A Fellowship that never ends
The Young India Fellowship (YIF) Class of 2022 graduated this July in the presence of founders, family, friends, and the Ashoka community
“The one year at the Fellowship is not the end of anything,” Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha, Founder and Trustee, Ashoka University, shared in a video, congratulating the graduating YIF Class of 2022. “In fact,” he added, “it is just the start of a life-long Fellowship that they have embarked on.” Ashish Dhawan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ashoka University, shared a similar sentiment as he prompted the Fellows to “be responsible leaders who make a difference for India and the world.”
Starting off with inspiring words from the Founders, the Convocation Ceremony for the Young India Fellowship marked a celebration of the academic and non-academic achievements of Fellows. The day was celebrated in keeping with YIF traditions over the years.
As the procession settled in, Aniha Brar, Dean, Young India Fellowship, welcomed the gathering on a joyous note for being able to celebrate the ceremony in person, post the pandemic. Chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee also expressed his happiness at finally seeing all the Fellows outside the ubiquitous presence of Zoom. In his speech, Professor Mukherjee encouraged the graduating Fellows to go forth, rejoice, and remember that not only is the best yet to be but that the best is in their hands. And with those words, the convocation was declared open.
Following Professor Mukherjee, Ashoka University’s Vice Chancellor Malabika Sarkar addressed her note to the gathering. In her speech, Professor Sarkar acknowledged the difficulties that most of us faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. She shared the university’s efforts in overcoming these difficulties and celebrated that “the university never lost sight of the vision with which it was created”. “As the year unfolded,” she commented, “there were also myriad ventures into health research, economic data, translation and culture, archaeological research, and many other fields – never losing sight of excellence as the bar.”
Congratulating the Fellows for their many achievements, Professor Sarkar wished them success, fulfillment, and joy in all that they do in life. Professor Sarkar then introduced the distinguished keynote speaker for the ceremony, Professor K. VijayRaghavan, a distinguished professor in the field of developmental genetics. Professor VijayRaghavan is the former Director of the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and the former Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
In his speech, Professor VijayRaghavan talked about the transfer of ideas, technology, and the intellectual direction that is needed to solve the complex problems of our world. He also shared his insights into how a programme such as the Young India Fellowship can navigate solutions for complex issues in ways that are at once, inspirational and aspirational. He ended his address by emphasizing the importance of friendships that one makes, especially with the people in the last row of the classes.
His words were met with a loud round of applause, after which Dean Brar took to the podium to share the Dean’s Report for the year. Through the report, she offered the audience a glimpse of different routes that Fellows from the Class of 2022 will be pursuing post-graduation. Pinning it as the Post-YIF Pathways, she shared the different trajectories that Fellows will embark upon— from academics to social impact to entrepreneurship and other creative ventures.
The Young India Fellows of 2022 were then awarded their degrees by the Chancellor. One by one, Fellows ascended the stage to receive their diplomas. Post this, the special awards were announced. There are four kinds of special awards given to Fellows at the time of graduation: Torchbearer Award, Spirit of YIF Award, Scholar Award, and the Award for Outstanding Performance in the Experiential Learning Module.
Celebrating their peer’s accomplishments, Fellows cheered on as Chief Guest Professor VijayRaghavan handed out the awards. Bringing the ceremony to its end, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr. Rajesh Garodia delivered the Vote of Thanks. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the national anthem.
(Reported by Simran Saini, Assistant Manager, YIF Outreach and Admissions, Ashoka University)