January 2014 By Life Positive Shruti Nada Poddar addressing the round table at WE ASC Congress, 2012 Shruti Nada Poddar addressing the round table at WE ASC Congress, 2012 The lVth WE ASC World Education Culture Congress convened by Shruti Nada Poddar will focus once again on integral education. In addition, the event will see the launch of the First International SHE Wordwide Congress Perhaps one of the most vital aspects of an enlightened society is the educational system it follows. In this respect, India, and indeed the world, has a long way to go. Despite many reforms, education today still takes its cues from the separatist and fragmentary worldview of the scientific age. The primary focus is on imparting information with the narrow view of helping the child earn a livelihood. In the process, the actual purpose of education, which is to humanise the child and equip him for a happy, healthy and fulfilling life is ignored. The blinkered development only of the IQ, has impeded the growth of emotional and spiritual intelligence. Little wonder, then, that conflict, turmoil, trauma, rage and violence have peaked all over the world, despite higher levels of education. What we need is a holistic educational model that will help a child realise her fullest potential by helping her develop physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Many spiritual masters such as Sri Aurobindo, J Krishnamurti and Sadhu Vaswani have created schools with this objective in mind, but these attempts are still a drop in the ocean. What is needed is awareness, and hearteningly, Shruti Nada Poddar, has been doing her bit to make that happen by organising World Education Culture Congresses for the last few years. Shruti Poddar is an educationist, a musician, teacher and exponent of traditional Indian knowledge systems and philosophy. She is also a psychologist and health consultant, and works for social empowerment and wellness of women, youth and ethnic communities. Dr Karan Singh addressing the conference in 2011 Dr Karan Singh addressing the conference in 2011 The past Congresses, held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, have brought together delegates and academics from over 40 countries to deliberate on the relevance of integral systems in formal education culture, with special focus on soft skills and traditional knowledge systems, and their role in human development and socio-economic empowerment. This year too she is convening the lVth WE ASC World Education Culture Congress between January 13 to 15, 2014, with a change of venue to Kolkota. The venue change, she explains, will bring in fresh people and fresh energy to the meet. The theme of the Congress will be Purna Taleem (integral education), Living Values in Education Culture. A phalanx of distinguished speakers will deliver inaugural and keynote addresses. They include Dr Karan Singh, Sam Pitroda, Shyam Benegal, the danseuse, Dr Shovana Narayan, and Sri Shiv Shankar Mukherjee (former High Commissioner to the US, S. Africa and Nepal). Life Positive is the media sponsor for the event. The Kolkota event will be divided into three segments. There will be a pre-Congress retreat cum seminar on Living Values on January 12th, at a popular resort called Raichak on Ganges. Participants will be encouraged to ideate on creating an Institute of Living Values with a special focus on how to train the teacher to mentor his wards. This will be followed by the Congress proper to be held in Kolkota. Those presenting papers are encouraged to do so in a creative format through the use of music, theatre, poetics, painting and innovative audio-visual media. Presenters are actively discouraged from reading aloud their papers. This itself will probably set it apart from the often drab proceedings of other conferences. This will be followed by a new initiative, The First International SHE Worldwide Congress on January 15 and 16. According to Shruti, SHE stands for Saluting Her Endeavour Worldwide, and was born of her own personal understanding and experience of the challenges of being a woman from the South Asian subcontinent, given the cultural and patriarchal mindsets of society. The theme of the Congress will centre around The Feminine in an Evolutionary World. The idea for this initiative came through the Saluting Her Endeavour awards Shruti Foundation had been giving to women who made a difference at the grassroots level. Additionally, while delivering a keynote address at a conference honouring women entrepreneurs in Malaysia, some of the women shared how controlled they felt by men of Indian origin, and the need for a worldwide organisation that would empower women to contribute to society, and not only to women. Says she, “The vision for SHE Worldwide is: To aspire, affirm and achieve an empowered self, progressive action, and a loving value-oriented and enriched world family.” The network will facilitate action by women of the South Asian subcontinent in the areas of peace initiatives, leadership, health and wellness, environment, skills training and capacity building and sustainable development. Says Shruti, “Basically, the dream is that through soft power and culture, women will create unity in the South Asian subcontinent. Maybe what governments were not able to do, women can do!” All in all, participants are guaranteed a most stimulating and enriching time at the Congresses. Those who wish to learn more can go to www.we-asc.org, www.she-worldwide.org. For online registration and online abstract submission, contact Shikha Kedia at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For other queries contact Event Manager Oindrilla Dutt (email@example.com, +91 9831031101) or Chhavi Garg (firstname.lastname@example.org, +91 9883090252. Contact: email@example.com
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