Saturday, August 8, 2020

Ananya Pampana: Young Global Citizen

By Muriel D’Souza, 18 Jul, 2019

    This 15-year-old has been representing the voice of youth on international platforms like Model G20 and Y20.

    It would have taken much more than just 15 years of loving and supportive parenting to develop the extraordinarily evolved thinking Ananya Pampana has acquired at such a young age. Growing up, Ananya had her grandparents and a huge joint family to care for her. The values she imbibed then still help her find her way today. Since her childhood, Ananya was raised to look out for the people around her. What else would have inspired a grade 11 student to go ahead, above and beyond to open up opportunities for the youth globally?

    Ananya’s dream since the age of two was to become a doctor. However, her vision evolved into something not many of us are cut out to do: Becoming the voice of the global youth. “I was raised to look after myself, and the person next to me; to make sure the entire community was okay. That’s what made me think: why can’t I help the people on a local as well as a global scale?”

    The 15-year-old innocently confesses that she was never really the type who would sit and study for hours; instead she’d love talking and working with people. “In grade 9, I was introduced to a club called Model United Nations and I knew this was definitely something I was made for,” says the young vice-president of Tri-Cities Rotary Interact Club. When she was in grade 10, Ananya was selected to attend the Model G20 conference in Harvard, Boston, where she reveled in playing ‘Head of State’ for Venezuela. And as she listened to the keynote speakers, she fell in love with solving world problems.

    Recently this youth leader had the opportunity to be a part of the Y20 Summit held in Argentina, where she represented Canada on a global front. The Y20 is one of the pillars of the G20, where the exact same issues are discussed, involving the youth and inspiring them to participate. Ananya was thrilled that she got this opportunity to see what businesses, organizations and nations were doing for the youth in regards to education and future of work. “Being able to discuss real-life issues with delegates and decision makers officially chosen by their governments made the experience surreal for me. As a team we wrote a policy paper, which was read by the Y20 and passed down to the actual G20. It was my first time stepping outside of a simulation, doing something that would create a real impact. That’s when I knew for sure that I wanted to one day, be sitting in those same chairs, as an official ambassador,” shares the aspiring diplomat.

    Ever since her visit to Argentina, the passion for international relations kept brewing inside Ananya. The drive she noticed in the diplomats and their willingness to help inspired her to make it her life’s aim to help countries overcome their divisiveness and work together as a globe towards the betterment of younger generations. In her opinion the youth are left supporting themselves, in a world full of opportunities that are hard to find. She recently started a nonprofit called the Power of Vote, to increase the voter turnout and interest amongst youth. Her goal is to educate and engage youth to register to vote, and stay involved in their community and politics, and use their power to have a say.

    “We are told that we are the future, but we are also the present. We have the power to create change, we just need to use it,” asserts Ananya. This go-giver does plenty of volunteering work. Unlike other children her age who would describe fun to be many other things, she loves the act of giving back and finds it the best way to pass her time. In addition to being the spokesperson for youth the world over, Ananya has made another important issue the purpose of her life: mental wellness. “I’ve been volunteering and giving talks with Peace Tree Innovations Society, and I am currently working on putting together a youth wellness workshop,” she shares.



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