The International Gold Event (IGE) 2011 in Kenya from a Delegate's Perspective- Rajarshi Banerjee with his report



It is undoubtedly tough to sum up an eventful experience like the one at the IGE in a limited space, or time. But still, it's also always worth attempting to tell the story.

Way back in 2004, when I received my Bronze Award, I first came to know about an event called the International Gold Event from the then Secretary General, Mr David Manson. Seven years hence, now that I sit here and chew my pen-cap wondering how and where exactly do I begin my IGE-story, all I can think of is Dr Kurt Hahn's quote which I have come across the Award Handbook over and over again : "When the mind is stetched with new experience, it can never return to its former dimensions."

After much anticipation and much preparation of all sorts, the much awaited day for me approached, the 15th of August, 2011, when I boarded my train to Delhi so that I could complete a few sets of work at my NAA and also to prepare myself thoroughly for the IGE which was to be held in another 16 days. The fortnight went by with a lot of work to be completed including the previous issue of Award India, three Training Workshops to conduct, leading a new Research Project out of town, and of course catching up on IGE preparation regularly. And finally on the 1st of September, after a hard day's work at the office, and an awsome dinner party thrown by our National Director, we both (Devanjali Dutt and me) set off for the Airport at 01:00 to board our flight for Nairobi at 04:15am. Excitement knew no bounds now. I was finally living my long treasured dream...!!!

At around 14:50 on the 2nd of September, we landed at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport and as soon as we were out of the plane, we came across the large banners, flakes and notices, with the IGE logo ( with the tagline for this time : "Each One Reach One" ) that greeted and welcomed us. The Award Programme in Kenya had had a tie-up with the Airport Authorities for the IGE and naturally our immigration processes and other airport formalities went smooth and quick, until we were met by a Gold Awardee from the President's Award , Kenya, who greeted us and made sure that we got to the car that had been allotted for us which took us to the KCB training Centre, an awesome place where we would be staying for a day. 

The car ride from the airport to the Training Centre took us around 2 and a half hours and as we reached our destination, there was no stopping us when we saw most of the other delegates from different countries on the ground playing ice-breaking games. Forgetting the long flight and the long hours we were sleep-deprived, we both joined the rest of the group before even getting to our allotted rooms. I met the others, trying to remember as many names as possible at the first go, and introducing myself helping the others pronounce my own name, and through the course of the group activities and fun games, getting to know each other. In the evening when I completed my registration formalities, I got allotted to the Buffalo (Nyati) Group, one of the 8 groups which were named after popular animals of Kenya (Buffalo, Cheetah, Giraffe, Rhino, Crocodile, Hyena, Eagle, Elephant), and which would be our respective families for the IGE. A group-meeting was next scheduled and our leader Ms Susan Kim briefed us about the next day's activities. I had volunteered to be on the Communications Team, so i had another meeting in line to attend after this where we Comms Volunteers were assigned tasks by the leaders Ms Tina Nash and Mr Amir Sadeh, which was followed by  dinner and then I went to my room, met my room-mate Ebrahim from Canada, and started unpacking and repacking my luggage to shuffle and make it suitable for the next day.

CAMPING IN SAGANA 

Early next morning (03/09/'11) at around 05:00, the whole group of 92 delegates as well as the staff-members assembled in their groups at the reception lobby and we boarded two buses that would take us to a camp site at Sagana. After an exciting ride through the streets of Nairobi with the constant chatting with newly made friends on the bus provided for the event by the National Youth Service dept., we finally reached the Sagana White Water Rafting Camp. After a briefing by the Camp Chief Instructor, and getting to our alotted tents, the hungry group rushed for lunch as soon as it was announced. 

