Culminating into Celebrating Kindness with Youth Global Event
2nd World Youth Conference on Kindness
Saturday 24 – Sunday 25 October, 2020
(Friday 23rd October #SDGYouthChoupal #WYC2020 Culminating into Celebrating Kindness with Youth Global Event,Finalists Participating in Above)
On the theme Kindness for Peaceful and Sustainable Co-existence 
The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development will be organizing the 2nd World Youth Conference on Kindness from Saturday 24th to Sunday 25th October, 2020 focusing on Kindness for Peaceful and Sustainable Co-existence. This event will be virtual taking into account of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
SDGChoupal is a collective community initiative supported by NITI Aayog, Dr Ambedkar International Centre, Ministry of Social Justice Govt. of India, MSME Govt. of India, NSIC, RIS, TERI, UNHabitat, FICCI-ARISE India, CII India@75, WHO, UNESCAP, ONGC, GCNI in collaboration with other stake holders led by Nagrik Foundation .
It is dedicated to support the national and state Governments, and institutions on advocacy and community engagement for SDG implementation in India Enabling Localisation of SDGs .
In August 2019, the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development organized its first World Youth Conference on Kindness to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – India’s gift to the world and the embodiment peace through the pursuit of truth and nonviolence.
Organized on the theme: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Gandhi for the Contemporary World; it was inaugurated by the Honorable President of India, Shri Ram Kovind and graced by Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Minister of Human Resource Development and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi. The conference brought together distinguished youth from 27 countries to train on social and emotional learning, dialogue and share experiences of transforming their communities through kindness.
The conference culminated in the adoption of the 2019 New Delhi Declaration on Kindness for the Sustainable Development Goals, a synthesis of more than 1,000 voices and contributions of youth from around the world. To celebrate this momentous achievement, Grammy Award-winning artist & UNESCO MGIEP Kindness Ambassador Ricky Kej & team led a power-packed concert at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi that peaked with the official release of the Kindness Anthem. The performance ensured that the young and the old, lit by their mobile torchlights, their excited faces regularly brushed by the rainbow-coloured disco lights were up and dancing in joy, all world sorrows suspended and forgotten.
Notwithstanding significant incremental progress (1), humanity’s dearest blue dot is still facing a plethora of challenges. The green cover is burning – turning brown, then dust (2). The shrieks of animals that once called this planet their home for millions of years are falling to deaf ears as they fight human-expedited extinction (3).
Triggers pulled by identity-based and divisive political, economic and social ideologies are still taking innocent lives every day – from Syria, Yemen to Venezuela and Burkina Faso (4). Peacefulness is deteriorating (5); conflicts and inequities are forcing people to risk deadly seas in search of peace and better life in places where doors are closed and sky-piercing walls erected (6). Hatred, xenophobia, discrimination and rabid populism fueled by a crisis of national and global leadership is deepening societal fault lines (7).
For its own sake and the planet and its other silenced and humbled inhabitants, humankind needs to regroup, rethink and chart a new, kinder path, of peace, compassion and sustainability. This is the predicament that informs the framing of the second World Youth Conference: Kindness for Peaceful and Sustainable Co-existence.
Kindness, a benevolent and helpful action motivated by the desire to help another without the expectation of explicit reward or to avoid explicit punishment (8) is natural, evolutionary (9). This is evident across species: not just humans, but from birds, bees and rats to our closest cousins, chimpanzees (10).
Neuroscientific research investigating the primary reasons for engaging in prosocial behaviour indicates that deliberate or intentional acts of kindness, including acting generously, not only activate ‘reward circuits’ in the brain but also offer the promise of happier societies and human flourishing (11).
Building on this, there is accumulating evidence that the explicit cultivation of intentional acts of kindness will be fundamental for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and for building peaceful and sustainable societies.
Although humans are wired to be kind, the underpinning biological basis is double-edged, parochial, biased (12). It is easier to be kind and compassionate for one’s in-group, but this kindness diminishes with expansion towards the out-group. For example, oxytocin, an essential hormone for kindness and other emotions, can promote prosocial behaviour such as trust-building within the in-group; but it can also promote pre-emptive aggression towards the out-group (13).
The challenge is to extend kindness to the ‘other’. Imagine a world where it is intuitive and easy to be kind to each other, to all beings and the planet; where this simple and natural secular ethic informs collective action! The critical question is, how? How do we cultivate kindness for the other regardless of relatedness, proximity, geography, identity and ideology?
Education! Only education can change mindsets! However, for education to cultivate a mindset of kindness, it needs a total transformation. Education in its current archaic and industrial-inspired and informed state contradicts kindness and cooperation (14). It has been co-opted by social, economic and political forces to encourage cut-throat competition, the damages of which will require a 360 reversal to change (15).
Education must begin to build the social and emotional skills, attitudes and competencies in addition to academic and intellectual skills. It must build foundations for prosocial, nonviolent, peaceful – kind – behavior (16). A kind mindset requires the foundational social and emotional competencies: especially, the skills of attention regulation, emotional regulation, empathy, perspective-taking and compassion in addition to criticality and ability to deal with dissonance peacefully.
If youth are educated explicitly for kindness and peaceful prosocial behaviour before adolescent (17) then there are high chances that kindness and prosocial behaviour becomes a natural, automatic way of engaging with the world beyond physical and human-erected intersubjective boundaries. From here, peaceful and sustainable co-existence becomes the only natural way to behave.
2nd World Youth Conference on Kindness: 2020
Launching from the 2020 UN International Youth Day with the opening of enrollments for the Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) course that will launch on the 2020 UN International Day of Peace, the 2nd Kindness Conference will bring together global youth who are pushing the frontiers and transforming the world through kindness and policymakers to connect, dialogue and build skills for making kindness the force that ameliorate divides and stitch together fractured societal and planetary fault lines for peaceful and sustainable co-existence.
Friday 23rd October #SDGYouthChoupal #WYC2020 Culminating into Celebrating Kindness with Youth Global Event –
Saturday 24th October (United Nations Day) – Youth and UN Multilateralism
Sunday 25th October, 2020 – Youth and Kindness for the SDGs
- Global youth (18 – 34 years old)
- Government representatives from Ministries of Education and Youth
- Universities, teacher networks, capacity-building Youth NGOs
Objectives and Conference Modality:
The objectives of the virtual/online Conference are to:
- Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations system on 24th October and to highlight the central role of youth in policy-development and decision-making
- Adopt the Global Youth Declaration on Kindness calling on Governments to declare a new United Nations International Day of Kindness
- Capacity-building training of hundreds of youth leaders in social and emotional competencies
- Celebrating 8,000 inspirational stories of global youth undertaking transformative acts of empathy, compassion, and kindness to achieve the SDGs