UNESCO MGIEP Launches #VirtualGandhiMarch Campaign To Promote Kindness In The World

UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) is kickstarting #VirtualGandhiMarch, a social media campaign to mobilize youth to share their kindness stories on the International Day for Youth, August 12, 2019.

#VirtualGandhiMarch—which will run until the International Day of Non Violence/Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, October 2, 2019—is part of a wider mission #KindnessMatters for the Sustainable Development Goals, a first-of-its-kind international youth campaign on kindness with the goal of mobilizing the world’s youth to achieve the 17 SDGs through transformative acts of kindness, compassion, care towards self, others and the environment. 

Speaking on the launch, UNESCO MGIEP’s Director, Dr. Anantha Duraiappah,  says, “ In a world full of by rising intolerance, apathy, indifference, social exclusion, fear, gender-based violence, climate change and extremism, we believe that apart from catering to students’ academic needs, it is equally important to hone their social and emotional capabilities so as to nurture rational, empathetic and compassionate citizens. The #KindnessMatters campaign provides a platform to young people and youth-driven organizations to share their positive stories of change driven by compassion, care and kindness. The campaign is youth-centric and youth-focused but does not exclude the possibilities of non-youth participants to submit their stories”.                                                  
He further adds, “Research has also proved that practising kindness can be a transformative process. In line with UNESCO MGIEP’s socio-emotional learning framework, the KindnessMatters campaign draws from research in the field of neurosciences which has clearly demonstrated the benefits of kindness not only for recipients but also for providers.”

In keeping with Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of compassion, kindness and empathy, UNESCO MGIEP launched #KindnessMatters for the SDGs on the International Day of Non-Violence last year. The campaign, which consists of two phases, has achieved more than 3,000 transformative stories from over 50 countries so far. The first phase until the end of 2019 focuses on building youth momentum on kindness by generating stories on acts of kindness by young people. The second phase from the year 2020 onwards will mobilize United Nations Member States to declare an International Decade of Kindness. #KindnessMatters is the digital campaign of the wider #KindnessMatters for the SDGs mission. 

#VirtualGandhiMarch mobilizes people to either share a story in which someone else was kind to them and nominate at least five more people to share such instances that have touched them and ask them to tag five people in their posts. Alternatively, they can share a story in which they were kind to someone and nominate at least five people to share their own story and tag five more people. We are urging people to use #KindnessMatters, #VirtualGandhiMarch and tag us. The stories can be shared as a post/ video/ photo on social media.

UNESCO MGIEP is also organising the first ever ‘World Youth Conference on Kindness’ in the 150th year of Mahatma’s Gandhi’s birth, with the goal of providing young people with a global platform where they can actively engage with decision-makers towards finding innovative ways of propagating non-violence as a way to resolve conflicts. The theme of the event, which will be held at the Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi between August 20 and 23, 2019, is 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Gandhi for the Contemporary World: Celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’, with key participants including 100 youth globally, Kailash Satyarthi (Nobel Peace Laureate); Nandita Das (Actor & Director); Chaker Khazaal(Speaker & Reporter), Aya Chebbi (first African Youth Envoy), Arno Michaelis (American motivational speaker), Jo Cutler (Doctoral Research Candidate) and Grammy Award Winners, Ricky Kej / Laura Dickinson, among others. Registration link is here

UNESCO MGIEP’s agenda is particularly relevant in today’s world, where rising violence, inequalities and climate change are among a plethora of problems that stymie peace and sustainable development. With the vision of ‘Transforming Education for Humanity’, UNESCO MGIEP develops programs to promote social-emotional learning (SEL), innovate digital pedagogies and empower youth to build peaceful and sustainable societies around the world, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, Target 7. 

UNESCO MGIEP focuses upon building social and emotional learning for Education 2030 by facilitating the development of skills such as empathy, mindfulness, compassion and critical thinking (EMC2) amongst learners to foster peaceful and sustainable societies.                       

The campaign includes a wide range of national and international partners including governments, academia, youth organizations and young people. The campaign targets young people in the age group of 15 to 35 years who are motivated and inspired to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals; Youth-led/youth-focused organizations, governments, corporates, policymakers, development agencies, civil society, academicians, universities, schools, media agencies and individuals who are committed to enhance the youth participation in the development agenda, Educators, scientists, policymakers, artists, students, parents, leaders and all those who believe in power of youth to create positive social change.                                                              

Their existing partners for the #KindnessMatters campaign include –

  • Institutional Partner for the World Youth Conference on Kindness: O P Jindal Global University
  • Kindness Ambassador: Ricky Kej, Grammy award winner
  • Partner for the Conference: Gandhi Smriti and Gandhi Dham, Ministry of Culture, GoI & Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics, Life University, USA
  • Knowledge partner: Grant Thornton

Other partners include – Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India; Instagram; Action Aid; UNESCO Office in Islamabad; International Red Cross; Design for Change ; Digital Promise Global; Social Story; Robin Hood Army; Africa United; Kalinga Institute of Social Science; Banglanatak; NYKS, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, GoI; Tec de Monterrey; The Indian Red Cross (IRCS); International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); College of Youth Activism and Development (CYAAD)

Tags assigned to this article:
UNESCO MGIEP #KindnessMatters #VirtualGandhiMarch


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