Post lunch, there were four camp activities each taken up by two (of our 8) groups together, and these activities were to be repeated four times taken up by different groups so that all the groups got to participate and enjoy all the activities. This afternoon, Buffalo group had Rock Climbing. We travelled by bus to a Rockface by a river bank, and after some practice on a basic face, we attempted climbing a moderate face of the "Baboon Rock" , named after the tree, on the top of the rock, bearing fruits which Baboons are fond of. The sudden burst of shower restricted us from climbing and we managed to reach our bus treading the ankle deep red mud. Before we could call an end to the eventful day, our bus got stuck in the mud and the enthusiastic IGE delegates jumped of the bus, barefoot getting drenched in the rain to push the bus helping the driver to take steer the wheels off the mud; and then there was the slipping and falling and splashing and throwing and dancing and posing for photos in the mud. Finally as we reached the campsite in the evening, our group took turns to enjoy the warm shower in the camp bathroom. Before and after the much awaited dinner, we met the others and were engrossed in sharing the events of the day in respective groups and also discussing about the Award Programme or other general aspects in each other's countries. A room, which was actually a dorm in the camp, was transformed into a disco theque and everyone knows what followed till we got back to our tents at night!

Next morning after breakfast and a group meeting, I had to rush to the Comms Meeting after the distribution of the Daily Bulletin which was one of the products of the Comms Team and next I joined my group to go for Hiking in the nearby area scaling the "Donkey Hill". The trek was really enjoyable, the terrain was sometimes challenging especially owing to the nail-sized thorns that poked and scraped our arms, legs, and face when we walked, limped or even crawled to make it to the top of the hill and back down. but yes the view from the top was spectacular, the miles of natural land spread beneath us, and close at the foothill lay our tiny campsite. After some group photos and some weird crazy poses clicked, we came down and freshenned up for lunch, then got ready for our next activity Cycling. Now let me mention here that I'm a pathetic biker and so while the rest of my group were divided into two groups for the bicycle expedition (one that went upill and the other that went on the gradual plain) I ended up in a third group trailing behind either of the groups, falling off and bruising myself all over, as if the thorns in the morning didn't already do a good job. Anyway, the second (and last) evening of our camp was spent similarly : visiting a souvenier shop, swimming in the pool at the campsite, dancing at the disc, sitting around the bonfire to enjoy the warmth on the cold evening and enjoying ourselves singing, playing hilarious camp-games, or just chatting our heart out.

On the 5th of September, our day started really early, after my group briefing at breakfast and the Comms Meeting that followed, I hurried to pack my sack and keep everything ready at my tent and go off for my last activity, that has been the hit of the camp as we heard from the other groups :  Rafting. After a thorough verbal briefing, we took a bus and a truck (to carry the rafts) to another bank of the river from where we were to raft downstream crossing the rapids to finally reach the campsite. Before starting off, we practised the different techinical exercises and positions that would be required, and to be honsest I was a bit nervous. But when we set off, the fear was gone, the fun-element was too much to let fear dominate. The adrenaline rush before each rapid and watching people fall off their rafts were too exciting and funny, until the rest of us who didn't fall off accidentally actually jumped off our rafts to swim in the chilly water. Above all the Grand Finalle was the best of the camp activities and soon after we reached the campsite, we dried our clothes and boarded the bus after a farewell to the camp instructors to set off for Naivasha that would be our home for the rest of the IGE.

THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY LODGE AND GOLF RESORT

In the late afternoon, we reached The Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort, which was located 30 minutes off the road on an isolated, and elevated land which was surrounded by nothing but open natural land punctuated by herds of zebras, deer, and baboons. We were awed by the hospitality and the warm welcome we were met with by the hotel staff; most of them were at the reception lobby area, welcoming each of us individually, and the Masai Tribe people had a Tribal Dance ready for us. While we enjoyed the performance and received the tokens of present they had for each of us, the keys of our respective cottages, bungalows or villas were handed to us, and then there were buses to take us to our houses. 


