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A Fortnight-Long Metamorphosis
By Ananya Singh
| Category: U.S. India Relations

Cleaving its way through the soft, white clouds 40,000 ft above the land, in the sky, the gigantic flight drew closer to the majestic coastline—white land with emerald patches bordered by the azure stretch of water. As the plane descended further, up popped sky piercing buildings placed between grids of roads, on which stood waiting, numerous disciplined queues of extensive, luxurious cars. With the wheels touching the land of captivating orators, spirited leaders and inspiring litterateurs—the land of the United States of America, I finished the immigration procedure to start yet one more delightful journey.

 

Through the window of the car, I caught sight of the picturesque glass structures, classic examples of the highly advanced architectural designs. As we moved further, my eyes got fixed on the vast stretch of dense, green forests delimited by mauve floral patches. The panorama of the strawberry hills with the lavender blues above rendered the atmosphere, its serenity. Finally after this surreal view, I reached Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University.

 

On a big, blue banner, hung in bold letters, Yale Young Global Scholars 2015—International Affairs and Security session, a truly international learning experience which focuses on leadership building and person-to-person diplomacy for outstanding high school students from 50 U.S. states and 110 countries, so that our tomorrow is in the hands of rational individuals who believe in diplomacy as the key to peaceful coexistence. Here, we were fed knowledge for the next fortnight, making it the most intellectually engaging experience of my life so far.

 

After a grand welcome by the director and deputy director, I came across my fellow participants who had to fly for over 26 hours to attend the program; that shows our enthusiasm for the program (I, myself, travelled for 15 hours).

 

Each day started with an absolutely amazing lecture by great professors like Paul Kennedy, John Gaddis, Ted Wittenstein, Oona Hathaway or with the inspiring anecdotes of brilliant diplomats like Jake Sullivan and John Negroponte, after which all the 200 ignited minds would eagerly raise their hands in the hope of getting answers to their innumerable queries—some serious, few philosophical and others career-oriented. Then we would make our way to the discussion sections where, in groups of 10, we would enthusiastically deliberate more deeply on the questions raised in the lecture and try to figure out solutions. But the most interesting fact was that despite being so different in so many different aspects, we never differed in our views and hence, almost everytime, we had a very sophisticated debate which would end with happy consensus on a crucial matter.

 

Next, we would head to the magnificent dining hall of JE (that's how we used to refer to Jonathan Edwards), where we filled not only our stomachs with scrumptious food but also our brains with various facts on diverse issues ranging from purely academic to completely non-academic stuff like sports, culture and films. We were also taken to watch a movie called “The Square,” which was based on the Tahrir Square issue in Egypt. We met regularly for our seminars which were largely based on international problems like hunger, undemocratic regime, nuclear war and territorial disputes. Here, we were taught the art of negotiation.

I got the opportunity to have some enchanting discussions over lunch with luminaries like Michele Malvesti, vice president in the National Security Sector at Science Applications International Corporation and Matthew Spence, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East Policy at United States Department of Defense. I also had the opportunity to meet Julia Spiegel, advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.

 

After that, came the big day—the capstone presentations. My project was on “nuclear proliferation” and more precisely, on “The shortcomings of NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and the consequent need for amendments.” I elaborated on India’s stand on not joining the NPT, the Article-X and the need to lay restrictions and bring in amendments in the article to impose tighter regulations on the member states and more recently, the Iran nuclear deal. This project was highly applauded and the next day, we graduated happily.

 

On July 22, as my flight took off from the U.S. for its 14-hour journey, my mind got lost in the sweet memories of the program I was carrying back home.

 

So, why do I think this program helped me develop a new perspective of this world? Because it let me cultivate lifelong friendships, exchange cross-cultural facts, gain insights on the known unknowns and unknown unknowns, learn from experiences of living in a politically unstable country, an economically backward country or a diverse country and appease my aesthetic appetite. A rainbow is incomplete without all its seven colors. So is this world without its diversified population. At YYGS, it was interesting to visualize the realization of the term, “unity in diversity.” I have been and I am a student leader. Now, I am glad that this program groomed me to become a world leader. I don’t know if I will ever solve the problems of world hunger or poverty, but I am very sure that I will definitely attempt and try till the last drop of blood in my body to assuage, if not uproot, these perpetual socioeconomic webs in which are caught, this world’s people.

