Samrat Chakrabarti attended an international conference on June 21st at the United Nations in Geneva representing the youth civil society from India. The actor, singer, producer and musician delivered a presentation under the 2010-2011 theme of the International year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.
Samrat shared a metaphorical story about a 16 year old boy named Amit Chaudhuri who travels by train to the city of Kolkata from one of the most rural regions of India. He steps off the train bewildered at the hustle and bustle of the big city – wondering if he can make it there himself. This story segued into a discussion of the major problem facing the youth of India today – unemployment. The 67% youth unemployment rate has been related to an increase of alcoholism, drug addiction and crime. Samrat suggested several remedies focused on the educational opportunities that must be created for the youth such as more technical and skill-oriented schools and community programs that encourage entrepreneurship.
“It was an honor to represent the youth of India at the United Nations for this conference. My personal experiences in India gave me incredible insight into the problems prevalent with the youth population there – and I’m happy that the United Nations is making it a priority to address the issues directly,” said Samrat about the experience.
Dr. S William Gunn, President of the Association for Humanitarian Medicine, and senior evaluator of the conference stated in his evaluation, “Samrat presented a rather different approach in so far as it emphasized the role of art and culture in development. In fact in my many years within these United Nation’s walls it was the first time that I witnessed a musical project terminating a session – an unusual and graceful end to an important meeting on Millennium Development Goals.”
The conference, entitled “The New BRIC’s Youth Generation and their future social responsibility in the globalized world,” was attended by more than 140 people mainly from the BRICs countries. BRICs is a grouping acronym for the founding nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and its use is a symbol of the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies towards the developing world. As a captivated audience watched, Samrat sang verses from a Bengali folk song “Lal Paharir Deshe Ja” mixed with a spoken word oration that discussed the social and economic issues plaguing the youth in India today while also providing remedies to fix these problems.
Samrat Chakrabarti is also part of the ensemble cast in Deepa Mehta’s ‘Midnight’s Children’ penned by her and Salman Rushdie. The film is slated for a 2012 release.