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Building up leaders

Indian Junior Chamber was founded in 1949 at Kolkata. Today it has more than 1,500 chapters and 50,000 members nationwide. Globally it is spread over 120 countries with over 6 lakh members. It is a movement based on the concept of developing mankind. The organisation is controlled by a national governing body, of which the national president is the chairman and is headquartered at Mumbai.

Jaycees organises periodic conventions and seminars at national, regional and local levels. The mission of Jaycees is as follows: "To contribute to the advancement of the global community by providing the opportunity for young people to develop the leadership skills, entrepreneurship, social responsibility and fellowship necessary to create positive change".

The national president of Indian Junior Chamber, A.V. Vamanakumar, was in the city recently. This is for the first time in 12 years that a Keralite is heading this international organisation. In an exclusive interview with SUNIL NALIYATH, he talks about the organisation and about its focus for the future.

How far has Jaycees been socially relevant and meaningful for the younger generation in a country like India?

The Junior Chamber International is our parent body and is the biggest youth organisation in the world, which stands for providing personality and leadership development. I very strongly feel and am of the conviction that today what our nation faces is the lack of committed leadership. Our country has contributed so much for the growth and development of human civilisation. But in spite of all these even after 53 years of independence, 40 crores of Indians do not know how to read and write. In every sphere of human life, India faces a crisis and this is mainly generated out of the lack of committed leadership. So we should start the exercise of training the young generation from a very young age. .

What is Jaycee-ism all about?

Jaycee is not a service-oriented organisation. We primarily aim to provide leadership training to our members that will help them to achieve excellence in wherever and whatever they are. . Membership and right to participate in programmes is open to all young people, 18 to 40, through application with local chapter affiliated to Junior Chamber. Once a member crosses 40 years he/she can become an Associate member. Originally Junior Chamber started with Henry Giessenbier in 1915 in the USA.

You joined the organization in 1991. What has been your major contribution to the organisation?

In 1993 I was qualified as a zone level trainer. Today, I am an international qualified trainer of this organisation which has its international training academy in Florida. I have conducted more than 400 training programs in Kerala as well as also conducted a lot of orientation programmess for people interested in joining this organisation.

How has Jaycees been growing in Kerala?

We have 23 zones in India. Kerala is number one with respect to the number of units. And in the total number of memberships, Kerala stands at number two position. We could add 6000 plus new members last year. In Kerala we have 256 active units

`Focus for Future' was your personal theme for Jaycees. How did you conceive this idea and what is it all about?

I was very much influenced by Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam while coining this new theme. He asks a question to the entire Indians- Who is the poorest Indian? His answer is, the poorest Indian is not a person who does not have a single rupee with him but the poorest Indian is a person who does not have a vision of himself. So he is also thinking of India 2020 and how to build up that vision. I always believe in doing something that will be remembered ten years from today. This is not a theme for Jaycees alone but for the entire nation as well..

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