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Cheering on Charan!

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Young leader makes compelling speech on student dissemination issue

By Sheryl Dixit

When Year 11 student Charan Naidoo addressed a gathering at an event in Melbourne to welcome Mr Navneet Suri,
High Commissioner of India recently, he left his audience impressed. Charan articulated the recurring problem of Indian students disseminating with their Australian peers in a concise and well-presented speech, bringing to the fore the need to address this problem and find a solution.
Speaking in the presence of Mr Suri; Ms Manika Jain, Consulate General of India in Melbourne; Mr Hong Lim, Member of Parliament; the Hon. David Davis, Member of Parliament; and Mrs Dee Ryal, Member of Parliament and other distinguished guests, Charan stated, “As a youth who has lived in Australia for most of my life,
it has become very clear to me that our young Indian migrants are facing a serious issue: a lack of acceptance within mainstream Australia, which is a problem that works both ways.”
His viewpoint of the issue from both perspectives was compelling and sensible, considering his youth. “…our Indian students are not doing enough to interact with those in our community and are not developing meaningful relationships and playing big enough roles in influencing how our communities are run,” he emphasized. “And because our Indian students are spending most of their time with those who are similar to them, they are not giving other Australians a chance to meet them and understand them and their way of life. Consequently, because other Australians do not understand Indian students, this creates friction and a lack of social cohesion, which is what leads to a clash of interest and ultimately conflict,” stated Charan, putting the main issue well into focus.
“What we need to do, is start a national conversation that explores how we can build an accepting and harmonious society, in both a meaningful and practical manner,” explained Charan while appealing to Mr Suri for his support in spearheading change via cultural awareness programs to help migrant youth and wider communities to integrate. “..it is only with education, understanding and acceptance that we can build a greater home away from India,” he emphasized.
Charan’s speech was very well received, and as a young spokesman for the wider Indian diaspora, he made his point in a commendable manner.
Charan, who currently studies at Kilvington Grammar School, is the happy recipient of an academic and leadership scholarship to study for a year in Portland, Oregon in the USA.
The scholarship was presented to Charan by ASSIST, a not for profit organization supporting promising students with opportunities to learn and contribute to some of the finest High Schools in the US. “I feel that I was awarded this scholarship based on my leadership
capability, my ongoing successes in debating and public speaking, excellent grades and also my involvement in sport,” said Charan, who feels that the experience of living and studying in the US will help him learn more about their way of life and culture, besides gaining international experience.
Charan was particularly grateful to Mr Vasan Srinivasan, Chair of the National Indian Federation, who offered him the opportunity
to present his speech at Mr Suri’s welcome function.
Charan is already displaying leadership qualities beyond his years, and while wishing him all the best in his sojourn to the States, its clear that
the future for this talented young man is bright and progressive. All the best, Charan Naidoo, Australia’s cheering you on!

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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