The World Anthropology Congress (WAC) commenced at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences Deemed to be University (KISS-DU) in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday, coinciding with the ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous People’. Speakers highlighted the pivotal role of KISS in empowering tribal communities. The theme of the Congress is ‘Anthropology in the Public Sphere: Indigeneity, Social Justice, Sustainability, and Global Peace’. It is organized by KISS-DU in collaboration with Utkal University, Sambalpur University, University of Delhi, and United Indian Anthropology Forum (UIAF).

“KISS is a symbol of empowerment of the marginal sections of the society. It stands for world peace and tranquility,” said the Chairman of the National Monument Authority and Director of ASI Prof K K Basa. Joining as the chief guest of the occasion, he said, Anthropology gives voice to the marginalised and the oppressed sections. Tribals have lived a life of balancing nature and indigenous culture and the mainstream society should take inspiration from them and their way of living, he added.

The Founder of KIIT and KISS Dr. Achyuta Samanta, in his message, said that Anthropology holds the power to illuminate pathways towards a more equitable and harmonious global community. “At KISS, this conviction is woven into our ethos, as we endeavour to provide indigenous communities with the reins of education and knowledge. Guided by visionaries, Professors of Practice, Tribal Advisory Council, we have committed ourselves to preserving and honouring indigenous wisdom while facilitating meaningful exchanges that nurture both tradition and progress,” he said.

The Chancellor of KISS-DU, Mr. Satya S Tripathi said, the Congress is more than a conference for KISS which is an exercise in humility and humanity. KISS, he added, is the “most significant social experiment happening on the planet as it is home to 60,000 indigenous children.”

Former VC of the University of Delhi Prof. P C Joshi, who is also the Chairman of the WAC-NAAC, lauded the imitativeness of Dr. Samanta in establishing KISS, saying that thousands of tribal students are getting education because of the realisation of his dreams. He described KISS as a holistic institution looking at the overall personality development of children.

VC of Utkal University Prof. Sabita Acharya said, the Department of Anthropology will also be hosting WAC sessions on Sunday. On the occasion, VC of Sambalpur University Prof. Bidhu Bhushan Mishra welcomed the delegation to his campus which will also be hosting the post-WAC conference.

VC of KISS-DU Prof. Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice Chancellor of G M University Prof. N Nagaraju, Patrons of UIAF Prof. R K Mutatkar and Prof. P K Mishra, Vice President UIAF Prof. Shalini Mehta, and Advisor UNICEF Prof. A B Ota also spoke on the occasion, while Member Secretary UIAF Prof. S Gregory proposed the vote of thanks.