We freshened up at our respective places and then went back to the lobby and then to the Conference Hall, where there was a briefing about the flow of the event henceforth. After clarification of all the doubts or queries, handouts regarding important schedules maps of the different conference halls or tents, etc were handed out, and then we broke for dinner after I had attended a brief Comms Meeting. Post dinner people spread out at the Lobby, some accessing the Internet through Wi-Fi, some cuddling up on the cosy couches or sofas and chatted along, some went to the bar enjoying themselves, some to the souvenier shop browsing and shopping, some by the swimming pool side taking a walk in the lawn, some enjoying star gazing with the professional expert from the hotel who had his telescope set up, some strumming their guitar and singing out, and some just preparing for the next day. All in all, we all began to have FUN like never before.

Next day was the 6th of September, the day of the Official Launch of the International Gold Event, 2011. There was a huge marquee set up in the middle of the golf grounds and the flags of all the member countries of the Award Programme fluttered in a row bordering the entry path to the marquee; it was great walking on the path and stopping before our respective National Flags to have a better glance at it. It was a great feeling to be able to represent India myself among so many other Nations. After we were all seated, there were a couple of entretaining performances which was followed by the arrival of the State Head of Kenya and the National Patron of the Award Programme, President Mwai Kibaki. He declared the IGE 2011 open and after a few speeches by himself and other eminent personalities of the Award Programme, including former IGE Delegate and African Youth Representative Mr Olunga Otieno, we broke for lunch.

In the afternoon, we all assembled at the Conference Hall for the briefing on the Workshops, Service Projects as well as the Youth Forum. The evening was a free one for the preparations for the Regional Nights. This night was allotted to Africa. After dinner the African Night began. A very interesting and warm welcome to the African Regional Night set the mood for the evening for all the IGE Attendees at Naivasha. Guests were made to walk backwards while entering the conference hall, exhibiting an traditional form of welcome.As we all settled down inside , mesmerised by the stage near the centre around which we gathered and awed at the colourful stalls laid out around the room, displaying magazines, award materials, regional souveniers, and other items from each country, the MC announced a lucky draw, the tickets of which had already been handed over to each one of us. 

Before the audience could completely take in all the excitement and interesting African traditional costumes, all round the booming Kenyans welcome caught everyone's attendtion - Karibu was the shout and all of us were ready to witness the world of Africa. A short presentation was put up and quite a few interesting facts about Kenyanswas showcased. The West Africans followed by welcoming all in their own dialect and again the crowd were set for a virtual visit to this part of Africa. A wonderfully constructed skit was presented to portray the age old tradition of story telling around a lantern in the evening. The ambience of a cold night with a huddle around a flickering lantern wasd amazing, and this was followed by an energetic traditional dance. The lucky draw followed next with quite a few traditional items presented to members of the audience, triggering a wave of applause from the crowd. Zambia, Seychelles, Uganda, Ghana, Swaziland all had their presentations or dance forms showcased and for the crowd, there was no bounds to fun and celebration. 


Mike from Gilbraltar emphatically stated, 'I could stay here all night, the celebration was amazing!.' 
Matthew from New Zealand exclaimed 'Quite interesting and beautiful photos are displayed here. I loved that!'
But the floor was stolen by the South Africans, each and every one joined in the dance to the tune of 'waving flag' and cheered to the ear cracking sound of the vuvuzela. The bright yellow clad South Africans brought in an interesting presentation that left the audience rolling around with laughter, which was followed by a quiz with pins and badges as rewards. 


'The vibrant colour, energy and enthusiasm of the SOuth Africans was really contagious and not just them, the whole of the Africna region ensured a great time for all of us' - said Mihela from Romania


What a way to start the regional nights with a huge bang! The true essence and feel of 'hakuna matata' was no only showcase but rather cel;ebrated in its true spirit and by the end of it, all of us had returned from a tour around Africa.

