We welcome Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti, Guwahati as new YES Centre Partners

The Award Programme family welcomes our newest YES Centre- Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti.

Youth Engaging Society Centres help all young people irrespective of backgrounds to engage in the Award Programme. This partnership with Sarala Birla, a prominent school in the city of Guwahati, Assam will allow young people in the city to work towards positive development.

Anubha Goyal- Principal of Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti, Guwahati attended the recent YES Training Workshop with Co-ordinator- Ms. Jayashrita Singhal at the Award Studio in Delhi. Ms. Goyal believes that young people are the future of tomorrow and providing them with team building, community development and skill development projects through the Award Programme will contribute to sustainable social inclusion.

Explore Spiti, Contribute to Sustainable Development: Calling for Applications of Interest now!

Introducing Ecosphere and Spiti:

Gold Award Holders' Society of India and Ecosphere present a unique opportunity to Award participants to complete their adventurous journey and their residential project (Gold Level) in Spiti this summer. Contribute to reducing your carbon footprint and to the community by participating in the construction of a solar facility. This project promises to provide an interesting insight into Spitian life, culture and Buddhist heritage and provide an opportunity to be a part of the environment preservation initiative taken by the community.

Spiti is a home to some of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries and temples in the world. It is located at 4000 meters above sea level with trai
ls along some of the highest villages in the world. These villages have Rolling Meadows comprising of grazing pastures of the local livestock and hunting grounds of the snow leopard and the Himalayan wolf. Spiti has an interesting culture and the life of the people here is distinctive due to the cold- dry desert like landscape.

Ecosphere is a social enterprise which is a collaborative effort of the local community of Spiti and professionals from diverse backgrounds, with a wide spectrum of skills and experience, effectively spanning the bridge from the general to the niche. With focus to create sustainable livelihoods that are linked to nature and culture conservation, Ecosphere addresses the triple bottom-line of conservation, development and economies.
Your hosts will be the local people of Spiti, accommodating you in their homes to enhance the sojourn in Spiti. As you will traverse through many villages along the trail, you will experience and visit unique and ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples dating back to over a 1000 years encased in the legends and folklore. The home stay accommodation along the trail further enriches the experience by giving one an authentic understanding of the life and culture in a Spitian home.

To know more about Spiti and Ecosphere, do feel free to visit the website- www.spitiecosphere.com.

Trip Itinerary-
11th to 25th June (14 nights, 15 days)

DAY-1: A breath-taking journey from New Delhi to Manali (2050 meters above sea level), covering a distance of 550 km by an overnight bus. Manali is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. Its beautiful landscape is well defined by snow-capped peaks and clear water meanders which makes it a popular resort for adventure lovers.
DAY-2: Explore Manali, local sightseeing

DAY 3: The journey continues from Manali to Kaza(3600 meters), covering a distance of 212 kms by a public transport. Kaza is the only place in the Himalayas, which is connected by road throughout the year unlike certain places that get blocked due heavy snowfall.
DAY-4: Start the day at K
aza with a brief orientation and transfer to site for start of residential project.
DAYS 5, 6, 7,8: Solar Bathing facility building work at project site with interactions with local villagers, immersion of their customs, etc.
DAY-9,10, 11: Depart from Project site for expedition to the famous Key monastery (located on top of a
hill at an altitude of 4,166 meters (13,668 ft) above sea level), treks to nearby villages including Komic Village (Asia's highest village) and Dhankar Lake, among others.
DAY 12: Return to base in Kaza; stay overnight
DAY 13: Travel from Kaza to Manali by the means of public transport and halt over for the night.
DAY-14: Travel back from Manali to New Delhi.

More about the Project:

  • This Project promises to be a fun, life changing experience!
  • We welcome all Gold Award participants and Award Holders from across the world. 
  • Total cost of the trip Rs 25,000/- all inclusive (excluding costs of travel to/out of Delhi prior to /after expedition) for minimum group of 18 people. Costs to decrease with increase in number of participants
Ask us for more information and the application form at ai@iayp.in or call us at +91 11 2649 7154 or at +91 888 234 1668.

Draft Volunteer Conduct Agreement

NAA means National Award Authority, and the NAA India office is in New Delhi, contact Nivedita for further information. Call us now +91 11 26497154/ 26493400

The draft Volunteer Conduct Agreement reads as follow:-

Throughout the world the Award is reliant on the hard work, commitment and dedication of volunteers.  It is volunteers who, for the most part, deliver the Programme to young people and act as instructors and supervisors for the different activities.  Without volunteers the Award could not operate. When working with volunteers, NAAs should undertake the following steps:

·         A description of the role must be written and agreed with the volunteer.
·         Relevant references must be taken up and the equivalent of a Criminal Records Bureau check must be carried out, where possible. 
·         All volunteers must undergo an induction into the organisation. 
·         The necessary volunteer conduct agreement should be signed.
·         Training should be provided where necessary to enable the volunteer to carry out their role.
·         A highly supportive level of supervision and management must be carried out with regular meetings to review progress.
·         A proper ‘thank you’ needs to be made at the end of the project and the appropriate handover undertaken.

