On the international Girl Child day, celebrated on 11 October every year, a competition “High Commissioner for a Day” is conducted annually since 2017 by the British High Commission, which invites young Indian women aged 18 to 23 years to take over as their most senior diplomat.
Out of a total of 215 entries, one was selected and that was of Chaitanya Venkateshwaran, making her the fourth woman to take over as the British High Commissioner. An 18 year old, She recently graduated high school from New Delhi and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree with a full scholarship in International Studies and Economics, and certificate programme in Advance leadership studies and Political Thought at American University, Washington DC, studying remotely.
During her unique day as the high commissioner, Chaitanya also met with the Editor of Anandbazaar Patrika to learn about gender representation in the media industry, discussed gender and policing with senior police officers from Madhya Pradesh and Telangana and interacted with the Marks & Spencer India team.
As the UK’s top diplomat, Chaitanya had a busy day as she had to hand out tasks to High Commission’s Department Heads, interact with senior woman police officers, meeting the press, and launching a study tracing the impact of British Council STEM Scholarships on Indian Women Participants.
Venkateswaran took to facebook to submit her entry for the role. The video, that was submitted on September 12, talks about the challenges and opportunities for gender equality in the age of COVID-19.
Jan Thompson, Deputy High Commissioner for the Day (on other days, Acting High Commissioner to India), said: “This competition is one of my favourite moments of the year – an opportunity to provide a platform to extraordinary young women and show how the UK and India are sharing expertise to ensure women and girls reach their full potential around the world. I was thrilled to relinquish my duties to Chaitanya for the day and was impressed with how confidently and competently she took on this role, a deserving winner out of an incredible 215 entries. In the side-lines of her very busy day as High Commissioner, we also enjoyed discussing our mutual love of the arts. I look forward to seeing what Chaitanya achieves next, as she joins a cohort of young women whose voices we have been proud to amplify through this annual initiative; the next generation of global leaders.”
“I used to visit the British Council library in New Delhi when I was younger, and that’s where I cultivated my love of learning. Building on that knowledge, to be the British High Commissioner for a day was a golden opportunity,” Chaitanya Venkateswaran said.
In her free time, she also helps the visually-impaired students, acid attack survivors and marginalised LGBT+ groups.