President Kalam's Speech "What Can I Give" Valedictory Address, Super Congress 2009 by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Former President of India 12th August, 2009 : Coimbatore
I am delighted to participate in the valedictory ceremony of the International Congress of the Children organized and hosted by Shanti Ashram, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Kumaraguru College of Technology in partnership with Focolare Movement. In the forty minutes before my address I saw youth power in Action.
I am happy that the theme of the Super Congress 2009 is “Young for a United World” which will sensitize the youth participating from 20 different countries and 20 states of India for exploring the concept of active citizenship for a united world. It also facilitates each participant to discover himself or herself. For every right you cherish, you have a duty to fulfill. For every hope you entertain, you have a task to perform. For every privilege you would preserve, you must sacrifice a comfort. Freedom will always carry the price of individual responsibility and the just rewards of your own choices. I am sure, this Super Congress inculcates this responsibility among all the participants which they will cherish and preserve through out the life. When I am in the midst of youth of the world, I would like to talk on the topic“What can I give?”.
Friends, before going to my talk, I would to share my views on peace and prosperity which is vital for pursuing any development task in any nation.
Nations need peace for becoming developed. World needs peace. However, within and among nations, there are conflicts, extremism, terrorism and low-intensity warfare. It is continuing for decades. Two unique events happened in the world history. European countries were having conflicts for over 100 years. They have today created European Union for their economic development and lasting peace. European Parliament works for peace and prosperity of 27 countries in Europe. Similarly, Ireland was in the midst of tension, particularly Northern Ireland. By Good Friday agreement in 1998, peace has come to all regions of Ireland. Both the events have proved that, peace between and among the nations are possible. I am sure, the youth assembled here are indeed the ambassadors for advocating the possibility of world peace among their colleagues and elders in different parts of the world.
Let me now tell you about a youth movement which is spreading in India.
There is a group called Lead India 2020 Foundation, who have taken as mission, training of youth as budding leaders of future with education and value system. The Lead India 2020 Foundation pioneered by Dr. N.B. Sudershan at Hyderabad is training thousands of students in many districts of Andhra Pradesh in partnership with the District Administration. Particularly, I interacted with the students of Medak district, Karim Nagar and Tirupati, who have undergone Lead India training. As per the district authorities, the impact of the training on the students is visible in terms of self-discipline, love for their parents and teachers shedding of stage fear and recognition of their duties towards the nation. I talked to many participants about the changes which have occurred in them and how they felt about the impact of the five day course they attended. I would like to present two examples:
Respect to elders: ^top
One of the Lead India participants Miss M. Suguna narrated her experiences. Miss M. Suguna studying in 10th class in Sri Padmavathi Girl’s High School, daughter of M. Lakshmi Devi working as a labourer and who had lost her father at an young age had undergone this course during 2008. Prior to attending the course, Suguna was not respecting her mother and elders. She used to remain isolated and never used to talk anybody. The training programme made her realize the value of her mother. She started taking her blessings everyday before commencing any work. She had become courageous and had started taking deep interest in the study. In her spare time, she has started educating her neighbours. Also, she is explaining the evils of drinking and gambling among the neighbourhood members. Suguna is being recognized as a Lead India social reformer in her locality. Iam happy to share the stage with Dr.N.Mahalingam & Mrs.Minoti Aram today. When I see Mrs.Aram I am reminded of what she has brought to you as a mother, through her spirituality and through her commitment to working for children.
I would like to share with you another example of transformers through Lead India Training. Master Nitish Kumar is studying in class 7th of Zilla Parishad High School, Shatham Baakam, Penumuru Mandalam. He was famous as a naughty boy always telling lies. After attending the Lead India training programme, Nitish Kumar has realized value of truth and has become self-disciplined. One day when he was traveling in a bus, a person called Gangadhar belonging to Nellore, Eguvakaaluva lost his mobile. He searched for his address and returned back mobile. As a complement, Shri Gangadhar sent Rs.200/- to Master Nitish Kumar. But Master Nitish refused to accept the money sent by Shri Gangadhar that “we cannot purchase truth with money”.
Such is the power of training based on 10 point oath from the Lead India Training Camp which is given below. This gives me an assurance that the youth of our country if put on the right path can definitely transform themselves and also transform the society. May I suggest that the organizers of Super Congress 2009 to interact with the members of Lead India 2020 Foundation, so that this aspect can also become part of young for a united world movement.
