BHUBANESWAR: In a first in Asia, the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) and British Council, India hosted the ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’ here on Friday.
More than 30,000 persons, including 27,000 students of the institute had a sumptuous lunch with High Commissioners, Deputy High Commissioners and representatives from the High Commissions of 53 Commonwealth countries at one place.
The ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’ is a part of 70th year celebration of British Council’s inception in the Commonwealth countries of the world.
It was a big day for the KISS, as it is the only organisation selected from Asia along with four other Commonwealth countries including Australia, South Africa, Ghana and Edinburgh.
The main motto of the programme is to encourage people to get together to celebrate their Commonwealth Connections through food as shared meal envisages binding the diverse and vibrant network that connects over 2.4 billion people from over 53 countries.
Director of British Council, India Alan Gemmell said they are really happy to have hosted the lunch at KISS in Bhubaneswar as it was the biggest ever event on lunch for the Commonwealth.
“It is an unforgettable celebration of the Commonwealth and importance of young people. We want to develop new relationships with young people all over the country to respond to their ambition in education and culture. We enjoyed the moment with the indigenous students,” he said.
The big lunch initiative was launched by UK Prime Minister Theresa May in February this year ahead of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April.
While the first lunch was hosted by the British Council in London on March 12, lunches of all shapes and sizes are set to take place till April 22. It will not only improve the happiness and wellbeing of people, but also help build more resilient and better connected communities.
Founder of KIIT and KISS Achyuta Samanta thanked British Council for selecting the institute host the big lunch. “It is a matter of pride for Odisha to host the dignitaries from 53 Commonwealth countries. We are overwhelmed with the kind of appreciation we got from the guests,” he added.
Ten different dishes were served to the students and invitees from 53 Commonwealth countries at three different venues inside the KISS campus. As many as 2,500 persons were engaged to serve the food while 500 volunteers supervised them.
The dishes included rice, dal, vegetable mixture, fried vegetables, chutney and chicken curry.
High Commissioners and Deputy High Commissioners from 20 countries attended along with representatives from rest of the Commonwealth countries.