Amrita School for Sustainable Futures (ASF) celebrated the induction of its 4th cohort of PhD students on October 9, 2023, at the Amritapuri Campus in Kerala. Established in 2019, ASF currently hosts over 100 PhD scholars from 27 different countries.
The event was graced by the Chief Guest, Mr. Santhosh Jayaram, Global Head – Sustainability, HCL Technologies, Swami Dayamritananda Puri, Executive Director, MA Centre, USA, and other dignitaries. The ceremony began with a prayer, followed by a video message from Dr. Maneesha V. Ramesh, Dean, ASF followed by a welcome address by Dr. Ravishankar, Principal.
Mr. Santhosh Jayaraman discussed the evolving concept of sustainability, emphasizing its focus on protecting humanity rather than just the planet. He called for a curriculum shift toward sustainability education, promoted the triple bottom-line approach, and encouraged the integration of sustainability into various disciplines. He also highlighted the need for environmentally responsible coding in computer science and used “Raging Rhinos” as a metaphor for the potential consequences of unsustainable human activities.
In his benedictory Address, Swami Dayamritananda Puri emphasized the importance of adopting a mindset of gratitude and selflessness. He encouraged acts of love and kindness towards others without expecting anything in return. He highlighted the transformative power of such gestures in advancing societal well-being and the sustainability agenda. Swamiji also stressed the significance of helping those in need within society.
Dr. Shivapratap Gopakumar, Associate Professor at ASF presented an overview of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and ASF’s journey. He also highlighted the uniqueness of the Education for Life (E4Life) fully funded PhD program and the vision of Amrita’s Chancellor Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (AMMA) to conduct research that fosters social and environmental inclusivity and economic equity for rural communities in India.
The E4Life PhD program offers USD 5.1 million per year in funding spanning nine thematic areas. This initiative currently hosts a remarkable 108 students, drawn from 17 countries, guided by 48 dedicated research mentors and working with more than 500 communities. Furthermore, the academic program integrates social, economic, environmental, and cultural aspects of communities while assessing their needs and further enabling global youth to experience, embrace, empower, and engage through a blend of both experiential and academic learning.