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Featured Leader: Saroni Roy on the Power of Media and Initiatives for Peaceful Inclusivity

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In a world marked by rapid globalization and unprecedented connectivity, the imperative to promote diversity, sustainability, and social justice has never been more vital.   

The influence of media has grown far and wide, encompassing traditional outlets, social platforms, and the booming entertainment industry. This expanding media landscape offers immense power to communicate diverse messages.   

Actor, model, PR and media professional, Saroni Roy believes the media, entertainment & fashion industry, emphasizes the pivotal role of media in fostering diversity, sustainability, and social justice.  

“I think it’s the most powerful medium to be communicating anything that you want,” said Saroni.   

With a plethora of media avenues, the opportunity to reach and educate audiences on vital issues is more now accessible than ever.   

According to Saroni, branding and PR plays a significant role in shaping public perceptions. For instance, the focus on body positivity and diversity challenges conventional beauty standards, inspiring others to embrace their authenticity.  

Having a background in both the business of fashion & entertainment, as well as the world of journalism, Saroni understands the significance of film & media in addressing critical issues like diversity, sustainability, and social justice. In an era where beauty standards are scrutinized and amplified by social media, promoting body positivity and inclusivity becomes a powerful statement.  

Through media, individuals have become more reachable with the opportunity to reach and educate audiences on vital issues is more accessible than ever.   

However, the journey to inclusivity is not without its challenges. Balancing personal goals with the agendas of sponsors and funders can be complex, often requiring careful consideration to maintain the focus on community-centric initiatives.   

The proliferation of diverse opinions and energies can sometimes hinder progress, but it’s crucial to recognize that inclusivity means giving voice to all perspectives, whether positive or negative. 

From carefully selecting projects and partnerships that align with her Not-for-Profit Saroni Roy Foundation’s (SRf) core values of diversity, sustainability and social justice to getting funding support, to facing health challenges, Saroni puts D.E.I values at the core of all the foundation’s initiatives.   

Funding and support, while essential, also come with their own set of challenges. It’s crucial to ensure that the core mission of community cohesion and inclusivity remains the focus, rather than being diluted by external agendas.  

To bridge the gap between global initiatives and the understanding of today’s youth and diverse communities, the individual advocates for dialogue and knowledge sharing. Bringing together experts from various fields, including Nobel Peace Prize nominees and United Nations representatives, Government leaders, academia, and International relations diplomats, can help decode complex issues and make them accessible to all.   

One of the foundation’s annual flagship initiatives, the Mahatma Peace Symposium, commemorates Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy but also seeks to apply his teachings to address some of the challenges of today’s world. This symposium serves as a platform for discussing and articulating Gandhi’s vision, philosophies, and values in a contemporary context.   

However, Saroni shared that the symposium is not just about Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy, but also serves as a platform to showcase how his teachings and principles are still applicable today. Mahatma Peace Symposium highlights SRf’s ethos that structured peace education is key to making a paradigm shift in the way the world thinks about peace.  

“What he said ages ago, have universal relevance today. It’s what we see as the UN-SDGs. But do we really see that through?” asks Saroni.

“We at SRf, believe that inclusive and peaceful societies lead to sustainable & prosperous economies.”  

While working towards empowering change through media and inclusivity, Saroni was diagnosed with cancer, making all her efforts more challenging.   

2023 marks the 10 years of her cancer survivorship. Still facing multiple invisible disabilities and challenges, Saroni maintains an optimistic view to every experience.   

“Each day I strive to create a more inclusive ‘one world’ to live and love, by encouraging understanding and implementation of Equity and inclusion through Cultural Intelligence (CQ-Cultural Quotient) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ-Emotional Quotient), destigmatising and democratising Mental Health & Wellness, providing access to Visible/Invisible Disability.”   

Film and media have the power to shape perceptions and inspire change, and leaders like Saroni Roy are beacons of a more inclusive and harmonious society. Media, with its vast reach and influence, remains the most potent tool for moulding a diverse world into one where love and understanding prevail. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.

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