The 14th International Youth Media Summit (IYMS) in Pokhara, Nepal

International Youth Media Summit

I don’t know how to begin!

Should I start with all the pre-summit works we had been doing after the Sydney summit? Or the eternal moments experienced at Pokhara? 

Maybe both of them, right? YES, of course!!!

Let’s get started with the pre-summit hassles.

  1. Venues in Pokhara and Kathmandu

When we (the organizing team members) thought of hosting the 14th International Youth Media Summit (IYMS) in Nepal again, Kathmandu was not in the list. The summit had been already hosted in 2016. We wanted to provide everyone with a unique experience. There were a few options; Pokhara, Chitwan, Lumbini, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, etc. among others.

Guess what, we thought that no other destinations would be better than Pokhara. Also, it’d be a completely different experience for everyone. POKHARA! The heaven on Earth as everyone says became our venue for the 14th IYMS.

Media Summit

Finding a perfect accommodation was a great challenge for us. Since we are based in Kathmandu, we had to travel to Pokhara (200 KMs away from Kathmandu) back and forth, for quite a few times.

Thankfully, we had someone who helped us with everything; finding accommodation and other important resources. He didn’t just manage to finalize the accommodation in Pokhara, but also in Kathmandu.

Daman Chand; our financial advisor for the 14th IYMS. We can’t thank him enough for the continuous and guidance throughout the process. Had he not been with us, I can’t imagine how would we manage to get through with all the financial technicalities and procedures.

IYMS Social Time

Further reading: Nirmal Purja and the project possible!

  1. Finalizing the delegates

Initially, 89 was the finalized number of delegates to be attending the 14th International Youth Media Summit. Slowly, the number started to decline and just a month away from the summit, we had less than 50 confirmed delegates. It was a moment of concern for all of us. We had no clue of what should be the next procedure.

Hundreds of emails and communication with every possible organization made the 60-mark secured. Finally, we were able to welcome 61 delegates from 23 different countries.

IYMS Pokhara Nepal

  1. Partnerships and collaborations

Right when we returned to Nepal from the 13th IYMS, we were approaching different organizations. All of them were very positive about the summit and were keen to develop partnerships with us. But they were postponing the meetings and formal conversations every time we approached them.

IYMS 2019 Nepal

6 months away from the summit, only one organization formally introduced as the partner. Despite the back and forth communication, we were not able to secure a partnership with as many organizations as we expected. In the last 3 months (specifically the last month), we had more than 15 partner organizations.

IYMS Partners

Further reading: The Kite Watcher: My Childhood Story!

  1. Airport pickup

In a developing country like Nepal, there’s always a challenge while receiving people from the airport. The time limitation of procedures with immigration is always uncertain. Sometimes, it was very quick and sometimes, it’d take hours. We were there outside the airport waiting for the delegates to finish the immigration process.

Good thing; all of the delegates had pleasant experiences with immigration officers.

That’s the moment when the delegates started to feel welcomed in Nepal. 

14th IYMSThese were some of the major experiences with pre-summit activity. Now’s let’s talk about the actual summit.

“From the skyline after sinking in every bit of my two days travel from Nigeria to Nepal, the breathtaking landscape of the country as the sun rose on the mountains on the 26th of July 2019 was what first said the word ‘Namaste’ to me as I landed at the airport in Kathmandu. The people were as warm as the sun as Manoj from IYMS greeted me with a fresh welcome before I was driven to the hotel and he rode on his motorcycle, a spectacular sight that resonated throughout the country.

IYMS Nepal

From the hugs to the workshops on filmmaking and editing to the masterclass on acting and the mentorship sessions with mentors and advisors who are industry experts on film and developmental issues, IYMS provided me with ground knowledge, expertise and technical ability needed to tackle these issues and produce contents that will spur action and cause global change. Working with the issue group Youth Empowerment I was honored to have served as the Producer of our short film ‘Rising’ which is one of the PSAs that focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals 4 on quality education. I was equally amazed at the work of my fellow delegates working on Poverty, Violence, Health, Environment, Women’s Right and Discrimination. Working together across issue groups, I further appreciated the benefits of working as a team. After all, to solve global issues we all must learn to work together by sharing strengths and abilities for a common good.
What further made this experience wonderful for me was the quality of facilitators and IYMS management. At every point, I was drawing from the attention they constantly gave to me, their vast knowledge in filmmaking, event organization, research, production skills and years of experience in various industries and sectors where they have produced tremendous results. And because the summit was more practical than theory, it made every point on the agenda beneficial.

IYMS Mentors

How do you hold such an important summit in a beautiful tourist country and not soak in all the amazing places it has to offer? How do you contain waking up to the sight of snowcapped mountains all around you in the summertime? From enjoying the services and a refreshing dive in the pool at Mt. Kailash Resort in Pokhara to going to watch the sunrise on the mountains at Sarangkot Hill, I raised the Nigerian flag high during the boat ride at Begnas Lake and climbed out of the dark caves at Mahendra. I learned a lot about the mountains, mountain climbers, the native costumes, the different indigenous people and tools at the International Mountain Museum in Pokhara. I truly found a Zen state of mind at the World Peace Pagoda Temple that took me over three hundred steps to reach.
I constantly reminisce of my time in Nepal, in the monkey temple in Kathmandu, of our nights out in the narrow streets, of my brothers, sisters, and lovers who are now my beloved IYMS family.
Armed with a new appreciation for life, peace and sustainable development gained at IYMS 2019, I am now set to share these experiences, films, and knowledge with Nigeria and the world. 
Saying goodbye for me was not easy. The tears, the hugs, the memories and the nostalgia I trust is enough to keep me motivated till we meet again. The International Youth Media Summit made this experience possible and Nepal made it beautiful.” – Ovinuchi Ejiohuo, Nigeria

Further reading: My Year Review!

IYMS Logo

1. Started as a delegate and ended up being a family member.

The best thing about the summit is everyone starts off as a participant/delegate/host and within a day or two, they blend themselves with the circle and a new relationship is developed. Each of them become a part of the family. What a beautiful feeling!

IYMS Pokhara

Unlike other summits, we had the majority of delegates attending the summit for the first time. We always had the concern on how to provide them the comfort so they can have a feeling of family. I was the happiest when they were already talking comfortably in no time.

Further reading: The Happiness Project!

2. Powerful Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

The whole year we were trying to find the enthusiastic filmmakers, activists and issue experts. We couldn’t have gotten any better. Eventually, we now have 7 powerful Public Service Announcements (PSAs). The whole point of organizing the summit is to create inspiring, action-driven short films and this year, we are truly satisfied with all the films produced.

Have you watched those films? Here it is:

3. Stronger partnerships and collaborations

This year, we were able to develop partnerships and collaborations with UN agencies, and other organizations too. This is a stepping stone for further partnerships and collaborations in days to come.

“For me, this was one of the most successful Summits yet. It was one of the most carefully organized and exquisitely run.  The hosts and moderators did an excellent job, and there was effective communication throughout. There was a great connection with the community of Pokhara – flexes all over town and interactions between us and the people of the community. There was huge support from the UN community. 
The delegates were as close as any we’ve ever had– maybe because of those long bus rides to and from Kathmandu! Delegates were very excited to discover Nepal (or rediscover in many cases). They took great joy in purchasing souvenirs and clothes (which they wore during the Summit). They loved the places we visited on excursion day – and took great pride in their pictures, flying their flags, twirling their umbrellas. 

IYMS Team

Because of the resort, delegates were drawn to hang around. The pool was a great asset, and I was especially touched by the swimming teachers and students.  As we find with the talent show, we all have so many talents to share.  It was lovely at night to see people playing games in the bar, or upstairs in the conference room or playing guitar and singing outside under the stars.  The room was very comfortable and the food was great – such a large variety.  The staff was wonderful! So friendly and helpful.
The delegate presentations at night once again showcased what amazing people we have come to the Summit.  The work they’re doing in their countries is really exemplary. And we set a new standard for presentations – food and gifts! And of course – the most important part – for the first time ever we have seven equally powerful films- usually, we have four or five standouts- but never have we had seven of such outstanding quality. For the most part, the advisers fulfilled our expectations of keeping their groups on task without taking over.

