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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 01/28/2011

Of handshakes, happiness and hope

By Anjali Chandrashekar

British Council Global Changemakers is a network of young social entrepreneurs and community activists from 110 countries worldwide.

It would be really hard to sum up today in just a blog post. It involved a myriad of sessions, people and emotions. Trevor and I were the earliest to leave the house for a half-hour long journey up to the congress center where we went for a session -- The Global Talent Crisis-Talent Mobility. Neither of us had a clue about the topic or how we could contribute to the discussion as it is mainly concerned with business enterprises, educational institutions and governments. However our worries ended soon. We were put into discussion groups where my group discussed the collaboration of educational institutes and governments to solve this gap. It was finally ended with a small address by the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli .

We were just chilling at the Social Entrepreneurs Lounge and we happened to get a quick opportunity to meet Leonel Fernández Reyna, the president of the Dominican Republic, who happened to be a very soft spoken and friendly person.

This was followed by a visit to the session with French President Sarkozy whom I found immensely profound in his thoughts about the various issues that were part of the discussion.

One of the highlights of today would be our visit to the Davos High School. Only the girls went to attend it as Dan and Trevor were at the BBC debate. The reason why I liked it so much was because we left behind who we were at the congress center and went to visit the students as normal kids and help inspire them in our own capacity. It was wonderful to get to know the students there and learn more about their passions and views of the World Economic Forum. Seems like they get to see quite a lot of participants too!

Back at the congress center we met with Lord Stephen Carter from Alcatel-Lucent where we got to share what we did with him and also spoke about the power of media and how it is important to spread the right kind of news.

A session with Lorenzo Mendoza ensued and was probably my favorite part of the entire day. Being the man that he is, Mr. Mendoza to me epitomizes modesty, dedication and passion. More than an hour's conversation covered everything from grassroots activities, gender equality to how we need to keep the passion burning inside of us even though we might change our convictions over the course of our lives.

And the evening, what can I say about it? An epic speech by former President Bill Clinton where he moved audiences with his words and thoughts and left many people thinking much afterward. Oooooh.. I got to shake hands with him and take a picture which was completely destroyed because of another fan taking a snap at the same time.

At dinner we had a discussion about Role Models of the 21st Century where we tried to distinguish between leaders and role models and discussed what an ideal role model would be.

In sum today was a mixed bag of emotions and left me with so much hope for the days to come.

Anjali is a two-time national award-winning visual artist and activist and has been using her artwork to raise funds and awareness for many national and international organizations. She believes that art is a universal language and a tool that cuts across barriers of language, religion and literacy. Anjali is passionate about the environment and the preservation of biodiversity, and she uses art as medium of education. Her paintings have also been used in international auctions to raise funds for diabetes research, buying insulin for children in developing countries and funding free dialysis for poor kidney patients. The sale of related merchandise has benefited numerous organizations that work against child abuse, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease and smoking. She is a Rotary Youth Ambassador and gives talks at various schools and forums to help empower youth. In addition she helps integrate and rehabilitate orphans, physically and mentally challenged children by teaching them art. She has represented India at World School International Forum and the International Diabetes Federation. Anjali is currently in the 12th Grade at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Junior College (PSBBJC) in Chennai, India.

Return to the Insiders' Guide to Davos 2011 page

By Anjali Chandrashekar  | January 28, 2011; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  Anjali Chandrashekar  
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