, is just one example of the capital convergence phenomena. The window farming global experience (http://www.windowfarms.org) is another. I liked your idea of a Sri Lankan entrepreneur learning from a business in Bhutan. Using the internet, he/she wouldn't even need to travel. There is good reason for developing information technology throughout South Asia to create a sense of global space (without time and space attendant costs) for free flow of visions and ideas. I'm currently working on an undergraduate thesis on Visual Communication Design, and have chosen the issue of Nepal's brain drain as my starting subject. I have also contemplated the possibility of using the convergence idea to address this issue. I would really appreciate if you could find the time to give some of your views and insights on issues affecting Nepal's youth. Please respond, so that we could communicate by email, maybe. Thanks and best regards, Aneesh

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