Stepping into top UK diplomat’s shoes, a 22-year-old Journalism student Ayesha Khan from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh became ‘British High Commissioner for a Day’ and got an opportunity to oversee the UK’s largest network, chairing briefing sessions, networking with dignitaries and meeting project beneficiaries. She achieved the feat as a prize for winning a competition organised by British High Commission.
To mark the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’, the ‘High Commissioner for a Day’ competition was held by British High Commission, which was open to Indian women aged 18-23. As part of the selection process, applicants were asked to record a one-minute video on why gender equality is important and whom they see as their biggest gender equality inspiration. The competition saw an overwhelming response with applications received from across 14 states.
Sharing her experience as ‘High Commissioner for a Day’, Khan said, “My day was pretty hectic but also really fun and I got to learn a lot. Leading daily briefings, interacting with stakeholders from the UK and India, and experiencing the richness of multiculturalism has been a great experience.”
“I believe education is a powerful tool that can help achieve gender equality. I have been following the past winners of this competition and I thank the British High Commission for giving me this opportunity,” she added.
Meanwhile, Dominic Asquith the British High Commissioner to India who was the Deputy High commissioner for the day said, “I greatly enjoyed working for and with Ayesha for the day. She spoke articulately, passionately and convincingly on this important issue. I hope she found the experience as rewarding as I did personally. I wish her success – her ability clearly indicates a bright future.
“I am delighted that we were able once again to celebrate this important occasion by demonstrating to young women from all walks of life that anything is possible, and by giving them the opportunity to realise their potential. The UK and India are working together as a joint force for good in the world and we share with India the importance of promoting the cause of gender equality. I hope this initiative will capture people’s imagination around India – whether they live in big cities or small villages,” Asquith added.
Over the course of the day, Khan visited Apeejay School in Pitampura where the British Council is implementing the ‘Changing Moves Changing Minds’ programme to promote gender positive roles using dance and cricket. She also met women working in Delhi’s unorganised sector and learn how they are supported by SEWA, and hosted a discussion with a beneficiary of Facebook’s GOAL (Going Online as Leaders) programme. She also spent time with leaders from business, foreign policy and civil society.