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Goethe-Institut organizes its first-ever youth conference 2020 – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In facing the challenges of reducing detrimental environmental and societal impacts created by current unsustainable business practices, the concept of ‘Sustainopreneurship has gained special attention because it aims to bring about necessary transformations to current products, processes and behavioural patterns.

Despite its relevance and conceptual appeal, the conditions, processes, features and outcomes that distinct this form of entrepreneurship are yet to be defined.

Highlighting the importance of ‘Sustainopreneurship’, Goethe-institut, New Delhi and the Central Agency for German schools abroad organised their first-ever Jugendkongress 2020/ Youth conference 2020, from 1st-7th November 2020.

Themed at ‘Youth and Sustainopreneurship’, the conference was supported by the German Embassy and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, New Delhi.

In attendance were nearly 200 students from India, Nepal and Bangladesh and eminent people from diverse fields who engaged in insightful sessions and workshops with central topics of ‘Sustainopreneurship’.

The week-long conference was student-centric and deliberated on topics like gender equality, student’s mental health, social entrepreneurship etc. Bringing together the students, the conference provided an excellent opportunity to have in-depth discussions with some of India’s leading young change-makers working to address education technology, climate change, menstrual hygiene and innovation.

During the week, the school children dealt with central topics of Sustainopreneurship like identity development, sustainable living, cooking and being an entrepreneur etc. Besides, they also attended various workshops on topics like gender equality, learning how to plan a project in terms of budget and receive assistance with current application procedures.

Speaking on the event, Veronika Taranzinskaja, PASCH Head Southasia, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi said, “The year 2020 has completely changed the game and caused massive disruptions. We looked at how to be innovative in a time when COVID-19 has created more restrictions than anything we’ve faced before. Today, we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known and one of the most resilient generations ever who will be the future torch-bearers. We need to make sure that young people actually have a voice and are heard at the tables of decision-makers. Since the idea of sustainopreneurship is based on innovative ideas about how to create a more sustainable way of living, it is necessary to listen what young entrepreneurs have in their minds about the same and what action plan do they propose.”

She further added, “You cannot wait for the world to come with their changes, you need to change the world yourself.”

Today’s youth population is larger than ever, with 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 90 per cent are living in less developed countries. The Sustainable Development Agenda (2030 Agenda) is the United Nation blueprints to assist nations worldwide in economic development, community well-being, and sustainable development (SD) in the future. The agenda recognises that young people have a strong ability to drive change, and more than one-third of the SDG’s targets involve youth explicitly or implicitly. Also, young people are often the group most affected by changes within their communities. However, they are rarely offered a seat at the table and, consequently, left out of the decision-making processes about their future. Given that young people are the guardians of the planet’s future, it is imperative to listen closely to their concerns and take heed of what they have to say.

The Youth Conference was a perfect platform for students to voice out their opinions and in enabling them to become the future change-makers.

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