SIX IDEALS of Round Square International—internationalism, democracy, environment, adventure, leadership and service—were learnt first-hand in ways demanding courage, generosity, imagination, principle and resolve by a team of six students from the Daly College.
The students, accompanied by team leader Dr Sarita Badhwar and principal Sumer Singh, who is a member of the International Round Square board representing South Asia and Middle East, attended the Gordonstoun Conference-2006 held in Scotland in the first week of October.
The students including prefect Dhananjay Mankotia from Class 12, Nandini Parmar, Pulak Mucchal, Azham Hussein and Varun Inamdar from Class 11 and the youngest member Shambhobi Ghosh from Class 10, who returned feeling enriched from their experience, concurred that facing life directly and in different ways by contributing one’s bit makes a student a whole person.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mankotia said they found the theories of experiential educational philospher Kurt Hahn based on fostering individual development in a community context to be the panacea for all ills plaguing societies of the world today.
The conference themed on ‘you have more in you than you think’ was opened by permanent patron King Constantine of Greece at the same historic Round Square building at Gordonstoun where the organisation took shape 40 years ago, in 1967. The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, and Princess Royal Annie also addressed the delegates coming from over 60 member schools from across the globe.
The first keynote speaker mountaineering legend Jamie Andrew who lost all four limbs after spending five nights trapped on an Alpine ledge at a height of 10,000 ft inspired enthusiasm for adventure and gave the message of perseverance to scale difficulties, however, great they might be. The second keynote speaker was a Scottish Member of Parliament and presiding officer, George Reid.
Being a scribe by profession having worked in both print and electronic media he has covered almost all the war torn and impoverished locales in the world and taught how to tackle these issues. The third keynote speaker was Kris Akabussi a soldier, preacher, performer and TV star.
Four old Gordonstounians, including Rina Kumari an Indian born in a leper colony who fought her way into the British education system ultimately gaining a scholarship to Gordonstoun, Cosmo Girl of the year 2004 Sophie Morgan paralysed from the waist down who is an active fund raiser, Polly Murray the first Scotswoman to climb Mount Everest and Toby Rider a bomb disposal officer who served in Iraq and is the youngest officer to hold the British Red Cross spoke on the theme of the conference.
The students attended chapel service on Abbotsholme Founders Day, worked on practical conservation and farming tasks, toured historic Tissington Hall, climbed Mt Snowdon in Wales, visited Alton Towers, listened to bagpipers play, viewed Macbeth and went on an exploration tour of Scotland.
The students participated in ‘Barazzas’ preparing conference statement and ‘Riika’ where all the students gathered to discuss their views participated in Highland games and Scottish dancing.
The students showcased India through ‘dandiya’ and ‘bihu’ forms of folk dance on the final day culminating with a gala multi-cultural performance event. They also brought back the Roy McComish art trophy won on the entry sent by Class 11 students Tanushree Patwa and Riddhisha Kalani.
Mankotiya learnt the lesson of optimism, Shmabhobhi Ghosh who had her first international exposure, learnt how to associate with various people, Nandini Parmar and Pulak Muchchal learnt the value of adventure, while Hussein and Inamdar returned with the lesson of spreading the ideals through all means possible and motivating others to work for the same. They repeated the famous Round Square lines 'asking for help is not showing your weakness'.