The first world conference on ‘Kindness’ got underway today. Co-organised by the O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) and UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), 60 global youth leaders are participating in the three-day International Capacity Building workshop, being hosted on the JGU campus.
Inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, this unique conference, which is a first of its kind, coincides with his 150th birth anniversary. As a tribute to the Gandhian ideals of non-violence and peace, the event aims to provide an innovative, and inspiring platform to the global youth and policymakers who came together with an ambition to strive towards discovering ways that help inch closer to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The workshop sessions will focus on social and emotional learning based upon the theme of Kindness. The workshop will conclude at Vigyan Bhawan on 23rd August, 2019. The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind is scheduled to address the world conference.
Prof. (Dr.) C Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, OP Jindal Global University, expressed deep concern about institutionalised violence, discrimination and bigotry. “We are also entering a society where many of our established norms and values and practices relating to non- violence have been dismissed and even ridiculed,” he said. He acknowledged the importance of choosing the theme of kindness to bring together the youth to “develop a new imagination”.
Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP, emphasizing on the future generation and their scope of jobs commented, “It is providing the core social competencies to navigate an extremely complex, uncertain and changing environment. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride and therefore imperative to talk about emotional resiliency, which is why the three-day workshop is being held – it’s about building emotional resiliency and character. Mindfulness-understanding yourself; and empathy- understanding the other from their perspective.” Further he said that, the training is extremely difficult but the rewards are high. A first step in this journey is to be kind and this is why UNESCO MGIEP has organized this First World Youth Conference on Kindness.
In his address, Prof. (Dr.) YSR Murthy, Registrar, OP Jindal Global University stressed that true education must aim at making everyone more compassionate. He also expressed deep concern over the fact that for every act of kindness, there are hundred other acts of public apathy, insensitivity and indifference. Referring to growing racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, he called for concerted efforts for according humane treatment to refugees who are fleeing from persecution. Recalling the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa, he emphasized the need for greater kindness and empathy for fellow human beings.
The primary focus of the International workshop will be to enable the youth to develop skills and understanding on socio and emotional learning. The 3-day long workshop aims to facilitate the young participants to raise awareness on current issues and provide media literacy to use social media for common good as a campaign tool to amplify their voices. The modules were designed for 3-day long workshops with each module focusing on socio-emotional learning.