June 5, 2011
Dept of Social Work, Amritapuri
At the conclusion of ICSTSD ’11, Ms. Yamuna Sandrine Bonin, Research Scholar at Amrita Department of Social Work, shared a report of the historic conference with the assembled delegates. Given below are some excerpts from Yamuna’s report.
With Amma’s grace and over-whelming enthusiasm and support from all, the Department of Social Work, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri Campus, in collaboration with the School of Social Work, State University of New York at Buffalo organized the First Annual International Conference on Society, Technology and Sustainable Development during June 3-5.
Our aim was to facilitate meaningful interaction on the issues, challenges and best practices in sustainable development. We expected that many queries would be raised regarding interventions meant for the marginalized sections of society.
Today, when there are serious concerns about the manner in which globalisation and liberalisation are acting against
the very notions of localised, self-reliant, rights-based sustainable development, our mission was to build a strong
case for recognition of the significance of indigenous knowledge practices to develop appropriate technology
to address problems of poverty, human suffering, environmental degradation and natural disasters.
ICSTSD ‘11 was inaugurated by Dr. M. K. Muneer, Honorable Minister for Panchayats and Social Welfare, Govt of Kerala. Our Research Dean, Dr. Shanti Nair, delivered a very informative and thought provoking key note lecture on the scope of nanotechnology in sustainable development. A soul-stirring talk by Dr. Shankara Chaitanya and words of encouragement by Dr. Balakrishnan Shankar, Dr. Nava Subramaniam, and Dr. Catherine Dulmus laid the foundation for invited talks and
paper presentations that followed.
A total of 17 invited talks and 35 research paper presentations covered different dimensions of sustainable development with implication for policy making, research, planning and grassroots level implementation. Today the discourse on sustainable development has become increasingly complex as anthropogenic infringement on ecosystems and common pool natural resources such as forests and water is intensive and often times, destructive.
A number of international participants represented Deakin University (Australia), University of Asia-Pacific (Bangladesh), University of Johannesburg (South Africa), Swineburne University of Technology (Australia), Saint Ambrose University (United States), and State University of New York, University at Buffalo (United States). In addition, national level participants came from many institutes of excellence which included IITs, NITs, TISS, JNU, etc.
Authors and speakers representing all sectors of society elaborated on pressing issues like renewable energy, global warming and waste management.
Several contributors attempted to unravel the theoretical underpinnings and links between spirituality, ethics and sustainable development. An often neglected area in discourses of sustainable development, Amrita attempted to bring this to the forefront.
The First Annual International Conference on Society, Technology and Sustainable Development thus attempted to integrate diverse perspectives and practices to facilitate the creation of a holistic vision of sustainable development.
An encouraging note for us was the honor bestowed by the Centre for Sustainable and Responsible Organisations, Deakin University on Dr. P. P. Anil Kumar, NIT Calicut for the best paper presented. Such gestures will go a long way in motivating budding researchers to pursue high-quality and ethics-based research for finding sustainable solutions for human problems.
The valedictory session discussed the scope of future conferences, building multi-stake holder partnerships, and also taking up projects in the respective partner institutes to better understand and share best practices in sustainable development.
Dr. S. Krishnamoorthy, Registrar, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham addressed the audience and highlighted the importance of such a conference and acknowledged the role of partner institutions in sustainable development. The follow up thoughts were summarised and shared by Prof. Pravin Patkar, Dr. Paul Harrison and Dr. David Patterson.
We thank all those who participated and are hopeful of seeing you again at ICSTSD ’12.