Heroes of HOBY: The Leaders of Tomorrow

Kate Ariano ’18
EE Senior Features Editor

“You think that you’re strong? Try being in a place where your best friend can’t go to school because she’s a girl and you can because you’re a guy. And then people are trying to make you go into ISIS or something like that. It’s crazy”, explains junior Anirudh (Rudy) Kurup, the latest of our peers to attend both the Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) Connecticut as well as World Leadership Congress.

Sophomores from across the state joined Kurup at the HOBY Connecticut congress. They discussed issues relevant in their various communities and how they could use their leadership skills to address those problems. For Kurup, however, the adventure into a world with topic discussions regularly dominated by politicians and leaders of all kinds, was simply beginning.
He comments, “I was invited to go to the World Leadership Congress and basically what that is, is it’s students from fourteen other countries [who] all come together in one place and we’re there for a week and we basically just talk about leadership. So I went there and spent a week at that campus and we…learned about how to take leadership, the leadership that we learned, and how to make a difference in not only our community, but it was more on a global level since there were kids from all around, there.”
HOBY’s dedication to educating the global youth about leadership and how to make an impact on their community has lasted since 1958. International high school students learn what their style of conveying leadership is, Kurup’s being education. While he excels in educating others about how to be a leader, other students find their styles and take them back home. However, Kurup made a point that not everyone has a home like his to go to when the conference is over.

“I got to sit down and talk to a girl from Iraq and she said that a week before she came her whole family died because ISIS took over the village that she lived in. So she went to the market with her aunt and uncle and when she came back the whole village was gone and she still came to the conference and she still interacted with everyone. It is almost like she knew that she had to move on and that she was there for a purpose, to make a difference in her community. In a war filled community”, recounted Kurup, clearly moved by the strength he witnessed.

Topics such as war stricken communities, one of the most recent being caused by the coup in Turkey which prevented six of the eight students from that country from attending the conference, were let into the hands of teenagers from across the world to discuss and find solutions to. To his astoundment, Kurup realized that many of the issues relevant to America’s society are eminent in those across the world.

“I had the opportunity to sit down at a table with…a girl from Iraq, a girl from China, a guy from China, a girl from Taiwan, a guy from Argentina, and we all talked about major issues in the world like clean water, gender inequity, and child labor…and you can’t do that anywhere else…I don’t know any other programs that allows kids from all over the world to come together to talk about hard hitting subjects”, Kurup added.

Now, he is on a mission. Kurup as well as senior Mimi Leonard plan to take over the school’s selection process to choose the student who attends the HOBY CT congress in hopes of sending the next potential leader in the community for the same experience they endured.

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