With successful events such as Cambiar and Youth Parliament in tow, Leaders of Tomorrow (LoT) is now organising its flagship event of the year- Summit Manipal. For the first time ever, we at MTTN sat down with them to discuss their origins, the culture of debate, and more.
MTTN: Let’s get back to basics. What is the origin story of ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’?
LoT: Initially, there were separate groups of people who used to organise ‘Summit Manipal’ and ‘Youth Parliament’. Then, there were changes in the administration and the body that used to organise ‘Summit Manipal’ dissolved. In 2007, LoT was founded and subsequently took over organising these two events.
MTTN: Tell us more about the history of these two events and how they are different from each other.
LoT: Summit Manipal was initially a college-level-inter-MU conference that evolved into an inter-college national level Model United Nations.
Youth Parliament came into being because Summit Manipal was used to discuss only global issues and international policies. We realised the need to have a platform where we discuss national issues and public policies as well. Here, rather than blindly state opinions, we step into the shoes of public policy makers and give viable solutions rather than impractical ones. We do this by analysing the pros and cons of each problem.
Through the years, the standard has only improved and the stakes have gotten higher.
MTTN: How would one explain the workings of LoT to a layman?
LoT: LoT is a student organisation that organises parliamentary, legislative, and other leadership events to imbibe the culture of public speaking and professionalism in students. That’s the most basic way to put it. (laughs)
MTTN: How does a massive organisation such as yours work efficiently together? What’s your structure? What do you if something goes wrong?
LoT: Our work is divided into eight departments: Content, Finance, Hospitality, Logistics, Sponsorship, PR and Publicity, Design, and Web Development.
The advantage here is that organising events are easy because our work is clearly cut out for us and there is no ambiguity involved. However, we need to have a proper hierarchy in order to function efficiently or we lose track of the 100+ students that we have. It’s all about the departments taking initiative and collaborating with each other, under the guidance of the Executive Board.
If something does go wrong, it is easy to figure out how it happened because of how the departments are divided. After the mistake has been identified the Executive Board is always there to rectify it.
MTTN: How do you go about organising events such as Summit Manipal and Youth Parliament? How different are the processed form each other?
LoT: For Summit Manipal, the content department with the most experienced public speakers research and come up with agendas. The next step is getting judges and figuring out what is and what isn’t logistically possible. It is difficult to keep track of everything because of the scale of the event, but that’s when the management structure comes into play. It is our last event of the year because by then, the Working Committee is used to organising such events and is self-sufficient.
Youth Parliament, on the other hand, is relatively easier to organise because it is exclusively an inter-MU event.
MTTN: Apart from these two token events, what else does LoT organise?
LoT: We organise Cambiar where major clubs within Manipal are given a platform to address the freshers and discuss their agenda for the year. With 73 clubs functioning in Manipal, students will not be able to attend every orientation of every club. We even mention the clubs that aren’t taking part in Cambiar through a description because we don’t want to neglect them either.
We also host a lecture series conducted by guest speakers where we cover various topics like ‘Guide to MBA’, ‘Guide to Placements’, and ‘Financing Higher Education’
MTTN: How does LoT recruit its members? Is there anything specific that you’re looking for?
LoT: Every person is given a brief idea about how each department functions and the work it entails. After this, the person chooses the department that they want to apply for. Respective department heads then conduct interviews.
Different departments require different skills. For example, Logistics requires you to be physically capable while Content takes in people who either have experience in public speaking or are knowledgeable, opinionated individuals. One thing that is common across the board is probably dedication and enthusiasm. We can make place for anyone who has a skill to offer and is willing to put in hard work.
MTTN: Why should people come to Summit Manipal?
Summit Manipal was the first MUN in the south circuit which was at a university-level. It has everything- one on one debate, formal discussion, informal discussion, and lobbying. It has every aspect of public speaking and public policy possible. It doesn’t ever get boring or tedious. The kind of effort we put into this event is insane and the reviews we hear, especially about Logistics and Hospitality, is encouraging, to say the least.
Moreover, it’s happening in Manipal. People like it here.
MTTN: With how things have worked out this year, tell us what has made you happy and what hasn’t.
LoT: We weren’t happy with the publicity ban because of which Youth Parliament had to be one day shorter. This ban is a setback for every club here. Accommodating the ban, taking clashes with other clubs into account, and simultaneously pulling off an event is difficult. These events take immense planning and it is difficult to organise them when your time has been cut short, even by a week or two.
The positive thing this year is the amazing response we have gotten. We have seen outstanding participation for Cambiar, Youth Parliament, and by the looks of it, Summit Manipal. We’re glad we’re reaching out to a wider audience.
MTTN: How do you think changes in the debating and MUN circuit has affected participation?
LoT: Initially, agendas were mainly ones that were already discussed in the UN. While there is nothing wrong with this, the debate that followed was stale and stagnant. Now, agendas are much more creative. The resolutions created are never going to get passed in the UN in reality, but for the purpose of debate, it’s okay. To excel in current agendas, you need to read up and put in effort. You can’t just imitate an existing public policy maker.
Secondly, the committees in MUNs are no longer just UN committees. Apart from futuristic and crisis councils, a number of fantastical committees have come up. Strangely enough, we even saw a Harry Potter committee take place. I don’t know if that’s a positive or a negative but it definitely sells your MUN.
MTTN: So, what’s next? Are you scared about anything for the future?
LoT: Our biggest fear would have to be ceasing to grow, or worse, downgrading. We’re also scared that we won’t be able to pull it off this time. In our final year in LoT, we are worried if our juniors will be able to take up the responsibility. However, we are prepared for the worst to happen and we know that if it does, with the people we have, it will be okay.
With that, the President, Vice-President and General Secretary of Leaders of Tomorrow whisked away to continue preparations for Summit Manipal which is set to happen on 31st March, 1st, and 2nd April.
The Executive Board of ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ includes Divya Mishra (President), Ansh Bhutani (Vice- President), Rahul Dalmia (General Secretary), Rhea Sharma (Treasurer), Mrinal Mathur (Hospitality Head), Ishita Agarwal (HR Head), Asiman Dash (HR Head), Anant Dimri (PR & Publicity Head), Sourav Panigrahi (PR & Publicity Head), Harshita Singh (Content Head), Harish Narasimhan (Content Head), Dhurv Murarka (Design and Web Development Head), Akshar Pandey (Sponsorship Head), Nithin Reddy (Sponsorship Head), and Priyamvada Singh (Logistics Head).
As said to Bhavna Subramanian for MTTN.