The Young India Fellowship Programme (YIFP) celebrated the graduation of its founding batch of Fellows at its first Convocation on 19th May, 2012. The ceremony marked the conclusion of the inaugural year of this unique multi-disciplinary and experiential learning programme, run in collaboration with University of Pennsylvania, and the matriculation of 57 diversely talented young men and women as Young India Fellows, ready to accept challenging professional and academic responsibilities and primed to make a difference to the world around them.
The occasion was presided over by Prof. Andre Beteille, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Delhi University, and National Research Professor, and a source of constant support and guidance to the YIFP, and attended by faculty, founders, sponsors and parents of the Fellows.
The Convocation started with the ceremonial procession led by Prof. Beteille and Dean, Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha, and the Fellows, faculty, sponsors and founders following, robed in green and prussian blue gowns. The atmosphere in the hall was in keeping with the excitement and grandeur of the occasion, all present looking forward to the unfolding of the events, distribution of certificates and sharing of experiences by the distinguished guests, scholars and the Fellows.
Professor Beteille’s speech
In his address , Prof. Beteille shared with the Fellows the wisdom that:, “A good teacher is one who knows that he doesn’t have the answers to all the questions. One way of reaching towards answers to questions is to work together. I hope that you will remember this Fellowship and, wherever you are, you will work together and move forward and arrive at answers and solutions collectively. A course of lectures may be for one year but a Fellowship is for all time.”
Dean’s commencement message: Unique experience; power of collaborative work
In his commencement speech on the occasion, the Dean stressed on the uniqueness of the YIFP and the value of collaborative leadership:
“I doubt if there are programmes around the world which have such a diverse group of people spending time on such a diverse set of issues, to collaborate on thinking about a common set of problems that we are facing in the world. The key motivation for us to start this programme was that, as the world becomes a tougher place and the problems become tougher to solve, unless you collaborate together to solve those problems, you are not going to get solutions. You all have demonstrated the power of collaboration and you must preserve that going forward. But remember somebody has to lead that collaboration as well. It just doesn’t happen on its own, and that’s what you will have to do as you go out into the world. You are one of the chosen few who have been exposed to the value of pooling in different types of knowledge, different types of experiences, different types of backgrounds together. You have an edge over others in making this happen. So remember the power of collaborative leadership you have learnt at YIFP.”
During his speech, the Dean reminded the Fellows of the stellar role played by their parents in shaping their personalities and supporting them in making decisive choices in life, and led the Fellows in giving their parents a standing ovation.
Short Speeches by the Fellows
Another highlight of the evening was the 30-second speeches delivered by each of the 57 Fellows, sharing their experiences and learnings from the programme along with their plans for the future.