UNESCO Chair for Gender Equality
In the fall of 2016, Amrita University and UNESCO inaugurated India’s first ever chair on gender equality and women empowerment. The UNESCO chair will further the center’s goals and promote international, inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities and collaborative work. Gender Equality and Women Empowerment is one of UNESCO’s global priorities.
The Center for Gender Equality and Empowerment is a research focused academic center for promoting gender equality and fostering women’s empowerment with a special focus on technology and other innovative methods. This center will offer diverse courses on key focus areas, pilot areas, and collaborate with leading universities and institutions to advance the initiatives. The center will also act as a major resource center for the implementation of various development projects undertaken by the university and our parent organization: MA Math.
The establishment of Amrita University UNESCO Chair will support India’s progress towards achieving the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Understanding vulnerabilities in communities is the key to designing effective interventional strategies to enable women everywhere to gain full access to basic human rights.
Robotics for Good
International Conference on Robotics & Automation for Humanitarian Applications - RAHA 2016
December 18-20th 2016 was buzzing with excitement at Amrita University throughout the International Conference on Robotics and Automation for Humanitarian Applications. RAHA 2016 was the world’s first conference dedicated to robotics solutions for social good. There was overwhelming enthusiasm and participation by over 385 registrants, students, staff, and international delegates from all over the world. Speakers included Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, father of the Indian supercomputer, Ms.Meg Jones, Chief of Economic Empowerment at UN Women, Rehabilitation robotics expert Dr. Sunil Agrawal of Columbia University, founding co-chair of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, Technical Committee of Ethics, Dr. Ronald Arkin of Georgia Tech and Dr. Hajime Asama, University of Tokyo, Vice President of Robotics Society Japan, who was involved with the deployment of robotics technologies during the Fukushima disaster response. Highlights included talks, paper and poster presentations, robotics competitions, workshops and tutorials. Dr. Raj Madhavan and Prof. Rao R. Bhavani were the Program Co-Chairs.
In her role as Chancellor of Amrita University, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi met with the invited experts and renowned scientists who had come to attend the conference. The researchers and experts expressed their appreciation to Amma for having hosted the world’s first conference on robotics for humanitarian application, and requested her to deploy solutions innovated at Amrita throughout the developing world.
World renowned economist and leader in the fight against global poverty, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Earth Institute and University Professor at Columbia University, also shared his thoughts on Amrita University during his plenary talk. “I follow your work and innovative teaching methods that you’re developing, the haptic controlled teaching, the water projects and other sustainable development projects... And I just admire tremendously what you’re doing and hope that I can be a good partner with you as you continue to expand your work and your reach.” Overall, RAHA inspired a powerful, creative spirit that transcended science and technology. Using robotics and automation solutions to help solve societal challenges is such a blessing and Amrita University is at the forefront of this pioneering work.
Beyond RAHA: Deepening the Conversation
A special “Beyond RAHA” task force was formed to ensure that the progress made at the conference forms the foundation for an international research agenda geared towards the humanitarian applications of robotics technology while following appropriate ethical guidelines. This team will continue the conversation.