Panchtatva: Celebrating Nature’s harmony

18 February 2015

“A wonderful evening of spectacular music was in store for the Delhi crowd as Panchtatva celebrated the last of its five all-India concerts which started in Mumbai, and then went to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and now Delhi,” said Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, UNIC Director. “They carried off an absolutely magical evening depicting the five elements of nature, taking the understanding of climate change and the effects of human impact on the environment”, she noted. The five elements are: “Aakash (Space), Vaayu (Wind), Agni (Fire), Jal (Water) and Prithvi (Earth)”.  

Conceived by Durga Jasraj, together with Neeraj Jaitley, Panchtatva is an immersive experience through a spectacular combination of specially designed Animation and Visual Effects along with Soundscapes, and the use of Shlokas from the Vedas (scriptures). “Panchtatava is a musical extension of our dynamic Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji’s call for action for Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan” said Durga Jasraj. “We firmly believe that each one of us can contribute in our unique way and hence we decided to roll out a Concert tour to spread awareness through entertainment, which will leave a lasting impression on people’s minds”. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, Aditya Birla Group, and the United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan (UNIC) supported this endeavour.

This was really is a unique presentation wherein Musical Superstars -- Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Ustad Rashid Khan, Selva Ganesh, Taufiq Qureshi, Rattan Mohan Sharma, Ankita Joshi, Sridhar Parthasarathy, Ramkumar Mishra, Subhankar Banerjee and Durga Jasraj, performed together and the public just kept asking for more.

Children’s film festival promotes UN values

08 February 2015

UNIC Director Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman was in Lucknow at the City Montessori School, to unveil the poster and logo for the 7th International Children’s Film Festival. The festival is being held in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan under its 70th anniversary yoUNg@70 campaign. “It aims to promote world unity and world peace and has been termed the world’s biggest such festival” said Mr. V. Kurian, the Festival Director. “We have received an amazing 1020 entries from 80 participating countries,” he said.

“This is a unique festival during which only children’s films are screened for entertainment as well as for learning lessons of character building qualities and spiritual inspiration from them”, said Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, who wants to bring education out of the four walls of the classroom and to build a safe society of values. Six years ago, CMS, which is now an UN-accredited NGO, conceived of this concept to eliminate the adverse effects of commercial films in which violence and vulgarity is depicted randomly. The festival was also designed to bring about social transformation by promoting universal values and global understanding through the powerful medium of films.

Another unique feature is that when the films are screened in early April, the plan is to bring more than 100,000 children from scores of schools of Lucknow and surroundings to several shows over a week. Invitations are also being sent to teachers and parents. That number in itself is staggering record-breaking one, and we are looking forward to a wonderful experience. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said: “There is no greater tool than education to enhance human dignity, promote a culture of non-violence, and build lasting peace. Through education, we can craft new ways of living with each other and the planet. Education can also lay the foundation for developing new forms of global citizenship and solidarity that are so essential in today’s world”. And the film festival is providing an entertaining path to education.

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New Delhi Commemoration ceremony to mark International Day in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust

27 January 2015

Students and youth leaders from top Universities of Delhi came to the Alliance Française de Delhi for an afternoon of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. This remembrance was a part of UN’s Holocaust Outreach Programme (UNHOP) to mark the 70th Anniversary of the horrific pogrom carried out by Nazi Germany. The young participants carefully viewed UNIC’s Panel exhibit and the “Barbed Wire” installation as they made their way into the auditorium. 

The afternoon was moderated by Alliance Française Director, Jean-Philippe Bottin who commenced the memorial by inviting Mrs. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman of the UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan to deliver Secretary-General’s message to the audience. From the Embassy of Israel, Chana Anzi introduced Israeli filmmaker Erez Laufer, who screened his documentary Rafting to Bombay, a tale of three generations telling one story about displacement, refuge and loss. This was followed by an inspiring Question and Answer round with Mr. Laufer moderated by Ms. Ditza Froim, Head of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel. 

The afternoon came to a conclusion with Mrs. Mehra-Kerpelman’s encouragement for all those in attendance to carry a candle with them to their home, and with their family and friends light it in the memory of those who lost their lives in the genocide. She requested them to write down their thoughts towards a peaceful and tolerant world, pin it on the installation to be read by all the visitors and guests. 

New Delhi Commemoration ceremony to mark International Day in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust

27 January 2015

Scores of students escorted by their teachers from schools affiliated to the National Progressive Schools Conference (NPSC) joined the UN Information Centre, the Alliance Française de Delhi and the Embassy of Israel on 27 January 2015 to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust during the World War II, which claimed 7 million lives, and pledged to remember the message of that catastrophic tragedy: “Never again” 

The student participation was overwhelming and the Alliance Française’s auditorium was filled beyond its maximum capacity. The participating schools included Delhi Public School, Rohini; Ahlcon International School, Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok; Ramjas School, N.C. Jindal Public School, DLDAV Model School, Bal Bharti School, KIIT World School, SVISG, Tagore International School, CRPF School, Don Bosco School, G.D. Goenka School, Springdales School, and Laxman Public School. 

The students observed a “Barbed Wire’ installation as they were escorted into the auditorium. The installation was part of a larger exhibit that walked the students through the United Nations’ Holocaust Outreach Programme that included panels of information and visuals including testimonies from Holocaust survivors and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 

Alliance Française’s Director, Mr. Jean-Philippe Bottin welcomed everyone to the commemoration. UNIC New Delhi Director, Mrs. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman followed after, and read out the Secretary-General’s message which also particularly addressed the students, “Education is one of our best defenses against prejudices that can lead to extreme violence. We must instill in our youth a spirit that embraces pluralism and rejects all forms of discrimination or racism”. The students were also shown an Israeli movie, The Last Korczak Boy that chronicles the life of Jewish educator, Dr. Janus Korczak through the eyes of painter Yizhak Belfer, who was the last living child of Korczak’s orphanage. 

The movie was followed by a question and answer session with Mr. Yahel Vilan, Deputy Chief of Mission, Israeli Embassy. At the end of the event, Mrs. Mehra-Kerpelman delivered end remarks leading the students to fully absorb the information on the holocaust they had received and encouraged them to leave messages on the barbed wire installation. They were given a candle that they could light at home with their family to mark solidarity. 

Students pinned their messages on the barbed wire installation, even as UNIC Director continued her interaction with them. The installation conceptualized and created by UNIC transformed into a beacon of peace and hope as students wished for a harmonious world through it. These messages were to be read by dignitaries and other United Nations officers. The students went back with a message of peace and tolerance. 

To read more about this, visit: http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance