Blog Archives

Towards Democracy, Peace and Open Borders – South Asia Youth Summit

 

The Liberal Youth of South Asia (LYSA) organized the first South Asia Youth Summit in New Delhi on 24th and 25th November, 2008 providing a platform for 100 youth representatives across South Asia to discuss and debate various issues confronting the region from a liberal perspective.

“We believe that we can set an example for our political leaders about cooperation and the benefits of joining hands in overcoming barriers…. we envision a peaceful, democratic and open region…” reads the declaration at the end of the youth summit, which was hosted by Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) and supported by the Friedrich-Naumann-Siftung für die Freiheit. The delegates identified lack of appropriate governance as the central issue behind all the problems facing the region.

The participants discussed upon issues like Youth and Politics, Youth Participation in Development, Market Economy and South Asian Free Trade Zone, Quality Education for All: Choice & Competition, State and Democracy and Human Rights in South Asia. 

The discussions carried out by the youth across the sessions mainly focused upon the major global and local developments which compel the youth to take a particular note of the policies that need to be changed and what implications these changes have for the future of youth. 

The culmination of the two day summit took place at India Gate where participants formed a youth chain and lit candles in solidarity with each other to fight against terrorism and spread the message of peace. And there began the “drafting of a new South Asia.”

Represented from Beyond Borders groups in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh were invited for the summit. Sri Lanka was also represented by the Liberal Youth Guild. 

The text was adapted from the official LYSA summit Blog.  For more pictures, visit our Flickr.

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Until Kids

A short film about thousands of kids who live in the Indian metropolis, work as ragpickers – living in waste. A Film by Swechha. Music by Raghu Dixit.

Also available on Youtube.

Jeevika : A south Asian documentary film competition — Call for submissions

A message from Centre for Civil Society, which annually organizes Jeevika, a film festival focusing on livelihood issues.  filmakers and students from all over South Asia are encouraged to participate :

Inviting Documentary filmmakers interested in : FILMS For SOCIAL CHANGE

Zoom in on a mode of living…Give a voice to people’s struggles and triumphs…Defend the basic human right of freedom to livelihood…

Economic Freedom

Capture social -cultural norms, legal – regulatory barriers that prevent people working in the vocation of their choice and send us.

ENTRY CLOSING ON: JULY 15, 2008

Prizes : Worth Rs. 200,000 INR (more than 4,600 US$)
(Including support for advocacy campaign based on the film)

Apply now: www.jeevika.org or www.ccs.in

Entry Rules:
– Two DVD copies.
– Open to ALL filmmakers (student, amateur & professionals).
– Any language with English subtitles.

Jeevika, a South Asian documentary film festival on the issue of livelihood, is a search for documentaries that focus on legal and regulatory restrictions as well as socio – cultural norms and religious practices that prevent or constrain people from earning an honest livelihood in the vocation of their choice. It is a part of an attempt to bring policies in focus which have not been liberalized and keeping entry level professions under License Raj, thus keeping a nation under imposed poverty. Livelihood is a common issue that touches all other issues including poverty human rights, governance, labour welfare, tribal rights, minority rights, women empowerment, health, globalization, privatization, environment, agriculture, hunger and many more.

For further details please contact:
Mr. Manoj Mathew
Phone: 91.11.2653.7456 (10am-6pm IST)
Log on: http://www.ccs.in/jeevika/index.html
Email: jeevika@ccs.in

Monsoon Wooding

Our friends at swechha has put out a new blog dedicated to a project called Monsoon Wooding”, aiming to recover New Delhi’s green cover. Here’s an excerpt from the first post :

In an attempt to restore Delhi’s green cover, Monsoon Wooding was launched in 2005 by Sweccha-We for Change foundation. It aims to bring together volunteers who wish to see Delhi’s tree cover expand and to give them a platform to realize their plans.
Because we also want trees in our world class city.

Our course of action is outlined by the 3 P’s:
PLANT – anywhere, everywhere!
PROTECT – trees that have been reduced to billboards.
PROMOTE – tree welfare, because knowledge is power!

