COVID 19 Admissions Open
Date of Upload: 29th September, 2021

The Round Square International Conference 2021

Theme “Blue Skies and Brave Conversations.”

With the COVID19 pandemic changing our lives over the past 18 months in ways we could not have imagined, for many of us, it has been a reminder of what really matters in the world, and where our priorities lie. We have every reason to look to the future with optimism… there is a glimmer of blue sky on the horizon… but in order to get there, we must first begin the brave conversations about the need for change. The Brave Conversation topics for the conference, were Identity and Inclusion, Climate Action and Ethical Leadership.

The Conference took place over 4 days and was online for three hours each day from Monday 20th to Thursday 23rd September 2021. Over 200 delegates came from different countries all over the world to share their own unique opinions and find common ground. Six delegates from our school had the opportunity to participate in this conference- Koustubh Parsai, Oli Mukherjee, Rachit Ajmera, Jhalak Gupta, Koustuvi Chouhan and Garvita Saxena.

Each day of the conference offered a mixture of keynote content from 14 speakers, followed by Baraza breakout discussions on that day’s topic, led by 100 student Baraza leaders from across the RS community.

The conference was hosted on a purpose-built Round Square Gather Town Campus which combined video calling with fun features in a custom 2D world.  It combined video conferencing with retro style gaming. Each day was framed around different RS IDEALS. It included ice-breaking activities,  keynote sessions, baraza breakouts ,student presentations along with live streaming of yoga ,kahoot, graffiti walls, art work, treasure hunts, online team gaming, basker’s corner etc

Renowned and accomplished keynote speakers from diverse fields enlightened the students. The keynote speakers were:


Dr Soumya Swaminathan

She was appointed as the World Health Organisation's first Chief Scientist in March 2019. As a paediatrician and a globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she has more than 30 years of experience in clinical care and research. 


Dr Lee Howell

He is currently serving as a Senior Advisor to the President of the World Economic Forum and has worked to launch economic initiatives to promote reconciliation in communities scarred by ethnic violence at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


Adedoyin Olayiwola 

He is a Nigerian-born British television presenter and Wheelchair basketball player. As a presenter, he has hosted a range of travel documentaries and sports programmes for BBC television. he was ultimately part of the British team that played at the 2004 Paralympics, securing a bronze medal. 


Sanam Naraghi Anderlini MBE

She is a British-Iranian author and Founder and Executive Director of the International Civil Society Action Network. She has worked as a peace strategist working on conflicts, crises and violent extremism and as a consultant to the United Nations on the subject of women and conflict. 


Alex Sheen

Alex Sheen is the founder of because I said I would, a social movement and non profit dedicated to bettering humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by the loss of his father, Alex and his organization send “promise cards” to anyone anywhere in the world at no cost. 


Sir David Hempleman-Adams OBE

Industrialist and adventurer, Sir David Hempleman Adams OBE, is the first person to complete the Adventurers Grand Slam, by reaching the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles as well as climbing the highest peaks in all seven continents, the first person to fly to the North Pole in a balloon, and the first person to make a balloon crossing of the Atlantic in an open basket.


Dr. Vandana Shiva

Dr Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, ecofeminist and anti-globalization author. Dr Shiva has written more than 20 books and is often referred to as "Gandhi of grain" for her activism associated with the anti-GMO movement. 


Lesogo Serolong

Lesego Serolong is the founder and CEO of Bokamoso Impact Investments, a social enterprise dedicated to connecting invisible rural populations in South Africa to economic opportunities using diverse agricultural and entrepreneurial platforms as change catalysts. She is also co-founder of Raise The Children International, a non-profit company that funds and coordinates a programme of secondary boarding school scholarships for orphans from rural areas.


Delegate’s Interview on the Annual Conference

Q: How important is it to have brave conversations in life and why?

[Koustubh Persai]

The need for having brave conversations arises due to the various problems that have been caused due to miscommunication. We need to remove the stigma and censorship that surrounds some of the topics such as mental/sexual health, LGBTQ+ rights, race, etc. We can have an honest and open conversation which will lead to a definite solution.


Q: Which of these issues- ‘Identity and Inclusion’, ‘Climate Action’, and ’Ethical Leadership’ impacted you the most? How do you intend to adapt it to your life?

[Jhalak Gupta]

‘Identity and Inclusion’ was definitely one topic that I felt associated with the most. Hearing the keynote speakers and other delegates talk, I realized that being an open-minded person didn’t simply just mean accepting the thoughts of other people, it is also listening, and understanding and perhaps even debating that we can come over our differences and allow the inclusion of everyone from all culture. This conference has made me want to research more into different societies all over the world and see how their interpretation of inclusion based on identity differs from my own.


Q: How has attending this conference affected your thoughts, beliefs and perceptions?

[Koustuvi Chohan]

The conference had made me become tremendously confident. It helped me transform my opinions and broadened my perspectives on a variety of topics like social identity when earlier I was constricted to a single view, which I believe has been a huge self-improvement.


Q: What has been the most unique experience for you at the conference?

[Rachit Ajmera]

The most unique thing that ever happened out of all the RSCs I’ve attended was the Picnic Blanket. I was able to make a lot of friends there, I had a lot of fun with poster making and speaking on a variety of Baraza topics. “Not all people can make a difference in the world, so we should help people who can't make a difference so that they can do so in the future” We should find ways to include different people in discussions, for a broader perspective and be inclusive.


Q: What have been your takeaways from this conference?

[Oli Mukherjee]

In the beginning keynote speaker Ofentse Lekwane made a statement that- “The only thing you need to wear is your confidence” And that line has struck my conscience the most. There are some things you only realize when someone else speaks to you, for me, this time I was able to understand how important being confident is and how it greatly helps in your decision making. Truly, the more we embrace ourselves, the more powerful we become. 


Q: What is your message to fellow students to motivate them to participate in such International Conferences?

[Garvita Asdani]

Participating in RSC would not only provide one with exposure to views and opinions from people across the world but at the same time would also help one broaden his/her own horizons; hence being able to express oneself truly. This is also a good opportunity to learn about different and diverse cultures and come to accept the same without any bias. The engaging activities offered by the conference help one to communicate with others having mutual interests and hence help one to make new friends by overcoming differences.

Credits:

Concept and Interview – Jiya Jawahar and Ojas Tiwari ( Publication team) 

Photography -  Kuber Rawat