Six enthusiastic delegates from Grade 8 participated in the Round Square Conference themed ‘Protect Preserve and Progress for Sustainable Happiness’, hosted by The Lawrence School, Sanawar, from 5th to 9th June 2023. Throughout the conference, delegates were involved in multiple activities and adventures to help experience first-hand, the theme of the conference. The event took place across 5 days, featuring numerous engaging activities planned by the host school.
Day 1: The delegates gathered at Mumbai Airport, early in the morning for a week ahead of learning, fun, and realising the true meaning of the six Round Square IDEALS – Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service. They were off, along with 27 schools from across the country, including a few from overseas, to take part in the five-day Conference. After a 2-hour drive from the Chandigarh airport, they reached Sanawar, a place which could fulfill an environmentalist's utopian fantasies. Ice breaking activities and a spectacular welcome with the Abhinandan ceremony were a perfect end to the day.
Day 2: On the second day the delegates walked towards the wide canopy of trees for bird watching while some assembled in the lush green grass of the Peace stead. After a delicious breakfast at the Central Dining Hall, they proceeded to the Opening ceremony at the mesmerising Chapel. They learnt about the Wildlife program in the first Keynote address by Karthick Satyanarayana, CEO of Wildlife SOS, an inspiring organization that protects and preserves wildlife.
The students then participated in their first Baraza session, where they discussed creative solutions to ensure a sustainable environment.
The latter half of the day was spent in planting several trees and clearing dried pine needles to prevent future forest fires. The students then went to the Warrior's Grove, where Ms. Rituparna Ghosh, founder of www.yourstorybag.com narrated amazing stories, one written by Satyajit Ray and one written by herself, originating from her home state of Jharkhand.
Day 3: The delegates were divided into the Baraza groups for a day filled with adventure and activities. As the students reached their destination, Mahobag, they were escorted by Maj. Priya Jhingan Retd. to the poly farms. The flowers in Mahobag makes it one of the richest villages in Asia, as the carnations and Gipses grown are sold for extremely high prices in the markets.
The students then undertook an arduous rope course. They had a lot of fun and tested their endurance as they relied on their physical capabilities to complete the courses. Major Priya Jhingan Retd. gave an inspirational speech on sustainable happiness and the importance of gratitude. Meanwhile in Dharokidhar, the delegates ziplined while some were on a rickety rope course testing their powers of balance. Mr. Kochar encouraged students to meditate in the calming sound of flowing water. He stressed on the importance of seeking balance in life by recognizing that internal peace is what manifests as our outer peace.
The evening promised to be entertaining and exciting as it was the evening of multicultural performances by the various schools. The DAIS delegates made their way to the Peace stead to perform their cultural skit with a focus on sustainable living.
Day 4: The final day began with a gathering at the Chapel for an interesting keynote speech given by Lieutenant Kamal Daver. He spoke about many distinct aspects of the environment. The students were then divided into their Baraza groups where they participated in varied activities such as painting birdhouses, card making, poster making, pottery and many more. What followed soon was The Closing Ceremony, with an address by Mr. Samarth Pathak, a representative of the UNODC. He suggested how the young generation would change the future with their insightful learning and innovative solutions to sustainable living.
The delegates gathered for Carnival Night, to mark new friendships and learnings gained from the Conference – made a night to remember with delicious snacks and fun games. It was the perfect end to the perfect week.
The conference used the power of collective action, providing participants invaluable insights into self-assurance, sustainable happiness, and the importance of environmental conservation. I participated in tree planting initiatives, fire prevention efforts, and the support of wildlife preservation and thoroughly enjoyed the activities. The conference highlighted that nature could sustain our essential needs, but it is not equipped to cater to our desires. This experience has helped me emerge a more independent and responsible citizen of the world, dedicated to the protection, preservation, and progression of sustainable happiness.
- Kanav Jain
This conference was entertaining, wonderful yet an eye-opening experience where I learnt multiple vital life lessons. The place could fulfil anybody's utopian fantasies with its pristine, greenery. I learnt how to adjust to new surroundings by adapting to the life in a dormitory becoming self-confident and learning self-sustainability.
- Arnav Gupta
One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to forge friendships with peers hailing from different states and countries. Through these newfound connections, I delved into their cultures, traditions, and ways of life, expanding my horizons, and fostering a global perspective. Undoubtedly, this experience was enriching in every sense, leaving an indelible mark on my memory. The knowledge gained, the qualities developed, and the bonds formed will resonate with me for years to come.
- Aashi Ramchandani
This experience exposed us to the reality of the world. It showed us the power of change in the hands of like-minded people with a common mission- a healthy, secure, pollution and discrimination free world, with every part of the environment having the right to life. The changes we make, be it in society, the environment or even at home, if oriented by a positive reason is never too small because all revolutionary movements branch from the thoughts of one.
- Neil Gaur
The Conference on Sustainability was a thought-provoking event that left me with a renewed sense of urgency and determination to address the environmental challenges we face. We had a particularly great time at the multicultural evening where our team portrayed paper, plastic and cloth while discussing the pros and cons of each. The conference served as a catalyst for action, igniting a fire within me to make a meaningful difference in the world.
- Tia Vasa
Sanawar is the opposite of Mumbai with its scenic beauty, cold temperatures, and uneven grounds - but this trip has probably been the best, most fun and one from which I took back a lot of lessons including becoming a Leader to promote Environmentalism, practice Sustainability, and various personal values. I was even moved to tears with some of horrors humans inflict on nature, but also learnt that little actions can make a huge difference in the world.
- Kanishk Kalia
DAIS Student Delegates: Aashi Ramchandani, Arnav Gupta, Kanav Jain, Kanishk Kalia, Neil Gaur, Tia Vasa.
DAIS Adult Delegate:Ms. Toral Ghelani