UNESCO MGIEP kickstarts #VirtualGandhiMarch campaign
The global social media campaign began August 12 and will run until Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary October 2, to mobilize youth to share their kindness stories
Published - Aug 14, 2019 1:23 PM Updated: Aug 14, 2019 1:23 PM
UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) kickstarted #VirtualGandhiMarch, a social media campaign to mobilize youth to share their kindness stories on the International Day for Youth, August 12, 2019.
#VirtualGandhiMarch—which will run until the International Day of Non Violence/Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, October 2, 2019 — is part of a wider mission #KindnessMatters for the Sustainable Development Goals, a first-of-its-kind international youth campaign on kindness with the goal of mobilizing the world’s youth to achieve the 17 SDGs through transformative acts of kindness, compassion, care towards self, others and the environment.
Speaking on the launch, UNESCO MGIEP’s Director, Dr Anantha Duraiappah, said, “ In a world full of by rising intolerance, apathy, indifference, social exclusion, fear, gender-based violence, climate change and extremism, we believe that apart from catering to students’ academic needs, it is equally important to hone their social and emotional capabilities so as to nurture rational, empathetic and compassionate citizens. The #KindnessMatters campaign provides a platform to young people and youth driven organizations to share their positive stories of change driven by compassion, care and kindness. The campaign is youth centric and youth focused but does not exclude the possibilities of non-youth participants to submit their stories”.
He further added, “Research has also proved that practicing kindness can be a transformative process. In line with UNESCO MGIEP’s socio-emotional learning framework, the KindnessMatters campaign draws from research in the field of neurosciences which has clearly demonstrated the benefits of kindness not only for recipients but also for providers.”
In keeping with Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of compassion, kindness and empathy, UNESCO MGIEP launched #KindnessMatters for the SDGs on the International Day of Non-Violence last year.
The campaign, which consists of two phases, has achieved more than 3,000 transformative stories from over 50 countries so far. The first phase until the end of 2019 focuses on building youth momentum on kindness by generating stories on acts of kindness by young people. The second phase from the year 2020 onwards will mobilize United Nations Member States to declare an International Decade of Kindness. #KindnessMatters is the digital campaign of the wider #KindnessMatters for the SDGs mission.
#VirtualGandhiMarch mobilizes people to either share a story in which someone else was kind to them and nominate at least five more people to share such instances that have touched them and ask them to tag five people in their posts. Alternatively, they can share a story in which they were kind to someone and nominate at least five people to share their own story and tag five more people. We are urging people to use #KindnessMatters, #VirtualGandhiMarch and tag us. The stories can be shared as a post/ video/ photo on social media.
UNESCO MGIEP is also organising the first ever ‘World Youth Conference on Kindness’ in the 150th year of Mahatma’s Gandhi’s birth, with the goal of providing young people with a global platform where they can actively engage with decision-makers towards finding innovative ways of propagating non-violence as a way to resolve conflicts.
The theme of the event, which will be held at the Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi between August 20 and 23, 2019, is 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Gandhi for the Contemporary World: Celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’, with key participants including 100 youth globally, Kailash Satyarthi (Nobel Peace Laureate); Nandita Das (Actor & Director); Chaker Khazaal(Speaker & Reporter), Aya Chebbi (first African Youth Envoy), Arno Michaelis (American motivational speaker), Jo Cutler (Doctoral Research Candidate) and Grammy Award Winners, Ricky Kej / Laura Dickinson, among others. Registration link is here
The campaign includes a wide range of national and international partners including governments, academia, youth organizations and young people. The campaign targets young people in the age group of 15 to 35 years who are motivated and inspired to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals; Youth led/youth focused organizations, governments, corporates, policy makers, development agencies, civil society, academicians, universities, schools, media agencies and individuals who are committed to enhance the youth participation in the development agenda, Educators, scientists, policy makers, artists, students, parents, leaders and all those who believe in power of youth to create positive social change.
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