BHUBANESWAR, India, June 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Founded in 1992-93, Odisha-based KISS Deemed to be University will hold its first convocation for passing students on 27thJune 2021. The ceremony will be held in a hybrid mode - both physical and virtual - taking into consideration the COVID-19 protocols. 143 students will be conferred degrees for completing their Masters and M. Phil courses successfully. The brightest and the most promising graduates will be conferred with Founder's Gold Medals, Chancellor's Gold Medals and Vice Chancellor's Silver Medals at the ceremony.
Focusing on its formula of 3E's - Enable, Educate and Empower, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) is a residential educational institution providing free education, accommodation, medical care, vocational, athletic and artistic training to 60,000 indigenous children from the eastern state of Odisha, India.
The students come from 62 different tribal communities within the region, of which 13 are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). Of these, 30,000 students study at the main campus in Bhubaneswar.
KISS has a strong alumni base of 30,000 empowered boys and girls and soon over 10,000 students will study at 10 satellite centers of KISS across Odisha. KISS has indirectly impacted over a million tribal children and youth, which is in itself a milestone in the history of tribal children who could wriggle out of the years old backwardness.
Dream come true
"It is indeed a pleasure throwback of the memory when I recall the days I had conceived the idea about stepping into the field of social service with a signature nature. That is reaching out to the unreachable," said KIIT and KISS founder Prof. (Dr.) Achyuta Samanta.
"And today, I feel extremely grateful to the Almighty and humbled and overjoyed when I recall the day I had started the Kalinga Institute of Social Science (KISS). It all started like a garden and it didn't take much for the flowers to smile. KISS was kick-started as a small sapling and within a few years, it grew into a gigantic tree spreading shadow to many and with an extraordinary outreach of the huge canopy-like spread giving protection to millions today," added Prof (Dr.) Samanta.
"It's the story of a dream-come-true which took off with 125 students on board in 1992-93 and rose like a phoenix, an inspiring tale of transformation now really beyond my imagination. As a common man, when I laid the foundation of KISS, I simply had the confidence but it was not in the wildest of my imagination that its growth would be so exponential, impact considerably and revolutionize the pattern of education for tribal boys and girls, never detaching from its core belief - Education empowers," further added Prof (Dr.) Samanta.
An Instrument of Empowerment
While dropouts still remain an aching sore in the country's educational system, KISS in its course of existence, for over 30 years, has substantially checked dropouts, child marriage, gender-based harassment, left-wing extremism, proselytization, ignorance and superstition on a massive scale with its passive intervention through education and empowerment.
It has stimulated awareness on the importance of education, girl-child empowerment, upskilling and vocational empowerment, entrepreneurship, and in collaboration with the tribal communities, KISS made them real caretakers of the ecosystem, nature and fulfilling its SDGs.
Scaling New Global Highs
For its unimpeachable record, KISS became the world's first exclusive tribal Deemed to be University in 2017 - a status given by the Ministry of erstwhile Human Resource Development, Government of India. "With its growth, I always aspired for University status for KISS to elevate its credibility as an institution committed to research for tribal studies by tribal scholars," said Prof (Dr.) Samanta.
KISS scaled a new high when in 2015 it received international recognition and support. Since 2015, it has been accorded Special Consultative Status by UN-ECOSOC. Then on a record spree of climbing up, it found itself among the comity of topmost organizations. It has worked in collaboration with many UN agencies and bodies like UNFPA, UNEP, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women, US Consulate and so on various capacity-building projects and its implementation.
Achievement speaks for itself and soon profound appreciation poured in from Nobel Laureates, Legal Luminaries, Academicians, Policymakers, Statesmen, Writers and celebrities who visited KISS and felt so after an immersive experience. KISS has also institutionalized the KISS Humanitarian Award for awarding men and women of distinction for their service to humanity.
Soon, KISS became a destination and its giant leaps helped it scale new highs. For the achievement of KISS it grew to be phenomenally a point of attraction and a very distinguished panel has joined KISS Deemed to be University at the helms.
Mr. Satya S. Tripathi has joined as the Chancellor. He was the former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Other distinguished members in the panel of leadership are - Dr. Upendra Tripathy, IAS (Retd) as Pro-Chancellor; Dr. Deepak Behera as Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Pitabasa Sahoo as Pro-Vice Chancellor; Dr. Kanhu Charan Mahali as Director-General. Under their tenure, KISS Deemed to be University will certainly scale new heights in terms of student achievements, research, collaboration and academic excellence.
The first is first and always special, and so is the first convocation of KISS Deemed to be University. The virtual ceremony will be graced by his Excellency the Governor of Odisha, most affable and erudite, Prof. Ganeshi Lal, who will be conferred with Honoris Causa, Doctor of Letters at the first convocation of KISS Deemed to be University.
The other Honoris Causa degree recipients, Odia men of high standing, achievements and accolades, are Shri Girish Chandra Murmu, Hon'ble Comptroller and Auditor General of India, pride of tribals, Odisha and India; Hon. Swarup Ranjan Mishra, Member of Parliament for Kesses Constituency, Kenya and Founding Chairman, Mediheal Group of Hospitals, Kenya; and Mr. Bibhu Mohapatra, Fashion Designer and Costume Designer, New York.
"On this historic occasion, I express my heartfelt gratitude to all the stakeholders of KIIT for their unflinching support. I would like to express my thanks to all the well-wishers of KISS for their love, affection and belief in our cause. I owe a debt of gratitude to the staff and students of KIIT and KISS for their untiring efforts to help KISS reach the level it is today," said Prof (Dr.) Samanta.
"KISS, which started as an idea turned into a revolution calling for the creation of more prototypes, has always vouched to provide a local solution to a global problem. We envisage the KISS Deemed to be University to stand as a think tank for tribal related issues of importance, to academic debate, discuss and critically analyse the tribal policies, laws, culture and importance and offer solutions to KISS for its continuous improvement in course of evolution in particular and to the wider society in general," added Prof (Dr.) Samanta.
"And as Earnest Hemingway puts, 'There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self'. KISS Deemed to be University will always go forward and get better with all humility in its endeavor towards excellence," concluded Prof (Dr.) Samanta.
Dr. Shradhanjali Nayak
KIIT Deemed to be University