Marry culture with education: Canadian delegation

Wilson Bearhead, an indigenous native American elder, stole the show

Hyderabad: A Canadian delegation is in town as part of a multi-city India tour, speaking to students about leadership and cross-cultural competencies and learning more about India in its true essence.

As part of their Global Emerging Leadership Program (GELP), indigenous elders, indigenous knowledge keepers, academic researchers, academic professionals, and social innovators visited Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kochi, Chennai and Hyderabad, and will soon visit Chandigarh and Delhi. As part of this, they have been hosting in-person leadership conferences with university and college partners.

There were many interesting delegates, but Wilson Bearhead, an indigenous native American elder, stole the show with his humble stories and wise words.

Known for his cultural insight and teachings across a wide range of fields, his heart beats for education, children's services, health, and homelessness. He described 'mother earth' as the best university and spoke about the importance of exchanging knowledge with and from indigenous cultures as part of traditional education.

"Indigenous people usually hold on to their roots, rightly so, lack awareness, but they still need skills to comprehend the change in the world, same about those living in the world outside. We badly need this to be part of our education system, more importantly, because we tend to feed the brain sometimes and not the heart, a voice and a thinking mind. Initiatives like GELP help nurture such things,” he explained.

He said that his interactions with tribal groups from Srikakulam, with the help of a translator, transported him back 500 years in history.

Omar Karim, GELP's founder and president, emphasised that understanding ancestry, culture, learning, and unlearning helps students' minds open to new perspectives, preparing them to be global citizens and making the world a more meaningful and intentional place to make great connections and contributions to the world.

Wilson concluded with the thought, "Bridges are built but are they crossed? Indigenous people and those with a cultural sense would love to cross that bridge when they can be sure their understanding will be understood."

GELP will soon launch an international competition called 'Explore the Leader in You,' in which 25 students will be chosen to attend an in-person leadership programme in Canada. For more information, visit GELP

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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