The 7th of September started off with the workshops just after breakfast and the group-briefings and the Comms Meeting. There were Six workshops altogether out of which we delgates could choose and attend only four. 
  1. Reaching Goals (Research)
  2. Reaching Youth (Training)
  3. Reaching the World (Communication)
  4. Reaching Decision (Governance)
  5. Reaching Policy (Policy)
  6. Reaching Support (Fundraising)
I opted for, and was allotted, the first four workshops which, like the  Camp Activities were repeated and we took turns to attend them in each shift in the course of two days. On this particular day, I attended Governance and Research workshops respectively, punctuated by Lunch/Tea-breaks. The workshops were conducted by staff members, and through some group activities and some information packed statistical data, the workshops usually begain with, or sometimes with some really interesting and innovative activities. But what was common in all the workshops was the way we Delegates took over the discussion and began sharing of information and ideas and the manner in which each of our NAAs or IOs actually worked on a particular issue. In a nutshell, the workshops were really informative, educating and enriching, and we could help each other with the aim of taking back the plus-points of a particular NAA and try to implement in relevent aspects in our own NAA.

In the evening, after dinner, followed the American Night. American Night was surely was as entertaining and fulfilling as a Regional Night. Canada was the first to present their performance starting with a map, pointing out Canada for the audience, followed by a really funny video from a reality show of Canada called the Rick Mercer’s Report. “That was hilarious, I couldn’t stop laughing after the video.” – said Koko from Ghana. Next followed a video presentation comprising of Canadian facts like music, population, movie stars, festivals, sports, and so on. Audience cheered the most while the Canadian trivia was going on where interesting prizes were won for right answers during the quiz. Next was Bermuda starting off with a melodious tune and some pretty interesting fact through a presentation , mentioning the discoverer Juan de Bermudez, Bermuda’s population, the 21 sq miles of area, ethnicities, national flag, the famous pink sand, architecture and of course the cheerful Johny Barnes. Bahamas followed Bermuda and the song “Brown Girl In the Ring” was a good choice to keep the audience involved and the applause knew no bounds which was followed by a video presentaition conducted by the funny Chris Fernandes, showing why the land is called Paradise Island, and about the GAHA, the popular 663 ft deep Dean’s Blue Hole, and the list goes on. Dominica came up with specifically clarifying the difference between the country and Dominican Republic and then some quick fact about the land, the flag, the topography, and the history of the Award. 


“The Colourful dress is what I like the most, it’s awesome !”  exclaimed Tina Nash.

Barbados came up with a presentation too about their nation, and the fact that their NAA would celebrate it’s 50th anniversary in 2013. Beliz stated showcased the ethnical and cultural diversity there which triggered a lasting applause in the audience. Brazil was the last one for the evening, and the end undoubtedly ensured that the night was a Hit. After enjoying a Pictorial presentation about the map, area, and the Amazon forests in the north, and of course Rio de Janeiro, the audience joined in the Carnaval Dance.


“The cultural diversity is what I enjoyed, and it’s really interesting to be here getting to meet everyone from different parts of the American region.” – said Matthew Darling from New Zealand. 


On the 8th of September, I got to attend the Communications and Training Workshops and then spend every minute of our free time to prepare for the Regional Night, after all it was the Asia Pacific Night that evening. 


SERVICE PROJECT
The next two days were dedicated to the Service Projects. There were four underprivileged schools (Empash School, Soila Masai Girls Centre, Longonot Township Primary School, and Ndabibi Primary School) that we visited in four groups each (I went to Empash) and helped them by donating school materials like chalks, crayons, exercise books, pens, pencils, clothes, shoes, etc etc etc, but most importantly we worked together with the school students as well as the teachers and workers to build them classroom floors, walls, and paint them rooms. 


We shared our lunch boxes with the school kids and played football with them managing a victory in a game after a series of losses, planted saplings in the school compunds and enjoyed the whole two days. In the evenings of these two days, we had the Regional Night for EMAS on the 9th September and an entertaining evening organised by the hosts and Awardees from Kenya on the 10th.

