12 Jan 2022, Amritapuri
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University) has conferred its first Honorary Doctorates on Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, and Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, during a virtual ceremony that was graced by Amma. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, was also present via video conference.
Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, announced the names of these two accomplished and versatile personalities for first honorary doctorates.
Dr. Jeffrey Sachs is a prominent voice in the dialogue on climate change and a pioneer in Sustainable Development.
He has has made unprecedented contributions towards the preservation of the planet for future generations. He has been at the forefront of this important field for decades, and his impactful advocacy of sustainability at the United Nations and other international organizations. Dr. Sachs currently serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.
A human and child–rights activist, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi is world-renowned for his tireless campaign of more than 40 years to end child slavery and exploitation, and to ensure the right of all children to education. The grassroots movement he founded has liberated more than 100,000 children and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation. His advocacy has resulted in international legislation for safeguarding children’s rights, with the United Nations making children’s concerns at the forefront of sustainable and inclusive policy–making.
Addressing the audience, Amma, congratulated both the recipients of the honorary doctorates. “In today’s world, where conflict and greed rule, Sri. Jefferey Sachs and Sri. Kailash Satyarthi have overcome many challenges and are both actively involved in working to help society progress. The human race is confronted with so many burning issues. There is no guarantee that this beautiful earth will sustain us for another 50 years. If it has to sustain, human beings will have to make great changes to their thoughts. If we do not see or hear Nature’s warning signs, Nature will strike back. We have to give due importance to protection of Nature, because we are not separate from it. We need to change our thinking and imbibe love and compassion to bring about a real change.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs said: “I am so grateful for this honorary doctorate. It is a great honor to be part of your remarkable vision Amma. Amrita University espouses exactly what the world needs today. For me, Sustainable Development means two related ideas, which are both extremely important. One idea is the intellectual and scientific idea, wherein we need to understand physical systems such as climate change, biodiversity, agronomy, public health, etc. The other fundamental part, which is often missed and which Amrita University embodies, is the ethical dimension of Sustainable Development. We will not find a solution to our problems without compassion, love, mutual respect and recognition of common humanity. A combination of intellectual and ethical ideas is a must to achieve sustainable development.”
Dr. Sachs has promised to work with Amrita University to achieve the goal of Sustainable Development.
In recognition of Dr. Sachs’ contribution to Sustainable Development, Amrita University has constituted a fellowship in his name. The first such fellowship was awarded to Nitin Kumar, an Associate with the University.
While accepting the honorary doctorate, Kailash Satyarthi, said, “I feel humbled and honored in receiving this honorary doctorate. This is not an ordinary recognition because as we all know Amrita University is not an ordinary university. This is a place to inculcate universal human values along with modern education in making young people change makers for a better world. Education is the key to achieving social justice, equality, sustainability, peace and empowerment. I was listening to Amma’s speech, and she gave solutions to all ongoing problems and the problems of the future, in such a short time. We cannot find a solution for social justice, until we approach problems with compassion. If something has to be globalized, it is compassion.”
In recognition of Satyarthi’s work in highlighting child poverty, Amrita University announced that it has constituted a scholarship in Satyarthi’s name.