Global peace. Teens. Best Speaker. India—I vividly remember these words when they flashed in a post from a common friend on Facebook, a few days back. The opportunity to speak to this teenager was irresistible. Our wavelengths matched, and we got connected.
Siddhi Joshi, 18, who’s like a shining star in a human body’s guise, is dreaming of a brighter future even amid the anxiousness and fear of Covid-19. A period that has left many her age worried and clueless about the future.
She is thinking about humankind. Or does she just fancy this word? My curiosity to know increased even more.
The journalist in me who is also interested in youth and their mindset vis a vis education, peace and happiness, was eager to talk to her. I spoke to her at length to understand more about her thoughts and others her age in this competitive and strife-stricken world—a world where all the bright brains mostly end up monetising their ideas or aspire to land high-paying white-collar jobs. Living for others is rarely seen; it’s neither talked about at home nor in schools.
Siddhi is presently an ambassador for Global Peace Institute (UK), which awarded her the prize for the best speaker at the Global Youth Peace Summit, this month (June 2020). She is actively participating in building a world full of love, kindness and justice around her. The Global Peace Institute (GPI) boasts of being a global think tank working for global peace and resilience.
Carrying an unabated spirit to create dialogues, she believes that the exchange of ideas is a powerful way to initiate a change. “I am committed to taking actions for the things I believe in and the changes I want to bring about through the path of sharing, collaborating, coming together and creating a better world under the umbrella of humanity.”
When asked what drove her to be a speaker at the summit, she said, “To be honest, I discovered this wonderful opportunity out of boredom, I would like to think that perhaps events choose us instead of being the other way round! During this lockdowncation (I think I have created that word haha) I ended up trying hands at quite some things like Model United Nation Conferences, Coursera courses, Art Journaling, etc. So I was simply on my way to discover more and make the most of this phase that comes with the positive of comparatively more abundant time.”
“Little did I know that I would end up having a personal and positive connection with this organisation brimming with love and peace, and go on to become a teen ambassador. I simply wanted to listen to the plethora of ideas and present my own in a moderated environment because active participation is more important than winning,” she added.
Siddhi’s high spirit and dreams are reflected in her words: “I don’t just dream, but actively try to build the future I envision. I have just passed Grade 12 from DPS Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, and I am looking eagerly for majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology. I support conversations on mental health as I seek to acknowledge and eradicate the stigma around it.
I have been an exchange student to the US in the past under the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Programme, which is funded by the US Department of States. It has been the most fulfilling and exciting year of my life so far. It gave me the first-hand chance to engage in over 112 hours of community service!”
Giving presentations about India, learning Spanish and being selected to participate in the Civic Education Week were some of the key highlights of her exchange year—with various other accolades to her collection.
When asked about the three things she would like to do to encourage teens and youth in India and the world, she said,“I shall be talking about my personal experiences with compassion, humanity and community service. This is how all of us can practice it in our own big and small ways. A seemingly small something can be so impactful and travel a long way. I constantly try to mirror the ideals I stand for. Secondly, raising awareness about the issues I feel for, and advocating for them, while shedding insights on the steps that can be taken to solve the issue. For example, actively talking about well-being and mental health. Social media can be a potent tool for this.”
Something that really moved me as an ordinary person and a mother of two was, “I will be earning and then putting resources out there to create positive changes and working for the same, which is essentially setting an example. There are so many times I wish I had ‘xyz’ money to do something for the things that ache my heart (these days it’s the plight of Yemen) and so being in a position like that becomes a responsibility rather than a goal. Life is so much about doing for others; even an ant can fill its own stomach.”
What else you do, Siddhi? I asked her. “With an insatiable love for art and words, I take time for reading, writing and creating, but most of all, I never forget to carry extra smiles and sunshine in my pockets wherever I go”, with this we closed the conversation.
She’s brought great pride not just to her parents but to our entire nation and the world.
Siddhi scored 98.8% in CBSE Boards in Humanities, but this feat appears tiny compared to the bigger self she carries.
(The writer is Founder, Amigoz Sphere, a platform dedicated to teenagers, Consultant- brand strategy and communication, and an Ex-TOI Journalist)