Centre for European and Latin American Studies (CELAS), Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI) organized an International Young Scholars’ Seminar themed ‘Re- imagining a New World: Culture of Love and Hope’ from 15th-17th March, 2023 in hybrid mode.
JMI Vice Chancellor Prof. Najma Akhtar (Padma Shri) was the Chief Guest of the inaugural session held at Mir Anis Hall of the university. Dr. Noorin Khan,CELAS, JMI gave the welcome address quoting the Mexican political scientist and novelist Yuri Herrera about the ability of books to not just give hope, but to disturb, complicate, and make things uncomfortable for a better understanding of reality.
The Vice Chancellor spoke about bridging the gap between the people of India, Europe and Latin America. She welcomed everyone present in the seminar, and spoke about the Indian tradition of Love and hope, quoting figures like Mira and Guru Ravidas, as India has been a beacon of love since time immemorial. Expressing her hope for the Centre of European and Latin American Studies to foster cultural and academic ties with European and Latin American countries to bridge the gap among students and research scholars, she wished the Centre success for future endeavors.
Ambassadors H.E. Mr. David Puig from Dominican Republic, H.E. Mr. Juan Rolando Angulo Monsalve from Chile, and H.E. Mr. Alberto A. Guani from Uruguay; and Mr. Mikhail Antsiferov, the Cultural Attaché from the Embassy of Russia, Mr. Alfredo Caldera, the Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of Venezuela, Ms. Ivonne Bonilla, Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of El Salvador, Ms. Alejandra María, Cultural Attaché from the Embassy of Colombia were part of the inaugural session. The presence of ambassadors, cultural attaché and deputy head of mission from Latin American and Russian diplomatic missions as well as papers presented from Spain and Latin American countries gave the conference an international dimension.
H.E. Mr. David Puig contradicted the famous notion of diplomats being strictly formal in their conversations narrating his experience with an Indian writer, saying that even ambassadors and spies talk about love. H.E. Mr. Juan Angulo reflected on understanding human nature based on peace and love. H.E. Mr. Alberto. A. Guani talked about the role of love in the reconstruction of societies. Mr. Mikhail Antsiferov threw light on similarities between the ideologies of Gandhi and Tolstoy about ahimsa. Gioconda Belli, a Nicaragua born writer and poet, who has recently accepted Chilean citizenship sent a video message today and felicitated the centre and also to keep on reading Nicaraguan Literature.
Prof. Mohd. Ishaque, Dean, Faculty of Humanities & Languages, JMI gave an insightful lecture on the role of hope and love in different realms. Eminent Latin Americanist Prof. S.P. Ganguly (JNU) in his keynote address talked about relations between India and Latin America, and also mentioned the reception of Tagore and Gandhi and the way love transcends all boundaries. Prof. Anisur Rahman (JMI) senior advisor of Rekhta, elaborated on the role of Latin American, European, and Indian poetry in re-building the concept of Love and Hope.
The conference also had in the plenary speakers like Ms. Ivonne Bonilla Deputy Head of Mission of Embassy of El Salvador, Professors; Ms. Cristina Pizarro, Dr. Teresa Basile and Dr. Susana Rosano from Argentina, Prof. Ash Narain Roy- the Director of Institute of Social Sciences, and Prof. Nasar Shakeel Roomi from JNU.
The presentations on literature, cinema, psychology and politics were intellectually stimulating as they addressed the themes of human rights, isolation, trauma, friendship, betrayal and queer relationships. The conference ended on the 17 th March in online sessions which saw participants and listeners from Venezuela, Spain and India with concluding remarks by Mr. Ajay Prasad and Vote of thanks by Dr Rohit Bajaj of the centre.