Grit and Determination plus Digital Literacy? A Recipe for Success

Is the youth bulge a problem of plenty? India must combine old wisdom and new technologies to harness its demographic dividend.

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By 2020, India will become the world’s youngest country in terms of its population. When the certainty of this ‘demographic dividend’ became clear, it was seen as a huge opportunity by economists, academics, think tanks and social scientists, a problem of plenty. As the sheer size of the issue became clearer, and as more data on youth entered the public domain, employers, civil society and the government soon joined the conversation. Over the past decade, this one issue has become arguably one of the most emotive of issues in several Indian policy circles.

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President Obama meets Quest Alliance

How often do you get the chance to ask the former President of the United States for advice on your work? It’s an opportunity that Quest Alliance Executive Director Aakash Sethi was given earlier this month, when he was invited by the Obama Foundation to the December 1 Town Hall session in New Delhi.

Joining almost 300 young Indian leaders for discussions around active citizenship, Aakash spoke directly to the president about youth employability in the Indian context. After introducing President Obama to Quest’s work in school dropout prevention and job-readiness, Aakash probed the president on the best way forward in creating young people with 21st Century skills. We were struck by how far the president’s answer, with its focus on the importance of building scalable models, resonated with Quest’s values and larger vision.

Listen to the question and answer at 1 hour 59 minutes in the video above, and read the transcript below.

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