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As we step into the second year in the UN Decade of Action aimed at achieving the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, it becomes important now more than ever to act collectively as a global community to bring in a transformation. However, over the past two years, owing to the pandemic, we have witnessed catastrophic effects in the lives and livelihoods of millions. This calls for the urgent need to act towards solving this global crisis with a shared global response and action. We need to delve deeper into how holistic and comprehensive measures can be adopted so that people at the bottom of the pyramid can be uplifted by solutions that are sustainable in its truest sense.
The most powerful way to bring in this transformation will be through education that imparts the necessary skills and knowledge to transform lives and reimagine a better world for everyone touching even the most vulnerable communities. To pave the way towards this, on the occasion of International Day of Education, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development and Amrita School for Sustainable Development (AST) jointly organised an International Symposium. The symposium “Educational Pedagogies & Technologies for Sustainable Development (EPTS 2022)” – Translating Sustainable Innovation for Communities was held from Monday, January 24 to Wednesday, January 26, 2022, from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (IST) / 10.30 am to 4.30 pm (CET) / 09.30 am to 3.30 pm (UTC).
The symposium that spanned over three days showcased renowned speakers presenting keynote addresses by sharing experiences in the areas of pedagogical approaches, educational technologies and a vision on reimagining education. The symposium unveiled a redefined approach to education through knowledge sharing that will ultimately help in devising different pathways for translating sustainable innovation and development to communities around the world. The keynote addresses were followed by panel discussions on all three days to discuss, ideate, and brainstorm on the development of a global curriculum for experiential learning and the design and development of an educational platform. The platform aims to educate students and empower communities worldwide in designing, developing, deploying, and sustaining solutions in alignment with UN SDGs.
The inaugural ceremony was graced by Guest of Honour Dr. Anil Kumar Nassa, Member Secretary, NBA, NIRF, and Shri. V Shashank Shekhar, IAS, Chief Electoral Officer, Nagaland. Both the guests lauded Amrita’s commitment towards contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and expressed special appreciation for the flagship Live-in-Labs® program. Mr. A. Gopinathan, Inspector and Chairman, Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system, Geneva presided over the felicitation ceremony. The members from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham included Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, Provost and UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation, and Development and Dr. Raghu Raman, Dean of School of Business and Centre for Accreditations, Rankings & Eminence.
The symposium featured 49 speakers from 13 countries and 1200 participants from more than 20 countries across 3 days. The symposium showcased the best of the world to ideate and bring innovative thoughts to the table. A few prominent speakers included former Ambassador, Mr. Amandeep Singh Gill, Graduate Institute Geneva, Dr. Liette Vasseur, UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability, Brock University, Canada, Prof. Letizia Jaccheri, Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Dr. Sidney Strauss Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University, Israel, Prof. Guido Zolezzi, Professor, UNESCO Chair in Engineering for Human and Sustainable Development University of Trento, Italy, The key partner institutions who are joining the symposium are The University of Arizona, University of Trento, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Tel Aviv University, UNESCO/ICDE Chair in Open Educational Resources, Athabasca University, Canada, UNESCO Chairholder ICT in Education for Sustainable Development, University of Crete (Greece), Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, University of Sheffield, UK, UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning, Work Education and Community Engagement Mahatma Gandhi National Council of Rural Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario to name a few.
The Valedictory ceremony was graced by a guest of honour, Mr. Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka. He stressed the importance of integrating education with sustainable development to empower everyone including women and children. Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh presented the summary of the symposium. Prof. Bipin Nair, Dean School of Biotechnology and School of Life Sciences, and Prof. Sasangan Ramanathan, Dean Faculty of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham presented the welcome address and vote of thanks.
Guided by our Chancellor, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has been leading various projects in sustainable development to accelerate our journey towards the UN 2030 agenda. Amma says ”Today, universities and their researchers are ranked mainly based on the amount of funding they receive or the number of papers they publish and their intellectual calibre. Along with this, we should take into consideration how much we have been able to use their research to serve the lowest and most vulnerable strata of society. In our approach to sustainable development, we should not forget that it is by strengthening the people at the base of the pyramid that the entire edifice of society becomes healthy and strong.”
EPTS 2022 thus provided a platform for interaction and knowledge sharing between academia, industry, government, and non-government sectors ideate and brainstorm on the importance of developing a curriculum based on experiential learning with active student and community participation. Along with this, different dimensions of imparting a unique curriculum-based approach along with the key aspects of building an educational platform to accelerate sustainable development were discussed in great depth. The university has been at the forefront in engaging students and faculty in building sustainable communities through a unique program called Live-in-Labs®. The symposium was held as an online event. To know more about the symposium,
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