Friday, June 8, 2012

Opening Ceremony and Courses at VIIS/SVYM

By Olivia, Global Health '13




Dr. Balu (L), the founder of SVYM, Sindhu Suresh (R),
the Director of VIIS, lighting the ceremonial fire. 

After a wonderful ceremony at the Vivekananda Institute for Indian Studies (VIIS) where each of us were welcomed to Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM), we began our courses without really knowing what to expect. Little did we know that world experts and scholars of Sanskrit, Ancient Indian culture and Indus civilization, feminists that evolved with the movement itself, health professionals and labor lawyers would be sharing their extensive knowledge with each of us.

Olivia '13 taking part in the VIIS opening ceremony.

  After experiencing the two weeks of classes, we all feel truly blessed to have been able to be apart of the classes where we tried our best to open our minds to new opinions, expert opinions and accounts of history and culture that we could not have heard anywhere else in the world. Lectures of development of Indian society to stories and sanskrit songs of the Ramayana, an ancient Hindu scripture, helped us to be inspired by India and understand more about the context which we would be working in for the next six weeks. Dr. Balasubramaniam's open question sessions allowed for all of us students to hear his fascinating opinions about the Indian and US Health Care Systems and his willingness to discuss even particularly sensitive topics of today's society made us all feel comfortable to continue exploring our curiosity while in Mysore. The different aspects of gender, labor and health were highlighted to meet all of our interests and gave space for cross curriculum learning that may not always be possible when trying to finish requirements during the fall and spring semesters. 
Dr. Shanti delivered the lectures on Gender in India
This group of seventeen students has gotten quite close over the past two weeks and as we separate to work on our various project sites we will definitely miss one another, but our experiences together and the things we have learned in each lecture will help us contribute to achieving SVYM's mission this summer. 



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