New Delhi, 18th December 2023– Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, ranked among the top 10 universities in India according to NIRF 2023, inaugurated the International Network for Sustainable Innovation and Resilient Futures (SustIN). The network formed by Amrita’s UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development was launched during a 2-day symposium on the occasion of the UN International Day of Mountains. Currently, the network comprises 60 institutional partners from 24 countries including 36 UNESCO Chairs.
This virtual event aimed at bringing together the UNESCO Chairs, institutional partners, and organizations from around the world who are committed to creating a sustainable future for all; providing a common platform to outline the network’s objectives, highlight focus areas, discuss upcoming events, strengthen collaborations, and build partnerships.
The event was graced by chief guest Mr. Tim Curtis, Head, Director and UNESCO Representative, UNESCO New Delhi Regional Office along with other dignitaries including Mr Gopinathan Achamkulangare, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations System; Sampoojya Swami Amritaswaroopananda Puri, Civil 20 India 2023 Troika Member, President, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham; Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation & Development; and Dr. Joost Monks, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative, Switzerland and Advisor, UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development.
During the inaugural event, Mr. Tim Curtis, Head, Director, and UNESCO Representative at the UNESCO New Delhi Regional Office, expressed, “We are all too aware of the multitude of concurrent and compounding challenges we are facing today. Achieving the agenda of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which we now understand are well off track, will require innovation. Indeed, innovation will be key to responding and catching up on these challenges. It’s been said necessity is the mother of invention, and today’s world has so many needs. So, this network is highly timely to remain relevant, open-minded, and flexible to the uncertain and ever-evolving world that we are living in today.”
He added, “It was fitting that the launch of SustIN coincided with the United Nations International Day of Mountains. It is crucial for young people to be better educated on the importance of managing and maintaining mountain ecosystems through science-based information, as their waters flow downstream and affect subsequent ecosystems until they reach the oceans. Also, the people that live in mountain systems have long-held traditional knowledge systems that they have developed over centuries, and we must have the humility and open-mindedness to understand these and bring them into our management system so that they can be harnessed.”
Mr Gopinathan Achamkulangare, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations System, “In the pursuit of sustainability, true leadership transcends mere participation in events; it demands a commitment to transformative organizational structures, clear objectives, and measurable actions. Just as the Kyoto Protocol laid the foundation for the ambitious goal of NetZero, our journey toward a sustainable future requires thoughtful programs tailored to uplift global south countries. Let us not merely attend to the urgency of the moment but, through strategic leadership, forge lasting collaborations with academia, charting a course for sustainable problem-solving that stands the test of time.”
“While considering scientific and technological solutions to reduce the impact of natural and manmade disasters that threaten humanity, let us also embrace compassion, the most simple, natural, and effective way to achieve the ultimate remedy. Amma says if we approach Nature with humility and love, Nature will serve us as our best friend. A true friend that will never let us down,” said Sampoojya Swami Amritaswaroopananda Puri, President, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
While highlighting Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s words, Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation & Development said, “We are all beads on the thread of love, and the universe and every living thing in it have an unbreakable connection to each other. The cosmos is a vast interconnected network. Think of a net that is stretched out by four people holding its four corners. If it is shaken slightly in one corner, the vibration is felt all over the net. We believe that above and beyond, collaboration and engagement with partners from the Global South and North will bring together unique perspectives to expedite our collaborative efforts to make sustainability a reality for the most vulnerable communities around the globe. Hence, I sincerely hope that this network and our collective efforts shine a positive beacon of light to the future.”
The symposium brought together experts from leading universities across the world to deliberate on the development of a global curriculum for sustainable development. Amrita’s UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development is in the process of developing a global curriculum for sustainable development which could be adopted by universities worldwide. Notably, the event recognized teachers and educators as frontline workers in the realm of sustainable development, emphasizing their pivotal role in shaping the mindset of future generations. The comprehensive discussion thus brought together diverse perspectives, united in the pursuit of a sustainable and resilient future.