KOLLAM:Stressing the importance of technological advancement as a means to uplift the poor, Mata Amritanandamayi has urged the scientific community to approach their research with a balanced mix of awareness and compassion at a United Nations international conference in New York on Wednesday.
Closing the existing divide between science and spirituality was the focus of Amma’s keynote speech at the conference attended by 700-plus delegates from all over the world. The continuing divide has been detrimental to society’s sustainable growth, she told the gathering at the event co-hosted by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and Amrita University, which she heads as the chancellor.
“Today, universities and their researchers are ranked mainly based on the amount of funding they receive or the number of papers they publish and their intellectual caliber,” she said. “Along with this, we should take into consideration how much we have been able to use their research to serve the lowest and most vulnerable strata of society.”
Amrita University became the first varsity to co-host a new series of initiatives launched by UNAI, marking a milestone for institution founded in 2003.
UNAI chief Ramu Damodaran shared the global agency’s deep appreciation of the partnership with Amrita University-particularly Amrita’s construction of the portal. The online endeavour, he said, would facilitate collaboration between scholars and institutions in their common support to the UN’s cause. Led by Mr Damodaran, the delegates from 93 institutions then signed a group statement confirming their positive intention to co-operate on all aspects of information and research data sharing for humanitarian benefit around the world in line with the UN-mooted Sustainable Development Goals.
Concurrent with the statement’s ambition, each of the presentation panels announced pledges of specific collaborative efforts between their respective institutions: Maneesha V. Ramesh, Director of the Amrita Centre for Wireless Networks & Applications; and Maarten van Steen, Scientific Director of CTIT, University of Twente, pledged to complete and have running the first landslide early warning and monitoring system in the heights of the Himalayas.
Dr Bipin Nair, Amrita University’s Dean of Biotechnology, and Dr Tai-Ping Fan, who heads Angiogenesis & Chinese Medicine Laboratory at Cambridge, pledged to evaluate within three years the efficacy and safety of plant-derived botanical drugs.