US embassy, WISCOMP honour individuals for making educational spaces safe, inclusive

The United States Embassy in India in partnership with Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP) on Monday held a virtual award ceremony to honour people across India for their efforts in helping make educational spaces safe and inclusive for all students.

The WISCOMP, a South Asian think tank, and Public Affairs Section of US Embassy organised the Sahaas Award ceremony to honour the individuals who have shown “exemplary courage to address gender discrimination to enrich the canvas of gender sensitivity”.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, the US embassy’s Public Affairs minister-counsellor, David Kennedy, applauded the collaboration between US and Indian higher-education administrators in sharing best practices to improve gender equality in university campuses across India.

In her opening remarks, WISCOMP Director Meenakshi Gopinath said: “This coming together of leaders is particularly significant as the education system is repositioning itself to adjust its functioning to ‘the new normal.

“Ensuring that the educational rights of women and sexual minorities are not compromised in the new technology-enabled lecture halls will mean that attention is paid to both what is taught and how it is taught,” she added.

The Saahas award recipients – working in regions throughout India – offer innovative approaches to make educational spaces safe and inclusive. A host of higher-education experts, human-rights advocates, and business leaders attended the ceremony.

Among the award recipients were Dr Sheeba KM, professor, Sree Sankaracharaya University of Sanskrit Kalady, Kerala; Professor Atima Sharma Dwivedi, principal Kanya Maha Vidyalaya Jalandar; Professor Rakhee Kalita Moral, Associate Professor Cotton University Guwahati Assam.

The WISCOMP is a peace-building initiative in South Asia. Established in 1999, it foregrounds women’s leadership in the areas of peace and security and promotes cultures of pluralism and coexistence in the region

Over the past two years, the US Mission to India has partnered with WISCOMP to share best practices from the United States and India on how to ensure that higher-education campuses are safe and welcoming for women.

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