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International Conference on Emerging Trends in Youth Development - Best Practices and Sustainable Models
By Father Charles Maria SDB
Mumbai, Jan. 25. A two-day International Conference on ''EMERGING TRENDS IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT'' (Best Practices & Sustainable Models) was organised by P.G & Research Department of Social Work, Sacred Heart College (Autonomous) Tirupattur and Don Bosco Youth Animation South Asia (DBYASA) New Delhi in partnership with FSL - India, Bengaluru held at Sacred Heart College (Autonomous) Tirupattur from the 20-21 January, 2017.
Dr Maria Charles (Director, DBYASA) gave the welcome address and welcomed the gathering  and said that we gather here  with one motive namely to document the best practices/interventions/models of youth development presented by practitioners, researchers and academicians. This international Conference aims to discuss various concepts and models connected with Youth Development to evolve appropriate strategies and plans which will help alter substantially the lives of young people especially the poor and marginalized.

Mr Rakesh S. Soans (President, FSL India) spoke about the objectives of the conference. A multi-dimensional perspective which includes Education, Skill development, Physical well-being, Psychological well-being, Political participation & Civic engagement, Role of stakeholders and Inclusive approach which is needed. He also said the Youth Development call for more models, moderators, people stakeholders with experience will add value to the process of youth development.

The felicitation address was given by Dr D. Maria Antony Raj SDB (Principal, Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur) and he welcomed everyone and said that it was an honour to host an International Conference in his college and looks forward for many more such Conferences.

The Keynote Speaker for Day 1 Prof Jim Campbell spoke on the Theme: The role of youth, social and community workers in dealing with the mental health needs of the young people affected by political conflict. The key note address about the role of youth in society and community dealing with the mental health problems and their needs. He said very clearly that stress, addiction, etc... leads to mental ill health and conflict. This is same to all the individuals of youth. As well the problems do not vary to individual to individual based on the gender, class, religion and country. He also spoke about the education system in Ireland which are being practiced. He also said that psychological problem in the society is prevailing there especially among the youngsters.  He said that there are three approaches the social workers should follow that is called tiered approach Psychiatric service, Family intervention, Group & community strategy. He ended by saying that in UK the young people take power to themselves with the identity among the society and the community. And he wishes more for the Youth development.

The Panel Session-1 which was moderated by Dr. A.J. Christopher, Principle (St. Ann's College of Arts & Science, Tindivanam. Ms. Lisa Heydlauff (Founder Director, Going To School, New Delhi) the First Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: Building Local News Services with Young People in Rural India. She started by saying that she visualizes the problems of the young people in two ways, scribbled and straight. The straight, is the problem which follows one after the other but the scribbled takes many forms and directions in the problem itself. Since the problems are same with all the youth it results in chaos. The System that she follows in her school is ''Scrappy'' that's why she named her school ''Scrappy School''.  She believes that going to school is the most beautiful, powerful story that we could ever dare to imagine and can change the way millions of children learn. This makes the children face sustainable challenge. She also made us aware about the ''Scrappy News'' and the ''Scrappy app''.

Father Arul Maran SDB (Director, Don Bosco Skill Mission) the Second Panel Speaker spoke on the theme Enhancing Youth Employability through Skill Training: An Integrated Approach for Youth Development. He started with a quote ''The world is aging but India is growing young''. He said that DB Tech is making difference by the following things 1. Curriculum 2. Mobilization 3. Training 4. Assessment & Certification 5. Placement 6. Tracking & Online data.. He said DB Tech works for the dropout children to give them the social status & to make them competent person to earn for their lively hood.  He also stated that DB Tech has benefited three lakh Youths.

Mr. Khaled Saifullah (Deputy Manager, Curriculum Development, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Centre, Dhaka) the Third Panel Speaker spoke on the theme Building Bridges through Leadership Training:  A case study of connecting youth diverse background and equipping them with leadership skills to solve the society's problems. He started by saying that there are three challenges that the youth in Bangladesh face today, lack of interaction, lack of critical thinking and lack of opportunities to channel it to positive energy. In the trait theory of leadership, the leaders are born not made which he opposed and said that the leadership can be taught via training. He also gave an insight about the three different classes of youth in which the Bangladesh Youth is categorized.  He said that their intervention with the youth are large class discussion (Class in - point technique), small group case consultation and communication workshop. Class in-point method is nothing but placing the student in the state of confusion or conflict to bring courage to address the situation.

The Panel Session-2 which was moderated by Dr. P. Sigamani, Research Fellow, Associate Professor & Head, Public Health & Human Resource Management, Department of Social Work, Central University of Tamilnadu, Tiruvarur.

Dr. C. P. Anto Chwaran (Founder and Director, Peace Channel, North East Institution of Science and Research, Dimapur, Nagaland) The First Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: Peace Channel a Model for Youth Development for Sustainable Peace. He started with a quote ''Aspire to Inspire before you Expire''. He then asked Why young people die so young? He pointed out clearly that India is the largest youth population with 365 million youth. Peace channel which is the initiative that he follows believes in community and the community is one origin as we have one god and one earth. Peace channel aims at transforming a culture of violence into peace goes beyond religion, caste, gender. Peace channel creates the peace makers in order to bring peace in the society. Peace channel obtains two levels of approach 1. Institutional, 2. Educational.  He termed peace as internal, external, transformation and universal.

Mr. Franklin Paul Anand (Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Manager, Restless Development, New Delhi) The Second Panel Speaker spoke on the theme Unleashing the Power of Youth to change our world - A new Vision for 2030. He started by saying that WE ARE RESTLESS DEVELOPMENT. He spoke about his agency which is a global agency for youth-led development. We support young people to demand and deliver a just and sustainable world. We know that young people's agency is the key to leading long-term, real, lasting, transformative change, and we've built this strategy around that idea. He spoke about the United Nation 17 Goals, a common commitment from every country in the world to address poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. He stated about the Restless development's Tested models, Peer Education, Volunteerism, Technology, Policy Influence. He said that we asked young people and organisations across 63 countries about the issues that most concern young people and the role that they would play in addressing them. He also mentioned about the ''M- sathi App'' and the Youth resource Centres.

Mr Agyat Mitra (Director, Play for peace, Pune) The Third Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: From Potential to Action: Stories of the Youth Transformation. He began with engaging the audience with couples of games (Find a partner on your left write front and back, together you have to count 1 to 3 in sequence I am not joking, but if you trust me you will be laughing in a minute). He then Shared 3 Stories of dropout youth. He then said after looking at their journey and transformation and after asking them what supported them to transition they designed a Youth Leadership Development Program, now called YouLead.

There were nearly 30 research papers which were presented during the conference.

The Keynote Speaker for Day 2 Dr Sevasti Melissa Nolas spoke on the Theme: Youth Development in Time: The Pasts, Presents and Futures of an Evolving Practice. She said that her focus and aim in the address would be locate youth development as a historical, sociological and cultural practices.  She said that Positive Experiences + Positive Relationships + Positive Environments = Positive Youth Development. She also charted the appearance of discourses of youth development as a set of both universal and targeted practices intended to support young people that emerged in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. She went on saying that the rise of youth development programmes has been coupled with the decline in Western governments support for older forms of engaging with and supporting the young people, such as youth work. She went n to Quote ''the mobilization of positive and negative images of youth is always linked to particular political projects and visions in the context of changing social and economic structures'' (Sukarieh and Tannock 2011, p. 688).  She also went on to discuss the relationship between these two trends and how t=youth development has travelled internationally and what the globalization of the youth developments means for local intergenerational practices of support and challenge and of creating spaces and cultures for youth participation. She by concluded by analyzing so as to what is gained and what is lost in the rise and fall of different practices of supporting young people.

The Panel Session-3 which was moderated by Dr Vinnarasan Aruldoss (Research Fellow, E121 Essex House School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK).

Dr Thaddeus SDB (Director, BiCS InfoTech, Yelagiri Hills) the First Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: Empowerment of the Rural Youth at BiCS Infotech, Guezou Nagar, Yelagiri Hills.  There is High intellectual potentials in rural India with lack of opportunities to develop due to many constraints (economic, social, gender, geographical) and Information Technology is a powerful mediator. It is very necessary to Identify the suitable candidates and provide quality education which blends knowledge acquisition with skill development and exposure to industry. He spoke about BiCS a Don Bosco enterprise for education, training and placement of rural youth in IT sectors established in 1998 with the patronage of Father Francis Guezou SDB the opportunities and the challenges they encountered as they helped rural youth.

