This Law student has a vision for world unity
His message was clear: “…No country is completely immune from the consequences of ills prevalent in other countries. In such a scenario …we need to begin thinking of the earth as a composite whole. Patriotism and the spirit of global oneness are not mutually exclusive feelings…love for one’s family does not demand hatred for the family of others. Erase from the hearts of people boundaries which should ideally exist only on maps…Ensure that borders remain borders of administrative jurisdiction, not limits of empathy…”
This was Vatsal Vasudev’s rendition of an imaginary, prospective opening speech that would be made by the U.N. Secretary General at the next session of the General Assembly. The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the U.N., in association with Brookings Institution, the public policy think-tank, organised a speech writing contest for university students across the world, in which Vatsal participated.
His speech was one of the three winning entries and has won him an opportunity to travel to New York and Washington DC, to meet the U.N. Secretary General and the leadership of the Brookings Institution. The two other winners are from Turkey and Kenya.
This contest saw participation from about 70 countries, with 230 entries. Vatsal Vasudev, a native of Uttar Pradesh, is currently in his second year at the National Law University, Jodhpur. An avid writer since school, he stumbled upon this competition while looking for a “break from law” during his semester break.
“I decided to follow my interests in my internship break. Hence, instead of a law internship, I signed up for a few essay writing competitions.” He saw success in some of them, like this one and a couple more, and awaits results of few others.
“To be successful in such competitions, awareness is as important as eloquence,” he opines. He believes that such understanding and consciousness about happenings around the world comes with time and continual reading of newspapers and magazines. Debates with friends at college, who are politically aware, also helps him form opinions.
He was a science student in school. Asked why he chose law, he says, “It is unfortunate that, in smaller cities, humanities is not considered important enough to be included as a separate stream. For lack of a better option, I did science in my 11th and 12th grade.”
On the written speech, he says that he had to sound politically correct, without taking names of countries. “The Secretary General would be addressing shrewd politicians, after all.” Diplomacy, he says, is the virtue of world politics. “Politicians around the world are becoming more of adept businessmen, dealing with politics like business. Interdependence of nations in this globalised era, and thus the importance of mutual empathy, is what I stressed upon in the speech.”
Vatsal is scheduled to leave for the U.S., fully sponsored by the UNAI, by September 21. He calls himself the “self-appointed middleman between the U.N. and the masses.” “I will make the U.N. chief aware of the problems existing around me.” He would also seek suggestions and approval for a journalism-activism campaign that he envisions with a couple of friends from college.
Another specific concern Vatsal would go to New York with is, “why the Security Council still has five permanent members with powers greater than other members.” He believes that it is time for this ‘colonial’ arrangement to end.
Vatsal plays chess and badminton in his free time. He is also an avid reader and “reads anything I can lay my hands on.” He plans to write the civil services examination after his law graduation. With eyes showing distant dreams, he ends, “In the long run, I want to become a political analyst. But for that, I must reach a social pedestal first, because everyone has something to say, but not everyone has the voice.” His speech can be read on http://outreach.un.org/unai/2012/07/20/.