Statements Statements

ICCR Foundation Day

ICCR Foundation Day

9 April 2019

IGCIC Mauritius

Hon. Minister for Education H. E. Mrs. Leela Devi Dookun,

Distinguished guests,

Alumni of ICCR,

Students of IGCIC,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very warm welcome to all of you.

Thank you all for joining us this evening as we celebrate the Foundation Day of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, popularly known as the ICCR.

We are very grateful that Hon. Minister of Education of Mauritius has joined us today despite her very hectic schedule.

The ICCR was established almost seven decades ago, soon after India’s independence in the year of the adoption of the Indian Constitution. It was established by the first Education Minister of India Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

The ICCR was established by the young Indian nation with the intention of building bridges with the peoples of the world by promoting mutual understanding through cultural exchanges.

While Indian civilizational links with distant regions and societies had existed since millennia, the colonial experience had led to some disruption of such linkages.

India had evolved through centuries as a geography that hosts a mega-diversity of ethnicities, religions, cultures and languages. Several of the world’s leading religions emerged in India.

Indian arts, music, cuisine and cinema have found resonance around the world. Today, people around the world have also understood the very practical benefits of traditional wisdom contained in Yoga and Ayurveda.

Regular migration of traders, explorers, missionaries, refugees, colonists, artistes, artisans and others contributed to this diversity within India and also the varied and multiple influences of other cultures on India and of Indian culture and values in other regions.

These threads of influences are still discernible in various art forms, architecture, cuisine, mythologies and other cultural practices both in India and other regions of the world, especially in our neighbourhood.

The establishment of the ICCR resumed the efforts to preserve and promote cultural linkages. Some other countries also established their own organisations with similar intentions.

Over the years, under the guidance of very distinguished leaders, the ICCR has done and continues to do commendable work.

Today, the ICCR has established nearly 40 Cultural Centres around the world. The venue for this evening’s event – the IGCIC – is one of those Centres.

It is only natural that Mauritius hosts one of these Centres in view of the very special and unique bonds between our peoples. The people of both India and Mauritius draw their strength from their diversity. They also share a range of cultural and spiritual heritage. This Centre was established more than thirty years ago and has made a remarkable contribution in various ways to further deepen our cultural ties.

The ICCR has also set up two Chairs on Indian languages and philosophy at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Mauritius.

The partnership of ICCR with Mauritius extends in many other ways. Every year around 100 ICCR scholarships are offered to students from Mauritius to pursue higher studies at Indian institutions. These cover the entire range of subjects from scientific and technical to liberal arts.

The finalization of these scholarships is done by our Mission in close consultation with the Ministry of Education every year according to very detailed and transparent guidelines.

There is a very large ICCR alumni in Mauritius and we look forward to further strengthening our conversation and sharing of experience with them.

Only a few days ago, at this very venue we celebrated the ITEC Day with a large number of ITEC alumni who have participated in short term professional training programmes in a range of fields.

We greatly value our friendship and bonds with both the ICCR and the ITEC alumni. We hope to intensify our engagement further, especially using social media platforms, and look forward to their advice and suggestions.

This evening’s programme provides a brief glimpse into the partnership of the ICCR and the people of Mauritius. It includes cultural performances by two ICCR alumni and sharing of experiences by two other ICCR alumni.

We are greatly looking forward to listening to the Hon. Minister of Education who has agreed to spare her valuable time to be with us here this evening and also to the ICCR alumni and artistes who have agreed to share their experiences and art with all of us.

Thank you.

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