Unilever Sri Lanka Chairman Carl Cruz addressing the forum
In its questto engage the youth onpurpose driven leadership, Unilever Sri Lanka’s annual Youth Forum, organized by the Unilever student ambassadors – SPARKS, this year featured a very rich dialogue on the theme ‘Purpose’.
With over 800 applicants - out of which 200 delegates were selected to participate in the forum - the 2018 edition attracted several young leaders who are passionate and willing to contribute towards positive change. These individuals, whoare undergraduates selected from varied universities across the island,had the opportunity to meet industry professionals and network with other influential advocateswhile sharing their ideas on how purpose driven peopleenablebusinesses to be driven by purpose.
The forum began with a welcome note byMr. Carl Cruz – Chairman of Unilever Sri Lanka who stressed upon the role of the youth in driving positive change through purpose driven leadership. This was followed by6 distinguished speakers, including Mr. InsafBakeerMarkar – Official Sri Lankan Youth delegate to the United Nations - 2018/19 and Founder of the National Youth Model United Nations in Sri Lanka.Mr.Bathiya Jayakody and Mr.Santhush Weeraman – singers and composers at BNS Productions – thentook to stage to share stories of their challenging yet inspiring life journeys andtheir discovery of what truly drove them to achieve their success as youth icons.
A panel discussion at the end of the evening saw individuals from various backgrounds take to the ‘Hot Seat’ to answer a series of purpose related questions which were thrown their way. This was followed by an insightful discussion on their choice of answers, making the session a highly interactive one where the audience had the opportunity to engage. The panelists included Mr. Sumeet Verma – DirectorHuman Resources at Unilever Sri Lanka, whose key message was titled ‘Companies with purpose last & brands with purpose grow’; Ms. Achala Samaradivakara – Founderof Good Market Colombo who was awarded the Young Woman Entrepreneur of the year 2017 along with Social Entrepreneur for the year 2017- spoke on how ‘People and businesses with purpose thrive’; and Mr. Farhan Bahaman – FinanceExcellence Manager at Unilever Sri Lanka who’s subject was ‘Point of view on Purpose and how our students can relate it to their day-to-day life’.
The main objective of the forum was to provide an environment where the youthcan share experiences on the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment they live in. Itencouraged them to follow their purpose and find a direction and pathway to building their lives with meaning. The evening also saw the SPARKS student ambassadors entertain the audience with performances related to ‘purpose’, between sessions, and ended on a high note with the audience joining in on the celebrations.