The Young India Fellowship began in 2011 as a bold and path-breaking idea. The aim was to offer Indian youth a way to break out of their disciplinary silos, move beyond the boundaries of a restrictive education system and explore their potential. After a national search, 57 Fellows were inducted from all over the country and from various disciplines. They were offered intensive exposure to liberal arts focused disciplines over the period of one year. Faculty were identified and recruited from some of the finest institutions around India and the world to come and engage with students over a six-week term.
The inaugural batch and two cohorts after were based out of the Sri Aurobindo Center for Communication and Arts (SACAC) in New Delhi. The seed of liberal arts planted by the Young India Fellowship grew in Ashoka University based in Rai, Sonepat, Haryana. The Ashoka campus was inaugurated in 2014 when the Fellowship also moved to the fully residential University campus.
Create a global fellowship by nurturing a talented pool of young people and prepare them to think critically, communicate effectively and become leaders with a commitment to public service for an intellectually curious, self-aware, and impactful life ahead.
YIF’s mission is accomplished through:
1. A rigorous 3-step admissions process that combines past academic achievements with the broader interests and activities of the candidate. The process focuses on an individual’s potential rather than past academic performance alone.
2. Increasing intellectual breadth of Fellows through multidisciplinary course offerings in the Liberal Arts delivered by some of the finest teachers from all over India and the world.
3. Specific focus on the key skills of critical thinking and effective communication. A customised 10-month critical writing programme helps Fellows assimilate, synthesise and articulate their learnings.
4. The proximity of a diverse group of Fellows (geographically, Disciplinarily and socio-economically). They live and work in an intellectually and entrepreneurially stimulating space where peer interaction and learning is an integral part of the programme.
5. A required Experiential Learning Module (ELM) where Fellows work on live projects for organizations and individuals representing diverse sectors.
6. Regular lectures, workshops and other programmes with well-regarded speakers and performers to provide exposure to diverse areas of excellence.
7. An optional mentorship programme (open to all Fellows) that pairs mentors with significant experience with Fellows to help them in connecting their talents to the choices they make in the life ahead.
8. A committed placement programme that helps Fellows to interface with top employers in diverse fields.
9. Access to a 1,000 (and counting) strong and successful alumni pool placed around the world in diverse fields.
10. Encouraging Fellows to discover their full potential as leaders who think beyond themselves and actively pursue their vision for a better world.