Indialogues – India’s TED – India future of change

Amit Shahi, founder Idea Works and initiator of Indialogues welcoming
Amit Shahi, founder Idea Works and initiator of Indialogues welcoming

Amit Shahi

Engaging with the youth was the main aim behind these intrepid entrepreneurs. AISEC international conference in Hyderabad was where we launched. We felt the best way to connect was through competition that leads to collaboration and then co-creating.

Five competitions – poster, essay, photography, product and business plan competition.

Over today and tomorrow, we will hear out the contestants presenting their ideas for India’s future of change.

Navdeep Suri, public diplomacy, has been instrumental. Indialogues is a catalyst for bringing youth from all over the world to contribute to the cause of India. This conference is to bring them together to brainstorm and share…

Navdeep Suri, diplomat and head public diplomacy division, MEA
Navdeep Suri, diplomat and head public diplomacy division, MEA

Navdeep Suri –

India communicates too much, but we hear multiple voices.

What is public diplomacy – changing attitudes or influencing attitude in broadest of the terms. It is overt. It is a tool to influence hearts and minds of men and folks alike; has been in existence since Chanakya in 4th century.

Public is being informed, not just be govt, but by TV, social medial 24 X 7. Old way of govt to govt is not the way any more. We have multitude of factors going into this. We diplomats and govt need to evolve as the technology is changing rapidly. Joseph… We are trying to put all effort in fostering cohesive narrative and creating soft power of India. We can be a catalyst in creating soft power.

We have magnificent history – culture, yoga, dance…then iconic Gandhi, Tagore…. IT industry, pharma, automobile, emerging industries… Can we work on communicating by partnering with organizations like IDEAWORKS, taking Idea India to youth at all universities. It is about integrating and collaborating between youth of India and in other world. Government will be in the back seat as a facilitator of this process.

At the Africa-India summit in Ethiopia, we were asked whether we could take the dialogues beyond the conference rooms of government. That is how India- Africa shared program came about. We want people under 35, brilliant people and entrepreneurs, across the continents to come together and make the ideas happen.

Can we create a series on any conceivable facet of India in the format of TED Talks, in the public domain? We want to create a body of content on India specific ideas that can spread across.

In public diplomacy, how do we engage the youngsters – we moved into social spaces – FB, Twitter and You Tube. This platform is growing and is enabling us to do a few things, can we create communities of friends of India, with whatever background you are from. Can I engage you, can I use twitter to get relevant, pertinent issues across to you. If you have interest in any of the areas, we would like to build the rapport and connection.

In this age, propaganda is dead and it is all about credibility. We cannot do a fast one, we have to engage, that is where social media can be of immense value and public diplomacy of external affairs, we are keen on engaging with young people.

Is there any guidelines for engagement?

We have created a basic set and now about 50 embassies are on FB. We have sent fairly common sense set of dos and donts. First walk in, quiet and observe. When once it is obvious, then slowly plunge into conversation.

Government postings have to be different from individuals. It has to be of value in building the national interests.

How do we handle criticism, how do we handle the unparliamentary postings? Governments are used to being lambasted. Ignore but do not block, is the guidelines.

We need to engage. Even criticism is a way of getting feedback.

What are the battles?

We need to make the backend solid. We need to have mechanisms to address the issues. The response is immediate, communicating happens. Action is conveyed. At least the movement happens.

Mobilizing International talents

How do we engage international talents to get them into challenges? Cultural and language barriers have to be overcome.

Young visionaries programme would bring the visionaries who have solved issues elsewhere to bring in the dialogue with similar youngsters here to address those issues.

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