Modern School, Barakhamba Road, a 96-year-old institution situated in the heart of the national capital, recently hosted the 11th edition of its annual international youth summit, entitled the Community Development and Leadership Summit (CDLS), which was based this year on the following Dylan-esque theme: “The times, they are a-changing.”

The seven-day event, which was held from 20-26 November, witnessed the participation of 107 delegates from 21 different schools and 15 different countries from across the globe, turning the school premises into a global village of sorts.

Vijay Datta, principal of Modern School, said, “It is indeed a matter of pride and honour for our school to host the 11th international summit with participants from across the world. The summit aims to get the young and adults to work together, think together and dream of a world that is changing for the better, and provide opportunities for leadership which will develop in a cross cultural context, helping people to live in peace and harmony.”

The 11th edition of CDLS featured several projects and activities aimed at nurturing young minds and changing mindsets by promoting a logical and scientific outlook to world problems. In this respect, the delegates had an opportunity to participate in interactive sessions and deliberate on issues that are important to the world community with eminent and dynamic personalities from a wide spectrum of fields.

Gautam Sarkar, HOD, CDLS, Modern School, while speaking to Guardian 20, said, “CDLS is probably the only platform in the world that brings together such a diverse array of young minds onto a single platform. The key objective of this summit is enabling and promoting cultural exchange between the different participating countries and in the process each one will have the opportunity to share their country’s rich cultural heritage through dialogues and exhibitions. The students are also taught to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

The summit, which saw participation of countries like Australia, Bangladesh, China, Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America, Indonesia, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa among others, began with a visit of all participating delegates to Rajghat, to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi. The summit was inaugurated on 20 November in the school’s HLL auditorium, and the inaugural ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on “Leadership” for the leaders of tomorrow by eminent persons from various walks of life.

As part of the overall summit, the school had also organised various events spread over seven days, ranging from discussions to debates by eminent personalities on issues of global importance and leadership. The summit also witnessed a cultural fest where the participating delegates, dressed in their traditional attire, showcased their respective country’s cultural and gastronomical heritage. The participating students also had an opportunity to experience Indian traditions through a special event hosted by Delhi’s Dr. Radhakrishnan School. The delegates were taken on field visits to Delhi’s historical monuments like Qutb Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort, as well as to the Taj Mahal in Agra.

To mark the concluding day of the summit on 25 November, a valedictory function was held at the school’s HLL auditorium with eminent personalities sharing their thoughts on the world community. Needless to say, those present left the auditorium with a bag full of memories and experiences to cherish for the rest of their life.

Several participating delegates from different countries and schools spoke to Guardian 20 recounting their experiences at the summit. Following are a few excerpted interviews with the participants.


Abrar Farhan Zaman

Scholastica School

I had gone for a conference in Thailand and there I met two students from Modern School and learned about this conference, and ever since then I always wanted to be a part of this. I am very glad that I am part of a global student exchange programme. It is a great opportunity to learn and experience new things with a wider perspective. I am taking back great memories. I am also expecting to take back the knowledge and confidence required to become a great leader for a country.


Dong Xu

Beijing New Oriental Foreign Language School

This platform has been a wonderful learning experience. I have been trying to learn about the different cultures of different countries that are participating in the event. India has been a great host, but Indian food is a little spicy. However, my host family has been very kind to take care of all our needs. The trip to Taj Mahal in Agra and the cultural night have been the highlights of this entire conference.


Sara Aleksandra Shvec

Liebigschule Giessen

I was initially nervous for the conference but after coming here, it turned out to be a great experience for learning and incorporating leadership qualities. From here, I have learned to value people more and learnt the importance of a community. The world can unify again to solve the greater and larger problems together and this platform has indeed been a great place to learn the qualities of leadership and confidence. Now I have the confidence with which I can go back to Germany and aspire to become a leader.


Avyaya Dalmia

Mayo College,


The experience has been amazing. It’s been an experience of a lifetime. The school has been a very kind host. Here, with so many participating countries, it’s like a global village. Here we are getting to learn about leadership qualities, getting to interact with different people from different countries, learning about their culture, lifestyle, food and moreover making good friends from across the globe. Besides, I have gained a lot of self-confidence.


Uday Goel

Modern School, Barakhamba Road

The experience of the 11th CDLS has been amazing. All our hard work is paying off. We have been preparing for this for over a month. We have so many different countries from all the five continents. Personally, a lot of countries I did not know, in terms of their history etc., had participated. And interactions with these students have taught me a lot more about their countries. It is a mutual feeling among all the participants to learn about each other and make good friends for life. It is an experience of a lifetime.


Surapong Ngamsom

Matthayom Watnairong School, Bangkok

This is my first time in India and as a school principal, I can surely say my students and I are having a great learning experience from this platform which has brought all the major countries of the world in a single room. This summit is not only about leadership but also about a whole array of experiences. We have seen Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra. It’s been a wonderful experience. We are surely taking back a bag full of memories to cherish for a lifetime. We also thank Modern School for organising such an event and for inviting us.


Sean James Mchugh

Collegiate School, Richmond, Virginia

It’s been an eye-opening experience. I have never seen people of so many different countries on one platform. Experiencing India in its true and vibrant colours has been a wonderful experience. The culture of India, the different speakers, their enlightening speeches, have made me a better person. Indian food is also great. This conference has taught me to respect different cultures. I would also take back world leadership ideas from here.

United Kingdom

Nabila Mansour

Townley Grammer School, Kent, England

This conference is about leadership and from the several talks and experiences here, I have learnt to hone the qualities of a leader and be more confident. Meeting different people from around the world has been a great experience. Also, getting to know more about India and its history, especially with the Delhi darshan and the Taj Mahal trip, has been wonderful. I have also been enjoying Indian food. I love curries. When we go back, we would talk about our experiences. I would also want to say that when we went to the orphanage as a part of the community service, everyone of us decided that we would raise money when we go back home so that we can help these children who need more love.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *