“Govt to play enabler in making Telangana, the capital of spiritual development” says KTR at the inaugural ceremony of Heartfulness’ International Youth Kindness Summit;
Hyderabad : Heartfulness in association with AICTE and UNESCO MGIEP (UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) as its knowledge partner is bringing forth the International ‘Rising with Kindness’ Youth Summit at Kanha Shanti Vanam – Heartfulness Headquarters in the outskirts of Hyderabad between 12th -14th August 2022. The event witnessed a staggering participation of over 12,000 academicians and students from several countries across the globe in the likes of UAE, Canada, New Zealand , Denmark, Austria, and Italy among others. Shri K. T. Rama Rao, Hon’ble Minister for Municipal Administration & Urban Development, Industries & Commerce, and Information Technology of Telangana presided over the opening ceremony of the event along with Shri Kamlesh Patel (Pujya ‘Daaji’) – Guide of Heartfulness. The three-day event is aimed at youth aged between 18-35 to showcase their Kindness Projects, share Kindness Stories and create a ‘Kindness Statement’ in their effort to help others foster compassion. The summit is supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi; sponsored by Reliance Industries Ltd., and Jio Digital Life; Co-sponsored by Zscaler and Adidez Institute Worldwide.
At the kindness summit, Shri K. T. Rama Rao spoke extensively on being one with the nature and the Telangana government’s role as an enabler, “I have heard wonderful things about the Kanha Shanti Vanam and we are fortunate that your center is located in Telangana. I am touched by the work Daaji and Heartfulness has done towards developing values pertaining to humanity and organic personality development. From his ideology, you would understand that one must be in consonance with nature and the world at large. If you look at India’s demographic profile, we are one of the youngest countries in the world, making us a very productive age group to the nation and the world. But it is important to note that this also can turn into a liability if not nurtured properly in terms kindness and compassion.
It is in this regard that the government of Telangana has done some remarkable work towards the 3 I’s – Innovation, Infrastructure and Inclusive Growth, with innovation focused on the thinking and ideology of the youth. It is this innovation in thinking that enabled our government in planting over 2.4 billion saplings. I’m told that Kanha Shanti Vanam has converted a barren land into an oasis in less than 5 years by planting millions of trees. This kindness towards nature compounded our very efforts towards increasing the state’s green cover.
Speaking about Telangana’s strides towards becoming the capital of spiritual development, he added, “I certainly believe that when a state grows, its citizens gravitate towards spiritual growth. And as a government, we believe in playing the role of an enabler to promote awareness and inculcate curriculum in education institutes to teach our youth about compassion, kindness and values. Today as the International Youth Kindness Day, I urge the youth to be proactive in caring for others, and more importantly to care for and be kind to yourself.
“Kindness is the greatest virtue that we can possess. In a highly competitive world that operates on the helm of technology, there is a greater need for people to cultivate compassion and empathy for others. There is an inherent kindness in each of us that we forget as we get caught up in our mundane activities wherein sometimes, we even become ruthless or selfish in making our own lives successful in the material terms. But when we see a child asking us a question around basic humane etiquette, we know in our hearts the child is right. Nobody taught the child that idea of kindness. It is his conscience that tells him so. We often overlook our conscience. We need to pay attention to our conscience every time our behaviors and attitudes veer off the empathetic path. Kindness is understanding and accepting our limitations and preparing ahead of time. Today, it is heart-warming to have such a large participation of our youth who are wise to tread the path of kindness and is showing us how we all can be united in kindness,” said Shri Kamlesh Patel ‘Daaji’ – Guide of Heartfulness.
Seconding Daaji’s thoughts on kindness, Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP, also observed, “It is the innate nature of human beings to be kind. Evidence from historical trends states that we live in the most peaceful of times, but we can’t be complacent because of the emergence of some of the global problems such as climate change and the growing inequality. I believe that the youth is where the future lies because you are the risk takers, because you want to take the risk it means bringing about a change, so do it! And be the voice of kindness.”
Day 1 which is centered around ‘Kindness Towards Oneself’ theme witnessed celebrity artists and performers, youth influencers and other inspirational figures come together at endorsing the importance of kindness. It began with a welcome address by Shri K. T. Rama Rao followed Pujya Daaji. Also, Shri. Sunil Deshpande, Dr. Anantha Duraiappah – Director, UNESCO MGIEP; Ms. Amaarah Martinus – Senior Programme Officer, UNESCO MGIEP; Ms. Khatija Rahman – Indian Singer and Director & Trustee of A R Rahman Foundation followed by their welcome address. A panel discussion exploring the wonderful science behind kindness was carried out by Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Dr. Snehal Deshpande, Dr. Pooja Sahni and Mr. Kuany Kiir – Project Officer, UNESCO. Dr. Meenu Tewari, Asst. Prof, University of North Carolina hosted an interactive session upon why developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence can unlock one’s potential. A group of Brighter Minds Youth showcased their cognitive skills based on Neuroplasticity. Three segments of Kindness Workshops were hosted by Shri J.D. Lakshminarayana, Mr. Ramesh Krishnan and Dr. Nivedita Shreyans. Capt. Vineet Ranawat, one of the founding members of Kanha Shanti Vanam gave a beautiful narrative of the Heartfulness Headquarters.
A ‘Kindness Concert’ by double Grammy award winner Shri Ricky Kej and his band to spread the message of kindness to the environment. Is slated for Saturday, August 13 at 6pm as part of this summit. Day 2 also involves Plenary sessions, Keynote Speakers, Kindness Workshops among others, the theme of Day 2 being Kindness Towards Others. The theme of Day 3 is around Kindness Towards Nature.
The programme comprised Experiential-Cerebral-Heartful modes that included workshops by UNESCO MGIEP on Self-directed Emotional Learning for Empathy and Kindness (SEEK) as well as Social and Emotional Learning for Youth Waging Peace, Plantation, Yoga+Meditation, Heartful Communication, Green & Blue Innovation Breakouts, Youth Project Showcase, Keynote talks, Musical Interludes and Kindness Concert.
The ‘Rising with Kindness’ conference was intended to help spread practices for self, society, and environment. The other take-aways that the youth had from the conference was better awareness on Indian culture and heritage through Yoga, Meditation and interfaith dialogues.
It also enlightened the participants to work be part of the sustainable development network with other youth leaders and have more opportunities with Heartfulness and UNESCO MGIEP. The event had three focus-verticals:
1) Self: drawing inspiration for personal wellness 2) Society: opportunity to network with other like-minded youth; enabling empathetic leadership, communication, and social entrepreneurship 3) Nature: helping promote kindness towards nature through circular economy, zero waste, eco brick and climate activism.
All youth delegates were offered certificates of participation issued by the Heartfulness Institute and given an opportunity to be a part of UNESCO MGIEP’s Kindness Matters Campaign which was launched in 2018 with an aim to mobilize young people and organizations to carry out transformative acts of kindness to tackle the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and create a positive culture of kindness. So far 1.36 million acts of kindness have been reported by young people around the world.