Mr. K. Sridar (CSR Head, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Chennai) the Second Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: Role of CSR in Initiating Youth Development Projects in Rural Areas.. He spoke about the Dream Village project which he had undertaken and finished within minimum time frame. He also spoke about the purpose of the dream village. Dream Village 1 was in year 2015 in Mevalurkuppam Dream Village 2 & 3 was in year 2016 in Vallakottai, Maduramangalam and the Dream Village in year 2017 is to adopt 58 Villages. He ended by saying that these where all sustainable projects and would go on working for the Social cause.

Mr. Yashveer Singh (Director, Youth Venture, South Asia, Ashoka Innovators for the public, Bengaluru) the Third Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: Everyone a Changemaker. He started by saying, Let's not plan for the future. It's already here. He spoke about the changes and the New Strategic Landscape which emphasises on everyone's contribution, Everyone leads, Interaction and transparency. He said that business model does not matter first, what the work will impact matters not everything can and should have a business model. He gave the example of Ceo of Tesla Motors Elon Reeve Musk who believes in letting go.  He also spoke about the levels of change. He said that it was important to measure what matters. He gave examples of two young entrepreneurs who not also brought a revolution at a young age but also the changes in the development. He said at Ashoka's Youth Venture they inspire, invest and Support young people to become changemakers. He ended by saying that we should believe that everyone is a changemaker.

The Panel Session-4 which was moderated by Dr. Y. Edison Nesadoss (Professor & Head, Dept. of Social Work, Voorhees College, Vellore).

Mr. Devadas Regland (Deputy Director, FSL- India, Bengaluru) the First Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: Promoting Peace and Volunteerism through Youth Exchange and Community Building Programmes.  He started by saying 'Global Youth for Sustainable future' is what which needs attention. He then spoke about FSL and said that we envision to promote world peace, mutual respect and intercultural exchange by facilitating international volunteerism among youth in the field of natural resource management and socio economic development of local community. He then spoke about their different programs i.e. long term volunteering, work camps, csr projects, sustainable agricultural project, training centre, youth development program and outbound. He also mentioned about the different streams they are working on i.e. education, medical and healthcare, environment conservation, heritage conservation, sustainable agriculture, women and child care and youth in action.

Father Thomas Aquinas SDB (National Director, Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk (YaR), New Delhi)the Second Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: Homelink: A Technology Driven system of care for the Young at Risk (YaR) providing scientific temper for policy changes. He then went on to talking about Homelink which is rare combination of technology, documentation system, system of care for young. The Basics of Homelink are the database of the young, database of missing complaints, database of organizations. He also explained how with the help of this software the missing children complaints are kept as a record and many children are also traced. Different organizations and even the governments are using the software for keeping a track of the missing children. He also gave the statistics of the no of missing children complaints and no of children traced back and been united to their families.

Prof. Prabhakara K.V. (Principal, SBRR Mahajana, First Grade College, Mysore) the Third Panel Speaker spoke on the theme: Social Entrepreneurship through student's self-help: a prelude to start up Eco System.  He Quoted ''Social Business is a 'Cause Driven' business with the primary objective of serving the society underlying a profound Economic Sense. He then explained about the reaching the youth. He then spoke about the higher education in India and the academic degrees. He spoke about the dependence syndrome and different economic models. He spoke about Student self-help and the ASIC Mantra and the micro finance. He also spoke Social Business Youth Network with an aim to educate and create awareness among people, especially students and school children, about the depleting natural resources and the path to sustainable development.

The Plenary Address was Given by Mr. Soumen Biswas (Development Professional Consultant with UNDP, New Delhi, India) he spoke on the theme Attracting Young Professionals and engaging them in Development actions: Experience from two large Rural Poverty Alleviation Programmes. He started with talking about the challenges of poverty in India. He also spoke about the spread of the poverty of India. Professional intervention is therefore needed not only at policy level but also for implementation. He said that There has always been an acute scarcity of human resources with ''head and heart'' who would engage in development practice'' in a sustained way. He then spoke about Engaging Young Professionals in Development Action. Many attempts have been made to attract, groom and engage youth with ''head and heart'' for the work of rural poverty eradication. He described and compared ''Development Apprenticeship Programme'' of PRADAN and ''Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellowship'', of the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. While both aimed to engage youth in development, they also appealed to the ''young professionals'' on the aspect of ''self-development'' and ''sense of fulfillment'' in the profession. He spoke about who they are, Inductions and placements, work and support and beyond fellowship/ DAShip. He ended by talking about the Development practice of PRADAN.

The Policy Brief on Youth Development intervention was released by Dr. Maria Charles.


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