 

In short, YYGS helped me grow; grow both intellectually and morally. It metamorphosed me from a human being to being human!!!Cleaving its way through the soft, white clouds 40,000 ft above the land, in the sky, the gigantic flight drew closer to the majestic coastline—white land with emerald patches bordered by the azure stretch of water. As the plane descended further, up popped sky piercing buildings placed between grids of roads, on which stood waiting, numerous disciplined queues of extensive, luxurious cars. With the wheels touching the land of captivating orators, spirited leaders and inspiring litterateurs—the land of the United States of America, I finished the immigration procedure to start yet one more delightful journey.

 

Through the window of the car, I caught sight of the picturesque glass structures, classic examples of the highly advanced architectural designs. As we moved further, my eyes got fixed on the vast stretch of dense, green forests delimited by mauve floral patches. The panorama of the strawberry hills with the lavender blues above rendered the atmosphere, its serenity. Finally after this surreal view, I reached Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University.

 

On a big, blue banner, hung in bold letters, Yale Young Global Scholars 2015—International Affairs and Security session, a truly international learning experience which focuses on leadership building and person-to-person diplomacy for outstanding high school students from 50 U.S. states and 110 countries, so that our tomorrow is in the hands of rational individuals who believe in diplomacy as the key to peaceful coexistence. Here, we were fed knowledge for the next fortnight, making it the most intellectually engaging experience of my life so far.

 

After a grand welcome by the director and deputy director, I came across my fellow participants who had to fly for over 26 hours to attend the program; that shows our enthusiasm for the program (I, myself, travelled for 15 hours).

 

Each day started with an absolutely amazing lecture by great professors like Paul Kennedy, John Gaddis, Ted Wittenstein, Oona Hathaway or with the inspiring anecdotes of brilliant diplomats like Jake Sullivan and John Negroponte, after which all the 200 ignited minds would eagerly raise their hands in the hope of getting answers to their innumerable queries—some serious, few philosophical and others career-oriented. Then we would make our way to the discussion sections where, in groups of 10, we would enthusiastically deliberate more deeply on the questions raised in the lecture and try to figure out solutions. But the most interesting fact was that despite being so different in so many different aspects, we never differed in our views and hence, almost everytime, we had a very sophisticated debate which would end with happy consensus on a crucial matter.

 

Next, we would head to the magnificent dining hall of JE (that's how we used to refer to Jonathan Edwards), where we filled not only our stomachs with scrumptious food but also our brains with various facts on diverse issues ranging from purely academic to completely non-academic stuff like sports, culture and films. We were also taken to watch a movie called “The Square,” which was based on the Tahrir Square issue in Egypt. We met regularly for our seminars which were largely based on international problems like hunger, undemocratic regime, nuclear war and territorial disputes. Here, we were taught the art of negotiation.

 

I got the opportunity to have some enchanting discussions over lunch with luminaries like Michele Malvesti, vice president in the National Security Sector at Science Applications International Corporation and Matthew Spence, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East Policy at United States Department of Defense. I also had the opportunity to meet Julia Spiegel, advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.

 

After that, came the big day—the capstone presentations. My project was on “nuclear proliferation” and more precisely, on “The shortcomings of NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and the consequent need for amendments.” I elaborated on India’s stand on not joining the NPT, the Article-X and the need to lay restrictions and bring in amendments in the article to impose tighter regulations on the member states and more recently, the Iran nuclear deal. This project was highly applauded and the next day, we graduated happily.

 

On July 22, as my flight took off from the U.S. for its 14-hour journey, my mind got lost in the sweet memories of the program I was carrying back home.

 

So, why do I think this program helped me develop a new perspective of this world? Because it let me cultivate lifelong friendships, exchange cross-cultural facts, gain insights on the known unknowns and unknown unknowns, learn from experiences of living in a politically unstable country, an economically backward country or a diverse country and appease my aesthetic appetite. A rainbow is incomplete without all its seven colors. So is this world without its diversified population. At YYGS, it was interesting to visualize the realization of the term, “unity in diversity.” I have been and I am a student leader. Now, I am glad that this program groomed me to become a world leader. I don’t know if I will ever solve the problems of world hunger or poverty, but I am very sure that I will definitely attempt and try till the last drop of blood in my body to assuage, if not uproot, these perpetual socioeconomic webs in which are caught, this world’s people.

 

In short, YYGS helped me grow; grow both intellectually and morally. It metamorphosed me from a human being to being human!!!

 

Ananya Singh is a Class XII Humanities student at D.A.V. Public School, Chandrasekharpur, Bhubaneswar, Odisha and a Yale Young Global Scholars Alumni Ambassador.

 

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