January, 2016

Ashoka plays host to Mother Teresa Fellows

A round-table discussion, workshop sessions and a Sufi music concert were organised over the two days that Mother Teresa Fellows spent at Ashoka University

By Suha Gangopadhyay

The Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) at Ashoka University organised its first event, the Mother Teresa Fellowship Roundtable, on 30th January, which was a precursor to the Founders’ Day on the 31st. The Fellows spent these two days at the Campus and also engaged in a series of workshops that were planned for them.

The CSIP has a mandate to become the foremost organisation for social entrepreneurs and philanthropists, for research and capacity-building. The aim is to analyse gaps in social impact and philanthropy, create a framework to address them, enhance awareness and build capacity for its participating stakeholders. The Centre’s stakeholders include students and academics, social leaders and entrepreneurs, philanthropists, corporates, donors and the government. The end goal is to create a community of those working in development through various activities such as research and publications, capacity building programmes, conventions, fellowships, grants and student engagement.

The Mother Teresa Fellowship (MTF), a flagship initiative of the Centre, was established in 2012 by Amit Chandra, Founder and Trustee of Ashoka University, and Managing Director of Bain Capital. The Fellowship was designed to be a shared platform for all the Young India Fellows who are either interested in, or are already involved in, the social development sector. The essential focus of the MTF is to encourage more individuals in the field of development to connect, support, empower and educate one another on the various aspects of their work.

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During the weekend of 30-31st January, Fellows from different parts of the country travelled to the University campus. The round-table was presided over by Amit Chandra who, through his keen insight and experience as a philanthropist, guided and advised the Fellows on their respective endeavours. The discussion proved to be an exciting conversation on the Fellowship’s vision, governance, programme design and structure, in order to re-imagine the Fellowship.

While the Fellowship is meant to enable various capacity building exercises, the Fellows are expected to take complete ownership of this programme and drive activities that will advance their personal and professional goals. Since the Fellowship’s inception, Fellows have been working in and creating impact in the fields of education, gender studies, waste management and filmmaking, to name a few.

Apart from the round-table, the Centre also organised two sets of workshops over the two days. The first was conducted by the leadership of Aspire Circle, which is a social leadership programme for senior NGOs. The session, which was especially curated for the Fellows, ensured personal and leadership development through readings and Socratic dialogue. The other session was conducted by Rohit Menezes, who is leading Bridgespan’s foray into India. Bridgespan is a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organisations and philanthropists. He spoke about trends Bridgespan has seen in the non-profit sector over the years and the lessons he has personally learnt on his journey.

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The MTF and its work, as well as the contribution of the Fellows, was celebrated with music artist Rabbi Shergill’s rendition of popular Sufi music. The evening proved to be vibrant and exciting, and we hope that this is just the first of many such events organised by the CSIP.

 

 

(The writer is Deputy Programme Manager, Young India Fellowship)

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