It is important that no document sets out ‘rights’ or ‘obligations’ nor gives the volunteer employment rights. It is also important to include expectations of the volunteer and of the organisation in the role profile.

Recognition of Achievements
NAAs should present adults involved in the Award, certificates in recognition of outstanding service to the Award. The certificate should be signed by the chairman or president of the NAA, or their nominated representative.

The success of the Award has depended largely on the extent to which people have helped with its organisation, development, promotion, operation, and assessment. Meritorious service of this nature can be acknowledged by the award of a certificate recording such recognition. Emphasis should be on outstanding service over a significant period of time; the presentation of a certificate should never be regarded as automatic.

Minimum Service
The minimum time involvement should normally be at least 3, 5 or 10 continuous years, though there may be exceptional cases when a shorter period of service would be worthy of recognition, or where breaks in service could be taken into account.

The judgement of outstanding service must inevitably be subjective, but considerable involvement of an individual's own free time to the undoubted benefit of a number of young people, is the basic criterion. Evidence is also required of positive advancement of the Award’s aims and philosophy. The person should have demonstrated superior efforts and initiatives during his or her period of involvement with the Award and is expected to have shown exceptional ability, reliability and results in one or more fields related to its operation.

Future Commitment
The presentation of a certificate of recognition is not merely a reward for meritorious past service, though that is a necessary condition, but a point at which exceptional talent, initiative and diligence have been recognised at the highest level, and beyond which nominees are expected to commit themselves to further efforts on behalf of the Programme and its participants.

Nominations should be made to national Award offices. The presentation of the certificates is at the discretion of the national Award committee or board.

There will be many categories of persons eligible for nomination, including Award advisers, long-standing chairpersons and members of Award committees and panels, members of expedition panels, unit co-ordinators, leaders and organisers, and instructors and assessors of Award activities.

Wherever possible, an appropriate occasion (for example, a local Award presentation) should be chosen for the recipient to be presented with the Certificate of Recognition.

Role Profile Format

Role title:

Reports to:

Method of reporting: (eg to whom; how often and how)


Objectives of role: (including but not restricted to geographic area, specific projects and outcomes)

Specific responsibilities and actions required:


The NAA will provide: (eg equipment, invitations to meetings, funding, expenses, secretarial support etc)


Date and by whom
Role agreed

References taken up

Criminal Records Check carried out (where possible)

Induction undertaken

Volunteer conduct agreement signed

Training undertaken

Supervision and management process agreed

Thanks given

Handover completed


In consultation with [Representative’s Name] of [NAA Name] in [country], I accept these terms and undertake that I will:

1.       Exercise due care and diligence in carrying out my role and responsibilities
2.       Comply at all times with the requirements of the [NAA Name] and with all applicable laws relevant to fulfilling my obligations to the [NAA Name]
3.       Consult to undergo a police and/or reference and/or background checks when requested by [NAA Name]
4.       Undertake training and meet accreditation requirements, as appropriate
5.       Respect the privacy of persons served by the [NAA Name] and hold in confidence private and personal information collected by the [NAA Name]
6.       Immediately advise the [NAA Name] of any matter of which I am involved that has or could lead to a criminal conviction
7.       Advise the [NAA Name] of any officer or employee of the [NAA Name], or any assessor, instructor or volunteer involved in the management and/or delivery of the [NAA Name] who I believe has acted in a way which may be detrimental to the good name of the [NAA Name]
8.       In carrying out my role and responsibilities for the [NAA Name] I agree to:
·         Represent the Award with professionalism and be responsible for conducting myself with courtesy and appropriate behaviour
·         Conduct myself in a respectful manner, exhibit good conduct and be a positive role model
·         Display respect and courtesy for participants, other volunteers, staff, contractors and property
·         Provide a safe environment by not harming youths or adults in any way whether through discrimination, sexual harassment, physical force, verbal or mental abuse, neglect or other harmful actions
·         Work cooperatively as a team member with the employees of the Award and other volunteers
·         To follow through and complete accepted tasks
·         To copy and distribute materials only for the purposes of the Award and will not use them without the prior written consent of the [NAA Name]
·         Not use those materials in any way which would bring [NAA Name] into disrepute
·         That once my appointment with the Award ends,  I will immediately stop all use of the materials
·         That any improvements or developments or new versions of the materials, including new materials I create based on or incorporating them, belong to [NAA Name] and I assign all rights, including intellectual property rights to [NAA Name]

