Age is no barrier if you have the will. This has been proved by 18-year-old Delhi-based Chaitanya Venkateswaran who had the unique opportunity to spend last Wednesday as the UK’s senior-most diplomat in India under the mission's initiative aimed at empowering and highlighting the challenges faced by women across the world.
She is the fourth young woman to take over as British High Commissioner in an annual competition run by the UK mission to celebrate International Day of the Girl Child.
The British High Commission has been organising the 'High Commissioner for a Day' competition annually since 2017, inviting young Indian women aged 18 to 23 years to take over as their most senior diplomat.
According to a statement released by British High Commission, Venkateswaran's busy day included handing out tasks to the High Commission's department heads, interacting with senior woman police officers, meeting the press, and launching a study tracing the impact of British Council STEM scholarships on Indian women participants.
"I used to visit the British Council library in New Delhi when I was younger, and that's where I cultivated my love of learning. Building on that knowledge, to be the British High Commissioner for a day was a golden opportunity," Venkateswaran said.
"My day was full of diverse experiences which have really broadened my perspective on the role of women and their representation in fields of media, policing, and STEM. I am now more determined than ever to use my new knowledge and experience to help promote the equitable treatment of women everywhere," she said.
Jan Thompson, the Deputy High Commissioner for that day and acting High Commissioner to India on other days, said, “This competition is one of my favourite moments of the year – an opportunity to provide a platform to extraordinary young women and show how the UK and India are sharing expertise to ensure women and girls reach their full potential around the world. I was thrilled to relinquish my duties to Chaitanya for the day and was impressed with how confidently and competently she took on this role, a deserving winner out of an incredible 215 entries. In the side-lines of her very busy day as High Commissioner, we also enjoyed discussing our mutual love of the arts”
“ I look forward to seeing what Chaitanya achieves next, as she joins a cohort of young women whose voices we have been proud to amplify through this annual initiative; the next generation of global leaders,” she added.
Keeping the ongoing pandemic in mind, entrants to the competition were invited to submit a one-minute video on social media, answering the question -- 'What global challenges and opportunities do you see for gender equality in the age of COVID-19?’