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New Social Compact

Circularity and Social Impact of Education

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No foreign policy, no matter how ingenious, has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of few and carried in the hearts of none. 

The relations between nations are not solely based on a play of politics and economics. It certainly is the integration of culture and the structural elements that exist in the countries which brings best of the cords between the nations. 

To sum up, Diplomacy at its best must be well constructed to include critical thought process. It can not be oblivious of the economics of our society nor the political links that bind us as a world. High level discussions with inclusion of Global Governance, Cultural Homogenization must extend full respect to the unique cultural traditions of each nation. Only then can we bring the world pacing towards a healthy development and prove Thomas Friedman’s analysis of his groundbreaking book, The World Is Flat.

Globalization, primarily in the early 21st century has leveled our global playing field as it relates to commerce–as Friedman states. The playing field among industrial and emerging market countries is leveling. Whether a large corporation, a small company, or an individual solo entrepreneur, we are fast becoming participants of the larger global supply chain extending across borders and oceans.  Friedman also argues that in regards to jobs, the increased accessibility of technology plays a major role in equalizing the playing field. No longer is there a need to rely on hierarchical structures to access information. He regards the “convergence of 10 major political events, innovations and companies” that helped flatten the world. These include: Fall of the Berlin Wall, Internet, workflow software, uploading, outsourcing, offshoring, supply chaining, insourcing, informing and the wire connectivity of our digitized world.

The widely held notion that the pessimists are usually correct, while the optimists are usually wrong, can be argued–since all great changes in our world have been accomplished by the optimists. Thus, as global citizens we have no other choice but to stand as optimists. Positivity is the best way to sustainable success.

And as global citizens of a global community, we must all strive to establish and secure peace as the ruling principle that guides us in our lives and in our diplomatic world. This can be the guiding, collective survival not just for one country, but for our world. This is only possible if we join forces, globally, to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and hunger. 

Placing Circularity Of Education At The Heart of Modern Diplomacy

Education is the most powerful weapon for peace. Education is the third eye of a child.

Education flattens the playing field across socio-economic status. Focusing on the 3E formula of “Enable, Educate and Empower” the most disadvantaged can be empowered.  The indigenous communities can be empowered with knowledge while they preserve the unique cultural heritage and traditions of tribal communities.

The transformative powers of education are a personal part of my own journey from abject poverty to becoming a member of the parliament.  When poverty creates illiteracy, literacy can eradicate poverty. By providing free education to millions of disadvantaged children, our world can reap the benefits of the transformative powers of education. It can empower individuals to build–not destroy.

World Peace can be attainable if we empower peaceful and peace-loving individuals.  But one person can’t be the sea-change. They must empower, inspire and congregate like-minded individuals.  We need educationists who believe in the collective power of education for all and set a socio-cultural itinerary for holistic social reform and transformation.

Working in collaboration, change-makers can strengthen the global mission. Those who have achieved a platform for sharing thoughts, can gain a level of strength, power, and collectively give back to the society. Imagine if the art of giving can become the ethos of everyone’s life. In being obliged, not ungrateful, we can all work together as a global force to achieve world peace.

Globalization has connected all parts of the world, expanding the international cultural, economic, and political activities. As with everything else, globalization has advantages and disadvantages of economic, social, political, and cultural impacts. While in a country like India, with 65% rural population, globalization was impossible to decipher, the onset of Covid-19 pandemic has equalized and flattened awareness that a virus from “wet market” in Wuhan, China, can affect 202 countries. Reaching India’s borders, it affected nearly 900,000 in 90 days, killing over 44,000 victims–the speed of which proves our highly compact and globalized world.

The pandemic has also united policymakers and experts to work collaboratively. The pandemic’s destructive repercussions for corporations and businesses have proven the economic interdependence supported by cross-border supply chains. Many companies, dependent on China have seen the negative impact of the pandemic–from tourism, economy, education, and nearly all sectors of our global economy–both developed and developing countries.

The negative side of globalization is the global disparities that enable international terrorism and cross-border crime, allowing the rapid spread of the disease. On the positive side, the cross-border flow of people, goods, money and information creates new wealth and opportunity.  And throughout this, a certain level of economic stability has been made possible with technology–itself a by-product of globalization.

Empathetic leadership is also critical to transforming our world and world peace. Good leaders are harbingers of hope, can in still a sense of self-belief and think beyond limited goals pertaining to their own organization for the larger good. Good leaders can galvanize key stakeholders, envision a blueprint of change, analyze, foresee and take the best step for the greater good of humanity.

