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Blue Skies and Brave Conversations
Blue Skies and Brave Conversations




Students of DAIS attended the Round Square International Conference with the theme “Blue Skies and Brave Conversations” from 20th September to 23rd September. The delegates were on a virtual campus – the Gather Platform – created by Round Square Central that engaged delegates in a variety of activities like a movie theatre that showcased documentaries on social issues, an Art Museum that displayed the art work submitted by the participating schools, a ’Picnic Blanket’, where Baraza leaders conducted games and ice breaker sessions, water fountains, fire pits, ponds, and also a beach front. The 4 days of the conference consisted of several activities and were focussed on the discussions based on the theme for the day. The keynote speakers inspired the delegates with open dialogues and provided a platform to voice their thoughts and opinions during the baraza sessions.



There were several pre-conference tasks assigned to each delegation. A part of the Gather campus were Yoga pagodas which would feature yoga routines from schools with a strong cultural connection to the discipline. The DAIS delegation contributed by creating 2 Yoga routine with instructions on the Surya Namaskar, eye exercised, stretches, and relaxation and meditation. These were showcased in the Yoga pagodas.



Round Square tradition also includes a cultural performance by each participating school, so the DAIS delegation collaborated to showcase various dance forms of India as their cultural presentation. The Open Mic set up at the beach helped delegates to showcase their talents with an array of songs, dances, skits, stand up shows and many more.


Day 1 - Blue Skies and Brave Conversations Start Today


The conference began with an hour of interactive, ice breaker activities to help delegates familiarise themselves with the platform as well as interact with the other delegates.


Delegates who trained as Baraza leaders helped to conduct this session and guide the other delegates.



Cultural montages and open-mic performances deepened the delegates’ understandings of various cultures. The segment of this first hour that was particularly interesting was the picnic blankets where delegates could participate in discussions of transnational significance. These blankets additionally enabled delegates to communicate with delegates outside their baraza groups.


This was followed by enriching talks from a set of keynote speakers. Fourteen keynote speakers were introduced during the first day of the conference. These speakers are representative of a plethora of cultures, beliefs and values and they each offered their appreciated perspectives on the theme- “Blue Skies and Brave Conversations”- in general. This day of the conference acted as an introductory session to acquaint the delegates with the theme in order for them to prepare for the succeeding days of the conference.


Finally, the delegates spent time in their baraza groups discussing various questions around the topic of “brave conversations” and why they are important.



Day 2 - Identity and Inclusion


The second day of the Round Square International Conference was one that allowed delegates to delve deeper into the topic of Identity and Inclusion.


The day began in the Gather Park, where delegates had the chance to interact with each other on Picnic Blankets and have conversations on the topic of identity and inclusion or explore the various features of the virtual platform such as the Yoga pagodas, fire pits and the beach, or enjoy a range of Open Mic performances that showcased the talents of delegates. This segment of the conference was extremely engaging, as delegates had the chance to showcase their cultural montages, which fuelled conversations ranging from what the most important facets of human identity is, to marginalization faced by various communities as a result of prejudice. By the end, not only were the delegates able to learn about different factors that contribute to the identity of people across the world but were also able to consolidate the means through which they define themselves.



The session then segued into the keynote speeches, where renowned individuals from various walks of life provided delegates with their perspectives on topics regarding Identity and Inclusion. This insight was extremely valuable as it was interesting to observe the nuances of these perspectives and better understand the lens through which we perceive identity.


The day concluded with baraza sessions where delegates were divided into breakout rooms and encouraged to have conversations on various topics in relation to identity and learn more about how it is defined in different countries and cultures across the world. Through the day’s session, delegates were able to form a closer bond with each other, as they had the chance to appreciate and acknowledge the diversity that makes them unique while celebrating their collective identity as human beings



In conclusion, the second day of the conference was an insightful day that allowed delegates to better understand and appreciate their identity as individuals and as part of a larger community.


Day 3 - Climate Action


On the third day of the Round Square international Conference, delegates were given the opportunity to discuss the topic of Climate Action.



The day started with park life conversations which took place on picnic blankets. This enabled delegates to share examples of some of the most significant environmental/ climate change challenges from their part of the world and discuss how these were being addressed through innovation. These conversations covered some very important topics such as sustainability, government policies and individual efforts. Delegates also had the opportunity to be a part of fire pit debates, join yoga sessions in the pagodas or simply engage in conversations with other delegates on the beach. The end of this introductory session left delegates with myriad questions on various climate issues.



These conversations were shortly followed by keynote speeches where several eminent individuals shared their views on the topic of climate change and elucidated what they considered to be some of the most pressing environmental concerns. This session was extremely thought provoking as it brought forward several underemphasized topics such as shortages of nutritional food, degrading health and economic setbacks as  consequences of negative climate change.


These conversations were followed by keynote speeches where several eminent individuals shared their views on the topic of climate change and elucidated what they considered to be some of the most pressing environmental concerns. This session was extremely thought provoking as it brought forward several underemphasized topics such as shortages of nutritional food, degrading health and economic setbacks as consequences of climate change.


Following the keynote speeches, the delegates moved into their baraza sessions where they were divided into several break out rooms to delve further into the overarching topic of climate change. In their respective baraza groups, delegates discussed the impact of climate change not only on humans but also on the wildlife dependent on it. They also pondered upon inevitable consequences of the increasing environmental deterioration like extinction of species, fatal diseases and many more. These sessions, ended on a positive note where delegates shared ways in which they contributed towards making the world a better and safer place and encouraged others to also do the same.


Day 4 - Ethical Leadership


The last day of RSIC 2021 was bittersweet: we had had the most wonderful experience over the past 3 days and we couldn’t wait to jump into all the activities once again, but the thought of it being our last day made us want to go back to the beginning of the conference once again! Nevertheless, the last day of the conference had a lot in store for us and we were to discuss our last topic and possibly what today is both an internal and external conflict: the question of ethical leadership.


We spent the first hour on Gather at the Yoga pagodas where we could relax and do (or just watch) yoga lessons, at the picnic blankets where baraza leaders conducted exciting games, at fire pits where we could have insightful discussion on pre-set topics, at the theatre where multiple films were screened, and at the Beach where we could watch cultural performances. Since it was the last day, we also spent a lot of our time socialising and meeting new people; after 3 days, the ice had properly thawed and all the participants seemed much more comfortable with each other, and so we were able to talk openly and even exchange contacts!


We heard keynote speakers in a panel discussion about ethical leadership. Transparency in leadership, ethics, delivering on promises, the balancing act in leadership, and our role as tomorrows leaders and many such inspiring topics. The discussion was then carried forward in smaller groups through baraza sessions.



In our baraza rooms we discussed the keynote speeches as well as what ethical leadership meant to us and how to attain it. We discussed if it was ever justified for leaders to be unethical and the circumstances under which this was acceptable. We looked at certain leaders and evaluated ethics from their perspective and deliberated if ethical leadership was just being transparent about policies and intentions or if leaders had to also be guided by ‘good’ morals. After a wholesome discussion about ethical leadership we finished our barazas with a small feedback session and said our goodbyes to our fellow baraza members before going back to the main zoom session where we had a debrief of our last baraza discussion.


We then returned to Gather where we took a group photo with our avatars! This marked the end of RSIC 2021 and the conference had come to an end.


Delegates: Anagha Srinivasan, Arishta Goel, Dhruv Bhalla, Diya Hebbar, Kshitig Seth, Prajna Wankawalla, Sanaa Beriwala, Sriya Bodapati


Baraza Leaders: Devika Kothari, Dhaniti Parekh, Stuti Daga, Vivaan Turakhia


Teacher Delegates: Ms. Manisha Nanda and Mr. Abhimanyu Basu


Video links:




Yoga 1:


Yoga 2:


Cultural Performance: