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April 9: Alumni gather across cities to witness a talk by Prof. Dwight

Prof. Dwight Jaggard brought together Fellows across more than 13 cities in India and around the world to discover the power of “Positive Psychology and the Value of Strengths”.

Office of PR & Communications

10 April, 2017 | 10 Mins read

Building up to the upcoming Alumni Weekend on 2nd-4th June 2017, Ashoka’s Alumni Council has planned a lineup of events and feature stories, all set to bring back the “Fellowship Fever” that drew us all into Ashoka’s world. This kicked off on 9th April when a virtual evening with the awe-inspiring Prof. Dwight Jaggard brought Fellows thronging across more than 13 cities in India and around the world to discover the power of “Positive Psychology and the Value of Strengths” with their beloved professor and their local YIF community.

Founder and Trustee Pramath Raj Sinha prefaced the event by reflecting upon YIF’s and Ashoka’s journey in the past six years and emphasising the importance of every alumnus in impacting Ashoka’s future. This was also live streamed and followed by a round of updates from the Alumni Council on the first AA scholarship (possible due to the gifts from the first two batches and Prof Dwight) that is being awarded to a YIF Co2017, on effectively using the recently launched alumni portal, and on the Association’s plan for elections and a new structure moving forward.

Dwight’s session serendipitously revealed to the alumni their individual strengths through a VIA Character Strength Form, mirroring the StrengthsFinder 2.0 exercise from the Fellowship days.  As Dwight guided them through their 25 possible strengths, Fellows responded to the revelations with serious nods, surprised faces, cheerful agreement, and some mixed feelings. The QnA round that followed saw the Fellows cheering loudly as they greeted alumni from other cities across the world. The feeling of being transported back into a YIF classroom was incomparable.

Gatherings which took place across the world had their own stories to tell. Local chapter leaders and a few volunteers noted how the events unfolded in their respective cities.

From Delhi, Lav Kanoi recounted how over 70 Fellows converged upon the old SACAC campus at Katwaria Sarai, representing every YIF batch including the yet-to-be-inducted batch of 2018. Their evening began with a special screening of “Kazwa – A Million Lanterns”, a short documentary by Samarth Mahajan (Co2017) about the emergence of millions of fireflies at the onset of the monsoons in the remote tribal village, Purushwadi. Complete with their old campus, old and new friends, sparkling conversation, and food catered by an old-hand Thakur ji, 9th April was a nostalgic affair for Fellows in Delhi.

Mridul Agarwal, from Mumbai, explained how Dwight’s insights on leadership had always been valuable, but on 9th April, alumni from across the batches came to learn, to know and to be, together.

Deepika from Pune exclaimed how Dwight, YIF’s very own “Dumbledore”, brought three wonderful women together by inducing close-knit discussions around their work and personal lives.

Nishant Singh from Bangalore reported the highest attendance of Fellows in the city to date and recalled the magical events of the evening hosted at Shodhan Babu’s (Co2012) residence. Fellows were treated to Speed-Dating hosted by the charming Jahanara Rabia Raza, (Co2014) before Dwight’s session, breaking the ice for everyone present. The evening progressed into a memorable night full of music, intelligent discourse, poker, and pleasant company. 

With happy snapshots of YIF gatherings from all around the world flooding the Ashoka Family Facebook page, the collective longing to be amongst one’s own grew stronger amongst our Fellows. With arrangements for the Alumni Weekend in full swing, the Alumni Council is set to launch more nostalgic and interactive sessions in May to foster the communal connection and bring our Fellows home to Ashoka and YIF this June 2017.

[Note: Contributions to the article are made by Lav Kanoi (Co15), Deepika Chillar (Co15), Mridul Aggarwal (Co16) and Nishant Singh (Co16)]

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