Nandini Kochar reflects on the experience of running the first student-led virtual conference on campus with her colleagues Katharina Klaunig and Maira Sheikh.
We collaborated with Global Changemakers (GCM), an international organization that supports youth-led sustainable development and NYU Abu Dhabi’s Office of Community Outreach team to host the first student-led virtual conference on campus called GCMxNYUAD.
Sheikh, who had attended a Global Changemakers’ Summit for young leaders in 2019 said in many ways the virtual conference achieved much of the experience she had.
Even though it was virtual, this conference took me down memory lane and reminded me of all the fun and learnings from the Global Youth Summit which I was happy to share with the NYUAD community.
During the two-day conference, we brought together an international team of GCM alumni youth change makers and NYUAD alumni to serve as facilitators. We hosted eight interactive workshops discussing topics from impact evaluation to effective activism. Using actual projects, student leader attendees were able to comprehensively map out a plan to achieve the goals of their projects and present their pitch to senior administration and staff at NYUAD.
Planning and executing a virtual conference was challenging in new ways.There is no ‘hallway’ so everything happened in the main room and breakout rooms. This required us to think very strategically about transitions and methods of communication.
Despite the challenges, one of the most remarkable aspects of hosting a virtual conference was to witness our ability and determination to transcend physical borders and collaborate with phenomenal young leaders from around the world.