Neil Das is full of stories about his recent trip to Vietnam. He particularly enjoyed visiting the museum in Hanoi City. He also made some new friends.
Neil is not a regular boy on a regular vacay to a popular tourist destination. He dreams of becoming a change-maker in future and enjoys talking about global issues, politics and world peace, even though he is a 15-year-old who has just been promoted to Class X.
Neil was the only one from Orchids The International School — and one of the few from the country — selected to attend the three-day global forum, International Model United Nations (IMUN) 2023 held in Hanoi, Vietnam, from March 11 to 14. He was the youngest participant at the conclave.
IMUN provides a platform for youth from all over the world to discuss health, economics and social issues pressing the world as well as voice possible solutions.
“I have always felt the need to voice my opinion on global crisis. I believe students can bring about change through dialogue. The Russia-Ukraine war has particularly affected me. I also feel very deeply about the heath issues. We need to think positive,” said Neil, who dreams of being a diplomat in future.
So when the New Town boy is not attending class lectures or doing his homework, he is reading about all that is going on in the world and mulling solutions.
At IMUN-2023 he held forth among 2,00,000 delegates from 140 countries. Neil represented Australia and World Health Organization (WHO), talking about cancer and stress and how lifestyle changes can help keep both at bay.
Students from all over the world, representing different countries, reached a common solution — long school hours and stressful examinations need to go for us to fight depression and anxiety. “We reached the resolution that students need to spend more time outdoors amidst nature for better mental and physical health. I had to read up a lot about health policies and laws in Australia to talk about the mental health situation and the most common prevalent cancer in that country,” said Neil who hopes to visit Australia one day.
Neil was selected for the conference on the basis of a few parameters that included public-speaking, leadership and presentation skills.
“If you score over 8 out of 10, you get an invite. I regularly participate in most of the online discussions as well,” said the boy who has also won awards in the International and India chapter of the Toast Master competition.
His other passions include the piano and taekwondo. Neil dreams of sitting for the civil services exams and changing the nation, and the world, one day. His idols include his parents and APJ Kalam.
“Children are an evolved lot these days. Many of them hold strong opinions about whatever is wrong with the world today and suggest solutions. Neil has always been a role model for other kids. Otherwise quiet and shy, he has, previously, led a campaign on drug abuse and trafficking to spread awareness. He is a driven boy,” said Orchids The International School principal Sharmili Shah.