I would like to put forth to this Super Congress 2009 that the ignited minds of the youth is the most powerful resource on the earth, above the earth and under the earth. I am convinced that the youth power, if properly directed and controlled, could bring about transformational changes in humanity for its progress, meeting its challenges and bring peace and prosperity. Let us now consider the major problems the world faces: one is, out of 6.6 billion people, two thirds of the population lives below poverty line, 50% of the population do not have access to safe drinking water, above all many do not have access to quality education. What can the youth of the world contribute to face the situation? Can every one of the educated spread literacy at least to five in their life? Can the youth spread the message of water conservation? Can the youth come with “out of box solutions” for solving water scarcity? When I attended the Global Youth Congress at Liverpool Hope University, UK, all the 800 members from over 100 countries agreed to consider these as their mission.
We live in an era of convergence; the future of innovation would lie at the interface of science and engineering. Due to the convergence of information and communication technology, we saw the birth of a seamless area called ICT, which revolutionized the way by which we computed and communicated. Further the convergence of nano and biology with ICT has now become a reality. It is estimated that in the life of a scientist or an engineer, he or she will come across and work in at least seven new areas which are born out of convergence of multiple science and technologies. Such convergence has made the border between areas completely porous.
In the last century, most nations understood that science and technology was the best vehicle for economic upliftment. However, the problems that S&T was used to solve are primarily local and customized to their needs. Today, the problems faced by nations are no longer, a concern of them alone. Humanity is devoting more and more attention to climate change, energy, water, disease, economic turbulence and terrorism etc., which are all of concern to the entire world and the solutions for which are beyond any individual nations or group of nations.
If S&T has to provide upliftment of our humanity, if the research and development are in areas with porous borders between them, if the problems of the world know not of geographical borders, the education that becomes the foundation of all our science and technology, research and development of must of necessity to become borderless.
When I was traveling in an Aircraft in the United States, I was told that much of its controls where software driven and most probably developed in India. When I presented my credit card, I was told that it was being processed in the backend server located in Mauritius. When I walked into IBM software development centre, Bangalore, I was fascinated to find that it truly presented a multicultural environment. A software developer from china working under a project leader from Korea working with a software engineer from India and a hardware architect from the US and the communication expert from Germany where all working together to solve the banking problem in Australia. When I see, all of them working together like one family forgetting about the culture from which they came or the language that they speak, I feel that the only hope for such borderless interaction to continue is to inculcate the spirit of borderlessness in our education also which will lead to a unified world.
Dear friends, I have seen three dreams which have taken shape as vision, mission and realization. Space programme of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), AGNI programme of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) becoming the National Mission. Of course these three programmes succeeded in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked in all these three areas. I want to convey to you what I have learnt on leadership from these three programmes.
1. Leader must have a vision.
2. Leader must have a passion to transform the vision into action.
3. Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path.
4. Leader must know how to manage a success and failure.
5. Leader must have courage to take decision.
6. Leader should have Nobility in management.
7. Every action of the leader should be transparent.
8. Leader must work with integrity and succeed with integrity.
For success in all the missions, it is essential to have creative leaders. Creative leadership means exercising the vision to change the traditional role from the commander to the coach, manager to mentor, from director to delegator and from one who demands respect to one who facilitates self-respect. I am sure, the Super Congress 2009 would have inculcated some of these characteristics among the 800 participants which will enable dynamic transformation among the young for a united world.
My best wishes to all the members of Super Congress 2009 success in their mission of promoting global peace and finding innovative solutions for the problems faced by the humanity.
May God Bless you.
Now I would like to administer a oath to the global youth participating in Super Congress 2009. Oath for the Global Youth: ^top
1.I will have a goal and work hard to achieve that goal. I realize that small aim is a crime.
2. I will always be righteous in the heart which leads to beauty in the character; beauty in the character brings harmony in the home, harmony in the home leads to order in the nation and order in the nation leads to peace in the world.
3. I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity.
4. I will be a good member of my family, a good member of the society, a good member of the nation and a good member of the world.
5. I will always try to save or better someone's life. Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind. That is “What can I give?”
6. I will always protect and enhance the dignity of every human life.
7. I will always remember that “Let not my winged days, be spent in vain”.
8. I will always work for Clean Green Energy and Clean planet Earth.
9. As a youth of the Globe, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all my tasks and enjoy the success of others.