The participation of citizens from 106 countries over the last few months shows that diverse cultural traditions are a source of strength to share knowledge in this digital age.
The Civil 20 Summit on Education & Digital Transformation concluded at Thiruvananthapuram, attended by 66 speakers, including 27 from abroad, and over 1,000 attendees. The two-day event was hosted by the C20 Working Group for Education & Digital Transformation (EDT).
“Over the past few months, this Working Group has engaged with NGOs, Civil Society, Academia, Government, and UN experts from 106 countries. We are grateful to over 15,000 participants who contributed to policy dialogues, sent recommendations, or participated in the policy surveys,” said Dr Prema Nedungadi, National Coordinator, EDT.
“The 27 physical and virtual events organised by the Working Group included 9,277 Indian and 5,835 international speakers. Outreach events were held through village chaupals across the country and 7,895 tribal children in 13 cities were trained in Integrated Amrita Mediation (IAM).
“Through Youth Parliaments, within India and internationally, we heard the voice of young leaders who identified challenges in their state and country, shared best practices, and suggested solutions and policy recommendations. The outcome of the deliberations will directly impact the policy recommendations to be launched at the C20 Summit in July 2023.”
Dr Nedungadi is also Associate Dean, School of Computing, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Director of AmritaCREATE – Center for Research in Analytics, Technologies & Education. She shared how inspiring it has been to witness the global union of diverse cultures in this digital age.
“The overarching themes that emerged from the discussions were based on incorporating the spiritual values found in ancient Indian culture and in Indigenous traditions around the world into promoting harmony, spiritual values, increasing mental strength, inclusion, accessibility, last-mile access, raising awareness, sensitising the eco-system, financing for inclusive skill development, and digital accessibility.”
At the Summit’s valedictory session, Shri Arif Mohammed Khan, the Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, was the Chief Guest. In addressing the delegates, he said: “For us Indians, the phrase ‘one earth, one family, one future’ is not merely a slogan. This universal vision is deeply embedded in our psyche and ethos. From the remotest times, India has viewed diversity as a source of strength, with its implication of acceptance and coexistence. We have always believed that people should not be confined to one single interpretation of reality.
“The Western philosophy in modern times has given the admirable concept of dignity of mankind, which is the fountainhead of all human rights. Ancient India, on the other hand, gave us the concept of divinity of mankind, which humanises the divinity and divinises humanity. India now houses one-sixth of humanity. Our main strength is unity among immense diversity.”
Other dignitaries present on the dais included Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Vice Chairman, Mata Amritanandamayi Math and Troika Member C20; Shri Vijay K Nambiar, Sherpa C20 and Former UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor; Prof Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, National Educational Technology Forum, India; Prof Venu Govindaraju, VP for Research, University of Buffalo, USA; and Mr Terry Durnnian, Chief of Education, UNICEF, India. Ambassador Gopinathan Acham, UN, Switzerland, attended the event virtually.
In speaking, the Governor added that India is now the fifth largest economy in the world, which makes it a nation of a billion possibilities and solutions. It is a country that has earned its progress through peaceful coexistence with other nations, which points to a constructive resolve of building a better world for prosperity where there is no strife or friction.
“India believes that nations today need not fight for survival or supremacy. The need of the hour is whole-hearted cooperation in facing challenges like poverty, climate change, terrorism, and the possibility of pandemics. These issues have grown to such complex proportions that concerted actions with everyone’s participation are the only solution. The idea is to shape a new paradigm of human-centric globalisation,” Shri Arif Mohammed Khan said.
“The developments in technology have opened immense possibilities of addressing problems of the world on a wider scale. India’s experiences, learning and models of recent years are possible templates for other nations, especially the developing world, to follow. India’s presidency of G20 has been described by the Hon’ble Prime Minister as a presidency of healing, harmony and hope. These values are best achieved through an education that gives importance to universal values, along with science and technology.”
The Summit also held several panel discussions which were based on themes such as Education for Inclusion and Accessibility; Digital Transformation; Education to Support Mental Health; Skill Development & Digital Accessibility; Emerging Technologies & Education in Resource-limited Settings; Research in Education; and Cultivating Compassion, Self-Awareness, and Sensitizing the Community for Inclusion.