ALL INDIA ASSOCIATION FOR CHRISTIAN HIGHER EDUCATION
(AIACHE) NEW DELHI
FIFTY YEARS OF GREAT JOURNEY IN NATION BUILDING
The Executive Board of AIACHE and the General Secretary along with the Principal, staff and students of Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi have took their assignments very seriously and awaited for the dawning of 5th March, 2016. The banners glittering in the early morning sunrise, the Chief Guest Prof. P.J. Kurien, the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, arrived in the company of Bishops from Roman Catholic Church, Church of North India and Orthodox Church. It was a memorable day to be marked in the annals of the fifty year old ecumenical ministry of AIACHE. The beautiful well equipped and colourfully decorated auditorium provided the right ambience. Principals from various member institutions from across the country, delegates attending the Conference on ‘Peace Building’ invited guests, staff and students of the host college attended the function. On the arrival of Prof. P.J. Kurien, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India, the Chief Guest and the Keynote Speaker, a group photo was taken at the entrance of the hall. As the Guests and other dignitaries lighted the lamp, a symbolic gesture of the inauguration of the Golden Jubilee, the congregation and the guests were accorded a hearty welcome by the students of Jesus and Mary College through an ‘Invocation Dance’.
Rev. Sr. Dr. Marina John, the Principal of the host college and the Joint Secretary of AIACHE led the Guests of Honour and other dignitaries to the stage. In her welcome address, she expressed her immense joy for the privilege of hosting the function, recognition to the service of this great organization for the past five decades. As a token of love and in recognition of their valuable presence every one of the guests on the stage were garlanded with shawls by the members of the Executive Board of AIACHE.
THE MISSION AHEAD:
Expressing his gratitude to God, Dr. Daniel Ezhilarasu, the General Secretary of AIACHE, in his address “The Mission Ahead’, thankfully remembered all those past Presidents and General Secretaries whose tireless effort and indomitable spirit helped this organization move thus far. Focussing on the mission ahead he acknowledged the urgency of re-reading the objectives of the AIACHE in the present day context of Indian higher education. Promotion of human rights, human values development and gender equality continues to be high on the agenda. Creativity and innovation, in addition to skills development should be the hallmark of higher education scene. Outlining the reasons for choosing the theme of “Building the Nation with Peace, Justice and Harmony – A New Agenda for Higher Education”, the General Secretary envisioned that investment in education was sure to bring in economic equality and social transformation. He urged the Heads of institutions to actively participate and encourage their staff to take part in AIACHE programmes which focus on Human Values Development, women empowerment, New Education Policy, Interface with NCMEI and workshops on climate change. He also declared that as a representative of the minority community, AIACHE expects the government to allow the community enjoy the rights and privileges enshrined in the Constitution of India.
REMEMBERING THE PAST BRINGS HOPE FOR FUTURE:
Dr. R.W. Alexander Jesudasan, Principal & Secretary, Madras Christian College, Chennai in his Presidential address, traced the sacrificial contribution of the Christian missionaries, both Indian and foreign, to the field of higher education in India. Being the President of an organization, born in the premises of a college where he is Principal now, appreciated the foresight of the founding fathers in bringing together the two prominent sections of the Indian Church – Catholic and non-Catholic.
SECULAR VALUES ENCOMPASS CHRISTIAN VALUES:
In his inaugural address, Prof. P.J. Kurien, who was introduced to the audience listing his different achievements and accolades by Dr. Daniel Ezhilarasu, expressed his jubilation to be a part of this grand occasion. Though pressed by other official responsibilities, he preferred to come and inaugurate the GJC of AIACHE, in recognition of its ecumenical journey of empowering and rejuvenating member institutions. Recollecting his own student days and later as a Professor of Physics, St. Thomas College, Kozhencherry, Kerala he declared that his career was moulded and strengthened by what he learnt through his teachers and co-students during his time in Christian colleges. He wants our colleges to be centres of intellectual freedom. Quoting the Noble Laureate Rabindranath Tagore ‘where the mind is without fear…’ he asks the higher education institutions to ‘bring down narrow domestic walls’. Appreciating the contribution of the miniscule minority of less than 3% of India’s population to the health and education sectors, he requested the gathering to introspect whether they continue to run their institutions on the same ideals of the founding fathers. Secular values encompass Christian values and centres of higher learning do have the responsibility of restoring the secular fabric of this nation. Quoting the objectives of AIACHE, the Deputy Chairman exhorted the audience to be motivated to train the students to catch up with moral values as well in addition to making them intellectually excellent and socially committed.
LET US TRANSFORM INDIA TOGETHER:
Archbishop Anil J.T. Couto, Archbishop of Delhi Catholic Church profusely thanked the founding fathers of AIACHE in successfully bringing the institutions run by various denominations of the Indian Church together. He was very happy to note that their effort is bearing fruit for the day is very near for the Indian Church to act together on various issues. As the Head of a Church, he appreciated the Christian educational institutions for faithfully witnessing, based on Kingdom values. He requested both the government departments and Church based organizations to work together to transform India into a just, inclusive and harmonious country in the comity of nations.
Bringing greetings on behalf of the Church of North India, the Rt. Rev. Dr. P.C. Singh lauded the efforts of the Christian higher education institutions in the service of God and humanity.
Representing the Medical Mission carried out by the Church run hospitals, Dr. Sudhir Joseph, Director, St. Stephen’s Hospital, Delhi wanted the Church involve with greater dedication in expanding the medical mission to the least and the lost of this country. As there is lack of access to quality medical care to a majority of India’s population, this is an important task ahead for the Church. Rev. Dr. V.M. Spurgeon, Regional Program Consultant, United Board appreciated AIACHE in promoting whole person education the objective of United Board and promised for greater cooperation and support from his organization for AIACHE.
The variety entertainment performed by the artists of Jesus and Mary College really brought out the diversity and distinctiveness of Indian culture and tradition. This included songs from western, classical, Hindustani, dances from Gujarat and mizo tradition. The perfect show came to close by a vote of thanks from Prof. Samuel K. Samuel, Principal, Crossland College, Brahmavar and Vice President, AIACHE. Archbishop Anil Couto offered the closing prayer followed by national anthem. Every one of the participants dispersed from the hall experiencing God’s benign presence and blessing. Rev. Sr. Dr. Marina John, her team of teachers, students, compeers above all the performers deserve our appreciation and kudos.
A day of Blessings and an opportunity to enjoy God’s grace and to thank Him for what has happened and yet to happen in building our institutions for building the Kingdom of God in our country came to a close with the hospitality of Jesus and Mary College.
Day & Date: Saturday 5th March 2016
Venue: Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi