KISS-DU and KIIT-DU hosted a 38-member Know India Programme (KIP) delegation, a group of young overseas Indians from Girmititya countries, sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India visited KISS-DU on 12th February 2023.

In his Welcome Address, Shri Debraj Pradhan, Director General, International Relations, KIIT-DU emphasized on the close ties between the participatory countries and India. He described Indian diaspora as one of the strengths of India, further he invited the delegates to enjoy their stay in Odisha, and visit sites of cultural and archaeological significance in and around Bhubaneswar.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of KISS-DU, welcomed the delegates. He described the unique and exemplary work done by KISS-DU for the sixty two tribes, including thirteen Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups, in the field of education. KISS-DU educates children in their tribal mother tongues, leading to a mother-tongue-based multilingual education that has been awarded the prestigious King Sejong World Literacy Award (UNESCO). He described the various innovative programs designed to enable students to retain indigenous knowledge and culture while absorbing modern higher education, thus availing the best of both worlds. These creative aspects included a technology and business incubator.

Shri Manas Raj Patel, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, spoke eloquently on how Odisha, India’s best-kept secret, has been a treasure-trove of the rich cultural diversity of India. He added that the delegates would enjoy discovering these unknown facets. He described how the Government of India has put in place several programmes, scholarships, and benefits through OCI cards and other schemes to extend help and scholarships to PIOs. He said that KIIT and KISS in particular, had been chosen as hosts for the Know India Program, because the institutes represented both technical excellence and a spirit that is unique. In particular, he described KISS as a one-of-a-kind institute that cares for 30000 indigenous students, providing them with education, board, and lodging for free, taking care of them seamlessly from K.G. to P.G. and Ph.D. He referred to Jungle Cry, the movie about how the indigenous students of KISS won the World Junior Rugby tournament.

The Hon’ble Founder, Professor Achyutananda Samanta, in his address, expressed his great pleasure in welcoming the delegates from elevan countries to KISS and KIIT. He warmly thanked the Ministry of External Affairs for organizing the event. He described KISS as the biggest tribal institute of the world and the only tribal university exclusively for tribals, with 65% female students, and KIIT as a promising professional university with students from sixty-five countries. He said that the universities were a motivational space for the young. At the age of twenty-five, he had started the two educational institutes with nothing more than $ hundred and one hundred five students. In his concluding remarks, he quoted a famous spiritual leader who said that KIIT was better than Harvard. That was, the leader said because no university in this world could give four meals a day to 30000 students for free. This remains the unique feature identifying KISS – extending the miracle of education to thousands of underprivileged students. He explained the importance of self-nurture, simplicity, humility, and being a good person. He shared with the delegates the hardships he had gone through in life, and expressed his happiness in being able to share both the professional and philanthropic aspects of KIIT and KISS with the delegates. At the end of the program, the delegates flocked around him, requesting his autograph on copies of the book authored by Prof. Samanta, titled, “My Mother, My Hero”.

Kumari Prakriti, International Relations, KIIT-DU, co-ordinated the event