Parmesh Shahani, Head of Godrej India Culture Lab, was recently listed as one of the 14 Indians among the 214 Young Global Leaders recognized by the World Economic Forum 2014. On the occasion of International Youth Day (August 12), the guide chatted with Shahani on his vision for the youth. Excerpts from an interview
How does it feel to be one among the 200 global leaders?
I feel honoured to be part of this elite list and humbled that our work on changing the world is being recognised.
Can you elaborate on your vision for the youth and what you are hoping to achieve through the Godrej India Culture Lab?
We believe that young India is positive, inclusive and wants to make a difference. Most importantly, it wants to be self-actualised, and find meaning in life early on. This is why the work we do at the Godrej India Culture Lab, where we expose youth from across Mumbai to a wide range of leaders and ideas, through different formats like talks, performances and pop-up art experiments is so important. Young people come and connect to these ideas, and then draw inspiration from them in their own lives.
Parmesh Shahani at Godrej India Culture Lab,Vikhroli. Pic/Sameer Markande
What's next on your agenda?
I am going to be spending the next four months at Yale University in the US, being part of the 15 World Fellows there, in accelerating our own leadership potential. It is going to be an action packed time and I hope that I learn many new and wonderful things that I can then bring back to India, to implement here.
What is your message for the youth?
You have a chance to impact our country and make it a better place. So, while you are chasing your own career dreams, also always think about what you can do to make India better. I don't mean better in terms of economic indices; I mean better in terms of human development indices — like equality, inclusion, education, and more. You don't need to be a social service worker to do this; you can do this in whatever profession you choose, and in whatever way you want to do it.