18-year-old becomes British High Commissioner for a day

By Tenzin Norzom|12th Oct 2020
Eighteen-year-old Chaitanya Venkateswaran says she learnt the complex role of a High Commissioner in maintaining India-UK relationship and overseeing aspects of trade, security, defence, and providing opportunities to young women through scholarships.
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18-year-old Chaitanya Venkateswaran from Delhi became the British High Commissioner for a day on International Day of The Girl Child on Sunday.


A student of international studies and economics at the American University in Washington, Chaitanya called it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where she chaired senior meetings with diplomats, interacted with media representatives and members of Indian Police Service.


For the day-long stint, she took over the role from Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India who said it is an exciting platform to show young women that anything is possible.


Summing up her experience, she said, “All of this taught me about the complexity of the role that a High Commissioner plays. It also gave me a look into the role in maintaining India and UK relationship and all the work in relation to trade, security, defence, providing opportunities to young women through scholarships.”


The ‘High Commissioner for a day’ contest, in its fourth year now, is aimed at empowering Indian women between the ages of 18 and 23 by providing a platform to highlight the challenges faced by women across the world and learn the dynamics of the role.


Announced in August this year, applicants across India were required to record a minute-long video on ‘What global challenges and opportunities do you see for gender equality in the age of COVID-19'. Participants were asked to share it on a social media sites like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram by tagging ‘UKinIndia', using the hashtag #DayoftheGirl.

In her winning answer from more than 200 entries, Chaitanya highlighted issues like domestic abuse and violence and financial insecurity, lack of access to maternal and reproductive health facilities amid the pandemic. “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the world today but its effect on women is reversing decades of fragile development in gender equality,” she said in the video submission.

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