Panel Discussion on Cultivating Compassion, Self-Awareness, and Sensitizing the Community for Inclusion

A panel discussion on the topic Cultivating Compassion, Self-Awareness, and Sensitizing the Community for Inclusion was held during the Civil 20 Education and Digital Transformation Summit on May 21.

The discussion focused on the responsibilities of teachers in instilling values and shaping children’s character. Another aspect touched upon was the importance of comprehensive parental and teacher training programs in equipping educators with the necessary skills to foster a nurturing, value-driven environment, guiding children into responsible, compassionate individuals.

The eminent panelists were Shri. Ritesh Kumar Singh IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Karnataka; Dr. Alexander Jacob IPS, Retd. Director General of Police, Kerala; Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, Provost, Strategic Initiatives, International, Research & Innovation, Amrita University; and Br. Amrita Chaitanya, MA Center, USA. The discussion was moderated by Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, C20 Troika, India, Vice-Chairman of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, and President of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, in his opening remarks, said that

knowledge is light that leads to internal and external transformation. Amma says light belongs to all, meaning education is everyone’s right. He said, “Exclusion is a man-made construct, whereas inclusion is the law of the universe.” 

Shri. Ritesh Kumar Singh commented on the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence as it poses significant challenges safeguarding against its potential threats and the inherent dangers it poses to humanity. He also stressed that we are currently far from achieving adequate protection measures to mitigate the risks associated with AI.

Dr. Alexander Jacob IPS shared his views on reintegrating moral values into the education system as crucial for fostering a compassionate and harmonious society. Engaging subject matter experts to provide specialized training to teachers can effectively impart moral values to nurture a more empathetic and socially responsible generation. 

Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh highlighted the importance of experiential learning. She explained that the Live-in-Labs® Program at Amrita University provides students an opportunity to be a part of community settings and foster an appreciation for social and cultural nuances. The program helps develop empathy, understand diverse perspectives, and become more compassionate.

Br. Amrita Chaitanya emphasized integrating mindfulness and meditation training in education to promote compassion, awareness, and selflessness. This holistic approach transcends religious affiliations and embraces universal teachings, fostering personal growth and well-being. It enables a deeper understanding of self and the world, promoting a compassionate and harmonious society. The key takeaway from the discussion is that inclusive progress is only possible with a culture of the heart.

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