Bhanvi Satija grew up in India in a family that valued individual liberty and personal responsibility, so when she got to college, she found herself unable to pick a side between the left and right. This wasn’t well received as many of her peers questioned her ideology; they didn’t understand how she refused to ally herself with either side of mainstream politics. For Bhanvi, there had to be a better alternative and she started to search for it. That is how she found out about South Asia Students For Liberty, which she credits for helping her figure out how to chart a more fulfilling path for her life,
“Apart from my academic and personal growth, one of the most important lessons I have taken from SFL is that liberty is not just a political and academic movement - it’s rather a way of life. I think this has also been a major foundation of how I perceive how to live better, how to find solutions to problems I see around me and in the society, and how I perceive the work that I do in order to make my society a freer place.”
Bhanvi became a Local Coordinator in 2016, and one thing that still stands out to her is the rigor and selectiveness of SFL’s application process, “It was an interesting application, one that required more effort than I’d imagined it would. I was surprised to know I had been shortlisted for the program that year, and the summer training remains one of my favorite bits of being associated with SFL till date.”
As an LC, Bhanvi’s main focus was to learn as much as I could about the ideas of liberty and how she could use her journalism and communication skills to contribute to the development of SFL in her region. As she helped to organize the Local Coordinator Retreat in 2017, she quickly learned that with SFL, students were challenged to develop themselves and had the opportunity to plan events without being micromanaged.
Her writing has since been published in some of the leading publications around the world including The Hindu, The Guardian and The Times. Her leadership skills shined through her impact, and it really is no surprise that she was selected to the Executive Board for the year 2017-18 as the Communications Chair. She was also selected to be a part of the Top 50 Global Retreat in 2018 and got an opportunity to represent SFL South Asia at LibertyCon 2018 in Washington DC, along with four of her fellow leaders. She recently finished her Masters in International Journalism from City, University of London and is currently working as the Editorial Intern at The Caravan, one of India’s most respected and intellectually agile magazines that is setting new benchmarks for Indian journalism.
On how SFL shaped how she feels her career, Bhanvi says “SFL helped me understand how pro-liberty values impact media, and how journalists can use them in their professional lives in order to be better at their jobs.