Chaitanya Venkateswaran, an 18-year-old from New Delhi, recently took charge of the British High Commission for a day. The post of ‘High Commissioner for the Day’ was offered to her after she won a contest run by the mission in celebration of International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th.
The initiative aims to empower the next generation of women to aspire to be leaders and trail-blazers. It hopes to do this by also highlighting the challenges women around the world continue to face.
Venkateswaran is the fourth young woman to have taken charge as United Kingdom’s senior-most diplomat for the day through this annual contest.
Venkateswaran Handled The Busy Day As British High Commissioner Impressively
Chaitanya Venkateswaran’s day as the British High Commissioner was invariably a busy one, but she handled the responsibility commendably.
Jan Thompson, the High Commissioner to India on other days, affirmed the same, and said, “I was thrilled to relinquish my duties to Chaitanya for the day and was impressed with how confidently and competently she took on this role. A deserving winner out of an incredible 215 entries.”
As top boss for the day, she had to hand out tasks to the department heads of the High Commission, meet the press, interact with senior woman police officers, and finally launch a study that will trace British Council STEM scholarship’s impact on Indian women participants.
“My day was full of diverse experiences which have really broadened my perspective on the role of women and their representation in fields of media, policing and STEM. I am now more determined than ever to use my new knowledge and experience to help promote equitable treatment of women everywhere,” Venkateswaran said.
She also got a chance to meet with the editor of Anandabazar Patrika to gain insight into gender representation in media and the media industry, talked to the Marks & Spencer India team, and had a discourse with senior police officers from Telangana and Madhya Pradesh on gender and policing.
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In addition to handling all her responsibilities of the busy day, Thompson says she and the 18-year-old also bonded over their mutual love for art. “I look forward to seeing what Chaitanya achieves next, as she joins a cohort of young women whose voices we have been proud to amplify through this annual initiative; the next generation of global leaders,” she said.
Venkateswaran Is On Her Way To Being A Trail-Blazing Leader
The 215 entries to the competition this year were required to submit a 1-minute video on ‘What global challenges and opportunities do you see for gender equality in the age of COVID-19?’
Venkateswaran was chosen as the winner from among these 215 submissions.
Given the safety precautions required during the pandemic, she took over as British High Commissioner for the day through video conference.
She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree remotely, with a full scholarship in International Studies and Economics at American University. She is also pursuing certificate programmes in Advanced Leadership Studies and Political Thought
“I used to visit the British Council library in New Delhi when I was younger, and that’s where I cultivated my love of learning. Building on that knowledge, to be the British High Commissioner for a day was a golden opportunity,” she said.
Over the years, Venkateswaran has also worked with acid attack survivors, visually-impaired students, and marginalised LGBTQ+ groups. While she is an art enthusiast, trained classical dancer, and avid reader, her dream is to pursue a career in global public policy and economics.
It’s heart-warming to see a generation of young women not only growing up with uninhibited aspirations to pursue a career and drive to make their mark in the world through leadership roles, but also being encouraged by institutions and people around them to do just that!
Kudos to young women like Chaitanya who are sure to soon be the leaders and trail-blazers the world needs!
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