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8th September, 2016: XLRI- Xavier School of Management is all set to organize the 3rd ‘Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial Oration on Sustainable Development’ in memory of the Founder of AMUL Dr. Verghese Kurien, otherwise known as “the Milkman of India” on 24th September, 2016 at XLRI Campus, Jamshedpur.

This year, the oration is to be delivered by Dr. Ela Bhatt, eminent social activist and Founder of SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association). She would deliver the oration on the topic “Living with Anubandh: A Way to Sustainability”.

Fr. E Abraham, S. J. Director of XLRI commented, “Dr. Verghese Kurien was a thinker, a revolutionary and a social entrepreneur who ideated the world’s biggest agricultural development programme. It was his “billion-litre idea” which made dairy farming India’s largest self-sustaining industry, with benefits of employment, incomes, credit, nutrition, education, heath, gender parity & empowerment, breaking down caste barriers and grassroots democracy and leadership. XLRI instituted the oration in his memory with the aim to commemorate his legacy through propagating and disseminating the idea of an empowered, equitable and sustainable society.”

Padma Bhushan Dr. Ela R. Bhatt, a lawyer by training, is a part of the international labour, cooperative, women, and micro-finance movements. She founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) in 1972 – a trade union which now has more than 1,000,000 members. She served as its general secretary from 1972 to 1996. She is also a member of The Elders, an international group of world leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems, where she has been particularly involved in initiatives on equality for women and girls, including the issue of child marriage. She was one of the founders of Women’s World Banking in 1979 with Esther Ocloo and Michaela Walsh, and served as its chair from 1980 to 1998. She was the Founder Chair of the Cooperative Bank of SEWA, she also founded and served as chair for Women’s World Banking, the International Alliance of Home-based Workers (HomeNet), and Women in Informal Employment: International Alliance of Street Vendors, and is former a board of directors of WIEGO. She was also a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Dr. Bhatt has received several national and international awards and recognition. She is a recipient of civilian honours of Padma Shri in 1985 and the Padma Bhushan in 1986 by the Government of India. She received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1977 and the Right Livelihood Award in 1984. She was chosen for the Niwano Peace Prize for 2010 for her work empowering poor women in India. On November 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honoured Bhatt with the Global Fairness Initiative Award for helping move more than a million poor women in India to a position of dignity and independence. She was honoured with the prestigious Radcliffe Medal on 27 May 2011 on Radcliffe day for her efforts in helping uplift women, which has had a significant impact on society. In November 2011, Dr. Bhatt was selected for the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2011 for her lifetime achievements in empowering women through grassroots entrepreneurship. She was granted an honorary Doctorate degree in Humane Letters by Harvard University in June 2001. In 2012, she received a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa from Georgetown University and an honorary doctorate from Université libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium. She also holds honorary doctorates from Yale and University of Natal.

Fr. E Abraham, S. J. Director of XLRI commented, “We are extremely happy to have Dr. Ela Bhatt to deliver the 3rd ‘Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial Oration’. She is a legend herself and one of the most remarkable visionaries and entrepreneurial forces who dedicated her life’s work for betterment of the poorest and most oppressed women workers in the country.”

“Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial Oration on Sustainable Development is our humble initiative to pay tribute to the great visionary,” said Prof. Madhukar Shukla, Chairperson of XLRI’s Fr Arrupe Center for Ecology & Sustainability. “With this annual oration, we aim to inspire and inculcate values of entrepreneurial spirit in budding business leaders and social entrepreneurs”, he added.