With a population of over 4 billion, the young and youth comprise over half of the world’s population. It is the highest it has ever been in history and the most educated ever. How this demographic thinks and responds will play a critical role in shaping global development agendas. For it is they who will truly actualise critical pathways to our collective destiny. The ORF SPARK Dialogue 2024 situates itself in this backdrop and amplifies young voices, their hopes and aspirations towards a strong and prosperous future for all.
The Dialogue, in partnership with the School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, to be held on 9 January 2024 at the TISS Convention Centre in Mumbai will have students and youth from across academia, sports, entrepreneurship and social change in attendance. It will also result in an ISBN publication comprising articles across the dialogue themes, written by students and inspiring youth icons from across the country and overseas.
The Dialogue will pivot around the following discussions that reflect the youth’s aspirations and anxieties in developing a future that enables, inspires and builds towards the greater common good:
10:00 - 10:20 (IST)
Anusha Kesarkar-Gavankar, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation
Ashwani Kumar, Dean, School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Bino Paul, Pro - Vice Chancellor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Jaibal Naduvath, Vice President, Observer Research Foundation
10:20 - 11:10 (IST)
India is today the world’s largest democracy and makes for over 60 percent of the global democratic universe. India is also the world’s fifth-largest economy and the fastest-growing major economy, which will account for close to 13 percent of the global economic growth in the next five years. The nation has a restless and driven youth demographic of over 800 million, the largest in the world, with its creative industry having a significant influence. How India thinks, builds and responds will shape the course of global events in the coming decades.
What are India’s key economic and security partnerships? What are the economic choices India should be making? What are India’s most important geographies of the future? From agriculture to the creative economy, what are the sectors that we should be investing in? How could brand India be reinforced further globally? How do we leverage our soft power - cinema, creative arts and cultural economy? How can India front-end the new wave of globalisation as rich nations become more insular?
11:10 - 12:00 (IST)
Elevating and fortifying the role of women in our society through empowerment, equality, and equal opportunity is essential in cultivating thriving, inclusive, and vibrant communities. Such empowered communities become the engines of social transformation, playing a critical role in fuelling growth and progress. Although significant strides have been made in recent decades through educational initiatives and affirmative action, there is still a long way to go.
What needs to be done to empower our women and provide them equal access, opportunities, and standing within the social fabric? How do we break systemic obstacles, eliminate biases and eradicate discriminatory practices within our communities? How should the various stakeholders collaborate towards creating a welcoming and inclusive ecosystem? What kind of policy interventions and reforms need to be effected towards achieving a society where the voice and agency of every citizen gets equal resonance?
12:00 - 12:10 (IST)
Pushpak Shah, Head - Business Development, Detox Group
12:10 - 13:00 (IST)
Climate change presents numerous challenges to economies, society, and the environment. In addition to exacerbating disparities, cities worldwide are increasingly witnessing extreme weather events. These have heightened the risks of displacement of communities and disruptions to ecosystems. Coastal cities such as Mumbai are particularly vulnerable. It is, therefore, imperative to develop climate-resilient approaches, lead sustainable lifestyles and make development pathways sustainable.
How do we engender an ecosystem of climate-sensitive lifestyles and behaviours? How do we encourage and incentivise various stakeholders, from common citizens to big businesses, to become climate change-sensitive? How do we create meaningful governance frameworks to achieve climate equity? How do we finance and create new infrastructures or retrofit existing ones to make them climate resilient?
13:00 - 14:30 (IST)
14:30 - 15:30 (IST)
The emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), such as Artificial Intelligence, Web 3, and robotics, are increasingly encompassing every aspect of our lives. It will front-end growth and economic transformation. But inequity in tech access and lack of quality training could disadvantage vast sections of young job seekers, germinating within it seeds of social tension and widening income gap. There is thus an urgent need to reimagine current capacity-building approaches and back them up with robust policy support pivoted on inclusivity and access.
How will the nature of jobs change in the 4th IR? What new job roles will emerge, and what will be the new growth sectors? How can existing skills development and capacity building policies be reimagined to better equip the youth for the future? How do we address concerns of job displacement, particularly the seasonal, informal and service workers? How will it impact globalisation and the cross-border movement of talent?
15:20 - 16:10 (IST)
India and Australia are building a resilient partnership in climate action and sustainability. Both countries have emerged as significant innovation hubs for clean energy tech, championing energy transition and leading global efforts to create just environmental governance frameworks. The India-Australia Green Hydrogen Taskforce and their collaborative efforts in new and renewable energy exemplify this. In global climate discussions, they are important players and unleashing their synergy will have cascading effects on global choices and accelerate the journey towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.
How can India and Australia align their national policies to realistically support the joint pursuit of climate action and build sustainable global frameworks? How can Australia and India's domestic policies complement and reinforce each other’s decarbonisation efforts, particularly in a bilateral partnership? How can the two nations enhance their trade relationship that promotes sustainable practices and ensures economic growth is coupled with environmental responsibility? In what ways can this collaboration help foster innovation and knowledge exchange towards developing sustainable solutions for the Global South?
16:10 - 17:00 (IST)
India is experiencing a monumental demographic shift. It's a story of a nation on the move, propelled by robust growth and the ambitions of its youth. However, it also presents the challenges of intense competition for finite opportunities and resources. Amidst this landscape, young social innovators driven by a 'society-first' ethos are stepping in to fill critical gaps left by conventional, profit-driven business models. They address a spectrum of vital needs – from sustainable employment and environment to improving mental health. As important as these efforts are towards building a resilient society, they struggle to become part of the mainstream discourse.
What challenges do social innovators face, especially regarding resources, policy support, and societal acceptance, and how can these be overcome? How should the success and impact of social innovations be measured, considering their impact is often hard to measure? How could we encourage more youth to become social innovators in an environment where monetary compensation is often seen as the marker of success?
17:00 - 17:10 (IST)