KZN teen to discuss global challenges at summit in Chicago

Shakaarah Bharath, 15, is headed to Chicago to discuss global challenges
Shakaarah Bharath, 15, is headed to Chicago to discuss global challenges
Image: supplied

A KwaZulu-Natal schoolgirl is headed to the US to discuss the world's challenges, from global warming to gender equality.

Shakaarah Bharath, 15, from Ladysmith in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, will represent South Africa at the Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit in Chicago from July 20-27.

The grade 10 pupil from Ladysmith High is among a group of girls from 29 cities around the world who will be discussing and debating current affairs.

Bharath was selected via a competitive application process. The application was available to girls aged 14-16 who live in or attend school in the city of Chicago or one of its 29 sister cities and had an interest in international relations, leadership, advocacy, activism or gender studies.

"It was a rigorous process of submitting essays on predetermined topics on various issues," Bharath told TimesLIVE on Wednesday.

The programme provides a globally immersive experience for leadership development, cross-cultural awareness and civic exchange while building relationships to last a lifetime.

The girls experience Chicago with their peers, while engaging with the city’s business and civic leaders and participating in workshops, discussions and presentations on advocacy, activism and leadership.

"I feel super fantastic and proud to have been selected from thousands of applicants. I feel it is such a honour and an experience I can take into adulthood," Bharath said.

She will be accompanied by her coach and mentor, Jean Anderson, who was also Bharath's primary school teacher.