THE ISFiT JOURNEY AS A STUDENT AMBASSADOR

I’m Nupur Walia, a law student and an NGO worker.

The inspiration to be associated with ISFiT has always lurked in my heart and mind. In my spare time, I like to scrounge events happening nationally and internationally. Three years back, my excessive googling led me to ISFiT.

The more I read about it, the more fascinated I became to be a part of it in some way. Then in 2013, one of seniors from college was a participant in ISFiT and that raised my excitement levels by leaps and bounds. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fund the arrangement so I  looked for some opportunity that can help me be connected with ISFiT by encouraging local action.

In the summer of 2014, I saw that the ambassador applications for ISFiT 2015 were open. Within no time, I completed my application. Next month or two, I just had to wait. Then, on the 2nd July, 2014. It said : “Congratulations! You have been accepted as the first group of ambassadors and you are now a part of ISFiT as an ambassador in your own country.” I was thoroughly happy to know that I will be associated with the world’s largest student festival. I knew that so many of us, from across the globe are going to be a part of this amazing experience.

Soon, we learnt that ISFiT 2015 will focus on the theme of corruption, the greatest single bane in most societies, so pervasive yet so easily ignored. Through our Ambassador crews, we were encouraged to trade our ideas as we wanted to create a peaceful riot against corruption globally. We wanted to urge dedicated students to apply for the festival and share their ideas with the world. By bringing this vice to the surface, our goal was also to persuade people and organization to focus their attention on the problem of corruption.

As a student of law, corruption remains a huge concern as we learnt about various scams and constantly deliberated about the need to protect whistleblowers in class discussions. More so, my indulgence in the NGO work and carrying out surveys had me learn the ground realities, where the authorities are constantly contravening the provisions of law. We can expect some of the most dishonest answers when people are daunted by the startling questions on corruption.

As I carried out a small workshop, I came across the most inconvenient truth. If you would ask people, ‘What is their take on corruption?” Surely, everyone has got an answer. But ask them if they have a corruption story or what have they done to curb it and watch the tables turn. It also came to my attention that the youth of the country was more open to talk about these issues. Soon, I realized that the idea behind the festival can be aptly and beautifully described in Kurt Cobain’s words : “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” Hence, the catalyst for change is the youth brigade.

As Abraham Lincoln once said : “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

Looking at the Indian Corruption scenario, it seems dealing with corruption and staying calm is a talent most Indians have mastered so well. It has become an all pervasive problem and the greatest single bane of our society today.

Can we put an end to it ? How can we have democracy and corruption both exist at the same time? A country like ours that has seen corruption emanating from years of suppression at the hands of different rulers and British Raj. The rule and reigns ended but the suppression soaked a seed of greediness in all. Our own indifference became the root cause for a corrupt world.

During these months, my mind would wander about the corrupt practices and I’d look around to really notice what was happening. Corruption became the talk of my house as we sat to watch crime shows. The only workshop that had me curious and more curious was ‘Shades of Grey,’ because indeed, I believed corrupt practices cannot simply be straitjacketed within the meaning of ‘monetary bribes for personal gains’. It has other faces too… In many fields… And that is one reason why no one legislation can bring the perpetrators to books. Check other workshops here and pour in your suggestions by using the Discussion box.

As an ambassador, I liked talking about ISFiT and it’s campaigns through the social media platforms as they have a wider outreach than anything else. I went to a legal awareness campaign in one school in the month of October and without a plan of even mentioning about ISFiT, I ended up doing so because in that moment, I realized that the students who’d soon be starting college needs to know of such incredible opportunity. The teacher and principal there sat me down and was eager to learn about ISFiT. Since I was never short of the ISFiT cards, I’d distribute it over to people whenever I went to a new place.

I tried to collect personal accounts of corruption stories by shamelessly mailing and asking people to contribute. My campaign didn’t succeed. But for those of you still willing to expand the repository of corruption stories, go to the website of Global Infection and support the anti – corruption movement.

My story isn’t a win-win, because I didn’t make the cut to ISFiT 2015 as a participant. Owing to health issues, I didn’t really pursue the premium ambassador thing. If there is only ever one thing that ISFiT helped me attain : It was a way to become more and more vocal about the issues that truly concerns you and to be the voice that can get it noticed.

My association with ISFiT has been a fruitful learning experience as my country and the young minds needed to know of this great platform and I’m definitely positive that ISFiT2017 will have more applications from my country. I connected with fellow ambassadors and learnt their side of stories, which was truly unnerving. As Jarand Rystad said in the opening ceremony yesterday, “ISFiT is a place where you make friends for lifetime.” So, whether I’m a participant or not, I have found my bunch of friends.

And I’m so very proud to see the dedication and independent nature of every ISFiT volunteer. These people have got an iron backbone.

*Eyeing on ISFiT 2017*

I’d like to share more articles and stories in the coming days and trade my ideas by the virtue of ISFiT|Online.

Connect with me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/narcissa24

WordPress Post  © Nupur Walia

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