My first day at the Annual Meetings, and it’s a good thing I’m here early. Security is tight and traffic is backed up. Still, delegates can be seen happily chatting away as they wait to pass through the metal detector, the press is photographing the lines, and meetings are being planned for lunch. A thermal camera screens us as we are cleared through.
It’s not like I was expecting apathy, but in any case it’s not what I got at all. The World Bank meetings are well-known, and opinions are pointed. Perhaps it’s because of a recent shoe-throwing incident aimed at IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Khan at a pre-meeting university seminar. Perhaps it’s because of the protests organized around the city (activists can be seen handing out flyers and the police running drills). Or perhaps it’s simply a collection of pointed opinions on all things political, economic, or cultural.
Today the day starts early. The morning is dreary, gray sky, a sprinkling of rain…but that’s more than likely to change as the day continues. I’ve just arrived in Istanbul, not the capital, but Turkey’s commercial, financial, and transportation hub nonetheless. The airport has welcome signs to the IMF-World Bank meetings for all the international delegates expected this week. I smile as the passport officer greets me. I’ve been living abroad for nearly a year, and it’s always nice to visit.
This year’s annual World Bank conference will be held in my beautiful home city of Istanbul. This year’s annual summit brings together government, civil society, and key financial and business figures to discuss the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. And while we may not be participating directly in the discussions, youth involvement is still crucial!
Last year, Maria and I went to the IWF World Leadership Conference. It was a very interesting event where we had a number of stimulating discussions. One of them was about the need to have a Youth Foundation which would impart entrepreneurship training and be instrumental in creating social entrepreneurs. I was already working in this field and decided to form the Climate Smart Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (CSEA) as a stepping stone to the Youth Foundation.
"Young people have proven themselves to be key partners in sustainable development."
—UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
If you were intrigued by Saptarshi's blog post about the "green" ideas of Sophie Bathurst, you'll be happy to know she has been blogging in more detail about them on the World Bank's Climate Change blog. Sophie is the winner of this year's World Bank Essay Competition, and she has some innovative ideas about tackling climate change through youth-led solutions. Check it out!
My first brush with business was at the age 11, when I started selling stickers/posters in school. It was a great experience, although short-lived, and I regard it a milestone as I realized what I wanted to be when I “grow up!”
At the age of 15, I started working on environmental projects in Kolkata. This was another great experience, the summary of which can be found here, where we had to come up with revenue-generating projects to support our numerous activities.
Lately I have been regaining the pleasure to read. I don’t know about you, but I had to read so much in high school and college that it slowly became just a task, not something I enjoyed anymore. Thank God that’s changing! Now I am specially enjoying historic novels, chronicles and biographies of people who have achieved great impact on humankind, and personal growth books.