Global Foundation Chairman, Professor Kumar presents a framework of dynamically evolving Sustainability Education Programs in his keynote address at International Conference for Sustainability Education.
International Conference for Sustainability Education (ICSE) is an annual conference dedicated to the cause of improving quality and effectiveness of sustainability education in the world.
The conference is a flagship event organized by Mobius Foundation jointly with The Climate Reality Project, UNESCO, and other environmentally revered organizations. Additional salient conference partners included Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Foundation Environment Education (FEE), Sustainable Development Solutions Network, The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), Grantham Institute of Imperial College, and Global Foundation for Advancement of Environment and Human Wellness.
The conference, organized by Mr. Ram Boojh with remarkable dexterity and diligence was an unqualified success. Mr. Boojh has served at the helm of UNESCO in an exemplary fashion. Yet, for all his accomplishments, his humility comes across as the mainstay of his persona. It was clear that Mr. Boojh had successfully catalyzed his exhaustive network of friends and partners dedicated to the cause of environment and social work to participate in this conference.
In essence, the conference goal was to further the 4th sustainable development goal of the United Nations. In addition, the 13th SDG that addresses climate resiliency was also prominently explored for developing a roadmap of action for institutions of learning. ICSE-2019 could be easily characterized as a milestone in terms of the efforts and volume of activities undertaken by a single event to further the cause of sustainability education. It attracted over 750 delegates from 40 countries that included leaders in academia, industry, and Government, policymakers, decision-makers, issue-advocates, consultants, sustainability professionals, and business executives. The two-day conference featured 15 keynote addresses in 5 plenaries, 15 thematic parallel sessions, 25 exhibitions, 45 oral and 27 poster presentations besides inaugural and concluding plenaries.
Professor Ashok Kumar, the Chairman of the Global Foundation for Advancement of Environment and Human Wellness, was fortunate to be invited to ICSE (2019) as a Special Guest and an Eminent Dignitary. His multi-featured participation included:
- Delivering a keynote address in the second Plenary Session titled Sustainability Education Approaches & Experiences. The talk focused on developing a integrated framework of courses/modules that would effectively meet the challenge of moving the cause of sustainability education forward. Among other features, emphasis was placed on designing the modules in a way that they evolved in material coverage as the state of sustainability evolved globally. Another focus was on teaching real world success stories that improved sustainability of businesses while synergistically improving their profits and social contributions. One of the courses as a part of sustainability education should be the course appropriately called Economics of Sustainability. Deployment of strategies such as Mass Customization, where customization refers to enhancing the environmental differentiation of products and services commensurate with mass production (low/affordable) prices would attract new customers and guarantee their retention. Also suggested were implementation of Triple Bottom Line (Planet, People, and Profits) paradigm of performance metric that would enhance a business’s competitive supremacy. (PIC#- ICSE-1, 2: Chairman Kumar Delivering the keynote address in plenary session)
- Serving as International Chair jointly with Malgorzata Luszczek, Director, Foundation for Environmental Education (PIC#- ICSE-3: Professor and Chairman of the Global Foundation Kumar with Co-Chair of Plenary, Malgorzata Luszczek, Director, Foundation for Environmental Education)
- Serving as a panel member of the concluding session of the conference where he shared the dais with environmental luminaries in India and abroad. These included globally renowned environmental experts like Kartikeya Sarabhai, Donna Goodman, Christa Heinz, and Ajai Mathur. among others. (PIC#- ICSE-5: Members of Concluding Plenary Session)
- Presenting a paper titled: Transforming Business Education at MBA/Masters Levels to Advance the Planet’s Sustainable Development Goals in a session that he also chaired. The paper addressed a perennial problem faced by MBA faculty where most MBA students treat sustainability related topics and courses with scant respect and attention. This is because they believe that all efforts towards environmental sustainability results in substantial erosion of profit margins. Professor Kumar provided numerous real world business models that proved the inaccuracy of such thinking and argued that sustainability efforts are indeed synergistic with profits, if planned and strategized thoughtfully. (PIC#- ICSE-6: Kumar presenting a paper in a session on transforming sustainability education programs)
- Finally, Professor Kumar also interacted with numerous conference participants and utilized his time to create strong network of environmental experts who would serve as springboard of his ideas and other Foundation’s team member’s ideas as the agenda of the Global Foundation evolves. (ICSE-7: Mobius Foundation Chairman Pradip Burman with Global Foundation Chairman Kumar and CEO Dr. Pranab Patar; ICSE-8: Global Foundation Chairman Kumar with ICSE Chief Organizer, Mr. Ram Boojh; PIC#- ICSE-9: Kumar with distinguished conference delegates)
All in all, participating in ICSE 2019 was a very useful effort by Professor Kumar that brought great visibility to his alma mater (Grand Valley State University, Michigan) and the Global Foundation where he served as Chairman!