Young Hindu Americans and organizational leaders gather at the ‘Charaiveti: The Hindu YUVA National Summit’ in Chicago from September 9-11, 2022.
Hindu student leaders from 64 universities gathered for ‘Charaiveti: The Hindu YUVA National Summit’ from September 9-11 in Chicago as a celebration of 15 years of organizational growth and Hindu activism on campuses across North America. Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues, and Action (YUVA) has 48 registered university chapters that practice, promote, protect, and preserve Hindu Dharma on campus. Amruta Houde, the Hindu YUVA National President, said, “Hindu YUVA has grown exponentially in the last few years and has created an indisputable footprint in the university space while bringing in new leadership across every level. We saw our 15th anniversary as an opportunity to bring dynamic new leaders together for Charaiveti, the Hindu YUVA National Summit, which was attended by 208 yuvas (young leaders) from across North America.” The Summit Charaiveti, meaning “moving forward”, was the most vibrant gathering of Hindu student leaders to-date, and had the highest representation of universities in any Hindu student leadership event like this in North America.
The sessions were themed around the acronym YUVA: Youth for Unity, Virtues, and Action. There were panel discussions reflecting on the need for Hindu representation in all aspects of society and how to address growing Hinduphobia in university spaces. Speakers also discussed the relevance of Hindu Dharma, and how their experiences can shape the way young leaders create change in society. Students participated in activities led by various regional and national Hindu YUVA leaders focused on strengthening campus-based activities to carry forward these themes in their local areas. Representatives from Hindu American Foundation, Understanding Hinduphobia, Sewa International USA, International Center for Cultural Studies, Samskrita Bharati USA, Bhumi Global, Hindu Education Foundation, Sewa Diwali, Hindu University of America, Dharma Internship Program, and Aum School presented opportunities for young leaders to engage with various Hindu initiatives. Professor Ved Prakash Nanda, North America Zone President of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, implored students and organization leaders to recognize that the “time is now that Hindus stand together and work in different facets of society towards the same vision.”
Leaders from six Hindu youth organizations BAPS Campus Fellowship, Hindu Students Council, National Hindu Students Forum (NHSF UK), Young Jains of America, Isha Foundation, and International Society for Krishna Consciousness discussed challenges Hindu students face on campus and how they could move forward together to address these challenges. Highlighting this energy, Kajol Desai, full-time voluntary worker of the NHSF (UK) said, “to move forward we must come together, each of us individually and organizationally come with our own experiences, when we begin to engage with one another as we are here at the Summit, we can bring those experiences together and enhance our collective experience.“
Energized by the atmosphere of the Summit and bolstered by the support of their peers, the Hindu student leaders returned more passionate than ever to represent the Hindu voice and contribute positively to their campus and community around them.
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