Amidst a pandemic this has brought to focus how every human being has the potential to become a leader, take charge and ease suffering. It has become very clear that our pandemic-stricken world needs leaders who can:

  • Deploy an analytical approach to solving problems 
  • Ensure fairness
  • Connect people and organizations, and value collaboration
  • Be resourceful but also humble.

Good leaders must be realists and guard against being overwhelmed by challenging circumstances. They must uphold compassion, empathy, righteousness, proactiveness and embrace diversity and commitment to the right to dignity. Diversity is essential–it broadens perspectives, ensuring the canvas is wide, large and all accommodating for a spectrum of views. Diversity ensures that decisions taken and implemented cater to all and leave no one behind–creating a flattened playing field.

Ideal leaders can inspire active citizenship by all members of their societies, which can widely spread to a global level. We must all take responsibility to fulfill our roles to our society, our communities and countries–and ultimately to our world. This activism doesn’t require wealth and power­–it simply means that citizens can, in a balanced way, fulfill both their rights guaranteed under their constitution and take on the responsibilities to become model citizens.

When each of us takes the responsibility to become actively involved as a good citizen, we can feel empowered to achieve for the greater good of our community and our society. Once empowered with this sense of responsibility, we can galvanize and inspire others to join us on this journey which can start from our classrooms, our schools, our village, our town, our state and can grow to reach greater heights.

Dr. Achyuta Samanta is a Lok Sabha member of Parliament from Kandhamal, and Founder of the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), and Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) and Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneswar, capital of India’s eastern state of Odisha. His mission is to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, and early girl marriages through education and by elevating India’s overlooked, poverty-stricken indigenous population. Since August 2017, KISS has been designated as the First University in the World exclusively for the tribal populations and provides U.G, P.G, M. Phil and PhD Programs. Furthermore, KISS takes education and learning to new heights focusing on teaching and research in unique and emerging areas of studies including: Tribal Culture, Philosophy and Eco-spiritualism, Tribal Heritage and Indology, Comparative Tribal Linguistics and Literature, Indigenous Knowledge, Science and Technology, Comparative Studies and Tribal Sciences, Tribal Resource Management, Tribal Legal Studies and Tribal Rights, not being pursued by any other Institution in the World.

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New Social Compact

The Social Innovators of the Year 2022

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Mikaela Jade. (Image: Veuve Clicquot New Generation Awards)

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship announced today 15 awardees for social innovation in 2022.

From a Brazilian entrepreneur using hip-hop to turn Favela youth away from crime, a Dutch nurse revolutionizing home healthcare and a park ranger turned tech founder using Minecraft to revive Australia’s Indigenous culture, the 2022 Social Innovators of the Year includes a list of outstanding founders and chief executive officers, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognized experts.

The awardees were selected by Schwab Foundation Board members, including Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark (2011-2015), and social innovation expert Johanna Mair, Professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance in Germany, and H.M. Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Honorary Board Member, in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.

“The Social Innovators of the Year 2022 represent a new ecosystem of leaders who are driving change and shifting organizations and systems towards a more just, inclusive, sustainable future,” said Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The Schwab Foundation’s unique community of social innovators dates back more than two decades to 1998 when Hilde Schwab, together with her husband Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, created the foundation to support a new model for social change, combining often-overlooked values of mission, compassion and dedication with the best business principles on the planet to serve the most disadvantaged people on earth and build a better society.

Today, the foundation has a thriving community of 400 global social entrepreneurs that have impacted the lives of 722 million people in 190 countries. They offer access to healthcare, education, housing, finance, digital skills and advocacy networks resulting in job creation economic opportunity, improved health and stability.

To help the social enterprise sector increase its reach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Schwab Foundation established the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs early 2020, representing 90+ members and an estimated 100,000 entrepreneurs as the largest collaborative in the sector.

“This year’s Schwab Foundation Awardees demonstrate that through values-based approaches centring on inclusivity, collaboration, relationships of trust and long-term sustainability, we have proven ways of changing institutions and mindsets, and disrupting traditional ways of working that hold systemic barriers in place,” said François Bonnici, Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The 2022 Schwab Foundation Awards are hosted in a long-term partnership with the Motsepe Foundation, founded on the philosophy of “Ubuntu”, the African concept of giving and caring for your neighbour and other members of your community.

“I strongly believe social entrepreneurship, combined with local innovation and technology, can create meaningful change and recovery in Africa and many developing nations. At its core it is about bringing together the best of business discipline and efficiency with the best of human and social values. We need this synergy, now more than ever,” said Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Chair, Motsepe Foundation and Chancellor of the University of Cape Town.

