Talking Innovation, Societal Impact at Ahmedabad University’s 13th Foundation Day
How much of an impact can an educator or a higher education institution, or an industry and the State at a macro-level have on the environment they seek to nurture? Dr Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman of India's leading steam engineering and control instrumentation firm, Forbes Marshall, Professor Pankaj Chandra, Vice Chancellor of Ahmedabad University, and Professor Rakesh Basant, Former Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), discussed their views on the subject over Dr Forbes’ book The Struggle and the Promise: Restoring India’s Potential. The occasion was the 13th Foundation Day of Ahmedabad University, and the answers were found in innovative thinking. Not so surprisingly, innovation was the one thing that resonated all around.
Speaking of how industry must be more philanthropic, Dr Forbes spoke of the four Is, inclusivity, internationalism, independence and innovation. He added that quality education would lead to modernity which will be the cornerstone of the Indian growth story. Dr Forbes said, “When quality education is spoken about, that’s where Ahmedabad University comes in. Instead of over emphasising on professional education, we have to be culturally brilliant and be human.”
The discussion, targeted at encouraging critical thinking among students and tactically building a questioning attitude, was the inaugural event at the newly-opened University Centre, the first of its kind across Gujarat, that is poised to change the education landscape of the state. Built as the heart of the University by its founding body, Ahmedabad Education Society, the Centre is an innovative space for nurturing interdisciplinary and experiential learning on the periphery of social interaction between students and faculty. Professor Pankaj Chandra, Vice Chancellor, Ahmedabad University, said, “Our big picture is to influence our graduates to create similar experiences for others when they step out in the world. Besides, we would really like other institutions to come in and get influenced to build similar centres for their students. That way, we will be able to impact the lives of students across universities.” Also marking the occasion was the inauguration of the restored LD Arts College building as the Amrut Mody School of Management, and the Plaza leading to it.
Additionally, the most innovative practitioners from various departments of the University - faculty, students and administrators alike - were awarded the Chairman’s Awards for their unique approach and the impact it created in their fields.
Encouraging students too to think innovatively and empathetically create societal impact, the Chairman’s Awards had a category of Student Award for Outstanding Performance and Impact on Community and it was won by three students –
The Entrepreneurs Club and The Film Appreciation Club were judged the Best Performing Student Clubs. Dr Forbes and Professor Basant also presented the Ten Year Recognition Awards for long-standing commitment to Ahmedabad University.