Global youth meet on kindness begins at Jindal varsity

Sonipat, Aug 20 (IANS): A total of 60 youth leaders from all over the world are attending the first-ever global meet on 'kindness', coinciding with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, which began at O.P. Jindal Global (JGU) University here on Tuesday.

The three-day international workshop on social and economic learning based on the theme of kindness is being co-organised by the varsity and UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).

Inspired by the Mahatma's teachings and 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".

The three-day workshop sessions at the campus will focus on enabling the youth to develop skills and understanding on socio and emotional learning, 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 event will conclude at Delhi's Vigyan Bhawan on August 23 with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Expressing concern over prevailing trends of institutionalised violence, discrimination and bigotry, JGU's Founding Vice Chancellor, Dr C. Raj Kumar said: "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, however, hoped events with such theme will "bring together the youth to develop a new imagination".

UNESCO MGIEP Director Anantha Duraiappah, underlining the relevance of the event, said that it aims at "providing the core social competencies to navigate an extremely complex, uncertain and changing environment".

"It's (the future) 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," he added.

In his address, JGU Registrar, Y.S.R. Murthy underlined that true education must aim at making everyone more compassionate, ruing that for "every act of kindness, there are hundred other acts of public apathy, insensitivity and indifference".

Flagging growing racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, he called for concerted efforts for according humane treatment to refugees who are fleeing from persecution and cited the examples of the Mahatma and Mother Teresa for the need for greater kindness and empathy for fellow humans.


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