This was the third international conference in the series of international conferences on Social work. This years conference theme was “Vision for just, equitable and Compassionate societies”. The conference provided platform to reflect and discuss on some of the questions of contemporary relevance.
With the abundance of wealth and resources in the world, why 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 a day). With the advanced science and technology, why are 870 million people malnourished? Why 884 million people do not have access to safe water? With the globalization of trade, investment and exchange, why most of the hungry people (853 million), live in developing countries? With the advanced health systems and super specialists, why can 30 million HIV-positive people do not get access to treatment? While the physical distance between continents being radically reduced with the revolutionary communication aids, why are the section of communities are discriminated and disconnected because of their race, caste, sex or religion? The world progress is swifter than ever before. The science and technology is bringing about sea change comfort and luxury to the world. Why the benefits and goods of development are limited to a small section whereas large section of society remains deprived? Having the growing number of professionals, advanced technologies and wealth of global community, why answers to such problems so elusive? These and such other paradoxes existing in the society poses challenges to the development thinkers, academic scholars and professional practitioners.
In order to address the development challenges there is huge investment in social sector. The international aid agencies, bilateral donors, foundations and social entrepreneurs are investing billions of funding with NGO’s for the sake of development challenges. The corporate world in the name of corporate social responsibility is also investing portion of their profit for social cause. According to the US Department of States 2012, the number of NGOs operating in the Unites States is estimated at 1.5 million, India is estimated to have had around 3.3 million NGOs in 2009, just over one NGO per 400 Indians, and many times the number of primary schools and primary health centers in India (Indian Express: July 7, 2010). NGOs are considered as an extended arm of the government and quasi government organizations playing a very vital role in transformation of society. However the observation proves that large number of NGOs are without much impact. They often lack appropriate vision, ideological foundation and commitment for working.
The development challenges posed by contradictions are based on injustice, inequality and exploitation. Resolution to the problems and bringing about transformation requires social vision to create a just, equitable and compassionate communities. There has been initiatives in different parts of the globe with egalitarian ideology and values It is important to consolidate such experiences and experiments as best examples for development practice.
The third conference on “Social Vision for just, equitable and compassionate society” explored and consolidated the best practices and ideological foundation for social transformation. Spiritual and social visions of leaders have always contributed towards the development of social solidarity, fraternity and compassionate communities. The personalities like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, Baba Amte, Swami Vivekananda, Arobindo, Ravindra Nath Tagore have provided social vision. There are also spiritual and reformist movements as well as institutional and organizational set ups that are initiated by these leaders which made substantial contributions in the fields of philanthropy, social service and social work.
The social vision for just and compassionate communities is the need of today. Only the organizations and individuals with social vision and compassionate can be responsive to the problems and needs of mankind across the world such as disaster relief, poverty alleviation, gender mainstreaming, human rights violation and child right issues. There is a dearth need for such visionaries today. Today’s world is waiting for humanitarian visionaries who would recharge the mankind with spiritual strength and social commitment. Is there any formula to imbibe social vision in the minds of young generation especially in the context of higher education? What are the impediments in the process of transformation of human societies into just, equitable and compassionate neighborhoods and communities? These were the key issues discussed in this International Conference. The conference had keynote addresses, paper presentations and group discussions on these issues. This provided a platform for academicians and research scholars from disciplines like natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy and religion to exchange their views on spirituality and social work. The conference provided forum to discuss and deliberate on these issues.
Objectives of Third International Conference:
This conference was a platform to exchange and consolidate the good practices to realize the vision for just, equitable and Compassionate societies.
The specific objectives of this conference were:
- Understand and deliberate on the relevance of Social Vision for just, equitable and Compassionate Society.
- Exchange of innovations, ideas and best practices enhancing individual and institutional commitment social justice, peace, constructive philanthropy and community empowerment.