Swami Vivekananda Bharat Yatra (SVBY): Promoting Universal Brotherhood Through Cross-Cultural and Educational Immersion
Tej K. Pareek, PhD, MBA, MPH and Sudesh Agrawal, PhD
In today’s world when the global community is more interconnected but remain ideologically fragmented the Bharat and its Hindu philosophy offers an opportunity to celebrate the global diversity by learning from different cultures and ways of life to become more aware of our common human bond. Although the diplomatic lexicon of Vasudhaiva_Kutumbakam (the whole world as one family) elucidate Bharat’s global outlook, it has remained ambiguous and rarely elaborated.
In order to bring this idea into action, we designed and executed a 3-credit study abroad course to Bharat for US students named Swami Vivekananda Bharat Yatra (SVBY). Based on principals of appreciative inquiry this course endeavours to promote country’s historical, socio-economic, and intellectual importance and inspire America’s next generation to re-evaluate the impact Bharat promises to have on their future lives and careers. Since 2013, around 125 US-students from 4 different US-universities joined this course and travelled more than 6000 miles in 9 states and 35 cities of Bharat. The phenomenological retrospective qualitative analysis of student’s pre and post-trip reflections revealed appreciative self-introspection, admiration for global diversity and inclusiveness, building cultural competencies, and expanded learning boundaries as four major success themes of this educational intervention.
In conclusion; we propose that although the study abroad experience is highly individualized and can be impacted by circumstantial events, it is a profound tool to increase student’s learning horizon beyond the classroom and bring Bharat to the forefront of America’s best and brightest minds to prepare better “global citizens” and promote universal harmony and peace.
About the presenter…
Dr. Tej Kumar Pareek is an accomplished neuroscientist and a successful business entrepreneur based in the USA. He received his biomedical, public health and business training at premier research institutes in Bharat and USA. Currently, Dr. Pareek is working as a senior research scientist at the Case School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor at Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at CWRU in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also a scholar of public health, contemporary global issues, and health care policy-management. Recently, Dr. Pareek has co-founded IUM Global, which enables international academic collaborations among US, and Bharat.