Reecha Sharma Nepal

You could tell how serious people were about their assignments – there were wild celebrations over green lights. We very easily achieved both our goals – using media to reach the next generation to take action, and creating a model for peace across borders.  This sense of connection has continued this past week.  Just today, Ben from Israel reached out his hand in concern to our delegates in a majority Muslim nation, Pakistan, worried about the floods in Karachi. 
To our Summit family, there are no divisions of color or creed – just agonizing separations of distance, which make those daily hugs for two weeks seem even more precious. Love you forever- Evie. 😊 – Evelyn Seubert, IYMS President

Further reading: My Experience in the 12th IYMS!

4. Visit Nepal 2020 and Lifetime experience 

The campaign Visit Nepal 2020 was one of our main supporters at the 14th International Youth Media Summit. Through the continuous re-enforcement of the campaign and also excursions around the city provided everyone an overview of the importance of the tourism economy in Nepal. When the delegates are back to their home country, they will share about Nepal and all the beautiful experiences they had during their stay in Nepal. 
IYMS Nepal

5. Celebrations

IYMS as a whole is a celebration in itself. Plus, I have my birthday at the summit. Getting wishes not just on the day of my birthday but also the following days was overwhelming. Normally, I am not a huge fan of birthday celebrations. I’d like to introspect and spend more time on reflections but IYMS is a moment for collective celebration. I was surprised by a group of delegates at midnight when I was about to sleep. They were singing and wishing me. 

IYMS Birthday Celebration

The following day, after the presentations, we were about to leave the conference and everybody starts wishing me. They come up with beautifully crafted customized birthday wish on watermelon. It was another moment of surprise for me. Thank you so much everyone! 

International Youth Media Summit Nepal
Happy birthday to me! A huge thanks to the creative chef from Mount Kailash Resort.

“Ask any filmmaker what ideal life they would dream of, and they would say exactly what I am about to say. The two weeks at IYMS summit in Pokhara has been the two weeks that I will treasure my whole life. I was anxious the first day, not knowing what to expect and what everyone expected out of me. But as days went by, I felt welcomed in the family and the anxiety disappeared. Now all I was supposed to do was do what I loved, that is produce a short film to advocate about women’s right. And everything else was being taken care of by the IYMS team. We received workshops, mentorships, and guidance from professionals on producing meaningful films. We were well equipped to go film our vision. Apart from filming, I loved the company I got to call family. And the diversity in the family made every conversation interesting. We shared stories about our country’s culture, music, films, literature, and others. The shared experience from the diverse culture helped shape our film that people around the globe could easily empathize too. Two weeks in a beautiful city like Pokhara, working with a diverse family, being well taken care of and filming what you believe will bring change in the world; what more would a filmmaker ask for?” – Sudin Bajracharya, Nepal

In the end…

The 15th Summit is scheduled to happen in Croatia. The IYMS Nepal is planning to organize filmmaking workshops, PSA screening sessions and media literacy workshops throughout the year.

Looking forward to a productive year ahead. Cheers!

Photos: www.iyms.org
Shot by: Ram Saran Basnet (His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/basnetramsaran/)

About the author

I come from the land of Gurkhas; the brave soldiers who fought tirelessly and didn’t let any countries rule Nepal. Because of those Gorkhalis, the Nepalese are proud to call “Nepal has always been an independent nation so far.” Nepalese Flag is the world’s only non-quadrilateral national flag; red color symbolizing the bravery and blue symbolizes peace and harmony. What a proud thing. Also, Nepal was the Hindu Kingdom in the past and now a secular state welcoming people from all the religions. Nepal is a country of living heritages and Kathmandu a city of temples. All in all, Nepal is a country with Unity in Diversity. Thank you for reading the boring random shits. These things don’t relate to me in any way. And those are not the things that describe me. If I introduce myself with the common voices of any nationality, group or community, it’s nothing but sheer stupidity. A part of it can be a shared introduction but not fully. So who am I? I don’t know who I am. It’s been years of SEARCH but nothing has been excavated yet. And also, I am not the right person to describe who I am. It's you who know me and whatever I say about me makes no sense. You tell me who I am ;)

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