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Thứ Năm, tháng 11 16, 2006

No. 1236 (Minh Chau dich)

Kalam's vision for Nalanda project

SINGAPORE: The universal "mission" of the proposed Nalanda University is to serve as a seat of learning for "providing leadership in world peace," said President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Monday.

In a live videocast from New Delhi, Mr. Kalam told the participants of an international symposium here that another "mission" would be to "work towards building an inclusive society in a world free of violence, terror, war, and fear." Spelling out the global vision of the "fully autonomous academic body" proposed to be set up at the original site of the ancient Nalanda university, the President said its functional basis would be determined through a "process of discussion with hundred scholars drawn from different parts of the world." They "may include those who have been internationally recognised for their exemplary contribution to peace in the world."

Cultural links

The one-day symposium was organised by three regional institutes and the faculty of the National University of Singapore.

The thematic programme, on the "Buddhist cultural links between eastern and southern Asia," was supported by the city-state's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Singapore Buddhist Federation. The participants included Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, and Deputy Chairman of Bihar Planning Board N.K. Singh. The topics for discussions were "China's historical tryst with Buddhism," the "modern memories of ancient bonds" between India and East Asia, "Buddhism in a practical context," and "the relevance of Nalanda's past for our modern times."

The discussions were led by Director of the Singapore-based East Asian Institute, Wang Gungwu, and four other professors — Tan Chung, Sugata Bose, Ishii Yoneo, and Stanley Tambiah. External Affairs Ministry Secretary (East) N. Ravi was an invited participant.

The Bihar Government's draft bill on the objectives and formation of the proposed university was circulated to elicit opinions on the parameters for setting up the institution with an international dimension.

Rich historical traditions

Mr. Kalam explained how he came to envision the concept of "a unique institution in Nalanda in the context of current ambience in the world." This project, designed for a "unity of minds" in the 21st century, would draw "inspiration from the rich historical traditions of Nalanda, Bodhgaya, where Lord Buddha got enlightenment, and other spiritual centres in Bihar."

Being planned as a multi-discipline university, it will have a sweeping focus from science and technology to spirituality.

"Equitable societal welfare"

It's multiple objectives would be the revival of the old Nalanda knowledge ethos, the creation of a new "meeting place ... for thoughts" and about an array of issues, including "equitable societal welfare," the formulation of an "action-oriented academic structure," and the establishment of "one of the largest libraries of the world" including a digital version.