June, 2016

“Stay hungry, stay smart and make a difference

The Convocation at Sonepat campus honored 193 bright young Fellows of the class of 2016

By Team Ashoka

The warm sunset on the last Saturday of June this year proved to be a sensitive one for the 193 fellows who were not willing to believe that their year at Ashoka University had ended already. Eight semesters, one eight-month long project and twenty odd courses later, goodbyes were in store and disbelief was in the air. The University hosted the Convocation ceremony of Young India Fellowship (YIF), Class of 2016 at its campus in Sonepat on 25th June 2016. The fifth cohort received their certificates from the Guest of Honour on the occasion, veteran journalist T. N. Ninan in the presence of Founder & Trustee Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha, Vice-Chancellor Dr. Rudrangshu Mukherjee along with Pro Vice-Chancellor Mr. Vineet Gupta, faculty, friends and families of the graduating students, and other members of the Ashoka family.

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The auditorium was filled with the excited muttering of  Fellows, seated at the balcony, eagerly awaiting in their magnificent robes of green, while parents and loved ones trickled into their seats, more excited to be a part of this moment. Dr. Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University, led the ceremonial procession as he spoke about how students from diverse backgrounds in YIF come together with a common curiosity to learn and during the course of the Fellowship develop an ability to channelize their fervour for a larger goal. Emphasizing on how Ashoka represents not only the best of India, but also best for India, he added, “Today’s Fellows are tomorrow’s leaders in whatever they want to do. I sincerely believe that your tenure as a Young India Fellow has given strength in your individuality: the strength to lead when no one leads, the strength to lead when no one follows and the strength to follow when no one follows. The strength to be alone when required. And the strength to be the still centre when all around is noise and tumult.”

T. N. Ninan, Chairman and Editorial Director, Business Standard, expressed his happiness on being a part of the occasion and gave away special awards. Pride and joy filled the air with families and friends cheering the students as they went onstage to receive their certificates. Nivedita and Karthik J N were awarded the Torchbearer Award for embodying the spirit and ideals of the programme and displaying all-round excellence. Saransh Pahwa and Kavya Sindhuja Thatavarthi received the YIF Valedictory Award for leading the batch in academic excellence. The YIF Class of 2016 was an eclectic group of Fellows whose achievements shone brightly across diverse fields. Some of the accomplishments among several others include that of Neha Batra, who visited China as part of the Indian ruling party delegation to a pre-BRICS summit, Phalguni Guliani, recipient of the Stiglitz Essay Prize awarded by the International Economic Association whose paper is going to be published at the next annual IEA World Congress in Mexico and Harshal Kale who was invited to join the Youth Leadership Advisory Committee of World Federation of Hemophilia, Canada for 2 years.

“When the words of achievement were read out, I felt as if the sheer diversity of my 193 colleagues were being announced. This is exactly want the Fellowship stands for, this celebration of diversity and individuality where you are not expected to fit into any box,” says Anita, a Fellow graduating from the 2016 batch.

Pointing out to graduating Fellows, T. N. Ninan shared with the students that how he has witnessed professions evolve over decades during his experience at the helm of different publications. “Change is all around us. The world you see at the end of your working life will not be same as you see it today. Most of you will be joining the corporate sector or not-for-profit organisations and some of you will go abroad for higher studies. The point is to embrace change, be ready for it and ride the waves of change. World is an exciting place, India is an exciting place. So follow your destiny, but do not forget your country.” he said.

Speaking of the journey that our nation and its economy has made, the challenges it still  faces and the role that young Indians will have to play, he added “A graduating student today has crucial choices to make. Which part of the world do you relate to? And which world will you want to be a part of? You are already, as a student of Ashoka University, a part of the new India that has emerged. So you can quite easily become the part of world that India has joined. But you could also choose to devote yourself to the India that still has widespread poverty and economic problems. An India that needs good institutions, good administrators and good policy that deliver positive outcomes.”

As the evening drew to a close, Vineet Gupta, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Founder, Ashoka University concluded the evening with a heartfelt vote of thanks, “While the Fellowship strives to open opportunities for students and gives them an outstanding academic experience, we are committed to achieve on our vision of nurturing individuals who are self-aware, humble, ethical, intellectually curious and who have deep sense of commitment to public service in making this world a better place.”

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