The 11th September, being a Sunday, was a day for the Game Drive, a day when the IGE Delegates gathered at the lobby of the Great Rift Valley Lodge, Naivasha at 4:30 in the morning waiting to board the allotted buses for the much awaited ride to the Nakura Lake Sanctuary. At around 5:30, the buses left though we sleepy heads weren’t in a state to cheer, we were so very excited to see “The Big Five” of Africa which includes the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, and Rhino that even a break down on our way couldn’t dampen our spirits. Finally, after the delay, we reached our destination and underwent a short but really informative briefing about the sanctuary, it’s area, it’s population of all animals and birds, the habitats food, and also the challenges that are faced, by the forest officer, who herself had pursued the Award Programme long back. After the factual briefing, we were also informed about the environmental as well as safety rules to be followed whilst inside.

And finally it began, we were “Into The Wild”, holding our breath (not sleepy anymore) alert and ready with cameras…..any moment now…!!!After witnessing some really hilarious and of course cute mischiefs from gangs of monkeys and baboons, we enjoyed the sight of beautiful antelopes and some spotted deer, some just grazing, some cautious and scared of human presence, some frolicking and galloping around. While the cameras never stopped clicking and the urgent, enthusiastic hushing whispering seemed to continue forever, next came the Zebras in their herds; what a lovely sight to watch the Black and White stripes in the lush green and the various shades of wild green in the depth of the woods. A blurry pink haze in the distant bank of the Lake began to clear up and take shape and finally we came close to the lake and descended from the bus to see, hear, and capture, in our cameras, the wonderful union of Flamingos punctuated with a few pelicans. Some more Antelopes and a couple of herds of really wild Buffalos were the next ones to be witnessed by over a hundred pair of eager eyes, all excited and feeling that “We are all connected to each other, / In a circle, in a hoop that never ends” and taking in and living every single moment of the African Safari.

And before we all could even take in and digest the awesome sightings we had for the day, another of the Big Five decided to pay us a visit. The Rhino was initially spotted behind a bush and almost missed because of its camaflouge, but soon it came out and the thousand clicks of the wannabe paparazzis almost never stopped. And just when we were about to be content of the awsome experience we were having already, the beaming Giraffes came into sight, with the youthful Zebras playing around in the background. These spotted creatures were as mesmerised seeing us just as we were witnessign them.


''Although I can't climb the neck of the Giraffes as I had crazily wished as a kid, I'm really excited to see them. Couldn't be happier.'' --- exclaimed a glad Devanjali Dutt


After a display of some more mischievious and scary activities form the Baboons while we were having lunch, and  some more Antelopes playing around, and Zebras grazing all around, and a Buffalo charging at the our bus, we finally came to a close to our safari and we all returned happy, satisfied, and yes with a complete feel of Africa. IGE 2011 Attendies were lucky enough to enjoy such a wonderful safari and of course it was really the best form of break from the serious work we're putting in together all day.


YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE ELECTIONS AND ONE AWARD ALLIANCE 


The afternoon back at the Lobby of the Hotel was spent on the Youth Representative Elections in the respective Regions. The One Award Alliance briefing was conducted through a short session.

On the 12th of September, the Regional Directors, International Council Members, Board of Trustees, the Previous Youth Reps, Former IGE Delegates, and the HRH Earl of Wessex himself had arrived through the day, and the day for the Delegates went by briefing sessions, opting for and preparing for the Youth Forum on the next day. The preparations for each workshop was really hectic and brainstorming, but at the end of the day, we all were content and confident to raise not only our own voice at the Youth Forum Workshops, but the voice of the Youth, the Voice of the entire Awardee/Volunteer population of the world.

The 13th of September, the Big Day, the Youth Forum started off just after breakfast. The Youth Forum was comprised of six different workshops where teams analysed an issue and then engaged the International Council, Secretariat staff and other stakeholders to deepen the understanding of the various topics. Finally, the IGE delegates developed strategic plans to define the next steps for engaging after the IGE.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WORKSHOPS


