International Youth Day 2015

The Maharashtra United Nations Association (MUNA) observed the International Youth Day 2015 in association with Sophia College, Mumbai on Wednesday, 12th of August at 2:00 pm. The theme for this year was Youth Civic Engagement.
The session began with lighting of the lamp, followed by the inaugural address of Dr. (Sr.) Ananda Amritmahal, Principal, Sophia College. She spoke about the importance of youth engagement and the role of educational institutions in developing today’s youth.
She was followed by Ms. Mohini Mathur, Executive Chairperson, MUNA. Ms Mohini Mathur expressed her views about the role of youth in today’s modern society. She also elaborated on the special qualities possessed by the youth, which makes them an “ideal force for change”. Ms. Mathur encouraged youth by saying “you are the future”. She further said that, the time has come when youth should be given the chance and platform to raise their concerns and activities like this would definitely bring a positive social change and will bring the innovative, enthusiastic and positive approach in life for the young generations who will be the future agents of peace and harmony.
The keynote address was delivered by Adv. Firoze B. Andhyarujina, Senior Advocate, Bombay High Court. He spoke about the various facets of democracy and the role of youth in this current democracy. He spoke about various programs currently underway in India, their implications and his comments and suggestions for the same. He also spoke about the importance of freedom in a democracy and how India is lucky to have a free society. He made a special emphasis on religion, as India is a deeply religious country, and its position in a free society. He concluded his talk with the importance of ethics in a free society with examples from the corporate sector on how ethics are the most important qualities in citizens of any country.
Mr. Ashraf Ahmed Shaikh, Hon. Secretary MUNA, President Maharashtra United Nations Youth Association MUNYA and Member of Executive Committee, Indian Federation of United Nations Association, spoke about the role of UN and its programmes in giving the youth a platform to become effective leaders of tomorrow. He spoke about the importance of International Youth Day. He, then read the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban-Ki-Moon’s message and highlighted the theme of the Youth Day given by United Nations, that is, Youth and Civic Engagement. The main point made in the message was, Young people can mobilize the world. They can lead us to a better future. He also encouraged the students for volunteering in social causes.
Mr. A. A. Syed, Secretary General, MUNA, read out the Aims and Objectives of Maharashtra United Nations Association with a special emphasis on its numerous activities planned round the year to promote the aims and ideals of the United Nations. He also spoke about how one can volunteer at MUNA. He further added that activities for youth are one of the top priorities in MUNA and explained the audience various initiatives taken by the Youth wing of MUNA.
Dr. Govind N. Chainani, Treasurer, MUNA, spoke on “Democracy- Its evolution till date and the role of the today's youth in promoting its ideals”. He briefly mentioned the genesis and spread of democracy throughout the world. He highlighted various events that were crucial to the growth of democracy. Following this, he highlighted some of the problems faced by India, the biggest democracy in the world. He commented on these problems, suggested solutions to them and also provided guidelines for youth participation in resolving them.
Following this, the speakers were felicitated by Dr. (Sr.) Ananda Amritmahal with a shawl and a gift as a token of appreciation. Following this, a break of ten minutes was declared. The guest and the audience were served high tea during this break.
The second half of the session saw ten participants from the audience, delivering speeches on the topic “The role of Youth in Promoting Democracy around the World”. Each speaker spoke for a duration of six minutes and presented their views on the topic. Also various issues faced by the youth and some possible solutions to them were explored during these talks. The enthusiasm and fresh ideas brought by the young participants truly made the event a memorable and successful one.
The participants were judged by Mr. Malhar Chaudhari, Secretary General, Maharashtra United Nations Youth Association (MUNYA) and Mr. Nehaal Mayur, Member MUNYA. Top three winners were chosen from the speakers and were felicitated by Mr. A. A. Syed and both the judges. The winners were Shumaila Qureshi (First Prize), Urja Jain (Second Prize) and Tanvi Gangwani (Third Prize). Mr Malhar, summarized the points made by the participants, often commenting and suggesting some further ideas for exploration on the topic. He also gave some advice to the participants, which would help them on similar forums in future and in turn become better youth leaders.
The session formally ended on a high note, with the felicitation of the judges and vote of thanks by Ms. Maria Hani, Chief organizer of the event.