Sayan Ganguly was one of the young journalists selected from India to participate in the Future News Conference 2015. He writes about how he connected with delegates from across the world
Our excitement peaked as high as we were flying when a message flashed across our screen: ‘Time left for arrival is 5 minutes.’ As our airline gradually descended through the clouds we caught our first glimpse of Edinburgh. The tiny fields, the cottages, the toy-like cars moving in a line and the vast water body called ‘Water of Leith’ looked enticing and gave us a short preview to what our five-day stay would be like.
There were two other delegates from India along with me. As we stepped out of immigration clearance the air was cold and refreshing. A few minutes later we found a cheerful lady from the British Council waving a placard and soon we were amid the other delegates from 20 other countries, ready to take part in Future News 2015, a conference for aspiring and budding journalists from across the world.
Personally, I was excited to see the Pakistani delegates, maybe emanating from a deep sense of an unexplained brotherhood. I knew from the very onset that we would click and I was not disappointed.
After the three-day conference I walked out as an individual with a broader wavelength, a wider vision and a fearlessness that was imbibed from certain magnetic personalities especially the Reuters’ Managing Editor and ex-Pulitzer winner Paul Ingrassia and Al Jazeera’s war correspondent Sue Turton.
The delegates also added to my learning curve. They came from diverse backgrounds, from various countries each with their own perspectives and problems when it came to media and the role it played.
Apart from diving into the history of Edinburgh’s streets and alleys post-conference we also experienced each other’s cultures through long nights of debates, dance and exchange of new ideas.
My Pakistani friends left me with an important message, which echoes my sentiments: “We love you all. It’s not our people but only our governments who are at fault.”