“As Swami Vivekananda said, a hundred youth can change the whole nation,” expressed one young woman who attended the summit. “A leader is not only someone who transforms himself, but the world around him. The camp was amazing and gave us a lot of tips on how to change ourselves.”
The theme for the summit was “Now is the Future”, which rests in the actions of the present moment. The young people brainstormed and debated about what they need to do to create better lives for themselves and others.
AYUDH expects its volunteers to be fearless and strong leaders who are also loving and compassionate--a formula achieved by incorporating universal values into decision-making and becoming role models for society overall. This kind of community building is what also empowers others.
Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri is one of Amma’s senior disciples and the Vice Chairman of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. He explained, “In cultures throughout the world, there is a tradition of giving back. Everything has its price, nothing is free. The participants will reap the benefit of this summit in the future but the price they had to pay was discipline and hard work that this summit inculcated in them.”
The summit witnessed such activities as discourses by eminent personalities, team building and life skills workshops, personality development programs, yoga and meditation sessions and concerts by renowned musicians.
Dr. Kiran Bedi, Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, was one of the keynote speakers. In 1972, she was the first woman to join the Indian Police Service and remained there for 35 years before retiring.
“In life, a person who can do is the one who succeeds, yet there are people who can do but they still say they can’t and prefer to give up. Success eludes such people,” she said in her address to the summit. “Gratitude is one thing that today’s youth are lacking. India needs youth with strong gratitude and Amma’s institutions are teaching gratitude and compassion to the youth which in itself is the greatest service to humanity.”
Bedi explained that in order for all of us to make a difference, we must see that every day is a day of responsible behaviour and action.
“What one wants to be at 50, one should start practising at 15,” she said. “The best way to achieve our goals is four pronged--to be focussed, to be able to discriminate between right and wrong, to be devoted, and lastly to be insulated from results and carry on with our hard work.”
The summit was inaugurated by Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla (Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command). In his speech, he declared, “Everyone present here is a leader of the future and will be instrumental in taking our country forward. Hence, they are all an integral part of our nation-building process. Most of us are leaders and if given the right guidance we can all become excellent leaders. This platform is exactly what the youth of today need to be able to realize their potential to the fullest.”
The summit included such activities as team-building and life-skills workshops, personality development programs, yoga and meditation sessions, and cultural events. The youth were grouped into teams of people from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds from across India. This meant a vast array of traditional experiences, as it is one of the oldest and most diverse countries in the world.
Swami Amritaswarupananda concluded, “Right here and now is the action and when we focus on the present we reap the fruit in the future. The youth are the future and that is why now is the future. All the participants embraced Amma’s iconic embrace, and so, like her outstretched arms, the doors of AYUDH will always be open to them.”