Conferment of the Degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) - 8th January 2007 - Mysore

Conference Kalamandira, Mysore - 8th January 2007

Acceptance Speech of Dr. Madanjeet Singh
(UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador) held on 8th January 2007, Karnataka State Open University, Kalamandira, Mysore.

I consider it a great honour that a leading educationial institution as the Karnataka State Open University has decided to confer on me the Degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) at its Seventh Annual Convocation to be held at Kalamandir. Mysore on 8th January 2007. . Much though I would have liked to come to Mysore and personally receive this distinguished award, my state of health prevents me at present from traveling to India. May I therefore convey in absentia  my heartfelt thanks to the KSOU Board of Management and the Chancellor of the University, Honorable Governor of Karnataka, for having bestowed on me this cherished distinction.

May I also take this opportunity to express my appreciation  of Prof. K. Sudha Rao, the Vice Chancellor of the University, for the dedicated efforts she has made over the years to cooperate with the educational projects of the South Asia Foundation. Founded in 2000, South Asia Foundation (SAF) is a secular, non-political and non-profit organization, the cardinal objective of which is to promote regional cooperation and peace through education, cultural interaction and mutual understanding among the people of South Asia.

SAF has been admitted into official relationship with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and recognized as an Apex Body of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Its aims, objectives and activities are in conformity with the spirit, purpose and principles of the two international organizations.

Recently, inspired by the excellent initiative by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the last SAARC Summit in Dhaka, the SAF Governing Council have proposed a Charter of South Asia University, drafted on the model of the United Nations University based in Tokyo.

Essentially, the South Asia University (SAU) would be an autonomous body and the apex coordinating centre which would be open to the leading institutions/universities in the SAARC region. They would be associated with SAU in a network of educational, scientific and cultural research and vocational training.

Together with all its components, the South Asia University will be able to provide world-class facilities and professional faculty to scholars from the SAARC region and disseminate the knowledge gained in its activities to increase dynamic interaction among the people of South Asia.

The continuing growth of vigorous academic and scientific communities in the interests of development and improvement of the quality of life will help in providing jobs to young people.

The decentralized structure of South Asia University would not only benefit institution of excellence for research and higher studies, but would be perfectly in tune with the objectives of open universities such as KSOU, which are providing education at the grassroots level to help the deprived and marginalized Communities in South Asia.

SAF sponsored projects such as the jointly designed courses by the open universities in the region would also become more effective under the coordinating umbrella of SAU.

Above all, a coordinating  apex body such a SAU would be able to help open universities in the region to establish links with a large number of research programmes of the associated institutions such as: pure and applied scientific and technical research; protection of the environment, water and forestry; use of renewable energy; economic development and creation of jobs; sustainable use of resources; preservation of the oral and tangible heritage; visual and applied arts; ethical journalism; interaction among people of different cultures, languages and social systems; family planning and population stabilization; rural development and poverty alleviation; advanced legal and human rights studies international relations and strategic studies, and so on.

The SAU affiliated institutions/universities may also help in multiplying the programme of SAF Group Scholarships by offering similar stipends that enable students from SAARC countries to study together and interact in order to promote regional cooperation, as South Asia Foundation is doing by establishing a number of institutions of excellence.

I am confident that should the proposal to establish the South Asia University become a reality, KSOU would greatly benefit by continuing to cooperate both with SAF as well as with SAU, in order to promote regional cooperation, peace, progress and security in South Asia.

Once again, may I express me deep gratitude to the KSOU Board of Management, the Chancellor of the University, and Prof. Sudha Rao, the Vice Chancellor of this distinguished institution of open learning for having recognized my humble contribution in the field of education by so kindly conferring on me the degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa).

Thanking you.
Madanjeet Singh

Degree of Doctor of Literature