Through our initiatives we plan to achieve the following –

1. Planting a target number of trees to make up for those lost in the name of development.
2. Saving existing trees from dying out and ensuring their protection.
3. Sensitizing the youth and the rest of the civil society of Delhi about the seriousness of Delhi’s depleting green cover.
4. Building a huge network of young volunteers who are ready to come forward and participate in similar environmental campaigns as and when the need arises.

5. Attracting the State’s attention towards the efforts of young people and convincing it to take necessary steps to create a greener Delhi. [link]

If you are in the Delhi Area and would like to get involved, give them a shout. Details are on the blog and their website.

A Journey Beyond Borders

The official publication of Beyond Borders India is out now. From the inside cover:

Beyond Borders India are young change makers who have resolved to challenge the existing restrictive order. As the decision-makers of tomorrow we should not only be aware of our own responsibilities but should remind others about their duty as well.

As intolerance spreads like a global epidemic, it becomes mandatory for us to build awareness about varied world cultures and their inherent similarities. It is our belief that it is only by appreciating individual and regional identities that world peace can be ensured.

Humanity is the only tool through which we can stem the growing tide of hatred. Thus, it is necessary for us to transcend barriers and work for the upliftment of the marginalised groups. It is up to us to take up the cause of the homeless, hungry, disabled, rural and urban poor and many other such ‘invisible, unheard and unseen’ sections. In short, we want to work towards Human Rights issues to augment positive social change.

In this mission we aim to work in tandem with like-minded youth from all parts of the world. As young people coming from varied walks of life and having diverse local identities, we need to unite our efforts because our futures are connected as well.

The publication contains a report of activities and thoughts from BB-ites which make up Beyond Borders India. The publication can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Beyond Borders in Sri Lanka (Colombo) , India (New Delhi and Mumbai) and Bangladesh (Dhaka) functions as youth-led voluntary organizations working on development issues affecting young people. If you’d like to get involved, drop us an email to slbeyondborders[at]gmail.com

For More on BB India see the documentaries footprints (part 1 , 2) and Conversations all available on our Youtube channel.

BB Pakistan Revival Blog

A few BB-ites in Pakistan have set up a Beyond Borders Pakistan Blog, to reactivate Beyond Borders in Pakistan.

Here’s a few key paragraphs from the Sunniya’s post outlining why she started the blog:

Beyond Borders Pakistan started under British Council in 2003. Several projects were conducted for the welfare of the society and to create awareness about issues like education, health, drug abuse, child welfare, child education, child molestation etc. A group of about 60 individuals from all 4 provinces of Pakistan got together to make a difference. Sadly, beyond borders group disintegrated once funding and support from British Council came to a halt. This happened in May 2006 and slowly all members of BB Pakistan moved on to do individual tasks. However, the spirit of Beyond Borders stayed with each one of us. Some of us managed to stay in touch over the course of the past 2 years and some even tried meeting up and catching up with what was going on with life in general.

[..] we have decided to revive Beyond Borders Pakistan independently without British Council’s support. We have no funding, all of us are in different parts of the world, there is loads to do and somehow we don’t know where to start. So through several talks and suggestions over the last 2 years, we have decided to raise our voices once again. This time we will start by projecting ourselves through the internet and other medias. This blog will be a platform for raising our concerns, debating issues and getting our voices heard.

And inshaAllah we believe that one day Beyond Borders Pakistan would be in full action again and together we will be able to make a difference. [link]

As of now Beyond Borders functions in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh as youth-led voluntary organizations working on issues related to the themes of Identity and Diversity and Active Global Citizenship. Beyond Borders was set up as a learning and networking project by the British Council. Find more about us here. If you like what we do, join us!. Changing the world can be fun.

Liberal Youth Forum (India) Launched

The Liberal Youth Forum (LYF-India) is a movement of young individuals, informal groups and formal associations collaborating to create access and choice in social, cultural, economic, political and environmental spheres for a freer and more prosperous India. On April 5th, 2008, the Liberal Youth Forum will formally announce its launch at Hotel Peninsula Grand, Andheri East, Mumbai, with help from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and Centre for Civil Society.

At LYF-India launch in Mumbai, the elected members of its executive committee will be introduced, as well as providing details about its planned activities for the year, centered around mobilizing the youth at colleges/universities of India.

