Mumbai youth hoists Tricolour in Malaysia

Mumbai: There’s a toast of celebration at the Patil residence of Byculla. It’s not everyday, a 23-year-old from the family returns home representing the nation at a Model United Nation’s (MUN) congress.

Afzal Patil, an IT graduate and a final-year law student from Rizvi College was one of the five Indian students to have represented the country at Asia youth international — Model United Nations (AYIMUN).

His presentation was based on “Human security agenda on the globalised world”, for which he has also won the award for the best position paper as well.

“It’s an empowering feeling to be able to speak at such an august platform. Not only did I get heard, but also they appreciated me,” he said. Afzal was one of the 2,500 delegates who represented their nations, selected from over 35,000 applications.

The annual conference was held between August 25-28, was a conglomeration of young leaders from around the world, where each of them played the role of a diplomat thus arguing and debating for countries they were assigned to.

This year’s MUN was by far the greatest conference in Asia Pacific. “I firmly believe that the youths must engage in critical and meaningful conversations with people from diverse backgrounds,” said Afzal, highlighting the conference to be an eye-opening experience in his life.

While in the conference, Afzal realised having knowledge and facts are only half the solution, as he believes it’s more important for the people to develop a sense of empathy towards each other.

“As Indians we need to learn having conversations about difficult issues without resorting hateful, rhetoric and jingoism,” said the 23-year old.

The budding lawyer aspire to empower the weaker section of society and protect them from religious atrocities. “Muslims don’t need to provide a certificate of nationalism. I associate myself with the Republic of India. We need to overcome the religious extremisms,” he said.

Born in a humble family, Afzal is the youngest of the four siblings, whose father is a retired govt employee.

Since his return, Afzal vowed to do the most to make society a better place to live in, as he plans demonstrations to encourage people for having their faith in democracy and raising awareness on the importance of education.

“There are scholarships and education subsidies for the minorities. I urge everyone to use them, to educate and empower themselvees, as people who are ignorant are likely to be violated more,” Afzal concluded.

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