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  • Sampada Kotcherlakota

A Discussion on the Role of Education in Boosting Trade and Investment in honour of the UN Education day at UK Parliament

In honour of the International UN Day of Education, the Europe India Centre for Business and Industry (EICBI) and the Indian Economic Trade Organization (IETO) presented a thought-provoking event at the UK Parliament on January 25, 2024. The conference aimed to explore the significance of education in fostering trade and investment, with distinguished speakers and experts contributing valuable insights.

The opening note was presented by Sampada Kotcherlakota, Associate Fellow at EICBI, who extended an apology on behalf of Chair Person, EICBI,  Sujit Nair, for not being able to attend the conference. After which Abhishek Tripathi, Vice-Chair, EICBI, formally opened the session where he  introduced the organisations, IETO, EICBI and the keynote speaker, Virendra Sharma, Member of Parliament, UK. Furthermore, he shared his thoughts on the potential of an educated youth in the country and technology will boost trade and economic ties. 

The keynote speech by MP Virendra Sharma, who emphaised on how different generations must and need to work together for a better future and better relations and how every generation can learn from each other to progress and foster economic development. He concluded with the benefits of healthy diplomatic and trade relations in the international community. 

This session was followed by Dr Asif Iqbal, President, IETO, who spoke on the planning process of the conference and the importance of Education Day. He emphasised on how education should be development, mobility and purposeful  as opposed to content only. He also spoke about the benefit of education to individuals, who then become a collective and work for the nation towards shared goals. Furthermore, he focused on how education should be decolonised, regenerative, open and accessible to be all and last but not the least independent.

The first panel discussion on Youth Across the world, Forging multilateral organizations for community and educational collaborations delved into forging multilateral organizations for community and educational collaboration, emphasizing education as a foundational element for global community building. Priyanka Moonesinghe, Consultant at CPA, highlighted the importance of conventional education, technology, and resources in fostering collaboration among Commonwealth countries. Varghese Moolan, TC at India Commonwealth Trade Council, delved into the consequences of consuming education without consciousness. Farah London, Founder of BACK 2 BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL, addressed challenges related to underfunding of educational institutions and its impact on vulnerable youth. Shareen Qureshi, Director at GICTC, spoke on pioneering efforts for women, emphasizing gender openness and empowerment. Dr. Salmaan Dalvi, CEO of the Global Regenerative Medicine Society, discussed the intersection of education and health.

Below is a brief overview shared by various speakers during the 1st panel discussion.

Priyanka Moonesinghe, Consultant, CPA; highlighted the importance of conventional education, technology, and resources in fostering collaboration among Commonwealth countries. Emphasizing blended education as a driver of progress, it addressed issues like minority exclusion and geographical challenges. The focus extended to international cooperation in parliamentary education and technology for cultural exchange, broadening horizons, and learning from diverse experiences. Key points included the role of parliament and democracy in cross-border initiatives, regulations, and investing in youth for better accessibility to knowledge. Overall, the conversation celebrated the transformative and universal power of education.

Mr. Varghese Moolan, TC, India Commonwealth Trade Council; delved into the harms of consuming education without consciousness. Furthermore, he explored the intersection of education and peace, incorporating concepts like Mind, Consciousness and a dimensional progressive theory and suggested a need to study consciousness in the context of education, highlighting the interconnectedness of these concepts and how it can benefit everyone. 

Farah London, Founder, BACK 2 BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL; focused on the underfunding of educational institutions, addressing challenges related to education, including a lack of teachers and underfunding she highlighted delays in diagnosing learning disabilities and the subsequent vulnerability of youth, especially after expulsion from school due to unruly behaviour and how they fall prey to involvement with gangs. She also mentioned the work done by Croydon College in collaboration with Oasis Academy to address these issues. The strategy involved connecting youth through shared passion, aiming to reduce crime by fostering a sense of purpose and engagement.