The NAA agrees to:

1.       Explain the rights and responsibilities of volunteers
2.       Provide support,  supervision and training to enable volunteers to undertake their roles
3.       Respect my privacy  and hold in confidence private and personal information collected by the [NAA Name]
4.       Treat volunteers with respect in line with equal opportunity requirements


The [NAA Name] has provided me with a description of my role and responsibilities, and the requirements and fundamental principles of the Award which I have read and understand. I will comply with all these requirements.

I am aware of my obligations as outlined in this document and that my appointment as an [instructor/assessor/volunteer] in relation to the Award may be terminated as a result of any breach by me of the undertakings in this document.

I agree to the above terms.

Volunteer name: _______________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________________________



Volunteer signature: _____________________________________________________

Date: _________________________________________________________________

Representative of NAA signature: __________________________________________

Date: _________________________________________________________________

Volunteers are happy people

If you’re over 25 but would love to get involved, you can! The Award relies on the support of over 150,000 adult volunteers. Without them, the Award Programme could not exist. Volunteers can be:
  • Instructors and assessors
  • Award leaders
  • Fundraisers
  • Administrators and committee members
The best way to find out more is to visit the National Award Authority website (www.iayp.inand connect with us. We can tell you about local opportunities to become an Award leader. If there isn’t one, contact one of our zonal offices, who may know about other opportunities.

What’s in It for You?

Read some of our testimonials to find out what a difference your time could make to a young person doing the Award.
 "I have grown a lot myself – I have discovered strengths in myself."
Award leader, South Africa

Interview of Mr. Sandeep Dutt with Niket Jain

Niket: Your Biodata mentions your profession as brewing knowledge, what do you mean by that?

Mr. Sandeep: It’s very interesting. This always happens to be the first question that is asked of me in every interview. I always ask what is life. It is like a pot in which we put in and take out information. So essentially what we do in our life is create a knowledge base. Whether you study, teach or do anything else in life. This is the key and when I say brewing knowledge, it essentially means what we do everyday. It’s your job whether you are giving, taking or learning each moment you are brewing knowledge. This I feel is the most important thing to do as an entrepreneur.

Niket: Being a Doon School product do you think residential school students have an edge over day school students.

Mr. Sandeep: There is a very simple answer to that. A residential school gives an opportunity to a person to find himself, understand himself and see the world with an advantage which an average young child does not have. And as residential schools focus on real front, on the ground work and training or delivery, they are much better than the others. This is the way it helps the students to learn and lead ahead.

Niket : How did you discover your love for adventure, mountaineering in particular?

Mr. Sandeep: To me life is an adventure itself and is a journey with ups and downs which come in our way. I feel mountains personify a leader. They are high, strong and have value. They give a lot to us and take very little in return which is what a good leader does. And that is why in adventure, mountains have always played the role of a mystic. They symbolize the ultimate for an adventurer. Lot of challenge today is based on mountains. The height of a mountain helps us to reach personal heights as an individual.

Niket: You have won many awards. One of them is the ‘Himalayas Clean Prize. How do you try to create environmental awareness in people?

Mr. Sandeep: What is the most important thing when you talk about environment? You must accept that the only reality in life is the environment around you. To make this comfortable, you have to be in harmony with it. So when we say ‘keep clean’ it doesn’t really mean picking up a broom and ensuring there is no litter around. Litter is only the surface, it’s not the answer. Litter is just what is visible but there is so much more that defiles the environment. When we look at cleanliness we have to work out a way that we leave nature untouched and don’t disturb its pristine beauty. My philosophy of going to nature is just leaving it as it is. That’s what I mean by cleanliness. A very simple thing, when you put up a camp side please restore it to as close as possible. That’s just a small message about keeping a place clean.

Niket: Sir, can you tell us how you are associated with the Duke of Edinburgh awards?

Mr. Sandeep: Essentially, I see my role today as primarily to raise the profile of the awards programme. We have been in India for almost 48 years now. So my job is to promote the award authority, our first task is to promote. Our second task is to provide which means every young person who is of the age minimum 14 and maximum 25 should have access to the award program and third is to make the award more precious to young people. To make young people live the award and not just wear it.

