The GOPIO International Youth Conference (GIYC) was successfully held for three days and two nights at the Port Dickson Golf and Country Club. GOPIO’s objective is to promote the interests and aspirations of People of Indian Origins (PIOs) from around the world. The main aim of GIYC is to create network among young PIOs from various countries and to interact and continue the objectives of GOPIO, mainly in areas of education, business, technology and socio-culture.
Nineteen oversea Youth Delegates participated in this Conference along with thirty one from Malaysia. Singapore provided the largest overseas participation with eight Youth Delegates, followed by five from India, three from South Africa, two from Myanmar and one from Mauritius. Unfortunately, confirmed youth representatives from Australia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were unable to attend the GIYC at the last hour due to unforeseen circumstances. The Youth Delegates were mostly pre-university students, undergraduate and fresh graduates between the ages of 17 and 25.
An extensive array of activities were lined up on the agenda during this three day Conference. The first day consisted of icebreaking and introductory sessions which saw the youth representatives giving insightful presentations about the PIOs in their respective countries. These eye opening presentations introduced the delegates to PIOs hailing from different backgrounds, cultures and languages. Day Two invited the youths to consider various current and pressing issues as well as talks on heritage. This was followed by a visit to the Port Dickson war museum which exposed the overseas youths to a slice of Malaysian history. The day climaxed with an explosive barbeque dinner party and performances, revealing the youths mind blowing talents, leaving the delegates having the time of their lives and building lasting friendships with one another. The conference came to a successful end on Day Three with stimulating discussions on the challenges faced by youths in a fast-paced world of technological advances and living in multiracial and multicultural countries.
Presentations and Panelists:
- GOPIO History and Realising GOPIO’s Aims and Objectives by Mr Ravendiran Arjunan, President, GOPIO Malaysia and Secretary General, GOPIO International.
- Key Note Address by Mr Selvarajoo Sundram, Chairman, GOPIO International.
- Yoga and Youth, Yogasanas and Breathing Techniques by Yoga Master Khemchand Gupta, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Indian Cultural Centre, High Commission if India, Malaysia.
- Indian Achievers and Role Models by Mr Vesuanathan, Vice President Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram
- Importance of Indian Heritage for the future, Mr. Chelzhiyan, Coordinator, GOPIO Tourism Sector and Founder of Global Tamil Organizations.
- Industrial Revolution and Youth, Ms Kanmani Batumalai, Coordinator, Concern University Malaya Indian Graduates (CUMIG).
- Disruptive Technology and Youth Mr Gopalakrishnan Kolandai, CEO, Thulija Technologies Executive Director, Axsel Management International Sdn Bhd
- It’s Health, then Care by Dr K. Cornelius Piros, Treasurer, Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates (MAIUG)
- Why Sports? An Ecological Approach by Dr.Viswanath Sundar, PhD, Senior Biomechanics, National Institute of Sports, Malaysia.
- Volunteering – You get more than what you give Mr Guganesan Parasuraman, Chief Operating Officer, Education Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF).
- PIO Youth Challenges in the 21st Century by Ms Vithya Munusamy, Secretary General Malaysia- India Diaspora Association.
Among the topics presented by the youths were:
- Role in Environment and Climate Change
- Enhancing Family Institutions and Intergenerational Partnerships
- Freedom and Responsibility
- Indian Values and Traditions for the 21st Century
- Social Work and Voluntarism
- PIOs in Multi-Racial Environment
- PIOs Connecting with India
- Achieving Excellence in International Sports
The Deputy High Commissioner of India to Malaysia, H.E. Niklesh Chandragiri graced the Conference on the 16th and 17th December. Also present for the three days were:
- GOPIO International Chairman Mr Selvarajoo Sundram
- GOPIO Malaysia President Mr Ravendiran Arjunan
- GOPIO Malaysia Secretary General Mr Gunasekaran Sreerangan
- GIYC Chief Coordinator Mr Shashiedharan Chandrasegaran
- International Coordinators Mr Cheliyan (India) and Mr Ganesan (Singapore)
- GOPIO Malaysia Committee Members:
- Mr Segaran Marappan
- Mr Gopalakrishnan Kolandai
- Dr Cornelious Piros
- Mr Sunderavadivel
The GIYC not only provided for an exciting and invaluable networking opportunity with Indian Origin youths from South Africa, Mauritius, India, Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia, but also provided an invaluable platform to identify, nurture and groom Diaspora leaders for the future.
In this spirit, the GOPIO International Youth Council was formed at this Conference with Seshugan Rao Sampasiva Rao of Malaysia being elected as Chairman. This newly established Youth Council has the representation of all participating countries.
The GIYC was also part of a seven day Youth Exchange Programme, which hosted the oversea Youths hailing from South Africa, Mauritius and India. These Oversea Delegates were received upon arrival at the airport on the 13th and 14th of December and hosted in friendly foster homes of GOPIO members in Kuala Lumpur, except for youths from Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. They were also taken to Batu Caves, KLCC, Melaka and other tourist attraction sites in Malaysia. The foreign delegate programme ended on the 21st of December 2017 and the overseas youths were escorted back to the airport for departure.
Following this Conference, GOPIO Malaysia is determined to lead a large youth delegation to the ASEAN-India Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas which will be held in Singapore on the 6th and 7th of January 2018.
The GIYC was most definitely an unforgettable experience. GOPIO Malaysia extends its heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped spread the news and contributed towards the success of this Conference. GOPIO Malaysia also looks forward to hold the GOPIO International Youth Conference annually, in Kuala Lumpur.
Chairman, Information Bureau, GOPIO Malaysia.
Chief Coordinator, GIYC.