Trust gives thrust to pursuit of integration in multi-cultural societies

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IMPHAL, Dec 29: Touch India Trust, a partner of Samvada Centre for Research Resources, New Delhi, held an orientation seminar at the Hotel Classic Imphal here yesterday evening with minister for Health, Family Welfare, GAD & CADA, Manipur Phungzathang Tonsing as chief guest and Parliamentary Secretary, Tribal Affairs & Hills, Information Technology, Manipur Victor Keishing as guest of honour.

The trust, according to a brochure distributed to participants, said was founded in 2003 and is a Delhi based charity “with a vision to prepare and empower India’s students and young professionals to be agents of change.”

“Touch India offers opportunities through its internship and studentship programmes in academics and research, creative arts and media, social intervention, and social entrepreneurship. It enables them to supplement their educational experience and gain skills necessary to make a critical contribution to society,” the brochure further elaborated.

Giving the key note address to the meet, Dr. Brainerd Prince, director of the Samvada Centre for Research Resource said the mission of the organization and its partners is to rediscover the rich but neglected human resources, especially in the area of reconciling communalism and multiculturalism that ancient India always possessed, and together with its partners seek to understand and resolve today’s vexing problems of social intolerance using these knowledge.

He said Touch India Trust has found immediate affinity and rapport with communities of the Northeast, and today has a strong presence in the region.

Speaking at the function, the chief guest, Phungzathang Tonsing said the multicultural society of the Northeast, Manipur not the least, needs to encourage and learn from such praiseworthy initiatives as those of the Samvada Centre and Touch India Trust.

The guest of honour, Victor Keishing said Manipur is a very diverse society which can boast of affiliations to practically all the religions of India and the world, as much as of skills and arts of any variety. Integrative knowledge and initiatives being pursued by organizations such as Samvada Centre and Touch India Trust can make immense contribution to our society, he added.

Young scholar from Manipur pursuing a degree in philosophy at Oxford University as a fellow of the Touch India Trust, Stephan Muivah, also spoke on the importance of the academic fellowships and programmes supported by the trust in the effort to understand multi-cultural societies, and therefore their vital relevance to the social and political projects of sizing up the dynamics of Manipur’s multi ethnic social milieu and envisioning a way forward.

Earlier in the day, Samvada Centre and Touch India Trust, in collaboration with the History Department of the Manipur University held an awareness seminar of the Manipur University, on the same issue of finding a progressive way forward for multi-cultural societies, the organisers said.

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