 Kind courtesy Editor of The Review, Scindia School at Gwalior, India

Saanya Gupta as Volunteer of the month for January 2011

Saanya Gupta is a Bronze, Silver and Gold Award Holder who has been an active Award Volunteer and Award Leader at the National Award Office since December 2009. With an outstanding background in the Award, Saanya has been crucial in setting up systems, formulating the Strategic Plan and managing events.

A student at the Hansraj College, University of Delhi, Saanya is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Economics and Philosophy. Her enthusiasm and 'out of the box' thinking has been instrumental in the strategy development and functioning of the "Award in Universities'. In the year 2010, Saanya was a crucial member of the Events team. She takes keen interest in sports and was key organiser of the 'Youth and Sports' photo exhibition, with Ridhima Oberoi and artist Prenita Dutt, held at the British Council on 24th November 2010.

In the month of January, Saanya successfully entered over 800 Award registration forms to the Award Database management system. She works for the College Promotions team and believes that 2011 will be an important year for the Award in India.

Introducing Dhruv Bahl as Intern of the Month for January 2011

Dhruv has been an Intern at the Award Office since 29th November 2010. A Bronze Award participant, Dhruv brings fresh energy and professionalism to Preserve the Award Programme in India. Currently a student of Bachelors of Financial and Investment Analysis at the Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi; Dhruv aspires to be an investment banker.

An integral member of the Office Team, Dhruv is now heading the Gold Internship Programme project. The Gold Internship Programme or GIP aims to give Gold Award Holders the much sought after exposure in a working environment. The GIP will place interested Gold Award Holders in internship programmes with partner companies. Dhruv believes that the GIP will address the "Life after Gold" issue for Gold Holders by providing them a platform to receive professional practical training and also allow them to promote the Award actively.

In the month of January, Dhruv has successfully completed and sent license agreements to Award Partners and provided exemplary support to the Award Database Management Systems. Through the learnings from his brief internship with the Design Team at Ernst and Young, Dhruv has contributed to design and communication needs too.
In his leisure time, he reads non-fiction books, works out and listens to music.

La Martinere Girls challenge themselves at 11000 feet

On 11th December, 2011 a group of 37 Bronze and Silver awardees of the La Martiniere for Girls, Kolkata accompanied by a team of Instructors, left for an IAYP expedition to Dodital, Uttaranchal. After completing the necessary journey up till Uttarkashi, where a day was spent in acclimatization, the trek commenced from a point called Sangam Chhati at an approximate elevation of 4000 feet above sea level.

The day’s destination was a small village called Bebra (7900 feet above sea level) about 10 kilometres from Samgam Chatti. It was a gradual uphill trek and took about 7 hours to be completed. After reaching Bebra the students were served a small snack and tea followed by some briefing for the next day’s trek which was to be a difficult one in terms of gradient. The students enjoyed the campsite in the moonlight and the soft sound of the stream flowing by. After dinner the team retired in tents for the night with the approximate night temperature of the place freezing below subzero.

The next morning the team set off for Manjhi: the next destination which was again about 10 kilometres from Bebra. This gradient was slightly steeper than the previous day and took about 8 hours to be completed. On the way the students were made to indentify many species of high altitude trees like the Pine, Spruce and Rhododendrons and its Gurus flower. Some uncommon birds like the Monal and Cons hell Eagle were also spotted. The team also caught a glance of the Yellowtooh Peak which is a snow capped peak at an elevation of 5740 metres from sea level. The trek was moderately difficult and quite tiring for the students but they enjoyed it for the panoramic landscapes, log bridges and green valleys on the way. The night at Manjhi was the coldest with temperatures freezing at about -7 degrees centigrade. The campsite however was beautiful by the moonlight and the clear sky where numerous constellations could be spotted. After dinner and a hot drink by the fireplace the team retired in tents for the night.

The next morning was bitterly cold and it could be seen that the streams around the place had semi-frozen. With sunrise one could catch a glimpse of the shining Bandarpunj Peak which is again a snow-capped peak at a height of 6320 metres above sea-level spotted only from around the Manjhi campsite. After breakfast and a quick briefing the team set out for their final destination Dodital which was a gradual gradient trek of about 7 kilometres from Manjhi. Destination Dodital was reached around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The vicinity of the vast expanse of the lake mesmerised everyone. Popularly known as the Angler’s Paradise the sight of Dodital was an absolute treat to the eyes. The exhaustion of three days of uphill walking was forgotten and everyone seemed to breathe fresh again. The team was briefed about Dodital and some interesting facts about the lake came to be known. The name Dodital comes from the word ‘Dodi’ which means Trout fish in Hindi and ‘Tal’means Lake. The Rainbow Trout is an exotic specie of fish which was first brought to India by the Britishers. It is usually found in extremely cold climate and is rare in India at the moment. Dodital is home to numerous such fishes. This perennial lake is fed by the glacier located on the Darwa Top at a height of about 12000 feet from sea level seen clearly from the Dodital campsite. The Dodital itself is a virgin lake situated at 10850 feet above sea level that leads to the river stream called Osi Ganga which flows around the Uttarkashi region. It is believed to be a sacred lake of the locals and also has a temple situated by it. The Jungle Crow, Monal and the Cons hell eagle are some commonly found birds there. The rest of the day was left to the students to explore the place, the frozen streams, to catch a glimpse of the beautiful black Rainbow Trouts and to get some get shots for their cameras. In the evening there was a campfire for the students followed by dinner and retiring in tents for the night.

