KISS Deemed to be University along with the other consortium members of six participating countries – India, Romania, Czechia, Spain, Ireland, and Nepal – of the AURORA project (co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union) for ‘Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE): Alliance of Universities to Reinforce Teacher Training Curricula and Outcast Radicalism and Promote Equality in Asian Societies’ jointly celebrated Info-Day Programme on 23rd March 2022. The students of KISS sang a welcome song in Kui language for all the consortium partners to help them catch a glimpse of tribal culture and heritage.

Speaking at the event, Professor Ina Shastri, Vice-Chancellor, Banasthali University, Rajasthan, the coordinating University for this project, said that integration of the socially disadvantaged groups is the essential purpose of this project. Briefing about the progress of the AURORA project, Dr. Ajay Surana, Head of Department of Education and Project Manager, Banasthali University stated that Enhancement of Active Citizenship and Democratic Values; Inclusive Education and Gender Equality; and Combating Radicalism are the three modules of the project.

Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS Deemed to be University, talked about the incredible journey of KISS and KISS-DU and addressed Prof. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS as an institution builder educating 30,000 tribal children. Underlining that KISS has been practising inclusion since its inception, Professor Behera officially flagged off KISS AURORA Centre and KISS AURORA Club. He expressed the desire to carry forward this association even after the closure of the project by signing MoUs with institutions for building bonding and ensuring the sustainability of this project. “Our students are from remote tribal areas, and inclusive education is important to us,” he concluded.

In his deliberation, Dr. José Jesús Delgado Peña, Deputy Vice-Rector for International Cooperation, University of Malaga, Spain, said that innovation is encouraged at UMA. Social initiatives undertaken by KISS are highly commendable, he added, while congratulating the organizers of the Info-Day Programme.

Dr. Snigdharani Panda, Dean, School of Tribal Resource Management & Project Manager, KISS-DU, in her presentation, spoke about the focus areas of KISS-DU and the contributions of KISS-DU for all the work packages.

Professor Nitin Karmalkar, Vice-Chancellor, Savitribai Phule University, Maharashtra; Dr. Karel   Pančocha, Head of Department, Institute of Research in Inclusive Education – Faculty of Education, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic; Dr. Ramona Onciu, Head of Office, Erasmus Institutional Coordinator, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania; Dr. Lawrence Soosai-Nathan, Chairman, Anugraha Institute of Social Sciences, Tamil Nadu; Professor Shiva Lal Bhushal, Rector of TU, Head of Academic Affairs, Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Dr. Ram Krishna Timalsena, Executive Director, National Law College, Lalitpur, Nepal; Professor Vijay Khare, Director, International Savitribai Phule University Pune, Maharashtra; Mr. Damien Hanet, Head International Project, Edulab, Mumbai; Dr. Anshuman Shastri, Banasthali International; Dr. Andrea Hathazi, Associate Professor, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania; Dr. Senthil Kumar, Team Leader, Anugraha Institute of Social Sciences, Tamil Nadu; Dr. Lalita Vartak, Savitribai Phule University, Pune; Dr. Stephen O’Brien, University College Cork, National University of Ireland; Dr. Bed Prakash Dhakal, Deputy Director, ODEC, Tribhuvan University, Nepal talked about their institutions, activities organized till date and presented the roadmap pertaining to the dissemination of the project.

All the international and national partners appreciated the virtual role play performed by the students of KISS AURORA Club based on early child marriage and gender bias on the occasion. Dr. Ajay Surana offered a formal vote of thanks.