Summer at Doon Leadership Programme 2015
Summer at Doon Leadership Programme 2015: Largest number of applicants from Hyderabad and Mumbai as more girls join the course
On 1st June 2015 The Doon School welcomed students to its second Summer at Doon Leadership Programme. Boys and girls from Class 9-12 are attending this two week residential programme and have travelled from all over India, with large numbers of applicants (or Doon Fellows as they are known), coming from Hyderabad and Mumbai. Course Director Mr Kamal Ahuja who is also the school’s Deputy Headmaster (Academic) said, ‘I am delighted with the increase in quality applicants this year as the total number show an almost thirty percent increase in comparison with 2014. We are also extremely pleased with the significant rise in the interest from girls’. Amit Bhatia from the organization Aspire which is working with The Doon School, also expressed his pleasure with the larger increase in demand for places at this leadership programme at The Doon School. An exciting range of speakers include, actress Himani Shivpuri, Niranjan Mukundan a para swimmer ranked number one nationally and world number seventeen, Shaukat Sikand a pioneer of white water sports in India, Poorna Malavath, the youngest climber of Everest at thirteen years old, Commander Abhilash Tomy the first Indian to circumnavigate the earth (solo) and Dr. Uma Kant Panwar the Secretary Tourism & Power Government of Uttarakhand.
The Chief Guest for the opening ceremony at The Doon School, was an old boy from the school, Mr Manpreet Badal. He was welcomed by Dr Peter McLaughlin, the Headmaster. The Summer at Doon Leadership Progamme was also delighted to welcome Ms Vaaridhi Bagrodia, who was one of the first cohort of Doon Fellows from 2014 to talk to the Doon Fellows of 2015. Ms Bagrodia from Kolkata has set up a charity “Project Aasha” as a result of her experience gained in the social service part of the Summer at Doon Leadership Programme she attended in 2014.
Vaaridhi said, ‘Kolkata, the city where I live, is brimming with poverty. There is an unimaginable number of children who don’t and can’t afford a formal education or the parents are reluctant to send them to school as they would rather have them earn. I was aware of the problem and many others that surrounded me. Every time I saw the squaIor, I pondered over the question, ‘How can I bring about a change and impact their lives?’. The only thing that came to my mind was something I strongly believed in that Nelson Mandela, who really inspires me and had once said; ‘education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.’
Vaaridhi spoke of her motivation. ‘When I was at Doon last summer, we were working on a building project to create a home away from the city, at a slum called “Sapera Basti”. During my days at the slum I had the opportunity to talk to Mrs Amrit Burrett who heads the Social Service programme at The Doon School. I discussed my concern and problem in greater detail and “Project Aasha” was born. The skills that I developed and the lessons that I had learned last year at Summer at Doon have been essential for the execution of “Project Aasha”. The two weeks that I spent here was a challenging and exhilarating experience for me. We analyzed, compared and contrasted the Machiavellian and Gandhian concepts and debated about Mao Zedong and learnt about Tolstoy, in addition to the case studies. I studied the greater meaning of leadership and purpose of the same, focusing on responsibility and support. I developed a deeper understanding and greater appreciation for my new friends, hailing from different parts of India. I learnt how to accept and more importantly respect cultural and religious differences.’
The Summer at Doon Leadership Programme is an annual event and brings boys and girls together for the first time with many of them never having had any boarding experience or been taught any of the leadership course components. For more information please view: www.doonschool.com/summer.doon/leadership
The 2016 programme details will be available later in 2015.