The team set out early next morning on its trek back to Bebra this time leaving Manjhi on the way. It was a long trek of nearly 17 kilometres comprising mainly of downhill trails. It was however not very easy since the path was narrow and moderately steep.

The following morning the team wrapped up its stay at the Bebra campsite and left for Sangam Chatti where the trek was suppose to finish. It was by far the most tiresome 10 kilometres of downhill trekking owing to its narrow trails, jutting boulders, steep shortcuts and muddy paths.The team hereafter also spent two days doing local trekking around the Ganges in Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Finally the team reached New Delhi Airport on 21st December morning amidst fog and a biting cold. After a few hours of wait the team flew back to Kolkata reaching the same in the evening. The team dispersed on a positive note of having accomplished a fairly difficult trek and having withstood extremely rough weather. It was great to see their spirit of self discovery! Thanking the Almighty it was all good in the end.

- Contributions by Dr. Tapti Dasgupta-Award Leader at La Martinere Girls School, Kolkata and Meghali Gupta-Gold Holder and Expedition Assessor

National Director as Keynote Speaker at The Junior Regional Round Square Conference

4th February, Scindia School, Gwalior

Sandeep Dutt addressed young people at the Junior Regional Round Square Conference on 'Friends Everywhere' in the famous Scindia School, Gwalior as Keynote Speaker. His talk set the right tone for the conference and lifted the standard to a very high level. The delegates were inspired by his inputs emotionally and intellectually.

The Junior Regional Round Square Conference brings together young people from different schools together for discussion, planning and engaging in issues. Seeds of Peace- an organisation that takes on warring nations and makes their children work together, highlighted the need to promote 'friendship among young people' irrespective of any biases. This year's conference focussed on this issue and the young delegates came up with a comprehensive plan to overcome all barriers.

Sandeep's keynote address preceded the presentation by Seeds of Peace and highlighted how friends are of all ages, colour, sizes and culture. Few (less fortunate ones specially) do not get to taste friendships because the young people from better circumstances or backgrounds may avoid them for various reasons. It is imperative to reach out to them! There are very high profile people who sit lonely on the pinnacle of their achievements. People are in awe of such people as a result no one reaches out to them and they remain lonely.

The only way to move ahead with any learning is to build communication links and win hearts. Yes, as humans one needs to be compassionate and live in a community, the only way to live as a good society is to bind with the heart. We need to explore and find ways to reach out and build friends forever. The near future seems exciting, as the young people gather to find new friends and build on the strengths of the society.

He encouraged the young delegates to address the challenge and will need to find friends first, and then have them with you forever by looking at making connections with parents, teachers, peers, Seniors, People with challenges, Icons or Stars and finally 'Yourself as a friend'. True leaders are also great friends, how the President of US, or our great leaders connect with us and influence the destiny of millions, are indeed ways of literally befriending us. We have a picture of many individuals within us and consider them as friends and feel connected with them. Yes the 7 ways to above are not the end, but the beginning to help you think, and evolve as better friends.

“ To have a good friend. You have to be one. So be nice to one another. So you can be friends forever.”

How the Award Programme works

Simplified version of the License guidelines:

1. Award Unit - are Schools only under License from Zones as per their fee and charges.

2. Special Project - NAA, annual renew at Rs. 1000.00 per year; MOU Generic, simple SP Operator License and support from NAA. This will build inclusive participation.

3. Social Sector - Rs. 10,000.00 per year; MOU Generic and NLO, will operate and give Awards. Work with NAA only e.g. YES Centres, for growing participation.

4. Business Partner - Rs. 25,000.00 per year; MOU (detailed), provide service, products and will register OAC Participants only. Work in their city and geographic area only. YES Partners, more for marketing and brand.

5. Corporate Partner - Rs. 35000.00 per year, MOU detailed, NLO will operate nationally, register participants and give Awards as Licensed operators.
Work like YES Centres but multi-city.

