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Pact to give wings to state’s youth

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AVENUES signs world-first MoU with Australia’s Young Change Agents

SHILLONG, Feb 7: A crucial memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between AVENUES and Young Change Agents of Australia paving the way for the first knowledge-exchange in entrepreneurship education with indigenous youth between Australia and India.
The pact was signed at a roundtable event hosted in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday.
This unique Australia-India partnership between two youth-focussed organisations, Young Change Agents and AVENUES Meghalaya, aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two nations through innovation, education and global learning pathways.
It also aims to strengthen educator capacities in entrepreneurial education, support entrepreneurial ecosystem linkages for both organisations in their respective geographies, initiate opportunities for collaboration in talent identification and cultural exchange for indigenous youth across the two countries, and plan and operationalise a pilot programme among tribal youth in Meghalaya for an A/B testing (a market experiment) of the partnership initiative to drive entrepreneurial skillsets programmes for indigenous communities.
The India Australia Economic Strategy to 2035 centres education as the main pillar to strengthening the bilateral relationship. Both nations are committed to a deep knowledge partnership, where education, training and research underpin their economic and people-to-people engagement across both countries.
The partnership shares a common belief that strengthening entrepreneurial mindsets across India and Australia means youth open up their potential to be global leaders and change-makers.
Founder and CEO of AVENUES Meghalaya, Mark Laitflang Stone, said, “This event is a historic moment in the Northeast India region’s youth development narrative. It marks the first knowledge-exchange intervention for entrepreneurship education for indigenous youth between our nations. Working with Young Change Agents will help us to spark entrepreneurial mindsets in our indigenous youth, in ways where youth build their confidence and realise what is truly possible.”
In his roundtable address, the Consul General of India, Victoria, Australia, Dr Sushil Kumar, shared how “India and Australia have long shared a dynamic and multifaceted relationship extending across various sectors including education, skills development and entrepreneurship.”
“The collaboration in these areas is not just beneficial but essential for fostering innovation, enhancing economic growth and addressing the challenges of the 21st century. Our two countries have made concerted efforts to increase academic exchange and research collaboration. Australian educational institutions are known for their research capabilities while India’s vast pool of young talent stands ready to engage with global educational standards. I’m sure the partnership being enforced today between AVENUES Meghalaya and Young Change Agents Australia will benefit the youths and educators and will further enhance our educational partnership,” Kumar added.
Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad K Sangma also wished the association through a virtual address.
Expressing delight, he said, “I have been given to understand that this partnership is aimed at introducing globally recognized entrepreneurial mindsets, skill sets, and toolsets to youth and educators in Meghalaya and North East India through a sustained series of interventions over a two year period. It is truly a historic moment for North East India and particularly for the development of our youth. Through the Avenues-Young Change Agents collaboration, it is our hope that thousands of young individuals in our home, Meghalaya and further in North-East India will be inspired with the spirit of social entrepreneurship, guided by an innovative, integrated education pathway.”
After the MoU signing, an immersive roundtable explored the power of early and equitable access to entrepreneurial mindsets, skillsets and toolsets in a young person’s life.
The panel featured entrepreneurs and ecosystem representatives such as the Australian India Business Council, Australia India Youth Dialogue, Confederation of Indian Industry, the Social Enterprise Network of Victoria, and the Government of India, all of whom are working purposefully to contribute to the strength of the bilateral relationship between these countries. Several representatives from the media were also present.
The initial phase of the partnership will see Young Change Agents, Australia, hosted in Meghalaya by AVENUES to collaborate and contextualise a customised entrepreneurial learning initiative for the youth of the state and Northeast India. The long-term goal of this partnership is to build and enhance entrepreneurial education pathways with young people as they decide on their next life steps in education and employment. The MoU signing will be followed by a similar roundtable event to be held in Meghalaya, in March.
The Young Change Agents-AVENUES, Meghalaya partnership is funded by Avenues and supported by the Australia India Business Council, Australia India Youth Dialogue, South Asian Australians Representing Ideas (SAARI) Collective and the Governments of India and Australia.
It may be noted that Young Change Agents is an award-winning Australian social enterprise whose entrepreneurship educational pathways and programs have, since 2015, empowered 135,000 young people to recognise problems as opportunities, take initiative and innovate their own solutions with an entrepreneurial lens.
AVENUES, on the other hand, is Northeast India’s pioneering youth engagement focussed social enterprise whose interventions for personal excellence have impacted more than 120,000 youths since 2003. Their coaching programmes build self-worth, aspiration and resilience in youth, through government-funded programmes and in-person coaching experiences across campuses, indigenous communities and rural settings.

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