The Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group (CYSDP) has grown tremendously within the past year, adding a number of new team members from across the multicultural Commonwealth. While you may be aware of the CYSDP’s mission and vision, it’s important to know who our members are. Every month we’ll introduce a CYSDP member to give you a deeper insight into the lives of youth leaders and practitioners in Sport for Development and Peace (SDP). This month, the spotlight is on our Asia Regional Representative – Mr Dinesh Gajendran.
Tell us about yourself and the work that you do.
I play a diversified role as a youth activist, social entrepreneur, social worker, policy-maker and educator. I have been engaged with various organisations, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association, where I worked in the Asia-Pacific region on training, communication & research programmes. My efforts led to my participation in the UN High-Level Meeting on Youth, Commonwealth Asia Youth Ministers Meeting, the UNESCAP Commonwealth Sports Ministers meeting, and other major conferences.
I am the proud recipient of the Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi Yuva Shakthi Award, as well as the Karmaveer Chakra International Award for Young People. My interest in global and sustainable development issues led to my involvement in the South Asian Youth Conference, the Global Citizens Youth Assembly, and other regional and global initiatives. I am the founder of various Youth Forums in Sri Lanka, Mauritius, the UK and China, and in 2014, I was shortlisted for the prestigious “Youth Courageous Award” by the UN Special Envoy of Global Education. Further to that, I was appointed as Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School by Gordon Brown to promote universal education.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in the SDP sector?
I started as a sportsman and coach in India in the indigenous game, Kho-Kho, who then became a grassroots SDP activist. I am most proud of establishing the Audacious Dreams Foundation, which uses sports as a tool to empower young people in rural India. I also founded a UNICEF Sport for Development initiative, Challenge India– Empowering Young People with Sports and Experiential Learning, which aims to promote higher quality education, reduce school drop-outs, and improve gender equality using themes of civic citizenship, and global understanding. I have also had the pleasure of participating in the Beyond Sports Summit and Awards.
How has your involvement in the CYSDP enhanced your work?
As I come from a grassroots background, CYSDP has given me the opportunity to contribute at a high level, influencing policies which affect the SDP sector and meeting with decision-makers, ministers of government, and key stakeholders. I participated in CYSDP’s 2014 Annual General Meeting, which created an outcome document that was endorsed by Commonwealth Sports Ministers. I also contributed to the Commonwealth Sport and Post-2015 Forum, and the Commonwealth Sports Breakfast 2016 with Heads of Governments.
Follow Dinesh on Twitter at @DineshGajendran
For more information on CYSDP, visit us at:
Website – http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/cysdp/
Facebook – Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group
Twitter – @CommYouthSDP
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