The 2022 awardees are:
Social entrepreneurs

Founders or chief executive officers who solve a social or environmental problem, with a focus on low-income, marginalized or vulnerable populations.

Ashraf Patel, Co-Founder of Pravah and ComMutiny Youth Collective (CYC), India: For almost three decades, Patel has nurtured inside-out youth leadership with collective organisations. This ecosystem has co-created the right space, context and narrative that has reached over 15 million young people.

Celso Athayde, Founder, Central Unica das Favelas (CUFA) and Chief Executive Officer, Favela Holding, Brazil: One of Brazil’s best-known social entrepreneurs, Athayde founded the nation’s largest social enterprise focused on favela communities, using music and sport to transform their lives.

Jos de Blok, Founder, Buurtzorg, Netherlands: de Blok is revolutionizing nursing around the world with buurtzorg, meaning neighbourhood care, which puts nurses and patients at the heart of its social enterprise model.

Kennedy Odede, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities), Kenya: Passion, 20 cents and a soccer ball were the building blocks for Odede’s social enterprise SHOFCO, which is transforming urban slums and providing economic hope.

Marlon Parker, Co-Founder, Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) and Rene Parker, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, RLabs, South Africa: Marlon and Renee Parker grew a Cape Town community project helping ex-convicts into a global social enterprise that has helped around 20 million disadvantaged people by offering tech skills, training, funding and workspaces.

Mikaela Jade, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Indigital, Australia: From park ranger to tech founder, Jade founded Australia’s first Indigenous edu-tech company using augmented and mixed realities to preserve and teach Indigenous culture and history.

Rana Dajani, Founder and Director, Taghyeer/We Love Reading, Jordan: Dajani sparked a global reading revolution, training female volunteers to read to kids. We Love Reading now operates in 56 countries, benefiting nearly half a million children.

Wenfeng Wei (Jim), Founder and Chief Executive Officer, DaddyLab, People’s Republic of China: “Daddy Wei” is a social media champion for safer consumer goods. His enterprise DaddyLab is a one-stop shop for trusted product testing, consumer rights advice for families.

Corporate social intrapreneurs

Leaders within multinational or regional companies who drive the development of new products, initiatives, services or business models that address societal and environmental challenges.

Gisela Sanchez, Corporate Affairs, Marketing, Strategy and Sustainability Director, Bac International Bank and Board Member, Nutrivida, Costa Rica: Nutritional food firm Nutrivida, the brainchild of Gisela Sanchez, combats a lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet, known as hidden hunger, that affects 2 billion people.

Sam McCracken, Founder and General Manager, Nike N7, USA: A member of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes from the Ft Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, McCracken founded Nike N7 20 years ago with a vision of using the power of sport to promote cultural awareness. It demonstrates Nike’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with the Indigenous populations of North America. Today, N7 has benefited more than 500,000 Indigenous youth.

Public social intrapreneurs

Government leaders who harness the power of social innovation social entrepreneurship to create public good through policy, regulation or public initiatives.

Pradeep Kakkattil, Director of Innovation, UNAIDS, Switzerland: Kakkattil founded global platform HIEx to link innovators, governments and investors and find solutions to global healthcare problems, from COVID diagnosis to the cost of medicines.

Sanjay Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Global: Pradhan has been a tireless champion of good governance and fighting corruption, leading a partnership of 78 countries, 76 local governments and thousands of civil society organizations that are working together to make governments more open and less corrupt.

Social innovation thought leaders

Recognized experts and champions shaping the evolution of social innovation.

Alberto Alemanno, Professor of Law, HEC Paris and Founder, The Good Lobby, European Union, France: Alemanno is passionate about overcoming social, economic and political inequalities. His civic start-up, The Good Lobby, kickstarted a movement for ethical and sustainable lobbying.

Adam Kahane, Director, Reos Partners, Canada: Kahane is a global leader in helping diverse teams of leaders work together, across their differences, to address their most important and intractable issues. He has facilitated breakthrough projects in more than 50 countries on climate action, racial equity, democratic governance, Indigenous rights, health, food, energy, water, education, justice and security.

Hahrie Han, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science, Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, Johns Hopkins University, USA: Han is a leading academic and author on collective action and the way citizens can collaborate to solve public problems and influence policy, from immigration to voting rights.

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New Social Compact

Grace and a Tennis Celebrity

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image source: Wikipedia

Among the character traits we cherish in fellow humans, grace is often more noticeable in its absence.  The recent saga of a Serbian tennis player and his manner of entry into Australia and subsequent events come to mind.  A champion athlete cannot help but serve as an ambassador for his country, and in Serbia’s case, after the horrors of the Yugoslavia civil war and its prominent role, it is a country that needs all the help it can get. 

