Humanity’s blue dot is getting endangered with wildlife populations falling drastically as their habitats are destroyed.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) and to highlight the role of the youth in policy-development and decision-making, the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), New Delhi, organised the second World Youth Conference on Kindness on the theme ‘Kindness for Peaceful and Sustainable Co-existence’.
Held virtually, the conference provided global youth leaders and policymakers with a platform to discover innovative pathways for achieving the UN SDG, build the social and emotional capacities in the youth, and enhance the momentum for a new UN International Day of Kindness for Humanity.
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Anantha Duraiappah, director, UNESCO MGIEP, elaborated on the necessity for individuals to go beyond just the ‘I’ to the ‘Us’ and discussed research findings that demonstrate how education can help propagate pro-social behaviours especially amongst the youth. He stressed that “2020 has created a plethora of challenges for humankind. Humanity’s blue dot is getting endangered with wildlife populations falling drastically as their habitats are destroyed. In effect, peacefulness is deteriorating, leading to hatred, racism, xenophobia, border conflicts and inequities.”
He added that Covid-19 has alerted humanity of how fragile it is and why collaboration and compassion for each other is necessary to overcome global disasters.
“Kindness, a selfless and helpful action motivated by the desire to help another person without the expectation of any reward or even an avoidance of punishment in return is a natural instinct in humans, which if practised through Social and Emotional Learning can help create a society where peace and compassion takes centre stage,” he said.
Through the Gandhian principles of selflessness and non-violence, society can create a space of sustainable coexistence. Duraiappah also suggested each of the 1.8 billion youth on the planet do one act of kindness every day to produce 657 billion acts of kindness before the 3rd World Conference on Kindness in 2021.