Partnerships
  • The objective of this workshop was to define and develop an understanding of the nature and nuances of partnerships.It was agreed that a partnership is a collaboration of two parties for a mutual benefit or to achieve a common goal; therefore partnerships exist with all stakeholders of the Award. 
  • The workshop raised the value of ensuring a common understanding of partnerships, as well as the importance of quality management and risk mitigation. Through effective partnering with attendees, the team will work towards developing a set of guidelines as an additional resource for Award Authorities, as well as a list of potential partners. 
  • The IGE delegates leading the workshop also pledged to engage other Gold Award holders to find partnerships, in the spirit of the IGE 'each one reach one'.
Award Holders Networks
  • This workshop began with an identification of three potential scenarios to describe the current status of Award Holders Associations (AHAs) within different countries.Firstly, a country may not have any form of AHA; secondly, a country may have historically had an AHA but this may have become inactive for a multitude of reasons that the workshop touched upon; lastly a country (e.g. Singapore) may have an established and successful AHA, but there remains room for improvement. Respectively of the above-mentioned, the delegates then summarised responses to such scenarios with three E's - Establishment, Energising and Enhancing.
  • Several strategies were discussed to address the different aspects of AHAs and participants of the workshop were able to contribute to developing an international strategy.The workshop focused debate on whether AHAs should be restricted to Gold award holders (GAHAs) or extend to include Bronze and Silver award holders as well. No consensus was reached and several parties expressed a mixed opinion on this issue.
Environment and Sustainability 
  • The objective of the workshop was to build an understanding of the links between the Award and the environmental, as well as develop a sustainability policy which would demonstrate the Awards’ commitment to the development of young people by creating a good environment.
  • The discussions raised that the environment is an important issue to IGE delegates and it was agreed that the Award should come up with a framework for conservation of the environment. It was suggested that participants should be aware of their impact on the environment and possibly engage in conservation measures when undertaking the sections of the Award.
  • The Award authorities/bodies should also be encouraged to think of environmentally friendly ways to operate.
Youth Engagement
  • With the goal of increasing youth engagement, the team discussed the different aspects of this issue and considered strategies for meaningful youth empowerment within the Award. Various methods of youth engagement were discussed and it was agreed that youth engagement is a core element to the success of the Award programme and its future sustainability.
  • Through the discussions, the team developed a short list of potential steps to be explored including engaging youth with micro-financing to support the Award, developing mentorship programs, involving youth at all levels of the Award (both management and operational) and create awareness through networking with Award Holders.
Youth Employment and Skills
  • This workshop focused on identifying skills gained from the Award and those which are required for employment, as well as to developing strategies to address youth issues. The team engaged the attendees on how youth employment and skills development could be supported through the Award.
  • Potential next steps was discussed included reviewing the suggested skills in the Award Handbook to ensure local relevance and employability, encourage publicity and advertising for the Award programme, and provide certification for those skills developed through the programme from accredited and recognised bodies.
Communications
  • The goal of this workshop was to discuss some key challenges facing the Award at the international, national and local levels, as well as propose solutions to enhance standardised communications avenues through social media.
  • The feedback shared highlighted the importance of consistency and standardising the Award's image and communications.
  • Going forward, each member agreed to take the proposed communications committee to their National Award Authority and implement it in the future. Additionally, delegates agreed to advocate the importance of coordinated global efforts.
The Youth Forum highlighted the enthusiasm of the delegates and potential that delegates have to make a considerable impact on, and for, the Award. Through the strategic planning sessions, teams began to develop and explore next steps for further engagement on these issues after the IGE. Additionally, through informal discussions, it became abundantly clear that there were many different links between the workshops and through a coordinated effort a greater impact could be achieved.

The eventful day was no doubt a fruitful one and it concluded with a party mood at the exciting Bush Dinner, where traditional dances and traditional artefacts were displayed by the Masai Tribe, which was accompanied by an awsome meal.

The 14th of September began after breakfast with a further brainstorming session within the same groups as in the Youth Forum, with the motto of Strategically Planning the course of proposed actions suggested in the Youth Forum at the different workshops. In the evening the Informal Dinners were in Regional Groups with Delegates, Youth Reps, Ic members, IS members, Regional Directors, Trustees all dining together in respective Dining Rooms allotted for their Region. The evening was dedicated to discussions, and briefings regarding the Regional issues or general information updates on the regions.

