Published: 15th June 2022
What's in store at the Harvard Asia Conference 2022 for youngsters?
Usually, youth conferences are more about scale, rank and open awareness. On the contrary, ACONF 2022 is designed with the goal to get maximum engagement
Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) is for the young leaders of tomorrow and as a part of it, two conferences are held every year. HCONF (Harvard Conference), which is held in Boston and then the ACONF (Asia Conference), which is held in one of the selected Asia-Pacific cities. And guess where it's going to be held for the first time in 30 years? In Delhi!
After two long years of online meetings, summits and conclaves, youngsters will now finally get a chance to attend the Harvard Asia Conference 2022. This premier event will be organised over five days from August 20 to 24, 2022.
It will allow the participants to interact and build networks with successful entrepreneurs, corporates and academicians. Moreover, the winners of the various challenges, which will be held during the conference, will get to enjoy special perks either in form of certificates, mentorship and internship or collaborating to build something, isn't that the cherry on the cake?
It all began in January 2021, when entrepreneurs Soham Roy and Yogesh Chadha attended the HPAIR's HCONF virtually and decided to bring it home. Once they figured out the bidding process and competed in multiple rounds of interviews against 20+ teams, they won it for India in February 2022 and are now Co-Presidents of HPAIR.
The problems they encountered
"When we started out bidding last year, the pandemic just hit. And the biggest challenge we were facing during that point was how do we communicate, because we couldn't have gotten speakers online and we could only obtain vendors or at least quotations from them but again, in terms of sponsors and government partnerships, it was very tough since it mostly happens through face-to-face conversations, without which you don't have the go-ahead. It was a major blocker. We started sending emails to all these people and sponsors. A lot of adaptability to the sector came fast, as people adapted to the format very quickly," he said.
Only after months of emailing, did they receive a reply from government partners on an online basis. It took them almost three months.
Secondly, since there's is a pan-India team, they had to work virtually. The organising team of the committee consists of teenagers between the ages of just 19-23 from across the country.
These were the two major challenges they faced while the bidding was going on. And when eventually, things started opening up, they met the vendors, sponsors and the team met for the first time. "And now that we have won the bid to host this conference it looks like everything has paid off," they say.
What's in it for you?
It is not just about the Harvard certification the delegates will be provided, but the amount of knowledge they will acquire by the end of the conference.
This year the conference will have tracks, which means the speakers will be addressing general themes like art media culture, sustainability, entrepreneurship and many more. The committee has decided to do it differently this year because the themes relate to the concept that in the future, we will have problems that are going to be complex, so it is necessary that one carries a multi-dimensional skill set in order to solve these problems. For instance, during COVID, only through a blend of the medical and technical industry was the vaccine invented. Therefore, the topics are very inter-connected this year.
Impact Challenge is one of its kind a case-study competition. It is backed by several consulting firms and cooperates out there. This flagship competition will be attended by delegates from various backgrounds. It includes tracks such as art and culture, governance, geo-politics and entrepreneurship. Companies such as BCG, and McKinsey have partnered with them in the past to showcase real product statements to the delegates. It is a six-hour competition with five individuals in every team. Moreover, the winner will be getting special perks from all the partner organisations either in form of mentorship or internship.
Usually, youth conferences are more about scale, rank and open awareness. On the contrary, ACONF 2022 is designed with the goal to get maximum engagement and value proposition for all the students attending the conference. It will also be conducting a very special session called a special session that will highlight the setting of the entire conference while addressing every individual's dialogue. There will be international and desi nights organised which will give delegates a chance to have an open dialogue, meet people, and gain exposure to diverse cultures.
Note the takeaways
The seminar also aims to assist the participants who want to collaborate with organisations and build networks efficiently. "The major takeaway we want the youngsters to carry with them is the amount of knowledge because we talk about futuristic skill sets and not general topics. Secondly, it's about the authentic connection they will build and lastly, the participants are also given an opportunity to work with companies and collaborate to build something, in order to get something tangible out of it," shared Soham Roy and Yogesh Chadha Presidents of the committee.
The conference is switching to the offline mode after two years due to the pandemic. The audience can attend it in both online and offline modes, considering it would be accessible to those living abroad. "This time the offline event will be a full-fledged one like we used to have before the lockdown. We are introducing a few other events this time apart from the Impact Challenge. With these events, we are trying to cater to different interest codes. This time the main focus is on tech and design enthusiasts apart from business, policy governance and media participants."