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Youth Camp - Dr Balaji SM

4th SAARC Youth Camp at RGNIYD

The 4th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Youth Camp was inaugurated at the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD) Sriperumbudur, Chennai on 11th February 2013. The theme of the meet is “Youth as Ambassadors in Global Partnership for Development”.

The SAARC is an organization of South Asian nations, which was established on 8 December 1985 to work towards the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural development within the South Asia region and for friendship and cooperation with other developing countries.

SAARC Youth Camps are held annually to promote cultural interaction among the youth. The First SAARC Youth Camp was held in Bangladesh in December 2007. Subsequently, Sri Lanka hosted the Second SAARC Youth Camp in Colombo in 2008. The Third SAARC Youth Camp was held in Maldives in 2010.

The 4th SAARC Youth Camp is jointly organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Govt. of India, RGNIYD and SAARC. The Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development is a nodal agency for training youth and a facilitator of youth development activities in rural, urban and tribal areas. The Institute has wide network with various organizations working for the welfare and development of young people.

Representatives from 8 SAARC countries participated in this meet- India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The camp was inaugurated by lighting of the kuthuvilakku by Prof. Dr. S.M. Balaji, MDS Ph.D., Hon. Consul General, Republic of Maldives, Chennai. He also gave the Inaugural Address.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by over 42 delegates & 80 RGNIYD students. Dr. Balaji in his address said that the youth are an emblem of our future, the symbol of our continuity. The greatest wealth and strength of any nation is its youth. The quality of its youth determines the kind of future, the nation will have. Therefore, if we want to ensure a bright future for our country, we first need to strengthen and empower our youth and in view of their large numbers the question of tapping their enormous potential has assumed great importance.

He encouraged the youth to promote understanding and goodwill for working towards regional and global peace, for there is no development without peace. He called for a strong partnership among SAARC Youth and reiterated the need to build a platform for exchange of ideas and learning. He said that a standard should be set in all spheres of research and development and for this it is extremely important to have SAARC forums in Medicine, Dentistry, Information technology and through this provide necessary thrust to youth programs on systematic scientific lines.

Dr. Balaji highlighted that SAARC countries have been culturally, geographically and socially related for centuries. We share common ideas for development and global advancement. Regional connectivity needs to be strengthened to substantiate our role in the global scenario. Recommendations for a common currency in the SAARC countries and relaxation of inter-country travel regulations need to be proposed. Dr. Balaji’s views were extremely well received and applauded by the audience.

Dr. Balaji also participated in a vibrant interactive session with students who expressed their novel ideas and insights. The speaker forum also included Dr. D. Jayalakshmi, Registrar, RGNIYD, Shri. P. Michael Vetha Siromony, IAS, Director, RGNIYD, Shri. C. R. Kesavan, Vice President, RGNIYD and Dr. T. Gopinath, Training Officer, RGNIYD.