UNITED NATIONS, NY (TIP): A special event to commemorate the 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations on April 13 at United Nations Headquarters. This was the first such commemoration of Dr. Ambedkar at the UNHQ.
Foundation for Human Horizon (US-based NGO with ECOSOC consultative Status) and Kalpana Saroj Foundation (India-based NGO of Padmashree Kalpana Saroj) were co-hosts of the event. Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP in the Keynote address spoke on the legacy of Dr. B.R Ambedkar. She said that “Dr. Ambedkar understood that inequalities pose fundamental challenges to well-being”. Hon’ble Speaker of Punjab Legislative Assembly, Mr. Charanjit Singh Atwal (Chief Patron of Forum for SC and ST Legislators and Parliamentarians) delivered special remarks. Mr. Deelip Mhaske of Foundation for Human Horizon and Ms. Kalpana Saroj also addressed the gathering. The event also featured a Panel Discussion on the theme “Combating inequalities for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals”.
The Panelist included Professor Stan Kachnowsky, Colombia University and Chair, HITLAB; Ms. Anupama Rao, Associate Professor, Colombia University and; Mr. Christopher Queen, lecturer Harvard University. Prof Stan Kanchowsky spoke on influence of Dr. Ambedkar’s vision on healthcare equity and the resulting rise of mobile health in India. Mr. Christopher drew parallels between the lives of Ambedkar and Martin L. King, Jr. in their attempt to create societies based on equality, freedom and brotherhood and to overcome barriers of class, caste, race, and religion to forge alliances for peace and justice. Ms. Rao spoke about the impediments of inequalities including caste and the need for social justice to achieve sustainable development through the implementation of 2030 Agenda. She also highlighted Dr. Ambedkar as an important thinker relevant to both 20th and 21st century.
A movie clip (a short version of the Films Division’s documentary edited by PMI) was screened on the occasion.
There was on overwhelming response with over 550 people, many from India and various parts of the world attended the event. Diplomats, UN senior officials, state government officials from India, students, civil society, private sector representatives and academia were also present at the special event.