Speech by Krishna Athal, YUVA National President at Municipality of Port Louis, 31 January 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen, esteemed guests, the media and of course, my fellow youth leaders; welcome and thank you for choosing to be a part of a brand new chapter in Mauritian social awareness. More than this also, thank you for choosing to encourage our youth on their proactive course ahead.
We begin this chapter of YUVA with courage, commitment, passion and most importantly imagination, for the journey we embark on today marks the path we will blaze for generations of like-minded youth. Just like with anything new, the opportunity exists for change to take place and the pillars of YUVA are not only set in the foundation of creating those new ideas but also continuing the growing momentum while always aiming to adapt to the ever-changing landscape that is our beautiful country.
Where I felt that change was needed, I pursued innovative techniques to adopting a new form of leadership, one that not only proves the old methods are no longer applicable but one that indeed succeeds in its continued mission of inspiring its undertakers no matter how tough the terrain may become.
YUVA is about a new wave of leadership, one that intends to set a benchmark. We are not here to make a noise; we are here to be heard. We are here to listen to those who in the past may have not had the opportunity or reason to stand up and make a difference and more importantly, we are here to give those very same unheard voices, the platform and chance they so rightfully deserve. It’s time to set aside the cultural and historical limitations that have kept people from working together in the past for a greater good. While we are firm believers of tradition and pay the due respect it deserves, we too feel that it is time for tradition and innovation to combine and result in a remarkable platform where change is not only spoken of but indeed practiced on a daily basis.
YUVA is about recognizing ideas exist within us all, and it is about harnessing those ideas collectively in order to ensure a far better tomorrow is awarded to those behind us. Like Warren Buffett once said, “someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”, let us be the people who continue to inspire others behind us to carry on the legacy of innovation in leadership and more than that, inspire the youth to forever more continue to take a proactive approach to life in general.
The power rests with us, the youth. We are the inheritors of tomorrow and not only are we tasked with making our ancestors proud but we have to accept the responsibility of making sure we leave to our children a better life and way of thinking even if we ourselves were not awarded such. It’s time we break the cycle of oppression and putting ourselves down. We need a collective effort in order for everyone to benefit and that is exactly the core principle of what YUVA stands for, ensuring a better way of living for everyone, for the greater good. A nation prospers when it is encouraged, why not be that encouragement?
Our mission in front of us is not an easy one. Transformative leadership never is but it’s about pushing through regardless of how hard it gets and keeping in the sites the common end goal of something better for everyone. The first steps to anything new in form are never easy but I am confident that my fellow YUVA members collectively possess the courage, determination and willpower to achieve these pioneering steps.
Let us not look at how things could have been done in the past or why they have not worked out but rather let us focus on the new order of thinking. Let us look onwards to a country whose cultural richness serves as the ideal platform for promoting tolerance and cooperation.
YUVA has not only got its work cut out for it because it is a new way of executing social change but more than that, it has the huge task of creating something from the very bottom up. Where other organisations have a model to shape their ideas around, YUVA has only the will and imagination of something better that exists. YUVA is the chance to create that something new that others down the line will be able to work from and be inspired because it exists. YUVA is the beginning of something truly great in all shape and form.
Too long have we allowed ourselves to be trampled by ideas and principles that are in no way geared for us or improving our way of living and existing. Too long have we taken for granted that change cannot be enforced by the youth and too long have we let apathy and monotony sink in and keep us in a stagnant uninspired area of our life. My fellow leaders, guests and colleagues, the time to take this power back is now, the time to act for a better tomorrow is today and the time to put aside this oppressive way of thinking is – as of now – a figment of our imaginations. Let us have the courage and determination to counteract old barriers and schools of thought, let us have the strength to break any dogmatism that has crept into our daily lives and more than anything, let us stop simply existing and rather start living the great lives we are all more than entitled to live!
More than wanting to see change take place at the hands of our youth, I want YUVA to be that guiding and ongoing inspiration whose legacy outlives its founders. Let us be the foundation for the greatness that YUVA is capable of and let us always remember that working together for the common good will always be of the benefit of anyone and everyone. YUVA sees no form of barrier within its ranks; we see no difference in culture and ethnicity. What YUVA sees is determined souls of all shapes and forms who work towards improving humanity as a whole. Let us be the examples for society to follow suit, let us be the guide that shows there is a human within us all, who has something in common with someone out there, regardless of where they are from or who they are, and let us always encourage anyone and everyone to work with us together to achieve common goals.
May we never forget those who preceded us for it was their ingenuity and bravery that so many of us have today to be grateful for. If it weren’t for the groundbreakers before us, we may never have had the opportunity to continue this cycle of change and we may never have known what the true meaning of inspiration was and will always be. That is why I appeal to the fellow “youth in spirit” out there, both present today and in the greater community in Mauritius, to remember the past as a lesson and take from it the goodness and ideals that should be carried forward while always adapting the ideals to suit the modern evolution of society.
Let innovation and passion forever be preserved in the notion that no good can come from lingering in old ideas and territory. Let us continue to adapt to the ever-changing world and encourage our fellow Mauritians to stand together to improve their situation at large. But more than anything my esteemed guests, let us never lose the will to do better, it is the fire that burns deep within ourselves that loses nothing by igniting the fire in others. Be That Fire, Be The Change and Be Yourselves!
– Krishna Athal