Empowering millennial minds and inculcating critical thinking is crucial for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To encourage and provide a platform to creative young writers, UNESCO New Delhi in partnership with Takhte, launched a collection of 100 essays by young minds ‘Inside the Millennial Mind 2019-2020’ on 20 January, 2020 at the UNESCO house, New Delhi.
The book was launched by Eric Falt, UNESCO New Delhi Director along with Takhte founder Goldie Kasturia and members of the essay selection panel Kusum Virmani, Gauri D. Chakraborty, Indranil Basu and Manoj Patairiya.
The power of the written words can’t be understated even in contemporary times. The fate of the world in the coming decades will depend on millennials and their ability to think and express thought-provoking ideations clearly. Platforms that encourage them to broaden their critical thinking is the need of the hour
100 essays showcased in the book were selected from over 400 submissions through a pan-India online essay contest organized during 10 April – 31 July, 2019. The entries were meticulously chosen by the help of the dynamic jury panel. The topics for the essay competition were chosen to reflect UNESCO’s area of competence. In addressing these topics, UNESCO believes that young writers become familiar with the fundamentals of global citizenship education and become ‘partners in change’.
The goal behind the initiative was to give young minds a platform to demonstrate their writing skills and initiate a dialogue on key challenges that confronts India today. A step towards building bridges to connect people of all ages, the initiative aims at helping the youth acquire media and information literacy skills as well as making them aware of issues that impact them and their surroundings.
The event was attended by winners of the essay competition who came all parts of the country to receive their certificates. During a brief question and answer session with top five participants of the competition, students talked about “the importance of reading and writing in order to gain insights on critical challenges faced by the world today.”
Praising the idea and implementation behind the pan- India essay contest, jury member Kusum Virmani, former Associate Professor, Delhi University, emphasized on the role writing plays in developing critical thinking among youth. Sharing anecdotes from her career as an educator, she also talked about how easy and accessible information on the internet has impacted writing among the youth. “Information is everywhere but it largely depends on us how we use it. When it comes to critical writing, it is important that we dig deep because nothing beats research,” said Virmani.
The lively event was also graced with a tabla-harmonium duet and a ballet performance by the students.
UNESCO’s Operational Strategy on Youth envisages youth as agents of change, social transformation, peace and sustainable development by ensuring that young women and men are engaged in policies and programmes that affect them, and lead action to promote peace and sustainable development in their countries and communities.
"We, at UNESCO, believe that youth are not to be simply regarded as beneficiaries of the Sustainable Development Goals, but also their very architects. They will not only shape the goals but also face the success or failure of the SDGs. Fate of the world in the near future will depend on millennials' ability to think and express ideations clearly. Platforms that encourage them to do so is the need of the hour,” further added Eric Falt.