“Although we attend dozens of conferences every year, this one will be hard to forget.”
Speaking on behalf of the 60+ distinguished scientists invited to the International Conference on Wireless Technologies for Humanitarian Relief, Dr. Prashant Mohapatra expressed his feelings to Chancellor Amma, when the delegates met her on the first afternoon in Amritapuri.
Dr. Prashant Mohapatra, Chairman of the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Davis, was also the General Co-Chair of the Amrita conference.
Other delegates told Amma that the background motive in many conferences is maximizing profits from technology. But here the emphasis lay on using technology to benefit society.
“Not only wireless technologies, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham should organize similar conferences in other technical areas also,” one delegate requested.
“Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham should take a lead in this area, and promote research for serving humanity,” another added.
“Your students and faculty are doing such authentic work,” Dr. Deborah Estrin, Professor at University of California, LA and key note speaker at the conference told Amma.
“Whether it is working in local communities on cleanliness and sanitation issues or building the landslide detection system or an electronic health record system, they have the opportunity to work on real-life problems,” she said.
Dr. Dawn Song, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley, also a key note speaker at the conference remarked, “Your campus is very beautiful; you have many faculty members here who were working in the West but chose to return to India; here many people have united to move forward together in a grand direction.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Dr. Paula Bohr who said that she felt touched to see all that was happening here, where there was a clear meeting of the sciences and the heart.
“The heart and technology have come together in many Western universities also,” Amma replied. “Although we welcome your encouragement, in truth, there are many people all over the world who are working hard towards a noble goal.”
The discussion with Amma touched upon environmental issues also.
Amma expressed concern about the fact that our soil, water and air are all contaminated today. She recalled the time when she was young, when cow dung was used as an antiseptic to heal wounds. “Now if we apply cow dung to a wound, it will definitely become infected. What had medicinal qualities a few decades ago, is poison in today’s world.”
Amma reminded the delegates that individually and collectively, we were all responsible for the state of affairs today.
“Nature is very agitated and the condition of the planet today is worse than a war,” Amma emphasized.
On a positive note, Amma added that more and more like-minded people were coming together and many positive changes were being initiated.
Asked for advice, Amma responded by saying that we can wake up those who are sleeping, but it is impossible to awaken those who are pretending to be asleep. “There are many people like this in the world today; they have to themselves awaken to the truth.”
“What is the purpose of human life?” one person asked Amma.
Amma replied by saying that a deeper understanding about life was needed and that we should offer whatever we can, to society, to nature and to our fellow human beings.
“Tomorrow we may be gone from this world. We should ask ourselves, what we can do in this very moment. Do good. Keep on doing good things. Even now we are trying, but we don’t have the awareness that death can come at any moment.”
The meeting lasted an hour and a half. It concluded with every delegate receiving an embrace from Amma.
December 21, 2011
Wireless Technologies for Humanitarian Relief
Dr. Venkat Welcomes ACWR 2011 Delegates
ACWR 2011 Inaugurated
Dr. Paula Bohr at ACWR 2011
Swamiji’s Address at Inauguration of ACWR 2011
Panel Discussion on Wireless in Healthcare
Disaster Relief at ACWR 2011
Keynote Speeches at ACWR 2011
ACWR 2011 Concludes