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The TERI University held its Third Convocation Ceremony on 28 October, in which 9 students were conferred with doctoral degrees and 211 received master's degrees from the university. Present on the occasion were Mr Tejendra Khanna, Hon'able Lieutenant Governor, Delhi as the Chief Guest for the convocation along with Dr R K Pachauri, Chancellor, TERI University; Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company; Dr Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Prof. Bhavik R Bakshi, Vice Chancellor, TERI University; and Dr Rajiv Seth, Registrar, TERI University.

Addressing the gathering at the convocation ceremony, Dr R K Pachauri said, "The 21st century will undoubtedly represent a high point for human civilization in the development and utilization of knowledge on an unprecedented scale. We are living in a period of rapid change when skills and expertise in several fields are expanding across the globe while the depth and rigour of education needed to create them crosses new frontiers at a brisk rate. There is a unique opportunity today to produce leaders in various disciplines, who not only advance the content of specific professions but who are also sensitive to the importance of environmental protection and the need to maintain equity, ecological security, and the wealth of global natural resources."

Accepting the Honorary Doctorate conferred upon him by the TERI University, Mr Tejendra Khanna in his convocation address said, "TERI has played a vanguard role globally by giving innovative solutions to global problems in the fields of energy, environment, and current patterns of development, which are largely unsustainable. Today, there is an urgent need of synthesis of economy, social forces, and environment conservation that can be only brought about if students are sensitized and provided with knowledge. We have to trace back the issue of ecological imbalance, and here is where institutions like TERI University and its students will act as role models to achieve sustainable global ecological balance".

The guests of honour, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and Dr Kandeh Yumkella, were also conferred Honorary Doctorates by the TERI University. Both the distinguished guests in their addresses lauded the role of TERI and TERI University and hoped that the students who graduate from TERI University take the responsibility and duty to secure a sustainable future for generations ahead.

Chancellor’s address at The Third convocation of TERI University

Chief guest of this Convocation Ceremony, Shri Tejendra Khanna, Hon’ble Lt. Governor of Delhi, Guests of Honour Prof. Kandeh Yumkella, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, faculty and staff of this Institution, students, members of the media, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. This is truly an occasion that we have to treat with the level of respect and solemnity that clearly marks the beginning of life as professionals for a large number of students who graduate from this institution. And we are really grateful that we have with us, the Lt. Governor of Delhi and that we also have such a distinguished gathering on this occasion, because I am sure the inspiration that our students derive from the presence of these distinguished personages would have lasting value for all of them.

We know that the 21st Century is designated to be the century of a ‘knowledge society’. And therefore, organizations like this, which are knowledge organizations, have to play a leadership role in setting the agenda for providing knowledge and disseminating it, in a manner that would make this century distinctly different from those that human beings have seen historically before. We know, as we have been reminded by the Registrar and the Vice Chancellor of the University, that the whole purpose of this University is to serve the agenda of sustainable development. We have to create skills that are not only unavailable today, but to a large extent are unpredictable. We are living in a world that is changing so rapidly, that it would be virtually impossible for the wisest and the most erudite of people to come up with an estimation of what kinds of skills will be required even 20 years from now and that is precisely why an institution like this has to be nimble, has to be dynamic and has to be totally conversant with changes that are taking place, not only in this country, but also in the rest of the world. There was a dual rationale for TERI taking the initiative to set up the TERI University. Well, firstly we felt that research has to be the basis of instruction and intellectual inquiry. If you don’t have research providing knowledge and education, then clearly we would only be like a factory that is turning out the same product year after year, irrespective of what the demands and what the challenges society places on us. The second reason why we set up the TERI University, is because we felt that for TERI itself, it is essential to ensure that there is academic inquiry, and academic investigation which provides a challenge to research.

