Published: 27th August 2019
Vision is to remove major barriers in Ladakh's education system: HE Thuksey Rinpoche at Naropa Fellowship Convocation
This was the first convocation of the one-year-long fellowship that trains students in entrepreneurial and leadership skills. As many as 52 fellows from across the country got their certificates
The first batch of the year-long Naropa Fellowship which focuses on entrepreneurship and leadership, especially in the Himalayan region, were awarded their degrees at the Hemis Monastery on August 25 by Co-founders of the fellowship, His Eminence Thuksey Rinpoche and Dr Pramath Raj Sinha, MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Chief Executive Councillor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Gyal P Wangyal and Dr Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Chancellor, Ashoka University.
The Buddhist leader spoke about how education was the key to taking Ladakh forward in a post-Article 370 world, "It is an honour to present the leaders of tomorrow who will surely have a meaningful impact in the Himalayan region. With Ladakh being declared as a Union Territory, our vision is now aligned in removing major barriers in the prevailing education system in the region and create opportunities for youth to study and become successful entrepreneurs," said Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, Co-founder of the Naropa Fellowship.
On the Dias: (From Left to Right) Dr Pramath Raj Sinha, His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, Dr Rudrangshu Mukherjee and MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (Pic: Prajanma Das | Express)
The 52 graduates of the Naropa Fellowship have been living in Ladakh and working with the local communities to work out a gameplan for sustainable development and upliftment of the valley for the past year. As they go back to the world, they claim to have found their way and are crystal clear about what they want to do next. The next batch, whose classes start in September, will have around 90 fellows. Though the new campus is still under construction, the management is hopeful that it will be ready in a year's time.
Lamenting that he never had a programme like the Naropa Fellowship when he grew up, Dr Mukherjee said that there is an urgent need for institutions like these that not only impart education but also help 'open up' the minds of the youth. He drew parallels with Tagore's Shantiniketan and said that the Naropa Fellowship is in many ways similar to the Shantiniketan Satyajit Ray had once described. "Ladakh and the Himalayan sub-region that it belongs to needs change but that change has to be relevant to the place and the context. The fellowship is trying to interfuse that calibrated change. Leaders, entrepreneurs, changemakers — whatever you call yourselves — you need to consider the unique ecosystem of the Himalayan sub-region first. It will be dangerous to impose upon this region the universal model of transformation," Dr Mukherjee told the fellows.
D-Day: The fellows listen to the speakers at the convocation (Pic: Prajanma Das | Express)
Dr Sinha, Co-founder of the Naropa Fellowship, congratulated the fellows and added that it is evident they will create sustainable solutions for society and contribute to their communities. "It is heartening to see that the New Education Policy 2019 envisages a deeper focus on liberal arts and culture which supports our vision for the Naropa Fellowship and we hope to encourage a much larger section of the youth to be a part of this fellowship going forward," he added.
Thanking the founders for bringing such a fellowship to Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal said, “There is now a greater need than ever for entrepreneurial ventures that provide local youth with new opportunities, generate employment in the region and help shape a brighter future for the people of Ladakh. The Naropa fellows have already made a great start by undertaking ventures with the potential to make a positive impact on the Himalayan region." He also wished the fellows the very best in all their future endeavours.