Subject to change and Terms & Conditions of the IAA. Implemented in India under License of APF by the NAA.

For more please email ai@iayp.in
Award Programme Foundation

Egyptian Adventure

Thank you Dr. B M Saraf for this piece of writing, and have dared to share this without your permission, do forgive me for this. This wonderful piece of travel writing needs a good audience.

The Egyptian holiday was many things to many people. For me, it was the culmination of the adolescent dream triad of travel to  Greece, Italy and Egypt. For my husband it was a “spousal duty to discharge his responsibility to the wife” . For my mother who is all and more a Bengali mother, it was the beginning of  a nightmare (as it is each time her progeny travel), except that this time it could have been one.
The rumbling of warnings and notes of caution were struck ever since the explosion outside the Coptic church in Cairo, and then Tunisia. These coincided with our planning of the “family holiday”, itself a wondrous and rare event at the best of times, a seven-day package tour of Egypt with a Nile cruise from 24 to 30 January. As state subjects of J&K and living in this country through decades of trouble, we were undeterred and flew out of Delhi as scheduled, reading Amitav Ghosh’s  masterpiece  on Egypt, In an Antique Land. By the time we landed we wanted to visit Coptic Cairo, Ben Ezra’s synagogue and the Fustat, all of which were not part of the programme.

The tour programme was hectic but full of promise anyway. We had had it tailored for us and it had Alexandria thrown in on request. By the time the tour operator  appeared we were ready to extend it to other parts of Cairo. He  was very helpful. He wanted us to go to Alexandria  before doing Cairo, as the former was a three hour journey by car and a one day visit. Driving to the Hotel from Cairo airpot we did our round of friendly questions and being Indians who cannot steer clear of politics, also asked if there was a Tunisia effect in Egypt. He smiled saying there were some small sporadic outburst in some areas of Alexandria and Cairo, because people wanted change. There was unemployment, poverty and the usual problems that plague a third world country. Nothing to worry. We would set out for Alexandria the next morning at 7.  At 6am I received a message from by brother in Delhi : Hi! Read in  the papers about turmoil in Egypt. Pls SMS that all is well. Shala! Gopal Gelo Bonge Kopal Gelo Shange. As usual the media are exaggerating, I thought as I sent  a All Is Well message back.

The drive from Cairo to Alexandria was remarkable for the singularly unremarkable landscape around, except for an abundance of birdhouse scarecrows in the scattered fields.  Alexandria itself was spectacular. We spent a beautiful morning at Pompey’s Pillar. On the way to the next stop, the Roman theatre, passing through the streets of the city, the first sign of unrest was discernible. There were closed black vans full of riot police huddled inside dressed in black, lining the streets. I pushed away the discomfort with two cruel daughters pooh-poohing my disaster imagination and concentrated on the trip. We spent a dream day in Alexandria returning to Cairo in the evening. The next morning Alexandria had erupted, as we were to learn later.

Cairo itself was a tourist’s dream.  26th January passed of peacefully with a visit to the Giza pyramids and we only wondered  what happened to the BJP flag hoisting plans. We were hailed everywhere as Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukher gee (the last syllable as in geese) and even Amjad Khan! We felt very loved and wanted. The Fustat area had the familiar black police vans. It was the visit to Coptic Cairo and the police presence there with traffic movement controls that signaled that all was not well. The government was not taking chances in a sensitive quarter and that was reassuring. A curfew had been imposed since the explosion three weeks ago, from 4 pm and we had to clear out.

On the visit to the Egyptian museum, we had seen a rally being addressed in a building , apparently occupied by the Press, but it was small, with familiar cadences.  We moved around in the city, Tahrir Square and Al-Azhar area, the Khan-e Khalili Market, we boarded the train at 8.30 pm to Aswan where our cruise would begin. There was no inkling of trouble. By 10 pm the National Democratic Party building was on fire and Cairo had erupted. Oblivious, we headed for Aswan.

Aswan is the mouth of the Nile in Egypt with the high dam on one side built over Lake Nasser bordering Sudan and Egypt. It is inhabited by people of Egyptian and Nubian origins. We asked our guide the usual polite question, whether there was any trouble in the small sleepy town. He smiled lazily and told us that there was ‘something’ in Cairo and Alexandria. Aswan, on the Nile is breathtaking in its beauty and tranquility. After a visit to the unfinished obelisk, we boarded our ship to check in and have lunch. Later, we went for a felucca ride, around the banks of the Nile. The felucca is a small boat and it gives a glimpse of the ruins along the river as well as the Botanical garden and the land allegedly bought by the Aga Khan for his burial. He is reported to regularly visit Aswan for treatment in the Aswan sands which have healing properties. We went back to the ship to sail out in the evening.

