KATHMANDU, July 17: Swati Thapa, 26, is a final year student of Master’s in Conflict, Peace and Development Studies at Tribhuvan University. She was one of the four Nepali youth delegates to the recent 6th World Youth Congress held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
As she talks to Republica, she’s enthusiastic and determined to share her experiences and encourage more Nepali youths to participate in the forthcoming World Youth Congress in 2014.
Where did the idea for participation in the World Youth Congress come from?
I always had an interest in the development sector of the society and the community. I feel it’s time to act now. I was also working at the National Trust for Nature Conservation for the last three years, and my job definitely motivated me as well. The objectives of the World Youth Congress are to promote youth-led development as a constructive and effective way to make poverty history, to accelerate momentum to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and to encourage the development of green, sustainable entrepreneurship. These objectives interested me deeply.
Tell us about your experiences of the World Youth Congress 2012.
Peace Child International organizes the World Youth Congress every two years. There were 350 delegates from around the globe. There’s a free competitive selection process open to everyone from every kind of background. What we need to do is provide a credible explanation of the contributions we’re making to our society, the issues we’ll be taking to the conference, and the contributions we can make after we return.
The three other delegates to the World Youth Congress were Aparajita Pyakuryal, Ganesh Bahadur Thapa, and Jaya Jung Mahat. I applied in October, and after I came to know of my selection in February, I started working with Build Nepal for some preparatory activities. We focused on issues like Nepali youth access to leadership and entrepreneurship and its limitations, the inefficient education culture practices in Nepal, and corruption and nepotism amongst the youth.
We made these our major discussion agenda for the World Youth Congress. We had various rounds of discussions, workshops of what role youth can play in the sustainable development of their countries, green economy, innovation think tank and various discussions with young leaders around the globe and also with experts and policymakers.
Our major activity was the roundtable discussion with representatives from the United Nations, World Food Program, and Peace Child International. Towards the end, we came up with 20 solutions that we put forward in the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development on June 21.
What are your future plans?
Since I’m in my final year, I’m focusing on my studies right now. But in November, I may be going to Pakistan for the 2nd South Asian Youth Conference organized by the Blue Ribbon Movement in India. This conference aims to bring youths of the South Asian nations together to build peace in our troubled region and do it through our own deep ties and friendship through joint projects and genuine discussions because politics, diplomacy and military have failed to do this.
I would also like to participate in the World Youth Congress 2014. But what I really want is for more youths to be aware about the World Youth Congress and to participate in the next conference. It’s always time to act.