Welcome to my blog. I may write copy here that I would not present elsewhere. This blog allows me to comment while reporting for clients which can include subscription-only platforms. I use it to take a sideways look at running stories, and all views presented here are my own.

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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Hanging out with Indian Movie Stars Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra

To south London where a millionaire restaurant owner had persuaded Indian megastars Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra to set up for meeting with people like me as they launched their latest film Krris 3.

They gave a press conference followed by interviews and so I got to observe the two of them over a whole afternoon at very close quarters.

Their chemistry is great and there was lots of free, fast - flowing banter;  in fact they tended to intercept each others' questions a helluva lot.

They were polite and answered my questions really well. I asked them off diary stuff which will be seen in print next week.

Not only are these two stunning looking and two of the hottest film names in India as well as its diaspora, but Priyanka has broken the notoriously tough US market with her singing. The former Miss World has teamed up with  Pitbull and Will.i.am and told me she is really happy with her twin careers.

Hrithik may be a hot dancer and great looking but his vulnerable side showed yesterday;  aspects of his previous physical challenges surfaced from time to time.

With me, they were both charming and made sure we got a shot of the three of us by shooing everyone else off set.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Rhodes Youth Forum; Standout Speaker; Sandbox's Alex Terrien.

25-year old Alexandre Terrien, Deputy CEO at Sandbox Inc. London, was one of my finds among the  speakers invited by Youth Time to Rhodes 2013.

Educated in Paris, France, and Harvard College, Cambridge, MA, where he read American Protest History, Alex, polite and poised, has a great head on his young shoulders. He will go far.

He gave me an interview the last night we were on Rhodes with no notice and answered every question I asked him frankly and fearlessly.

Alex has a social outlook and is dedicated to community building. He published a book about Harvard when he was there. He led the startup, A Dozen Trees, A Dozen Trees, which he created with another Sandboxer, and led international business development for Harvard professor David Edwards.

Alex currently dashes around the world nursing his Sandbox hubs which exist in Europe, the US, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Through Sandbox, a community of extraordinary young leaders connects for free and receives mentoring, contacts and support. Read more about the company here. It is growing at a phenomenal rate.

Through this peer-to-peer accelerator, primarily embodied by the strong ties between community members, Sandboxers around the world can connect with other extraordinary leaders in a way that accelerates their work, pushes their ideas and helps them grow.

The company, led by Swiss investors, is making the best possible use of social media to build the group and give aid where needed.

There is skill-sharing, peer to peer advice and contact, dinners and fun events like bowling. The youngsters are drawn, many of them, from the brightest and the best in the conventional world, such as the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers. Altruism seems to be a watchword.

I like Alex's personal site. This gentleman travels so much at the moment he has the skill down to a fine art; packing light, and choosing seats that help him to be among the first to egress the plane.

He told me that each of the Sandbox hubs is led an ambassador who happens to be the best leader on the ground. I understand that the community has grown to 900 now and covers 28 cities. I met his Athens group led by the energetic and  personable Konstantina Zoehrer.

After a tough few days of investigation in Athens, I was heartened to see the enthusiasm with which Konstantina and her group are addressing local issues head on, doing what they can to find opportunity amid the Greek financial crisis.

What I really liked about Konstantina, and I believe this reflects the Sandbox  ideology of honesty and helping others, is that she had no desire to thrust her work at this curious journalist; rather she was happy to talk about well established projects that she thought would be good for me to look at.

As I write this, Alex is in the US and doubtless when I next see him he will tell me about all that's been happening there.

Examining Alex Terrien and interacting with other Sandboxers has led me to believe that I need to watch this group so I will be staying in close contact and wish Alex every success.