The ship itself was like a fair sized five star hotel on water.  After a sumptuous meal there was a ‘jelabeyya party’. Not in the mood for fancy dress, we played cards in our suite instead till we were ready to drop off. We had tried TV but could not tune into an English speaking channel. Al Jazeera was on air and we saw some of the footage from Cairo and Alexandria, without knowing which was which. We did a “sannu ki ai” and retired.

Coming down for breakfast the next morning, the 28th I noticed armed guards at the entrance to the ship. They had’nt been there the night before. Clearly, all was not well. We were docked in Kom-Omumgo and the grand temple was right on the bank.  Everything was just so and picture post-cardish. We sailed after the temple tour to Edfu for a visit to the Edfu temple before sailing to Luxor, our final destination, from  where we were to fly back to India. At Edfu, a very small town, we saw a small rag-tag procession, carrying ‘lathis’, contained by the police. They looked , as my husband remarked, “bhade ke”, but I was left with a sense of premonition.

When the tour programme had come we had been surprised that we would fly out of Luxor. I had even felt a little cheated as I would have liked to go back to Cairo to shop at leisure before we left.  But as things turned out, it was to be the greatest stroke of luck. Luxor, with its historical importance is not only a popular tourist destination, but also its economy depends almost entirely on tourism. We were to be there two days. The guide assured us that it was too far from the big cities to be affected by the protests and processions there. We saw the amazing Hatshepsut Temple and the Valley of the Kings  all through the morning. Travelling in the stark desert interior where these are located, the sense of remoteness from all possible worlds was palpable. However, we needed to cross to the east side of Luxor to change currency. It was there that that sense was broken. There were small contingents of people, mostly youth , all men, and a large police presence. We stopped to drink sugar cane juice, a paradisal drink in Luxor, the largest producer of sugar cane in Egypt. It was on the TV at the juice shop that we had our English speaking guide tell us what Al Jazeera was reporting. The images were unbelievable, because of the rapid escalation of the violence evident in them. We had just left those cities behind! That night there was no TV signal on the ship.

By 30th morning tourist cancellation were being received. People were worried  about their livelihood. The streets on our way to the Karnak and Luxor temples in the city were thronging with armed youth and also old men and women. They were guarding their homes, apparently from officials who were to demolish them with meager recompense and no alternative residences. There was discontent on many counts.  Poverty, unemployment, urban development which did not factor in social justice , and a government which people perceived to be  authoritarian, corrupt and uncaring. A stretch of land between the two temples, funded by the UNESCO was under excavation to be restored to its ancient glory. In its wake it would demolish existing structures like the oldest and largest Coptic  church in Luxor , the two-year old Suzan Mubarak library and a huge children’s high school, to identify only a few. People felt the Government’s apathy to their real needs. I wondered how long Luxor’s  famed “love for tourists” would last in the face of these onslaughts and perceived injustices.

The last leg of the city’s tour was to evoke memories of the 1984 riots in Delhi. Police guard and protection had allegedly been withdrawn to punish the people. People were talking about gangsters being released from prisons with a free hand to loot.  In the city in search of a restaurant for lunch, we chanced upon a demonstration 100 metres away from us. Just short of it was a street where men with lathis and cutlasses were ordering passing vehicles to turn back. They were the employees of hotels with tourists , who were readying themselves for impending attacks on the hotels by the mob. Establishments and residents had raised their own defence forces. We went back to the ship to be picked up at 4 pm for the airport. Going back to Cairo was impossible and inadvisable. Many tourists flying out to and from Cairo had to stay back. We thanked our lucky stars we were not among them.

That night the National Democratic party headquarters in Luxor was set on fire.

Peter Cruddas Initiative Internship- “Telling the story about Award participants who are making a difference”

The Peter Cruddas Social Innovation Initiative aims to recognise participants who demonstrate enterprising attitudes, and who have used their Award Programme to benefit a specific section of society. The Initiative has been set up to recognise these individuals for their commitment to changing the lives of others.

This initiative aims to encourage social innovation amongst Award participants around the world. The measures of success (or KPIs) will be an increase in the number of case studies and stories featuring social change being collected by the Secretariat and an increase in the number of media articles featuring such stories.
The initiative will be managed by the head of communications based in the London office and utilising the services of the regional directors. In each region a young Gold Award holder will be engaged as an intern for 3 months each year, whose role will be to identify and write up the social innovation success stories within their own region and feed these into the Secretariat structures. These young people will be called Peter Cruddas Regional Interns. (See appendix for further details of recruitment, selection and management of these posts.) In addition, there will be a Peter Cruddas Initiative Co-ordinator, based in the London office, who will co-ordinate the initiative on behalf of the head of communications, and report into them.

