On 18th November 2020, Orion Square & UN Volunteers India convened its first Diversity & Inclusion online summit bringing on board Indian and International thought leaders, domain experts and youth voices with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of current challenges in lack of Inclusion in education & workplace, share best practices, innovations and co-creating meaningful growth opportunities for all. The summit collaborated with celebrated role models, education platforms, employers, champions of change, youth voices and the diversity audience.
To reduce inequality, a sense of inclusion needs to be inculcated and promoted actively. Diversity and Inclusion is not just about hiring differently abled, economically disempowered, or ones with different sexual preferences. D&I initiatives at the corporate level are often too little, too late. Success of diversity in the workplace is incumbent on the quality of inclusive education as well as the societal culture and norms. Diversity in the classroom leads to students’ increased cultural understanding, gratitude & empathy, stronger critical thinking skills and enhanced creativity.
Various Panel discussions around Diversity in Education and workplace were held that discussed (1) Opportunities, challenges, and imperatives for D&I in educational practices (2) Social, Economic and innovation potential of D&I-Investment vs Benefits (3) Changing mindsets and building an Inclusive culture for growth and (4) Gen X- Contextualizing Diversity. The esteemed panel included Dr Vivienne Ming, CEO & Neuroscientist Socos Lab, who gave the key note address. Her company focuses on seemingly intractable problems—from a lone child’s disability to global economic inclusion. Vivienne’s previous companies have applied machine learning to bias in hiring and education at home and in school. Vivienne was named one of “10 Women to Watch in Tech” by Inc. Magazine and one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2017. She resonated with the youth through sharing of her Diversity journey and the need for attitude change.
Ramanan Ramanathan-Mission Director Atal Innovation Mission, Additional Sec NITI Aayog gave the inaugural address and sensitized the youth on innovation, Sustainable Development Goals and Inclusion. R Ramanan is the Mission Director of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) – a flagship national Innovation initiative of the Prime Minister and the Government of India of India under the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India). As the Mission Director of AIM, Ramanan has been instrumental to date in the launch and execution of several nationwide innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives
The panel included esteemed speakers like Arun Sahdeo – Country Coordinator, UN Volunteers India , Anita Varshney – VP, Brand & Purpose SAP, Pritha Dutt- CEO, Empower Pragati, Dilip Thakore, Editor Education world, Lisa-Renee LaBonte Head AVYF -Global citizens Foundation, Nitin Dhawan-CEO Orion Square, Merry Barua- Founder Action for Autism, Divya Jain-Inclusion Project manager UNDP, Mahalakshmi R- Head HR Mondelez, Pratibha Advani- Ex CFO Tata Communications, Dr. Kanchan Gaba-Crusader for Blind and recipient of President’s Award, Vandana Das-Inclusion champion IMF U.S & Alok Narain- Founder Emergence Learning besides Diversity champions of change amongst LGBTQI, People with Disabilities, Women leaders, Educators and Youth Voices.
With 75k tweet impressions , 200+ webinar audience, 300+ watching live on fb & thousands of retweets the summit created quite an impact. An outcome of YIOS 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Summit, participants documented individual commitments to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in education and workplace. A Diversity Collaborative was launched at the end of the summit that aims to advocate, engage in thought-provoking discussions, culture building & share frameworks & best practices to advance the work of diversity, equity and inclusion with schools, skill building agencies, search firms, and corporates and incorporate it in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If you are a youth or education platform interested in working towards Sustainable Development Goals and Inclusion, you can get involved too.
The Summit was organized by Orion square which is an innovative social impact & inclusion platform aligned with United Nation SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals). Over the last 5 years, the organization is focused on creating Youth champions of change and working with students to create sustainable improvement in society including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. Their flagship project on Inclusion is focused on Inclusion in education, skill building & employment of women, economically disadvantaged girls, people with disability (physical and intellectual) LGBTQI & Senior citizens. www.orionsquare.org or [email protected]Posted in Corporate, News