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SSIS & UNESCO-MGIEP Campus Ambassadors Programme
- 26 September 2016

The International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (IDRC) was born of the need for new articulations between cultural diversity and universal values to further inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, and the promotion of mutual understanding and cooperation for peace.

In last decade alone, human civilization has made leaping advancement in science and technology which has resulted in our world being compressed together and has caused an emergence of overlapping of cultures, values and ideologies. History is witness that unlike science, human nature is reluctant to change in short periods of time and retrogresses in defence. Parallel with development progress, certain patterns have also emerged which present a threat to peaceful co-existence and social cohesion of human society.

Today, the challenge facing the global community is multi-dimensional, complex and interrelated, as the provocative threat of prejudice, intolerance, racism, xenophobia, violent extremism and radicalisation intertwines with identity of 'self'.

Current government policies are not adequate in addressing the global complexities. Therefore, there is a need for inclusive and participatory development that can tackle

1 Roadmap: The Rapprochement of Cultures, UNESCO 2016 issues at its roots. Dignity for self, equal rights and opportunities to shape one’s future, are underlining values of many cultures. Intercultural dialogue therefore, is not only necessary; it also provides a common ground for exchange of ideas and aspirations.

In the roadmap leading to the decade, UNESCO has underlined the importance of harnessing new advocacy venues to increase mobility, mobilize engagement, stimulate dialogues and broaden the reach of the decade’s mission through global campaigns of youth engagement. To this end, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), a tier 1 institute of UNESCO, is fostering UNESCO’s mission of an ‘equal and just world’ and is responsible for advancing the UNESCO-MGIEP Campus Youth Ambassadors Programme in India.

The Symbiosis School of International Studies (SSIS) was identified as a key partner in promoting the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures. The School has representation from 13 states of India and 3 developing nations. In addition, the courses offered under the M.A. (International Studies) programme- International Communication, Human Rights and Peace Studies, International Security, Global Common Goods, resonates with the global vision of the decade which envisages ‘unification in diversity’.

In its first year of implementation, the SSIS & UNESCO-MGIEP Campus Ambassadors Programme has identified 6 Campus Ambassadors who are responsible for highlighting positive voices from within communities, and nurturing engagement of youth in dialogues for change.

The Campus Ambassadors for 2016- 2017 are (from L-R; top most picture in collage):
Rock Lungleng, Sachit Gulwadi, Shonit Singh, Deepashree Mahajan, Prof. Lawale (Director, SSIS), Moumita Mukherjee, Mohammad Ajmal Zurmati

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