GUWAHATI, Sept 18 - �A severe lack of empathy has deterred the building of bond between people,� said Dr Sumer Singh, an educationist of international repute and Chairman, Think Tank, AFS, India, while delivering the keynote address at the launch of the AFS Intercultural Programme in north-east India at Maria�s Public School here on September 16 and 17.
Dr Singh said xenophobia has been a deterrent in strengthening relationship between people and that there had never been a greater need for this to happen than this hour.
Earlier, founder and managing trustee of the school Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Principal Alpana Khound Phukan and senior teacher Shahnaz Rahman spoke on the school�s endeavour to build bridges amongst people and communities and their active role in developing the young minds into wholesome global citizens with the vision of �learning beyond classroom� besides regular academic curriculum.
AFS which began as American Field Service during World War I and II when nearly 5,000 young men from all over the world volunteered as ambulance drivers, has been conducting intercultural programmes since 1947. It prepares active global citizens, future leaders, and change makers with essential 21st century skills to engage, lead, collaborate effectively and take action in their work and their communities - and serve their mission to help the world learn to live together. With the inclusion of north-east India in their map, the young minds in this part of the country would undeniably get an opportunity to tie bonds with people in other parts of the globe through AFS exchange programmes which are conducted both on domestic and international basis.
On September 16, the AFS officials comprising Divya Arora, National Director, AFS, India; Sarita Badhwar, Consultant AFS India Think Tank and Roma Shah, Parent Volunteer of AFS from Indore met the principal and representatives of reputed schools of Guwahati, Shillong, Numaligarh, Nellore and Balipara, Tezpur as part of the launch.
On September 17, besides the daylong workshop conducted by Sarita Badhwar amongst the teaching fraternity of Maria�s Public School, Dr Sumer Singh also addressed the parents of the children who would be hosting students coming from different parts of the world to the North East. Divya Arora spoke to the shortlisted students from Tripura and Guwahati city schools for the AFS �Yes Programme� which involves fully-funded one-year of academic study in the US.