At the end of the year, three social innovators from each region will be selected to attend a showcase event to be held in London attended by Peter Cruddas and HRH The Earl of Wessex. The most impactful of these social innovators will be chosen by Peter Cruddas, on recommendation from the IAA, to enjoy a tailor-made one week induction course, possibly within the CMC Markets environment. This reward will be flexible and aims to provide the social innovator with a further opportunity to gain experience internationally either within CMC markets or an appropriate work place experience at a national or international level.

Social innovators will be Gold Award participants who saw a problem or opportunity in their community or halfway around the world, and took action to develop a solution. They will combine accentuated leadership, a drive for social justice, and excellent managerial ability to create social projects that benefit human and community development. The shortlisted individuals selected to attend the London event will be distinguished as Peter Cruddas Social Innovators.

The Peter Cruddas Foundation, established by Peter Cruddas, chief executive of CMC Markets plc, in 2006 and the International Award Association’s Global Benefactor, is supporting the Initiative. Peter has been a passionate supporter of the International Award since 2005, when he became our first Global Benefactor, and is underlining his continuing commitment through this exciting project.

Year two of the Peter Cruddas Initiative will build on the success of year one, widening the scope to focus on youth engagement. A paid intern is to be recruited at regional level to provide support on communications and research projects and activities.

The Asia Pacific Regional office will be calling for applications for a 6-12 month internship commencing in April. The Initiative's first ever intern Rahul Shankar (pictured left) reflects on his experience: "Thousands of young people are creating social change and this initiative enables us to find these innovators and give them due recognition. I was honoured to have been the first intern to find such stories and look forward to the second year of the initiative."

Know more about the Peter Cruddas Initiative.

- Information from Asia Pacific Regional News Letter and the IAA Website

Connecting Award Strategy at the Asia Pacific Regional Board Meeting 2011

The Regional Board Meeting (RBM), to be held in India from 5th-9th April, will feature key sessions on Connecting Award Strategy to National/Global Agendas and Award Governance in Practice.

The International Award Association Strategic Directions Overview will feature presentations by One Award Alliance Project Director-Stephen De-Wint; an Overview of the 12 Strategic Projects 2011/12 and Beyond; details of the Capacity Building Project by Head of Operations, Tim Smith; need for Advocacy and Profiling, research and data collection by the IAA Programme Team; and the 2011-12 Regional Plan by the Asia Pacific Regional Team.

Peter Kaye, Honorary Advisor will facilitate the National Strategic Directions that will include sharing of key goals/strategies, connecting the Award strategy of the region and Award Governance in practice in addition to Funding/Pricing Models that need to/can be adopted.

The focus will be on digital directions through adopting online Award management systems, E-learning and training for best possible youth engagement and development. The Youth Engagement Project and the highlight on the upcoming International Gold Event 2011 scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, the importance of youth representatives in the International Council reflects the importance to give young people charge in governance.

The NAA Status Summary Reports in the National Directors Strategic Alliance Forum with presentations by respective national directors addressing need for partnerships, strategy and performance, leader training, nation building and fund raising will allow for impressive strategy making and best practice sharing for consistent Award development.

Download the programme and agenda from the IAA website.

Calling Bronze Award participants to go on Adventurous Journey to Arravalli Hills-20th to 22nd February 2011

Bronze Expedition to Arravalli Hills, Tikklee, 20th to 22nd Feb 2011

Day -1
Departure from New Delhi for Tikklee Hills by Road Transport at 8-00hrs.Arrival at Tikkling Camp at 9-30am. Trek to the surrounding areas. Practice on Rope obstacles, survival skills, etc.Evening theoretical class. Night Halt at Tent.


Trek to obstacle areas, crawling, mountain climbing, tarzan swings, etc. Practice on Rope obstacles. Evening theoretical class & Camp fun and cultural Programme. Overnight at Camp.

Day-3 Camp Activities in the Morning. Breakfast Departure for Delhi at 9 a.m. by Road Transport. Arrival New Delhi at 11-00 am.

The fees for the above expedition will be Rs. 2000/- (Rupees two thousand only) per participant which includes Transportation, Food Expenses and other expenses.The students have to arrange for their own breakfast for the day 1.

Contact Jyoti Burrett (9953740397 / Devanjali Dutt-9811133430)
Programme Interns, The International Award for Young People India

All the programmes are subject to a last minute change.

Good Schools of India Journal @ www.GSI.IN

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