When the 2023 G20 Summit convenes on September 9-10 in New Delhi, the leaders of the world’s major economies, comprising 19 countries and the European Union, will address the major global issues of our time.
The Government of India holds the G20 presidency for 2023, and has appointed Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) as the chair of an official G20 engagement group known as Civil20, or C20. As a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), C20 will bring forth non-government and non-business voices and present specific policy recommendations to the world leaders gathering in New Delhi for this year’s G20 summit.
Since Amma’s appointment as C20 Chair, numerous C20 conferences have catalyzed new levels of collaboration and problem solving among civil organizations. It is within this significant global framework that the C20 Education & Digital Transformation Summit was held on May 20-21, 2023 in Trivandrum, Kerala. The event featured 66 speaker presentations by prominent leaders in this field—including one highlighting the work and vision of Amrita Virtual Academy (AVA).
AVA educator and program coordinator Chandrika Suliman began her presentation by sharing what makes Amrita Virtual Academy unique: that every course offering is rooted in spiritual values. As a result, AVA students experience growth well beyond the knowledge and skills acquired.
Chandrika then presented a case study demonstrating the power of such an approach. The case study highlighted a collaboration between AVA and Amrita University, initiated during the pandemic, when Amrita University professors observed that their Computer Science students had become disconnected from the natural world. The professors noticed campus littering was on the rise. And with students glued to their laptop and phone screens, social skills had also diminished. In hopes of reversing this trend, Chandrika was requested to give a 45-minute presentation on love for nature. Amazingly, just after the presentation 200 of the 400 attendees signed up to learn the principles of Regenerative Agriculture through an AVA Amritaculture curriculum.
Of those students who were accepted into the pilot program, 72% not only completed the course, but also wanted to continue learning and become youth leaders in the field of ecology and regenerative agriculture.
“People are longing to return to a harmonious relationship with nature,” Chandrika observed. “In this time of climate crisis, people are longing to move beyond the feelings of despair and hopelessness, and into an experience of connection and empowerment. As Amma encourages, ‘Light your little candle and step forward.’ This pilot course was a beautiful way to help people know how to do that.”
She continued, “What I learned from those 200 students, who were so eager to contribute back to nature, is that there’s still hope. There’s still hope, and we just need to be intelligent and loving and keep moving forward.”
By Amma’s grace, may the course offerings of Amrita Virtual Academy continue to ignite such optimism and determination within us all.