The 15th of September was a day spent on Communications. Sharing of presentations of the workshops, or photographs taken by us who were on the comms Team, or exchange of contact details were all  that took place on this day apart from the Feedback session that was really the most interesting part which had three distinct parts : first was the open house discussion where each and everyone of us including staff membersand delegates, expressed our individual feedbacks and how we could take ahead the energy and make a positive change to the Award in our respective countries and on the whole to the Award in the World; the second part constituted the distribution of T-shirts with the IGE logo on the front, on the back of which we had to write down our Pledges for the next 3 years , Pledges to remain committed to the Award programme, Pledges relevant to "Each One Reach One". The third part of this session was the Group-Presentations by each of the eight groups expressing their gratitude, thanks, feedbacks, or even performing as a a group. Dilesh from our Buffalo Group performed a comic act and was cheered by all.

By now, all the official activities of the IGE 2011 had sadly come to a close; the much awaited and much prepared for IGE has  approached its end. People had started packing their bags with sullen hearts, getting ready to leave the next day, (some unfortunately that night itself), but not wasting a single moment to enjoy the last few hours with the friends that were made. Promises were made to be in touch. A new way of living the Award was beginning for all of the Delegates.

Later in the evening the Cocktail Party was enjoyed on the grounds and the Cameras never stopped clicking, and then followed the Formal Gala Dinner where dance performances by the famous guiness Record winner Sarakasi Group, music by the Musicians, songs, Gift presentation to Ms Gillian Shirazi (for her presence at the Last IGE as Secretary General) Certificate Distribution for Delegates punctuated the meal. 


One of the greatest moments of my life came when I was called to stage as one of the only two Delegates to represent and address all and deliver a speech at the Closing Ceremony. I spoke out my heart and was overwhelmed by the applause and the congratulations that came my way later, some from the HRH himself. I guess that's all about the Award Programme, the little words of recognition are really rewarding, perhaps more valuable than the certificates and badges. 

The night never seemed to end, partying went on (thanks to the DJ who was never tired of playing). Sadly some of the Delegates had to leave for the airport while the party went on. Others tried to cling on to the very last hours of the dream event. I went back to my house at around 03:00 at night, really exhausted and completed the last-minute packing was took a last glance at the view through my balcony. Next morning, we all gathered at the Lobby, checking out and boarding respective buses according to our Flight timings and thus came to a close the International Gold Event 2011. After my final round of farewell to my friends and staff members, I left with a heavy heart. On the way to the Jomo Kenyatta Airport a feeling overwhelmed me; I felt that it had been the best decision of my life to join the Award Programme 9 years back. I already began missing the event, but we all know we'll be in touch, and some of us will get to meet again for sure.

And yes, IGE had been my dream for 7 years, and now I have lived it. What could be more rewarding??? But the IGE not only bonded us with a life-long friendship but also trained and educated us to become capable Leaders and Ambassadors. It is the youth, it is Us wh need to take the Award ahead from here, and we look towards a better future for the everexpanding Award Family because we do not want the younger generation to miss out on anything that we all have gained through the Award. We need to take charge and we hope we can keep up to the expectations of our previous leaders as well as ourselves. In the words of Robert Frost : "...miles to go before I sleep / And miles to go before I sleep."


See more photos on our facebook page


--
Rajarshi Banerjee
IGE 2011 Delegate and Award Intern, The International Award for Young People
Award Programme Foundation 
86 Shahpur Jat, Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi 110049, India
Phone: +91 11 2649 7154, Fax: +91 11 2649 7165, Website: iayp.in
Member: The Duke of Edinburgh's Award International Foundation
Registered Charity No. TR/2795


ENGAGE - EQUIP EMPOWER REWARD

All photos and content belong to IGE India 2011 Delegates and IAYP India, any use of information is subject to approval from IAYP India team 

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