Categorized | Youth Event

South Asian Youth Conference

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

Youth are Not Future, they’re Shaping Our Present – Amit Gupta, Co Chair of ABC Youth

Youth has a lot of potential and has so much to offer in terms of ideas and opinions, however they are not taken seriously.

This was the main motivation of the organizers of South Asian Youth conference was to gather the youth over the weekend at Hill Tree.

Amit Gupta-Co-Chair of ABC Youth

“Generally we find that there is a disconnect between what we do as community organization and youth..we want more participation from youth,” says Mr. Amit Gupta, Co-Chair of ABC Youth.

Meera Gupta-Co-Chair of ABC Youth

“Youth can come out and tell us what they want. Usually it’s always the parents’ function, and youth is sitting on the side, saying when are we going home,” adds Ms. Meera Gupta, Co- Chair of ABC Youth when asked why they have organized such a conference.

But who do we call youth. United Nations terms individuals between the ages of 15 – 24 as youth. We, at Generation Next, define youth as people between the ages of 15 – 40. And the organizers of the youth conference struggled with the questions. Eventually they decided for the purpose of this conference, youth are people between the ages of “ 14 – 30.”

The wider age range was also chosen for the younger group to learn from those who have finished college and are starting to work in professional environment.  “We’re also giving them a chance to network,” says Ms. Meera Gupta.

The need for having a South Asian Youth Conference was also felt because “youth need to interact more with parents and understand parents’ perspective. Youth have a lot to offer..but we weren’t able to tap into youth’s talent,” says Ms. Mini Gupta, one of the delegates of South Asian Youth Conference.

“Youth are the present. They’re shaping the present,” emphasizes Mr. Gupta who still considers himself youth at the age of 40.

Another aim of the conference was to address the generation gap “which is not from kids’ side, but from parents’ side,” says Ms. Mini Gupta.


More than 100 youth between the ages of 14 and 30 attended the youth conference. The organizers had invited a variety of motivational speakers from different backgrounds. Our chat with them is as follows:


Contribute to all aspects of Canadian life and society, including Canadian army – Professor Sandeep Agarwal, Ryerson University

Speaking about the strengths and weaknesses of South Asian youth, Dr. Agarwal says “South Asian youth are very talented very skillful.” A part of the reason [of youth’s success] is the first generation parents who have a lot of attachment with the countries of origin but who also emphasize education. “This country is ours now,”, he says. We’ll have to serve on different aspects of Canadian life and society, so there should be South Asians serving in Canadian army – “mind you, we have to defend this country.” There is very little volunteerism in South Asian community and it’s different from the traditional Canadian volunteerism. The Canadian volunteerism is about “broader goals and broader society whether it’s about environmentalism or something else. South Asians’ volunteerism is limited to our community and our place of worship.”


Young men should seek assistance if they’ve depression – Lenin Sivam

Speaking of controversial themes of his movies, Lenin Sivam, says “I do make movies [on subjects] that bother me.” It’s his way of venting out his frustration. Mr. Sivam has made movies on arranged marriages, issues with arranged marriage, stigma associated with male depression and so on. He says South Asian culture is such that it does not allow men to be very expressive or to cry as “it’s something girls do.” But young South Asian men should seek medical assistance if their performance levels are dropping and they are not able to concentrate on their work.


Keep Thinking of New Ways of Doing Things – Sandeep Goel, VP at ICICI bank

The realization that you’re not ready for university after high school or for work after university, can help you learn, says Mr. Goel.  “And there’re a lot of helping hands available to you.”In his presentation, Mr. Goel urged youth to never stop dreaming. To be successful, he advises “keep thinking of new ways.” The whole notion of work place has changed as bosses and subordinates can be miles away from where you are, he says. Also “expectations” of employers are very different from eomplyees. Nonetheless, he believes opportunities for youth to find work are endless.


Youth don’t have money but they don’t have obligations either – Kundan Joshi, VP of ICCC

Youth are in perfect stage of life to get head start in entrepreneurship. “They don’t have money, but youth don’t have any obligations either. They’ve more motivation and lesser commitments,” says Kundan Joshi,  VP of Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce. He concedes that “youth are not taken seriously enough.” Getting the banks to finance your goals is extremely hard. He feels that support that entrepreneurs get from Canada is great when compared to India or any other third world country.


Overcome FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real – Venki Raman – Associate Vice President at CIBC

In response to a question that not enough South Asians get to policy making positions in corporate Canada, Mr. Venki Raman, an Associate VP at CIBC, says “we’ve a number of immigrants who are in executive positions and are leaders like me. We’ve senior people, senior than me who are presidents at CIBC.”

Mr. Raman is a motivational speaker who is also writing a book titled “Progress to Peak Performance.” In his presentation, Mr. Raman urged the youth to gain control of their lives and to stop procrastinating. He gave new meaning to FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real and advised them to overcome this fear.

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