Indian Council of Gandhian Studies Chairman Speaks at Fourth SSA Student Peace Lecture
On July 29, 2008, Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, chair of the Indian Council of Gandhian Studies in New Delhi, India, spoke on "The Dynamics of Orienting Today's Education for the Sake of Peace" at the Fourth Singapore Soka Association (SSA) Student Division Peace Lecture. The event, held at the Singapore Management University (SMU) administration building and attended by some 220 students and guests from academia, was cosponsored by the National University of Singapore (NUS), SMU and SSA.
Following an introduction by lecture series chair Dr. Michael Heng Siam Heng, senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute, NUS, Dr. Radhakrishnan reflected on the true value of education, remarking that it was not merely a means of gaining employment. Sharing his conviction that education "is that which liberates us," "is about empowerment and awakening" and "is a process and not something of the classrooms," Dr. Radhakrishnan went on to emphasize the need for education to inculcate the value of non-violence. Through various anecdotes on the threat of nuclear weapons, Dr. Radhakrishnan stressed that the greatest danger facing our world today is not the atomic bomb but people's fundamental insensitivity towards the pain of others, which leads to the creation of nuclear weapons. He also linked the imbalance of ecosystems and the occurrence of natural disasters to human greed that leads to the relentless exploitation of nature and made an appeal for education that alleviates the inner human condition.
Following his lecture, Dr. Radhakrishnan opened the floor for questions and answers that became a lively exchange of ideas as students raised their concerns about current affairs.
As the close of the session, Dr. Radhakrishnan gave a memorable account of witnessing how youth and women, in particular, played a part in conflict resolution. This event demonstrated to him the powerful potential women have in promoting world peace.
Kee Zhongting, an invited guest, described the lecture as "energetic and insightful" and shared his thoughts on the need to be more humane, moving beyond superficial relationships and connecting with others on a more profound level. Gerald Soh, a third year NUS student and SSA Student Division member, expressed his desire to spread the message of non-violence among his friends and to read more books on the topic to become better informed.
Adapted from an article in the August 20, 2008 issue of the SSA Times, Singapore Soka Association (SSA); photos courtesy of SSA]