LYF-India believes in the power of human enterprise to overcome the shackles of poverty and to find full expression in a society founded on the principles of freedom and tolerance. They want to see an India in which all citizens are equal before the law and have the opportunity to pursue their own happiness. They dream of a society where competition is the fountainhead of choice and where the accident of birth is not a barrier to social or economic progress; where gender, caste, creed, race or region is no barrier to the brotherhood of mankind; where nations live in peace and borders do not matter. They commit themselves to the creation of a society where every citizen enjoys the basic human rights to property and livelihood, living life with dignity and personal responsibility. They believe that the youth of today can make this happen.

As LYF-India is going to be a network of liberal youth in India, it seeks support and look for networking opportunities with similar organizations across the globe.


Adapted from the text at the Atlas Economic Foundation. LYF Blog is here. We wish the LYF and especially the BB-ites involved in LYF all the very best. Previously on this blog: Info about the Liberty & Society Seminar.

Youth Participation and Democracy in South Asia

Young people in South Asia and in particular Sri Lanka are disillusioned with both mainstream and alternative spaces for political action says K.Guruparan speaking at the International Conference on Youth and Democracy in South Asia in Pune, India.

Guru was presenting a paper on youth participation in decision making and policy making processes using Sri Lanka as a case study. He goes on to say that there is a need to provide access to institutions and to set in place mechanisms through which youth participation, can be ensured. He warns that such institutions should not be tokenistic as if they are, it would be insufficient to address the feeling of alienation by young people. He goes on to argue the unwillingness to accept the concept of youth participation by the “adult political bureaucratic culture” of south Asian democracies is linked with larger problems of democratization in these countries which has resulted in youth unrest and violence which further slows the process of democratization.

A video excerpt from his speech is now available on YouTube (and included below). The complete paper can be downloaded here.

Conversations

Through the looking glass, I heard music, saw laughter and color pass by.. Life is a whirlwind of joyous moments. Then, I opened my eyes…

BB India presents.. Conversations

Liberty and Society

Imagine a man walking in a dark alley at about 2 a.m. in the morning, there’s not a soul in sight, the man is carrying a bag with him, and as he’s walking he sees at a distance a couple of policemen walking towards him. How will he react? His reaction said, Jacob Punnoose, the litmus test for how totalitarian the government is. In a more totalitarian country the man would do everything to avoid the policemen, maybe even run. In less totalitarian countries the man would greet the policemen as they go by. The more desire of the man to avoid the cops, the more totalitarian the regime is said Mr. Punnose, who happens to be the Director General of Police (intelligence) in Kerala (India).

He was speaking on the topic of Freedom and Security at a seminar on Liberty & Society organized by Centre for Civil Society, an independent think-tank based in New Delhi. Mr. Punnose, was one of the many excellent speakers at the seminar which held from the 24-27th of January, 2008 in Cochin, a coastal city in India’s state of Kerala. Liberty and Society Seminar (LSS) is a residential seminar with an aim to engage young people with social and economic issues through an understanding of public policy. The seminars are organized annually and held in all major cities in India. The next cycle of seminars would start later in the year.
The seminar included interactive talks, documentaries, work-groups where participants are expected come up with public policy solutions for proposed problems and ‘researching reality’ a day of field research on livelihood issues. The talks were based on contemporary social and economic issues on topics addressing the poverty of India, education policy, SEZs (Special Economic Zones), the environment, etc. the seminar also included frameworks for analyzing, designing and assessing public policy, its impact and the need for policy advocacy for definitive social change.

The seminar included workshops and presentations by Parth J Shah, the president of CCS, and guest speakers included Mohan Varghese, Babu Joseph and K.M. Roy.
For more information on LSS and more please visit the Centre for Civil Society website.

Liberty & Society seminars are a popular destination for BB-ites with Libertarian leanings, some personal experiences of one of the participants for the Cochin LSS can be found here and here. Previously, Cris Lingle – an adjunct scholar of CCS gave a lecture with the invitation by Beyond Borders and Parth J Shah has conducted workshops in our Life Skills Camps.