‘18 TILL I DIE’ Panel Discussion on “The Ocean in a Drop: Inside-out Youth Leadership”


The significance of youth leadership in India and the various ways in which it can benefit the society today was the topic for discussion among eminent persons such as Ms. Meenakshi Natarajan – Member of Parliament from the Congress Party; Ms. Belinda Bennet – Head of the South Asia Region at Christian Aid; Mr. Venkatesh Srinivasan – Assistant Representative, UNFPA; Ms. Ashraf Patel – Co-Founder, Pravah and CYC; and Manak Matiyani-Team Lead, Must Bol Campaign. They had all gathered on 26th April, 2013, at the behest of Pravah & CYC (Commutiny-the Youth collective) for a discussion on the recently launched book “The Ocean in a drop” at the India Habitat Centre, in New Delhi. The discussion was ably anchored by Gouran Lal, co-founder and Board member, PRAVAH and Doordarshan presenter.

Setting the Agenda: Neha Buch, CEO, PRAVAH, introducing the audience to the book and 5th SPACE.

India is home to one of the largest and fastest-growing youth populations in the world and to realize their potential, there is a definite need to work with young people. This book has the potential to change the way we view and work with young people. While the government and corporate India are focusing on vocational skill development so that the nation can ride the wave of the demographic dividend, this book argues that along with vocational skills, there is an urgent need to build youth leadership, if we want to bring about sustainable change and create a generation of active, committed and empathetic individuals deeply connected to society and with the skills to intervene effectively.   It is in this connection that the 5th space and this book assume such importance.

Ashraf Patel, Co-founder Pravah & CYC added, “Young people take ownership and leadership when they are allowed to co-create and make decisions, not just follow the rules that adults have laid in homes, schools, colleges etc. The 5th space enables this learning by experience by taking a collective journey with other youth from Self to Society.” paneldiscussion

“The youth should come forward to take part in politics as this is vital for the reformation of society. We need to expand the word ‘self’ to society if we really intend to go ahead with a mission to contribute selflessly to the society and the country instead of being too self-indulged in our day-to-day problems.” Ms. Meenakshi Natarajan, Congress MP (in picture above)

One of the panelist, Ms. Belinda Bennet – Head of the South Asia Region at Christian Aid stated, “All social change seems to land up at mindset change, which is why the book’s advocacy of exploring self as they act in society becomes critical for real change to happen.”

3A high point in the discussion was the discerning statement made by UNFPA representative, Mr. Venkatesh Srinivasan (in picture), who noted, “Unless you touch the heart of young people, change is not possible!”

This statement of his seemed to strike a chord in the hearts of the audience as members tweeted and re-tweeted it on their Twitter accounts!


The Ocean in the Drop: Inside-out Youth Leadership – By Ashraf Patel, Meenu Venkateswaran, Kamini Prakash, and Arjun Shekhar.

The book that was launched in February has been co-authored by four authors including Ashraf Patel, Meenu Venkateswaran, Kamini Prakash & Arjun Shekhar, all of whom believe in the concept of the 5thSPACE[1] — a space that goes beyond the commonly used terms of volunteerism and Active Citizenship and focuses on three critical aspects of youth development: Understanding the Self, Building meaningful relationships, and Impacting Society. The book also explores how young people have contributed significantly to society in the past and suggests ways in which they can take center stage again.


Want to know more about 5thSpace and how you can be the change you want to see? Grab your copy of “The Ocean in a Drop: Inside-out Youth Leadership” NOW!

Place your orders at http://tinyurl.com/bok4qbv

Visit us at: www.pravah.org

[1] 5th Space is a space where young people develop a psycho-social worldview, which answers the question “Who are we?”(We as in humans – a social species) as opposed to “Who am I?”This view allows young people to understand and define their connection to the world as it is.

The 5th space makes the relationships in the other four spaces (At home with family, hanging out with friends, in leisure or at college / workplace.) count by nourishing and enriching the capacities of young people to take effective and responsible action.

The 5th space believes that self transformation is the first step towards creating change in our relationships and in society.

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