If we did not do that in TERI, if did not have this adjunct of TERI University, then clearly there was always the danger which is being experienced by several organizations throughout the world, of merely becoming a routine kind of consulting organization. And therefore, we felt that there was going to be a clear synergy between the establishment of a university that would be based on research and the growth of research in TERI itself, which must be challenged by academic inquiry. We are very fortunate that TERI today, has reached a size which is approaching almost a thousand people. We have a presence not only in Delhi and the National Capital Region but also in other parts of India and several other parts of the world. We regard ourselves as a global organization, as an institution which is not only tackling the challenges that development and the lack of sustainable development present to us in this country, but also throughout the world. My advice to the faculty would be, therefore, that unlike what we have in institutions throughout the world where you follow the path of ‘publish or perish’, what we should focus on—yes of course we must publish and there has to be a research output in the form of peer reviewed publications—but I think more important than that, we have to ensure generation of knowledge for inter-generational welfare and equity.

For us to be focused only on plundering the planet for personal profit would be a sacrilege, would go against the very tenets, the very principles on which the TERI University has been established. And we also have to be totally conscious of the requirements of skill that must be created in order to ensure this inter-generational equity and welfare. And in this respect, may I say, that we have to be looking ahead, our vision should always be lifted to the future. I read, just recently, that in the US for instance, despite the fact that you have 10% unemployment, they are finding it very difficult to recruit really good CEOs of companies. There is obviously a disconnect somewhere. And I also believe that the CEOs of companies and CEOs of every organization not only have to rest on the right level and quality of knowledge, but must also have the right ethics and values. And this is something that I hope we in TERI University can do, to an extent that would make us proud of ourselves and proud of the alumni that we would be sending out. I think, what we really have to do, is to get away from an insular outlook. We are living in a world, we are living in an economy which is globalized, and therefore we must be able to understand and articulate the path of growth of this country in particular. As Dr. Bakshi reminded us, the saying from Swami Vivekananda that the East teaches us living, and how to live, and I think that has to be the underlying value, the underlying principle on which our institution must thrive and flourish. I want to highlight a great leader, not far from this country - Sheikh Zayed, who was the founder of the UAE. Despite the fact that country has acquired an enormous amount of wealth, the vision and values of the founder, Sheikh Zayed, have rooted that society in a respect for sustainable development. And here again, even though we have sections of society that are prospering, that are doing very well—and we commend that—it is essential to see that those who arrive at prosperity, do so with a sense of responsibility to society in this generation and the coming generations. Our Prime Minister has rightly articulated the need for inclusive growth and to emphasize that growth of course has to be healthy, and at a level that we feel can wipe out poverty but that can only happen if growth is inclusive. And may I submit, that in our interpretation of inclusive growth, we certainly include the wealth of natural resources and the services that ecosystems provide. These are critically an important part of the living and livelihood of the poorest of the poor, and a vast range of people in this country, and therefore I think we have to pay adequate attention to this extremely important principle, because the poor depended, overwhelmingly, on the services that are provided by ecosystems. And we cannot thrive, we cannot prosper and we certainly cannot advance in this society if we ignore that principle. The mission of TERI University therefore, is much broader than merely providing education in a very narrow sense. It must include the principle, in this reality of inclusive growth, which takes into account natural resource wealth and ecosystem services, when we produce the leaders of tomorrow. And in doing so, of course, we must be inspired by the leaders of today, who stand tall in not only articulating but practicing the principles of sustainable development. It is for this reason that we are proud and grateful that today, we would be conferring doctorate degrees honoris causa, on three distinguished leaders - our own Chief Guest, the Lt Governor of Delhi, the Hon. Mr. Tejendra Khanna, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO, and Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, who is the leading light and spirit of that most laudable Masdar initiative, and is now in a ministerial position in the UAE. It is indeed a great pleasure and a privilege for me to be present on this occasion in this august company and I would like to thank you all for being present today. And I also want to express the hope to our young graduands today, that please remember, what this institution is all about, and think, as Mahatma Gandhi said, you have “to be the change you want to see in the world”. So please go forth, and make sure that you are yourself the change while you change the world. Thank you very much.

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