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APSI 2019

APSI 2019

The Foundation Programme of the Asia Pacific Schools Initiative programme, ‘Leadership through Serene Strength,’ was conducted in January 6 - 19, 2019. Schools from Thailand, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates participated along with seven schools from Delhi, Ajmer and Jhalawar and the Tibetan Children’s Village, Dehradun. Each school was represented by three students and one teacher, which meant there were 52 participants in all.

The participants were warmly welcomed at Vishwa Yuva Kendra, New Delhi before boarding the train to Jhalawar, later that evening. The first day in Jhalawar began with a beautiful reception at Pallavan School with dance performances and a presentation on the School by the Pallavan team participating in the APSI.

The programme began in the afternoon at Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation resort at Gavdi Talab with an elaborate discussion on the mission and purpose of the APSI programme -- the meaning of leadership, watermarks, core skills, and assessment as a tool for development. This was followed by sessions on five areas of development and creation of individual roadmaps. There were repeated discussions in the coming week on compassion, rigour, resilience, comprehension, collaboration, reflection, self-regulation, feedback, assessment, and the meaning of constructive criticism. Leadership being a verb and not a noun was understood through intense experiential learning and the participants absorbed the values of leadership through serene strength.

Most of the days began with meditation sessions. Students were given an exposure to different ways of meditation emphasizing the need for quiet time in their daily routine. All the schools made presentation about their schools introducing to the wider audience where they came from and the values they upheld. The variety and diversity each one of them represented added to the flavour of the APSI community.

Sports and theater activities were regularly conducted to add a fun element to the day but also to reinforce the core values of the programme and for team building. Individual passions or interests in music, dance, theater, writing, art, sports etc. were also encouraged by forming groups of people with similar interests that was called passion groups. It culminated in a fun evening of talent shows. Traditional Tibetan, Bhutanese, Afghani dance were enjoyed by all as well as a fusion of Kathak and modern dance which was one of the highlights of the evening.

There was a session on Asia-Pacific Region focussing on the strengths and common challenges of the shared geography. There was a detailed discussion on what makes a community and the essential threads that bind it. There was a presentation on the Banjaras and a film screening of ‘Latcho Drom’ which led to discussions on community without roots and the desire for belongingness and the intolerance they face from the native communities. All these discussions led to a deep understanding of the need for the ASPI community building in the escalation of peace in the region and the world.

There were many field visits organized: Kota Mines, Gagron Fort, Kolvi Caves, Chandrabhaga river and the temple complex, Saras Dairy Plant, Organic Farm and College of Horticulture, Weavers’ Co-operatives, Ritinjali Skilling Centre, and nature walks. The participants also got to witness the traditional dance form of Bindauri and the folk art of Mandana. They also got to taste traditional Rajasthani cuisine. These learning experiences led to participants discussing issues of culture, heritage, history, aesthetics, sustainability, ecology, livelihood, economy, and many other topics that organically came up during such sessions.

They then formed common interest groups to conduct projects with research and action elements in them. The compositions of these groups are spread across schools and across countries. There are at least two teachers in each group to facilitate the process. The choice of areas they want to explore are Aesthetics, Philosophy, Evolution of Society and Community, Economy and Livelihood, and Environment resulting in five project groups. They have made their project roadmaps and have decided on ways of collaborating for the next nine months. In November, when they meet they will put it all together and be ready to make presentations to a bigger audience in Delhi. The APSI core team will continue to stay in touch with all the participants and project groups throughout the period, and support their efforts besides the three formal checkpoints already scheduled.

They then formed common interest groups to conduct projects with research and action elements in them. The compositions of these groups are spread across schools and across countries. There are at least two teachers in each group to facilitate the process. The choice of areas they want to explore are Aesthetics, Philosophy, Evolution of Society and Community, Economy and Livelihood, and Environment resulting in five project groups. They have made their project roadmaps and have decided on ways of collaborating for the next nine months. In November, when they meet they will put it all together and be ready to make presentations to a bigger audience in Delhi. The APSI core team will continue to stay in touch with all the participants and project groups throughout the period, and support their efforts besides the three formal checkpoints already scheduled.

The team travelled back to Delhi on the 17th night. The Foundation Programme came to an end in Delhi with a celebratory lunch where the alumni from APSI 2017 were also invited. Everyone was sad to say goodbye but the promise of meeting again in November lifted their spirits. The outstation teams left for their homes on the 19th of January.