KISS Deemed to be University inked MoU with the Indian Institute of Bio-social Research and Development (IBRAD), (Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Tribal Development, Ministry of Tribal Development) Kolkata on 6th July 2022. The key areas of collaboration are: organize residential training programmes, jointly hold research and field activities, organize national and international seminars, symposia and conferences on topics of common interests, exchange human resources between the two institutions, promote short term internship of trainees for specific assignments, exchange of e-resources/audio visuals/documentary videos, jointly work together for successfully organizing the World Anthropology Congress in 2023 and establish a mini tribal museum at KISS-DU and community museums at village levels focusing on PVTGs with the support of IBRAD.

Professor Shree Bhagwan Roy, Founder Chairman and Professor Indian Institute of Bio-social Research and Development, Kolkata delivered the distinguished invited lecture on the topic ‘Digital Ethnography for Sustainable Tribal Development’ to make the MoU a functional one. In his presentation, he shared visuals from tribal villages of Chhattisgarh and Odisha showcasing how digital ethnography is being practised in tribal villages for the purposes of conducting research for sustainable development. He said Ethnographic research is the foundation of anthropological study. Professor Roy further added that digital ethnography is central to our understanding of the social world and it can shape methodology and methods and provides the technological tools needed to undertake research in society, particularly in the tribal belts. In fact, it contextualises digital and pre-digital ethnographic research and demonstrates how the methodological, practical and theoretical dimensions are increasingly intertwined. While sharing the IBRAD approach he added that understanding the Forest Mosaic landscape and social institutions are very important for Digital Learning and Participatory Research and Outcome. He spoke at length on Socio-ecological Processes and Current Cultural Practices for Livelihood and highlighted the concept of Eco Chain. Professor Roy expressed the dire need for conducting Capacity Building and Adoption of Appropriate Technology Programmes for achieving fruitful results in the field of Digital Ethnography. He concluded by appreciating the efforts of the Authorities he said “I have never been to such an institution wherein the culture, values and happiness is reflected on the faces of the students. I am very happy to be here and interact with the students”.

Speaking earlier, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU welcomed the revered speaker and touched upon the important areas of collaboration between both institutions. He also shared some of the major milestones achieved by Professor Shree Bhagwan Roy. In his insightful remarks, Dr Prashanta Kumar Routray, Registrar, KISS-DU spoke about the importance of data validation during field studies and he stressed the need for conducting Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). Dr Routray reiterated the thrust area of Professor Roy’s deliberation of Pancha Tatva (Jan, Jal, Jameen, Jungle and Jeev Jantu) and its role and importance in tribal communities. He cited some major initiatives taken up by KISS for true tribal development through community development and how KISS and KISS-DU are implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations directly or indirectly. He added that the students are contributing a lot to society and are true change-makers. Furthermore, in the context of KISS-DU, he said that the university focuses on Innovation and Action Research. Dr Routray concluded by saying that we are looking forward to a fruitful and meaningful MoU.

Professor Kamal Kant Misra, former Vice-Chancellor Utkal University of Culture, Bhubaneswar and Professor Emeritus KISS-DU in his address spoke on the need for Practicing Anthropologists in developing countries and inspired the students to give back to society.

The MoU Signing Ceremony was coordinated by Dr Sushree Sangita Mohanty, Assistant Professor, KISS-DU while Dr Disha Bhatt, Deputy Coordinator, IQAC proposed a Vote of Thanks.