The World Anthropology Congress (WAC) concluded on Sunday at KISS Deemed to be University. Joining as the Chief Guest in the valedictory session, Arjun Munda, Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, delivered a brilliant and insightful speech on the significant role of Emperor Ashoka in spreading world peace. He discussed Ashoka’s transformation in the historic land of Kalinga, as well as the intricate relationship between the cult of Jagannath and tribal culture.
He said, the indigenous people should engage in self-reflection, researching on their own communities and it would be only possible through quality education. “If we could empower them with proper education, they would be able to solve their issues on their own,’’ he observed.
On establishing a world-class museum for the indigenous people at KISS University, the Minister said, “The Tribal Affairs Ministry is ready for this collaborative project, but it could only be initiated following a formal proposal from the Odisha Government.’’
Praising the efforts of the Founder of KIIT-KISS, the Union Minister said, “Dr. Achyuta Samanta is the best human being in the world and he is a genuinely sensitive individual. He personifies how, with determination, dedication, vision and selfless hard work, success could be achieved. Every one of us should learn this from him.’’ On learning Anthropology, he said, “We have to interact with the indigenous people as they understand nature from very first day. Without the Mother Nature our survival is also at stake.’’
In his address, Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS said, “For World Anthropology Congress, KISS is the ideal venue and best place for research on Anthropology’’. He recounted an international conference he attended in Europe, where a renowned Japanese anthropologist hailed KISS as the "largest anthropological laboratory of the world." Dr. Samanta also drew attention to the fact that KISS was home to 2,000 students from Jharkhand, the home state of Union Minister Arjun Munda. He proudly mentioned that the 2023 Class X topper was also from Jharkhand.
Prof. Deepak Kumar Behera, VC, KISS-DU and President, United India Anthropology Forum (UIAF) said, “KISS University organised the WAC 2023 in collaboration with the UIAF, Delhi University, Utkal University and Sambalpur University. In the grand five-day event there were 350 sessions, 20 round-table meetings, 20 workshops and 120 panel discussions. More than 1,100 anthropologists from 51 nations around the world joined and presented 1,200 research papers. There were 8 pre-congresses before the WAC and there will be 10 post-WAC sessions, he informed.
Prof. Anand Singh, Professor of Anthropology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, applauded Dr. Samanta's leadership in providing free education to tribal students.
Prof. P. C. Joshi, WAC Chairman and former Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University said “This world congress was perhaps the most accessible and affordable anthropology congress ever. It dealt with all the aspects of the subject and KISS is the best place for it to happen. The Tribal Advisory Council, Professor of Practice like initiatives has made KISS unique.’’
Professor Charlotte Ann Roberts, a Fellow of the British Academy, Department of Archaeology Durham University, UK praised the astounding success of the Congress.
Prof. Amareswar Galla of the UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development, Anant National University, Ahmedabad and Emeritus Faculty, Australian National University believed that the Congress would mark a turning point in tribal empowerment, enabling them to lead dignified lives. He recommended KISS to consider launching an international programme on applied museum anthropology, producing qualified professionals to manage tribal museums.
The Congress concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Prof. S. Gregory, Secretary General of UIAF.