Shareen Qureshi, Director, GICTC; spoke about pioneering efforts for women, particularly minorities, encouraging their leadership roles. Emphasing on advocating for greater gender openness, boosting confidence, and increasing visibility, she added how the importance of a top-down effort was for a global platform to empower and educate young people. Furthermore, she referenced and reflected on her commitment to pro bono initiatives and addressing real-world challenges in achieving gender equality and empowerment.

Dr. Salmaan Dalvi, CEO, Global Regenerative Medicine Society; spoke on education and health, specifically in the context of stem cell donation and regenerative therapy in the South Asian community. It highlighted the importance of collaborative international efforts to invest in health through education, incorporating aspects such as FDA, HDA, and Myra approval. The emphasis was on the need for collective action to advance healthcare solutions and treatments through educational initiatives among the South Asian community. After the panel discussion the floor was open to the attendees to ask questions; adding students to education and the debate on private, public and grammar schools.

The second panel discussed the role of academia-industry partnerships in fostering tech and innovation. Mobeen Rafique, Chairman of Commonwealth Entrepreneurs Club, spoke on the significance of good schooling and the correlation between academic institutions and industry standards. Venu Madhav, Director of Pharma Exports committee IETO, emphasized accessibility to education beyond classrooms. Sankar Singaram, President of ICTC, Tamilnadu, highlighted collaborations between UK and Chennai universities. Narain Koparapu, Investment Analyst at Edinburg, emphasized the pivotal role of education in shaping India's demographic landscape. Sahana Reddy underscored the importance of access to high-quality education.

Mobeen Rafique, Chairman, Commonwealth Entrepreneurs Club; spoke about conversation good schooling, and discussing the significance of imparting not only academic knowledge but also good conduct. He touched upon the correlation between academic institutions and industry standards, questioning the absence of a productive approach. He emphaised on the importance of skilled development, active student participation, acquiring the necessary skills for overall development and research and development in both industry and academia to drive technological progress.

Venu Madhav, Director, Pharma Exports committee IETO; spoke on how education is not the sole focus, emphasising the importance of accessibility for everyone. He called for knowledge beyond the classroom, promoting meaningful contributions, inclusivity, and tolerance. He concluded with the stsement “education should not be a privilege but a fundamental right for all.

Mr. Sankar Singaram, President of ICTC, Tamilnadu;  Mentioned the collaboration between universities in the UK and Chennai. And how the collaboration involved academic exchanges, joint research initiatives, or other forms of educational cooperation between institutions in the UK and Chennai, India.

Mr. Narain Koparapu, Investment Analyst, Edinburg; highlighted the significant role education plays in shaping India's demographic landscape and spoke on collaborative efforts between nations, emphasising the continuation and strengthening of bonds to foster mutual understanding and growth.

Sahana Reddy emphasised the importance of providing access to high-quality education. Pointing out the benefits students gain from exposure to cutting-edge technology and virtual training environments. Additionally, the mention of "access risk skills without risking capital" suggesting how the pandemic has created opportunities to acquire valuable skills without incurring financial risks focusing on practical, hands-on learning experiences that simulate real-world scenarios.


In wrapping up the conference, several key takeaways emerged, underscoring the significance of global collaboration in education. The discussions, spanning community partnerships to industry-academia alliances, highlighted the essential role education plays in fostering worldwide cooperation however the reccuring theme throughout the conference was the multifaceted impact of education on individuals, societies, and nations. The interconnectedness of education with trade, investment, and technological advancement showcased its far-reaching effects.

Central to the discussions was the empowering role of education, especially in shaping the youth and cultivating future leaders. The overarching emphasis on inclusivity, accessibility, and the universal right to education echoed the commitment to providing learning opportunities for all.

As the conference drew to a close, a felicitation ceremony and a heartfelt vote of thanks by Abhishek expressed gratitude to participants, speakers, and attendees. The event successfully brought together diverse perspectives, shedding light on the pivotal role of education in shaping the economic landscape and fostering global collaborations. It served as a platform for insightful discussions, reinforcing the idea that education is not merely a means to acquire knowledge but a powerful catalyst for positive global change.



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