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Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development Renewed for Second Term

May 9, 2024 - 11:54
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development Renewed for Second Term

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is proud to announce the renewal of its UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development for a second term. This prestigious renewal underscores the university’s continued commitment to pioneering research and education in sustainable development.

The UNESCO Chair was first established in 2020, with the aim of promoting holistic and experiential approaches to learning and innovation to build sustainable and resilient communities. Under the leadership of Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, Amrita University’s Provost, the Chair has played a pivotal role in fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, knowledge exchange, and capacity building in the field of sustainable development throughout India.

“We deeply appreciate UNESCO’s continued support and recognition of our commitment to achieving the UN SDGs. Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh as the UNESCO Chair has had exceptional accomplishments and we are confident that she will achieve even greater heights and goals under the patronage and guidance of our Chancellor, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. We look forward to working diligently to further the goals of the UNESCO Chair and contribute positively to global sustainability efforts,” said Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

Said Dr. Maneesha, “We are honored by the renewal of the UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development, reaffirming our commitment to transformative education and research for sustainable development. Through our endeavors, we aim to empower marginalized communities, particularly those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid, and pave the way for a sustainable future.”

The UNESCO Chair has achieved significant milestones since its inception in 2020. The development of a global curriculum on sustainable development, enriched with experiential learning, stands out as a key accomplishment. Its field, crafted through collaboration with 300+ experts from 80 HEIs across 20 disciplines, serves as the foundation for the flagship program Live-in-Labs®.

“Through initiatives like Live-in-Labs®, impacting over a million beneficiaries in 25 states of India, we’ve laid a foundation for positive change. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with UNESCO and other partners to translate scientific advances into uplifting solutions for underserved communities, to create a sustainable future for all,” added Dr. Maneesha.

Having launched in 2019, the Amrita School for Sustainable Futures (ASF) offers the E4LIFE program for PhDs in Sustainable Development. With $5.1 million in scholarships each year, it has attracted 108 students from 20 countries.

Research under the UNESCO Chair covers 11 thematic areas integral on the path to developing sustainable and self-reliant communities: 1. Climate Change & Resilience, 2. Water Sustainability, 3. Energy Sustainability, 4. Sustainable Agriculture & Livelihood, 5. Waste Management & Waste to Wealth, 6. AI for Social Good, 7. Education: Pedagogy & Technology, 8. Healthcare Access, 9. ICT Solutions for Communities, 10. Marine Ecosystem & Blue Economy, 11. Living and Intangible Culture & Heritage.

One of the prime examples of outreach was an initiative undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chair established 14 Community COVID Resilience Resource Centres (CCRRC) across the country, in collaboration with the DST, Govt. of India. Its reach benefited over 100,000 beneficiaries by leveraging technological advancements for sustainable and resilient solutions.

More recently, the Chair launched the International Network on Sustainable Innovation and Resilient Futures (SustIN) in December 2023. It comprises 60 members across 24 countries, including 35 UNESCO Chairs, and aligns with UNESCO’s priority of enhancing institutional capacities through international cooperation and networking.

Overall, as part of its mandate, the UNESCO Chair will continue to engage in research, capacity building, policy advocacy, and knowledge sharing activities aimed at promoting sustainable development at local, national, and global levels. Through innovative pedagogical approaches and interdisciplinary research, the Chair seeks to inspire the next generation of leaders and change-makers to address complex sustainability challenges.

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