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South Asia Peace Initiative

Hyderabad Conference Addresses Unfulfilled Potential

Hyderabad, India — The International Leadership Conference was honoured to have Dr. Jaya Prakash Narayan, Founder and President of Lok Satta, as the Keynote Speaker at the Inaugural Session of the Hyderabad conference on August 26, 2008. Dr. Narayan urged Indian citizens not to be “bystanders” in the task of ending corruption and ensuring better governance in the country.

He deplored the fact that while India could be proud of being the largest democracy in the world and having achieved unity despite its diversity, as well as its significant economic growth, it must confront the dangers of fragmentation caused by a combination of challenges.

The denial of education, unfulfilled potential despite a large gene pool, and passiveness of civil society towards failures of leadership and deteriorating moral standards in the county’s polity were among the reasons for the “massive national under performance” of India.

He called for transforming political culture and institutions through a system of powerful incentives for honesty and good governance and disincentives in the opposite case.

Dr. Narayan reiterated the urgent need for proportional representation, since the present system often resulted in leaders of miniscule parties representing voters without any mandate.

Dr. Pushpa Bhargava, prominent scientist and civil society thinker who chaired the Inaugural Session, reminded the conference of five crucial problems which must be resolved if India’s future was to be assured: good governance, corruption, education, water, and energy.

Dr. V. Mohini Giri, Chairperson of the Guild of Service, emphasized the importance of empowering women from the grassroots up to the senior-most levels in order achieve inclusive governance, and she highlighted civil society’s role in this regard as well.

Shri G.M. Gurung, Human Resourse Deveopment Department Minister, Government of Sikkim, lauded the UPF-India emphasis on character education which he said was being incorporated in school curricula in Sikkim. He pointed out how the commercialization of education has deeply and negatively impacted our education system. Undue emphasis on professional courses such as engineering, information technology, and medicine have proved to be detrimental to other important disciplines such as the social sciences.

Hon. Gurung made the point that education is not a destination but a journey as a person gets education throughout his life. He also said that we must remind ourselves of the real purpose of education. Is education meant only to prepare oneself to earn a livelihood or should education make a person capable of taking decisions and making the right choices? He ended his talk saying that value education and character education lay down the foundation for real and lasting peace.

Dr. Chung Sik Yong, Chairman of UPF-Asia underlined the absolute necessity of the strengthening the family as the basis for peace, and through its extension, sustainable development and good governance.

Amb. K.V. Rajan, Executive Vice-Chairman of UPF-India, informed the conference of the key objectives of the series of International Leadership Conferences being organized in Indian cities with the main focus being on civil society-government partnerships in accelerating inclusive development, ending corruption, improving governance, and preserving peace within the society.

Capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on the eastern coast, Hyderabad is known for its rich history, culture, and architecture representing its unique character as a meeting point for northern and southern India and its linguistic, geographic, and cultural diversity.

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