Reflections on India: Working towards a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society.

Now that I’m back home and fully readjusted to the Eastern Time Zone, I have a minute to sit and think about my recent trip to India.  I had the amazing opportunity to travel with Punya (and a few other MSU colleagues) on his latest trip to Azim Premji University (APU) in Bangalore. (You can read & watch more about the project here.) Punya and I ran a workshop on motivation for students in the MA in Education and MA in Development programs (along with a few other folks associated with APU.)

I highly suggest you take some time to read Anurag Behar‘s writings on Anurag is the Vice Chancellor of the University and his reflections are much more eloquent than I could ever hope to construct. They give you deep insight into the incredibly brilliant minds behind APU and the Azim Premji Foundation and their work towards their mission of creating a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society.

I feel so incredibly fortunate that I had the opportunity to work with educators in our workshop who work in contexts completely foreign to anything I have ever experienced.  As is always the case, I learned much more than the students may have learned from me. In addition to our work in the motivation short course, I was able to participate in meetings with the web and publications team responsible for the Teachers of India portal.  I had entirely too much fun “geeking out” with the team (RamG, Nithin & Mujahidul.) It has been a while since I’ve been in such a state of excitement and flow, talking social networking, open source and creative commons – it was my most cherished moment of the trip.

On a side note, I had the opportunity to get to know Jack and Sharon Schwille on this trip as we were all staying at the guest house.  Jack and Sharon had amassed a large collection of books on India during their travel and were a wealth of knowledge and stories about the history of India.  I was particularly intrigued by A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur and have ordered a copy – can’t wait to read it. They certainly did not teach the history of India in my high school so I have a lot of catching up to do.   I have also ordered India After Ghandi by Ramachandra Guha.  (Prior to my visit I did read the MSU One Book One Community selection Beyond the Beautiful Forevers.)

In short, during my week in Bangalore I had an amazing time. I returned energized, inspired and thankful.

And yes, I did love the food.