Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: It is a unique opportunity for youngsters to share their vision of a better country. India Habitat Centre here in association with National Geographic Channel has invited undergraduate students from across the country to participate in the fourth annual "Award for Habitat Young Visionary 2007".

The idea of the award is not to test the oratorical aptitude of the participants but to identify cogent and novel solutions germinating in their minds to the issues faced by our country.

Encouraging the youth to think again about the world they live in and share their horizons with cross-sections of civil society on the IHC platform, the award involves submission of a 1,500-word essay in English or Hindi on specified topics in the first stage. Based on the essay, 15 participants will be short-listed for the semi-finals and would be required to elaborate and defend their vision before a panel of eminent judges. Out of these, five participants will be chosen for the final to be held on January 30, 2007.

This innovative programme is open to all undergraduate students and is expected to be the first step in catalysing the process of vision formation among youth. The last date for submission of entries is October 30.

Speaking about the initiative, Rajesh Sheshadri of National Geographic Channel India said the channel was committed to making viewers re-assess the world they live in by providing relevant and relatable programming along with various on-ground initiatives that stimulate the intellect of our viewers and encourage them to think again.

"Through this unique effort of India Habitat Centre, and our partnership with them, we want to reach out to the youth, which is the think tank for our future, and inspire a spirit of creativity and innovative thinking," he added.

The winner of the award will get to attend a fully paid summer programme sponsored by India Habitat Centre at the Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. The first runner-up will get a unique internship opportunity with the National Geographic Channel and the other three finalists will get a chance to do an internship with an established non-government organisation.

"This award is a part of our conscious effort to initiate a process wherein young minds, while being engaged in the pursuit of academic excellence, dwell on the concerns of the country as a part of their perspective,'' said Raj Liberhan, Director of India Habitat Centre.