Chief Minister felicitated the district talent winners of Aspire Meghalaya

Shillong, Oct. 19: Aspire Meghalaya’s District Talent Events 2022 commenced on 6th October with events scheduled to be held across all districts in the months of October and November. The East Khasi Hills chapter was held today at U Soso Tham Auditorium, Shillong with 26 talents from 5 campuses performing, out of which the Top 3 were recognised.

The one-day event also witnessed the felicitation of 103 campuses from the District by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, for their participation in the Meghalaya Youth Survey 2022 and Soft Skills Training interventions under Aspire Meghalaya.

Speaking to the gathering that comprised of students, teachers and parents the Chief Minister said that for any State or nation the youth is one of the biggest strengths as well as one of the biggest challenges. “There’s no reason why in spite the challenges we may have as a State why we can’t come out on the top and change the mindset that we cannot be among the top states of the country become one of the Top Ten states in ten years and the process must start with key stakeholders and key groups – farmers, women, youth,” he said.

He informed that Aspire was meant to unlock the talents, accept oneself and build confidence with proper grooming and guidance. “You may not see the results of the programme today, but ten years from now, these same youths who are here today, the kind of confidence they will have in moving forward in life, the kind of positivity, acceptability and respect they have for others and themselves is the kind of impact and transformation we will see. We will see a different sense of purpose, passion, confidence and positivity like never before. This is the difference, and it is going to happen. But we need to be persistent and work together. Every single person has a role to play to make sure that we are able to invest properly in the human capital we have,” he added.

He further said that the world today is about competition – positive competition and positive criticism. “We have to remember that we need to compete with the best. The reservation policy is there for us but that does not mean that our mindset has to be a ‘reservation policy mindset’ but one of a competitive mindset. Fight as if you need to survive. Fight as if there is no reservation for you. Fight as if you are going to compete with the best from the world. It is that competitive mindset that I want in every single youth,” he continued.

A key highlight of the event in Shillong today was an interactive session on stage between the Chief Minister and some of the students from schools that attended the event. One of the questions that the students had for the CM was where and how he found the skills needed to be the leader he is today when, in his time as a young man perhaps, soft skills and leadership training were hard to come by. The CM replied, “There were opportunities to pick up the skills we needed, although not at a scale like Aspire’s. However, my experiences were my best teachers. Like any other person, I have gone through defeat and losses on both personal and professional fronts. Through it all, I realised the power of trust, respect and hard work”. He further spoke about his late father, Purno A Sangma, Former Chief Minister of Meghalaya, and how growing up with a leader such as him meant that there were always moments of learning even at casual dinner-table conversations.

One of the students asked him about the Government’s initiatives in helping safeguard and promote indigenous music that is lately regarded by many as a dying art form, to which he replied, “There are programmes and interventions that promote local musicians which include indigenous artists. The Tri-Hills Ensemble concluded recently is one such instance”. He went on to add how each of us has a role to play in safeguarding our culture and traditions. When asked what profession he would have found himself in if he didn’t become a politician, he responded, “While I have been introduced to politics early on in life which played a huge role in me developing the passion and fascination for it, social development has always been close to my heart. I would have always been involved in development programmes for youth, women, farmers, entrepreneurs, if not as a politician, in some capacity or the other”.

Also present was Rosetta M Kurbah, Director, School Education & Literacy, who said, “Today, we are witnessing a movement of energised and enthusiastic youth who have undergone high impact workshops on soft skills for life, in identifying their talents, building up their confidence level, improving their thought process and rediscovering themselves, across 62 campuses in the State. We are here to celebrate this journey of engagement and talent exploration with the youth of our State. We look forward to the State Summit where there will be 12 District Aspire Stars and 24 runners-up talents. Our best wishes to all the participants”.

Afshana Nongkynrih (Dancing), Class 9, St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School, Shillong; Elanstar Mawiong (Musical Instruments), Class 11, St. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School, Pynursla; and Ashish Paul (Singing), 1st Semester, Shillong Commerce College, Shillong, emerged as the Aspire Meghalaya District Stars from East Khasi Hills.

Also present was Isawanda Laloo, Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills District and Paia B War Nongbri, Assistant Director, Sports & Youth Affairs.

A huge part of the Aspire Meghalaya initiative is the identification of emerging talents from across the State. Talent discovery platforms were integrated into the campus training interventions that have seen the emergence of 350 promising talents from across districts in talent spaces varying from singing, dancing, spoken word, sport performance and visual arts. Top 3 talents are selected by a panel of District Talent Committee members at each district event. 36 District Stars will converge at a State-level summit where Top 12 State Stars will be recognised. Members of the East Khasi Hills District Talent Committee included O. Mawthoh, District Sports Officer; M. Lyngwa, District School Education Officer; A. Pathaw, District Librarian; and renowned local artists Benedict Hynniewta and Anniesha Mawrie.

Aspire Meghalaya is an initiative of the Directorate of Sports & Youth Affairs, Government of Meghalaya, and supported by the State Education Mission Authority of Meghalaya (SEMAM-SSA) under the State’s Education Department. The programme is implemented by AVENUES, Shillong. Over the course of the year, over 64,000 youths from 332 campuses have been engaged in the Meghalaya Youth Survey and more than 13,000 students across 62 campuses have been trained in soft skills and career exploration programmes under the initiative.

Till date, 24 talents have been recognised from the 8 districts of Eastern West Khasi Hills, North Garo Hills, West Khasi Hills, West Jaintia Hills, South West Garo Hills, East Garo Hills, South Garo Hills and East Khasi Hills. 178 talent performances from 41 campuses across the 8 districts resulted in the recognition and felicitation of the Top 3 talents from each district.

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