The President of the Republic of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the first World Youth Conference on Kindness organised by the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development on the theme ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Gandhi for the Contemporary World: Celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’ at the VigyanBhavan in New Delhi today.Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ also graced the occasion. The conference saw participation from approximately 1,000 youth representing over 27 countries such as Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
This conference was organised with the aim to impart critical competencies (i.e. empathy, compassion, mindfulness and critical inquiry) in global youth to inspire, empower and enable them to transform themselves and build long-lasting peace in their communities. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, the conference aimed to provide global youth and policymakers an innovative, engaging and inspiring platform to come together and strive to discover ground-breaking pathways to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Addressing the gathering, the President said that Mahatma Gandhi was not just a great leader and visionary, he was one who personified certain timeless ideals and values. We could place Gandhiji in a time machine and transport him to any period of human existence and we would find him to be relevant. This is also true of the times we live in. Gandhiji remains extremely relevant to our present day concerns such as need for peace and tolerance, terrorism and climate change.
The President said that the strife and violence that we see in the world today is often based in deep-rooted prejudices. These make us see the world through the binary of “us versus them”. Following Gandhiji’s footsteps, we must let ourselves and our children interact and engage with those whom we tend to define as ‘them’. Greater interaction is the best way to develop a sensitive understanding, which can help us overcome our prejudices.
The President said that education too can play an important role in overcoming our prejudices. We need to evaluate and evolve the premise, goals and structure of our education system. Education needs to go beyond mere literacy. Education must facilitate and challenge the young to search deep within themselves and build their inner strength to sympathize or relate to the suffering of others. We need to educate young people such that they can defy and transcend boundaries of class and race. We need them to be educated and creative to find solutions to entrenched structural injustices and inequities. We need an education that can touch our emotions and our spirits.
Speaking on the occasion the HRD Minister expressed his happiness to participate in “World Youth Conference 2019 on Kindness”.He added that Ministry of HRD touches lives of crores of Indian population. He expressed his willingness in protecting the environment, eradicating poverty, empowering women, raising the standard of living, improving health through quality education. He appealed to the world youth leaders to contribute in making a better world based on Gandhian values.
The Minister said that, in recent times we are divided within the family, confined ourselves to computers and have made smartphones our world. Bapu’s thoughts can prove helpful for us in dealing with these modern day problems arising out of materialisation. We can herald a new era by following the path of peace and non-violence and converting vision of Gandhiji into a mission. He said that this event is an attempt to revive the time-tested values of kindness, non-violence, love and to draw insights for its management.
On this occasion, the tenth edition of UNESCO MGIEPs’ flagship publication, The Blue Dot was unveiled. The latest edition focuses on the Institute’s main area of work, primarily in social and emotional learning.Chairman, Governing Board, UNESCO MGIEP, Shri J S Rajput; Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, R. Subrahmanyam; Founder, Myna Mahila Foundation, Suhani Jalota were also present among others.