Novak Djokovic is ranked number one in the world and is in Australia to defend his title.  He appears to have lied on his Australian entry form:  False declarations are grounds for revoking a visa, and immigration officials acted.  But as world number one, he is a draw for the tournament … and money talks — he is already scheduled to play his first match as this is written. 

Mr. Djokovic’s lawyers went to court which overturned the immigration officials’ order against him on the grounds they had not followed proper procedure.  Then the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who had been thinking about canceling his visa actually did.  So it’s back to court.

But it gets worse:  Djokovic has not been vaccinated.  He claims that having had the illness, he is immune.  Scientists have found that to be of short duration.

He also broke isolation rules after he had tested positive, particularly by not isolating himself, thereby endangering his contacts.  Cavalier his behavior maybe, perhaps careless but possibly a sense that rules are not for celebrities, only for lesser mortals.

That it caused a sense of outrage is apparent.  A leaked video has a couple of news anchors discussing Djokovic in not very flattering terms:  “Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky asshole”, says one.  Yet the comment also is evidence of a coarseness that has gradually pervaded language.

In the meantime, Mr. Djokovic’s father has his own take on the affair.  He calls it a conspiracy to prevent his son from breaking the previous record of 20 Grand Slam title wins held by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer because they are all against Serbia.  But Serbia, which still believes in little Jesus and is thus protected, will prevail.

Would aphorisms like ‘a storm-in-a-teacup’ or ‘mountains out of a molehill’ be descriptive?  Not if it’s news across the world.  Yet, if he continues to rant on the tennis court and win, it could be his way of getting rid of nerves, an eternal bugaboo. 

He must have another crucial concern:  the biological clock.  At 34 going on to 35 in five months, and with much younger rivals snapping at his heels, it has to be a race against time to win that 21st major title.

Just like grace notes relieve tedium in music, perhaps Djokovic’s rants relieve the boring baseline game that modern tennis has become.  No more a Frank Sedgman or a Pancho Gonzales charging up to the net to put away a dramatic volley, tennis now needs a grace note, or two, or three …  

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New Social Compact

Age No Bar: A Paradigm Shift in the Girl Child’s Marriageable Age in India

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Image source: indiatoday.in

India is a country known to have diverse culture, languages, social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief system, religions and their personal laws. With personal laws governing succession, adoption, divorce etc, one of the most important aspects governed by the personal laws is Marriage. Indian society has a deep-rooted belief of marriages being the most sacred bond between two people. Every religion of the country gives utmost importance to this sacred bond. Since this bond is of such great importance to the Indian society and to the people of the country, the legal system and the personal laws have made efforts to legalise the sacred bond. There are conditions and requirements laid down for the marriage to be solemnized and get a legal sanction. One such important condition is “age”. According to most of the personal laws and The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 the legal age for a man should not be less than 21 years of age and a woman 18 years of age. Recently the government introduced The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to raise the age of marriage for women from 18 years to 21 years

Introduction of this bill shall prove to be a ray of hope for people struggling to curb the evil of child marriage in our country. One cannot claim progress unless women progress on all fronts including their physical, mental and reproductive health. The Constitution guarantees gender equality as part of the fundamental rights and also guarantees prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex. This bill would bring women equal to the men as far as the legal age of marriage in concerned. Under the National Family Health Survery-5, it is stated 7% of the girls aged between 15 and 18 years were found to be pregnant and nearly 23% of the girls in the age group of 20 to 24 were married below the age of 18 years. There are researches to point that from 2015 to 2020, 20 lakhs child marriages have been stopped.

In my opinion, increasing the age of women from 18 years to 21 should not be seen solely as an equal opportunity for them to choose their life partners at the same age as that of men, but this is a step taken by the government to eradicate child marriages that still find way in to our society. It should be seen as an effort to bring down maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate. It shall also try and curb the teenage pregnancies, which are extremely harmful for women’s overall health as well as the infants born out of it. We also have to take into consideration that a large part of our society still lack basic education and awareness about these laws and the advantages attached to it. We as educated citizens of the country should take extra efforts in making people aware and to make them understand about the disadvantages associated with child marriage and the overall consequences their children would face in the future. We should appreciate the efforts taken by the government to tackle gender inequality and gender discrimination adequate measures taken to secure health, welfare and empowerment of our women and girls and to ensure status and opportunity for them at par with men.

*The Views Expressed are Strictly Personal

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