Taking forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on India’s significance in giving the world Buddhism, the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) announced on Tuesday the first edition of the ‘Global Buddhist Conference’ and an institution of the first award in Buddhist Studies. The conference will be held in November on the theme of ‘Buddhism in Literature.’
Through ICCR’s conferences, programs, which is an autonomous body under the Ministry of External Affairs, India it will connect with international academia. The importance of these events lies in the fact that they project various elements of India’s soft power.
While addressing the media, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President ICCR said, “One important decision taken is the institution of the award of Buddhist Studies because as we are aware, India has been one of the important places of Buddhist Studies and we have been attracting for several decades global academic leadership insofar as the discipline of Buddhist Studies is concerned. We started recognising scholars for Sanskrit and Indology for the last five years. The eminent scholars in Sanskrit and Indology have been awarded. Similarly, we have decided to have an award for promotion of Buddhist Studies.”
This way, the eminent scholars of Buddhist Studies will be given an award, which will comprise a cash award of US dollar 20,000, plaque, and gold medal.
“This award is the part of a comprehensive and consolidated action plan for activities related to Buddhism, which is in line with realizing the vision of the PM for revival of India as a global center for Buddhism and related activities including tourism,” Sahasrabuddhe added.
The first award will be given during the first Buddhist Conclave, Global Buddhist Conference, which has been planned for November. Buddhist Studies would be given the same treatment as Sanskrit and Indology. ICCR gives the ‘Distinguished Indologist Award’, and ‘World Sanskrit Award’, and for the first time, it will give an award for Buddhist Studies.
According to the annual report released today, ICCR in consultation with the Indian Mission abroad established a Chair of Indian Studies. An MoU for renewal of Sanskrit Chair was pursued at Shilpakom University, Thailand. Similarly, the report said that MoU was signed for the Indology Chair at Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies. There have been webinars and conferences on Indology and the promotion of Indian culture abroad.
For the revival of India as a global center for Buddhist culture and tourism, and leveraging Buddhist linkages with ASEAN and East Asian Countries, “ICCR planned to launch the first edition of the Global Buddhist Conference on the theme of Buddhism in Literature.”
GBC will be organised under the overall framework of the flagship event of the ministry of Tourism – International Buddhist Conclave 2021, and in collaboration with the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara and International Buddhist Confederation. It is scheduled on NNM campus on November 19-20.
In the run-up to the Global Buddhist Conference, four regional conferences will be held in India – Telangana, Sarnath, Gangtok, and Dharamshala and abroad – Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Cambodia. The award is open to all international individuals. An institution, association, or organization shall also be eligible for the Award.
The scholars have to send the nominations in writing duly recommended by competent authorities as approved in the code of procedure for the Award. The jury shall consider such nominations, which will be headed by the ICCR President.