National Seminar on ‘Sustainable Development Goals: The Indian Story’ at St Aloysius College
Mangaluru: St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru in association with Indian social Institute, Bengaluru and Indian Social Institute, Delhi organized a 2-day National seminar on “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: THE INDIAN STORY” on Thursday, 13 February 2020 at Eric Mathias Hall at 10 am. The programme began with a prayer invoking God’s blessing rendered by the College choir, followed by welcome address by Fr Praveen Martsi SJ, the Principal of St Aloysius College, Mangaluru. The seminar was inaugurated by watering the plant/sapling in the pot by chief guest- Dr K Sankaran-Director, NITTE Justice K S Hegde Institute of Management, along with Rector of SAC Fr Dionysius Vas SJ; Rev Dr Joseph Xavier SJ- Director, Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru; Rev Dr Denzil Fernandes SJ- Ex-Director, Indian Social Institute, Delhi; Fr Praveen Martis SJ; and Dr Joyce Lobo, convener of the seminar.
In his welcome address, Fr Praveen Martis SJ said, “The Sustainable Development Goals, unanimously adopted at the United Nations in 2015, area great summary of the World’s current challenges. This Seminar, will help look at systematically at how we can help reach these targets- ending hunger, clean water, climate action, good health and well-being and quality education. India is ranked 140th among 156 nations on the 2019 UN World Happiness Report. The Report ranks countries on six key variable that support well-being: income, Freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity”.
“What are the causes for India’s Unhappy State- Increase in inequality, where the richest 1% controls almost three quarters of country’s wealth; The absence of political and business transparency. Bank frauds and embezzlement of public funds.; Without a credible social support system, public institutions are failing at such an alarming rate, people are forced tom rely on their own devices. India is also ranked 102 among 117 countries, at the bottom in South Asia and behind even Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Three years ago Pakistan was behind India”.
“Democracy index is going down all over the world and in India. Freedom of speech is an inalienable right of every citizen in a democracy. We are looking at education not just as a career but a preparation for life and life in a very changing world. There are four outcomes we would like to see in our students- adaptability and resilience; Societal impact-how does an individuals thought and action impact the society; and Sense of Purpose- why do we do what we do, and finally- A sense of ethics”.
Fr Martis SJ concluded saying, “I think these are the Learning Outcomes that Jesuit Higher Education has a;ways talked about: The Transforming power of education on a Jesuit campus: Personal transformation that leads to societal transformation through the ongoing dialectic of personal freedom and social responsibility. Our vision should to be to build human communities across borders that presently divide them and which make them less and less human”.
Rector Fr Dionysius Vas SJ speaking on the occasion said, “The 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by United Nations Member States in 2015, were a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. Through the pledge to “Leave No One Behind” countries have committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first. That is why SDG’s are designed to bring the world to several life-changing ‘Zeros’, including Zero Poverty, Hunger, AIDS and Discrimination against Women and Girls (UNDP).
“This Seminar is planned to bring together researchers providing collective space to discuss and look for diverse ways through high quality academic discourses, which might provide new impetus for better realization of SDGs and thus usher in changes to improve the quality of life of the poor. Gary Lawrence says Sustainability is a political choice, not a technical one. It’s not a question of whether we can be sustainable, but whether we choose to be”. The paper presenters, resource persons and participants from different parts of the country, will definitely share the fruits of this seminar with one another, and make this Seminar a fruitful one”. added Rector.
Keynote Speaker Dr K Sankaran was honoured on the occasion. Fr Joseph Xavier SJ also spoke on the topic of the seminar. Nearly 300 participants are attending this seminar. The inaugural formal session ended with vote of thanks by Dr Joyce Lobo, and Manoj Fernandes, faculty from St Aloysius College B BA compered the programme. The valedictory will be held on 14 February, with Dr rita Noronha- Director, Centre for Development Studies and Education, Mangaluru, and presided over by Fr Vincent Pinto SJ- Finance Officer at SAC.