250K Students Participated in Value Education Olympiad by ISKCON

New Delhi, January 29th, 2023 – The fourth annual Value Education Olympiad (VEO) , organized by ISKCON in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Directorate of Delhi, UN-Environment Program, and Govardhan Eco Village (GEV)was celebrated in grand fashion with a felicitation ceremony on January 29th, 2023 at the Chinmaya Mission auditorium in New Delhi.https://www.youtube.com/embed/FDjxsO_68Cw

VEO-2022 | Felicitation Ceremony

VEO is an innovative and impactful educational program for students of Class 5th-12th that aims to cultivate six specific values(honesty, justice, integrity, altruism, equity, and altruism) essential for environmental conservation and tackling climate change. This year, the program which was made free of cost saw the participation of 252,000 students from 20 different countries.

The registered participants received a book titled ‘Future Ethic’ and were required to appear for an online exam of 1-hour duration. Additionally, students were challenged to come up with practical solutions to environmental concerns. In order to help students prepare for the exam, seven pre-recorded classes were posted on the website based on the 6 values. Each class was designed to develop a certain virtue in the students that went beyond an exam into life. The program aimed to inspire independent thinking, innovation, and ownership in participants, and to provide solutions to various environmental challenges and their causes.

20 winners from various categories received prizes of laptops, tablets, bicycles, and kindles. Additionally, there was a cash prize of Rs 25,000/- and the top 50 consolation prize winners received headphones.

The winners were felicitated by the Hon’ble Central Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Sri Bhupender Yadav, who presided over the ceremony as the chief guest.

Other notable guests include:

Mr. Iyad Abumoghli (Head, Faith for Earth, Nairobi) joined online

Mr. Asit Gopal (Commissioner, Eklavya Model Residential Schools),

Mr Vinayak Garg (Commissioner, Jawahar Navodya Schools),

Sh. Laxmi Narayan Goel (Chairman, EKAL Abhiyan),

Dr Vibha Dhawan (Director – TERI) ,

Mr. Himanshu Gupta (Directorate of Education, Delhi)

Dr. Sanjeev Singh (Professor, Delhi University)

Mr Vijay Sardana (Advocate, Supreme Court of India)

The top 5 out of 6 positions in all categories are grabbed by girls:
National & International Category
Group A, Classes 5th -8th :Brinda Kapoor(The Chintels School,Kanpur),
Group B, Classes 9th-12th: Radhya Gupta(Hans Raj Model School, Punjabi Bagh, Delhi),
Delhi Government Schools
Group A, Classes 5th -8th: Syeeda Rahman (Jasola Village, GGSSS, Delhi)
Group B, Classes 9th-12th: Vanshika Mittal (SOSE, Sec-6, Dwarka)
Eklavya Schools from Tribal Regions
Group A, Classes 5th -8th: Sonari Bandra (EMRS Torsinduri, Jharkhand)
Group B, Classes 9th-12th: Rahul Uraon (EMRS Paladikhurd, Chhattisgarh)

Students from Sarvodya Co-Ed Vidyalavya, Sec-8 Rohini did the anchoring and put up a fabulous performance presenting a musical drama on “Mother Nature- How do we harm it and Why we need to protect it?”

Shri Bhupender Yadav (Hon’ble Minister of Environment, Government of India) thanked students for their wonderful performance and outlined the importance of conscious living delineating India’s practical proactive steps towards maintaining Ecological harmony, preserving biodiversity, reducing carbon footprints, increasing awareness, mindless consumption to mindful utilization and how the development of Nation can not be sustainable without equal work on preserving our environment. The hon’ble minister emphasized the different mentalities of a person in three modes of nature as mentioned in Bhagavat Gita wherein a how the mind in the mode of goodness will be conducive to an environment-friendly lifestyle.

“Although India have 17% population but our carbon emission is 4% . If we aggregate the population of developed countries, their population is 17% but their total carbon emmison is 60% , this is because of our lifestyle. Our Prime Minister gave Mission Life in Glasgow. And through ISKCON, I wish to discuss Environment friendly lifestyle. On our website we have choosen 75 steps that we can implement in our life. ”

“This journey that began with 6200 students in 2019 which has now reached 2,52,000 student in 2022, this jounrey should continue. May this journey create aware and conscious individuals, which is the inspiration of ISKCON, which is the inspiration of Bhagavad Gita..that may connect with our mission life and this message of environment friendly lifestyle – from here should should come in practical life all over the world. I congratualte you for your work on this area, for you sadhana(efforts), I hope that mission life will be our resolve in every home”

Mr. Iyad Abumoghli, Founder of the United Nations – Faith for Earth program joined online and congratulated organizers for the innovative approach.

“Allow me to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to the organizers of the celebrations and the leaders of the Value Education Program- Govardhan Eco Village and ISKCON and the Government of India for supporting such an innovative approach to education and environment. ”

Our Journey | Value Education Olympiad-2022

While briefing grave concerns and challenges that we face related to the environment today, Dr. Iyad mentioned, “while government decisions are very important to fight these environmental calamities, other stakeholders such as industries, the private sector universities and schools, youth, and women organizations as well as religious and faith actors have important roles and responsibilities to play. But how do we make these challenges known to everyone? It is certainly by awareness and education.”

The integration of the Bhagavad Gita’s teachings with the content of the program served as a catalyst in the development of value-oriented education. The Gita provides a holistic approach to dealing with environmental issues and practical guidelines for a quality life that is often laced with ethical dilemmas and conflicts.

A team of 6 core members from ISKCON Punjabi Bagh(Delhi, India) led by Karuna Candra Das(Vice -President, ISKCON PB) and Dr. Suruchi Mittar (Academician, University professor, author, speaker, Strategy consultant management coach) worked with 100 volunteers which in turn coordinated with more than 2000 teachers that made it possible to reach 2,52,000 students.

Dr. Suruchi Mittar and Ms. Preeti Arora are both mothers and working professionals from ISKCON Punjabi Bag congregation and were the pillars of the program serving selflessly sparing time from their busy schedule consistently for more than 5 months in taking up the most of coordination and execution with 2000 teachers, 250000 students, thousands of parents, principals and winners along with their team of few volunteers.

“One of the biggest challenge for us was that all collaborative bodies asked us that we cannot charge anything from students for this program and we were perplexed about the funding. The technology, books, certificates, gifts, Bhagavad Gita, operations all involve huge cost for this scale. But we are grateful that many donors came forward to help” Karuna Chandra Das

The program was made available to all participants at no cost this year, thanks to the generous support of sponsors such as SMC Group, Globe Capital, Richa Exports, and 500 donors.

A tree plantation drive for 2,00,000 trees by ISKCON in all the government schools of Delhi has also been organized and is scheduled to take place in April, a conducive climate for the same with the help of the Environment Ministry, The program’s success is a testament to the power of collective effort and the impact of value-oriented education in fostering a more environmentally conscious and responsible society.

ISKCON aims to innovate further and convert this into vernacular languages for bringing more environmental awareness around a strong value system.