New Delhi: To mark the International Day of the Girl Child, 21-year-old Shreya Dharmarajan from Chennai was appointed the British High Commissioner to India for a day.
The annual ‘High Commissioner for a Day’ competition provides an opportunity to Indian women, aged 18 to 23, to share their strengths with the world.
Shreya, who was chosen from a pool of more than 180 applications from young women around the country, called her day-long experience on Wednesday “incredibly enlightening, enriching, and fulfilling”.
“Spending a day as the British High Commissioner to India was an incredibly enlightening, enriching, and fulfilling experience. I had the opportunity to interact with and learn from inspiring exemplars of women’s leadership in wide-ranging fields. I was fortunate enough to be a part of lively discussions about India’s efforts toward further achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
Shreya, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi, currently teaches in a government school in Mumbai as a Teach for India fellow.
As the UK’s top diplomat in India, Shreya experienced a range of activities over the course of a fully-packed day as she led discussions at the UN office in New Delhi on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She spoke to one of this year’s Earthshot Prize finalists about their innovative initiatives to tackle global environmental challenges, and met Professor Ajay Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to India, to review plans to bolster UK-India research collaboration following the G20 Summit.
“I have brought back with me life-long learning about gender equality, wholesome education, and the wider scope of the SDGs. This experience has instilled in me a newfound confidence and motivation, and I look forward to putting all my learnings to fruitful use as a young woman in the field of education,” Shreya said in a British High Commission statement.
As High Commissioner for the Day, Shreya also launched a new report on electric vehicle charging infrastructure with the Delhi Transport Department, as part of the Accelerating Smart Power and Renewable Energy in India (ASPIRE) bilateral technical assistance programme.
The British High Commission has been organising the ‘High Commissioner for a Day’ competition annually since 2017 to protect and promote freedoms for women and girls in the UK and around the world to create resilient economies and strong, free societies.
“The High Commissioner for a Day competition is a great reminder for us all on the potential of a world with gender equality. When women rise, we all rise,” Alex Ellis, Deputy High Commissioner for the Day (on other days, High Commissioner to India) said.
“It was fantastic to follow Shreya for the day, her conversations from the role of young women in tackling global challenges to the UK-India partnership on science, technology and innovation,” Ellis said.
Applicants for this year’s competition were invited to submit a one-minute video answering the question: ‘How can young people help lead the way in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ in March, the UK announced a new global Women and Girls Strategy to help tackle gender inequality across the globe.
The strategy sets out three goals: to enable the conversation, lead by example, and lead through knowledge.