The conference will invite influential scholars and leaders to present key note addresses and participate in the proceedings.
In keeping with the themes of the conference, key note presentations will be made by internationally renowned speakers from the fields of psychology, career counselling, economics and development studies.
Specific emphasis will be laid on :
- contemporary understandings of the human potential
- livelihoods, traditional occupations and globalisation
- human agency and self-efficacy
- culture and economic progress
- interpreting careers services into multicultural contexts
Our Key Note Speakers
- Prof. Frederick Leong
- V. R. Devika
- Kamini Ramachandran & Gideon Arulmani
- Anita Ratnam, Neelam Chibber, Raghav Rajagopalan & Ritu Sethi
Professor Frederick Leong, PhD
Professor of Psychology and Director, Consortium for Multicultural Psychology Research (CMPR), Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, he will present a Key Note address on the "Give in order to Get" theme. His presentation will be around the theme new models for career counselling.
Professor Leong has made significant contributions to the psychology of ethnic minorities, multicultural psychology and career counselling. He is the President of Division 12 Section VI (2009):Clinical Psychology of Ethnic Minorities of the American Psychological Society, Founder and Past President, Division of Counselling Psychology of International Association of Applied Psychology (2006-2010) and Director, APA Advanced Training Institute on Research Methods with Diverse Racial and Ethnic Groups (2008, 2009). He is widely published and is the Founding and Incoming Editor of Asian American Journal of Psychology (2009-2014), editor of the Book Series on Cultural, Racial and Ethnic Psychology, APA Division 45: Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues and Editor-in-Chief, APA Handbook of Multicultural Psychology (2008-2011). He was the recipient of the 2007 APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology.
His presentation at the Jiva Conference will be around the theme new models for career counselling. Some of the topics he will touch upon are:
- Culture-sensitive career counselling; redefining career counselling to fit cultural frameworks
- Career counselling in multicultural contexts
- Internationalisation of career counselling
Title: Desiderata: Towards Indigenous Models of Career Development and Vocational Psychology
In a keynote address at the 1999 National Career Development Association convention, the author had used Lewin's concept of a force-field analysis to present a model for examining the challenges of providing career counseling in Asia in terms of prevailing and countervailing forces (Leong, 2002). The model also suggested a need to avoid a simple importation of Western models of career counseling which may not be an optimal fit for the Asian cultural context. Instead, the cultural accommodation approach was offered as a viable alternative. In this presentation, the author will present a brief overview of the cultural accommodation model and then the second part of this evolving model which recommends the development of indigenous models of career development and vocational psychology. Based on Leong and Brown's (1995) formulation of the multicultural vocational psychology literature as falling into either cultural validity studies or cultural specificity studies, the current paper will shift to the cultural specificity dimension. Specifically, beginning with review of the development of indigenous psychologies, the author will discuss how that movement can aid in the development of indigenous models of career development and vocational psychology in order to provide the much needed theoretical developments within our field. Recommendations and examples will be presented on how indigenous constructs can be used to enrich our career theories and practice.
V R Devika
V R Devika is the Founder and Managing Trustee of the 'ASEEMA' (Without Boundaries) Trust for linking traditional performing arts, education and Mahatma Gandhi. She is also the Cultural Coordinator of Prakriti Foundation , Past Director for Education and Culture wing of the Madras Craft Foundation (1985-96). She continues as a consultant to the MCF and member of its advisory council for its project Dakshinachitra Heritage Center . Over the years her work has revolved around integrating the three passions of her life: Traditional performing arts, Gandhi and Teaching. She analyses Gandhi's methods of communication and demonstrates how he used the techniques of the traditional Indian performing arts (angika, vachika, aaharya) to communicate with the masses.
Title: The Seven Deadly Sins: Work as Gandhi saw it
Mahatma Gandhi symbolizes a way of life. His philosophy of education (Nai Taleem) states that knowledge and work are not separate. One of Gandhiji's fundamental contributions to education is enshrined in his statement, "For the all-round development of boys and girls all training should as far as possible be given through a profit-yielding vocation." This led to one of the earliest resolutions that influenced national educational policy. One of the key elements of this policy was that "...the process of education ... should centre around some form of manual and productive work..." Nai Taleem not only included work as an integral part of education it aimed and instilling in the child, a work ethic guided by the principle of dignity of labor.
Devika's Key Note Presentation is as unusual as its title! The Charka (spinning wheel) symbolises the central element of Gandhiji's philosophy of work and indeed of life, namely, self-reliance and self-mediation. Devika's presentation will begin with the charka and then move on to demonstrating how Gandhi's person-centered approach to work fits beautifully into the demands of the contemporary world of work, characterised as it by the vagaries of the labour market.
Her presentation includes rare and stunning video footage of Mahatma Gandhi and discusses the relevance of Gandhi statement "...my life is my message," to the practice of person-centered counselling in today's world.
Kamini Ramachandran & Gideon Arulmani
Storytelling has always been vital for Kamini Ramachandran, from her earliest memories of her grandparents telling her stories to her efforts in continuing this storytelling tradition with her two young sons every day since they were six months old.
Kamini studied English Literature & Language at the University of Reading (UK) and taught Speech and Drama privately in Kuala Lumpur before becoming a mother. While she is comfortable telling stories to children using puppets, kamishibai boards, masks and songs, she is also adept at telling stories for adults, drawing on her preference for darker, ambiguous, other-realm tales.
Presently a Singapore resident, Kamini joined forces with Verena Tay to found MoonShadow Stories in Nov 2004 to promote the lost art of the oral narrative. Kamini helped found the Storytelling Association (Singapore) in early 2006 and is currently serving her second term as its President. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of stories and the storytelling craft, Kamini has provided storytelling consultancy services for a variety of educators, educational institutions and commercial entities. She is featured regularly in the Singapore media sharing stories 'live' on radio.
Gideon Arulmani is a clinical psychologist with a doctoral degree in counselling from the University of Portsmouth (United Kingdom). Much before this however, he has been interested in drama and storytelling. He wrote and produced his first full length drama, a musical called "I want to be free," when he was 17 and subsequently produced a number of shorter plays and skits. He is also interested in the documentary as a medium of communication and worked as a photographer-script writer in the early part of his career. He uses the parable as a key element in his presentations and his approach to counselling. He is presently working on two novels in the historical fiction genre set in South Asia. Mowyla, a company he has informally started, searches for unseen stories in nature to create handmade artifacts that unveil their unseen intricacies. Mowyla products are collected from wild places around the world and ask you to "move on with your life and..." to look beyond for what doesn't seem to be there, but actually is.
Title: Telling Tales - Exploring the story as a mechanism for culture resonant career counselling
Over the last few years, the importance of culture resonant forms of counselling have begun to be discussed in the literature. All cultures have their traditional counsellors. In Eastern cultures, traditional counsellors (the wise elder, the healer, the grandparent, the uncle or the aunt), typically use illustrations from parables, stories from the holy books and folk tales that depict the gods, folk heroes and other characters whom the help seeker is already culturally prepared to revere and respect. The attention of the help seeker would be drawn to the principles the characters in the stories use to deal with life's vicissitudes and the help seeker would be exhorted to emulate them. Counselling could learn from these methods and consider techniques that have a strong cultural grounding. For example, an Indian counsellor who wishes to respond to the client's cultural preparedness could draw upon the wit and wisdom enshrined in the stories told by court-jesters, poets and itinerant bards of ancient India. The stories of Auvaiyar who lived in the 1st Century C.E is an example. She wandered around South Indian villages, advising farmers and kings alike through her stories and pithy aphorisms. Tenali Ramakrishna was a famous poet and court-jester in the 16th Century C.E and his stories are a wonderful blend of humour and satire rooted in the cultural ethos of South India. Raja Birbal was the Wazir-e Azam (grand vizier) of the Mughal court in the 16th Century C.E. and his stories reflect the culture of North India and offer simple but deeply meaningful insights into the complexities of life. Indian epics, folk tales and proverbs are excellent repositories of a folk approach to dealing with the incongruities of life. They are a part and parcel of everyday life in India and could be used as counselling tools.
The key objective of this presentation is to illustrate how the 'story' could be used as a tool for career counselling. The story selected for the presentation is the Ramayana - one of most famous of Indian epics. It is set around two popular episodes from the Ramayana. The first is the story of Rama, the crown prince, being banished from Ayodhya. The second is about the famous visit that Hanuman, the monkey God makes to Lanka. The presentation will be made jointly by Kamini Ramachandran and Gideon Arulmani. Kamini's role will be that of a story teller and she will present selected episodes from the Ramayana in a story form. Gideon's role will be to interpret her 'telling' into a counselling format. The entire presentation will be a stage performance. Illustrations will be drawn from the sages and yogis, scholars, kings, priests and commoners who populate the Ramayana. The Ramayana is replete with examples of the meaning of renunciation, the importance of assessing opportunities, the origin of talents and aptitudes, the empowering of personal potentials, dealing with unexpected occurrences and barriers one encounters. The presentation will use this story to illustrate how the story could be used to apply the principles of career guidance.
This key note presentation will use the Ramayana to illustrate how the story could be used to apply the principles of career guidance.
Anita Ratnam, Neelam Chibber, Raghav Rajagopalan & Ritu Sethi
Anita holds a Master of Arts degree in Development Studies, from the University of East Anglia, UK and has specialised in Rural Management from the Institute of Rural Management Anand, India. She is a specialist in Institution Leadership, Development and Governance, Training Design, Curriculum Development and Facilitation. She has evaluated a wide variety of NGOs for the impact of their programmes and organisational processes
Anita has guided various research projects including a study of the linkages between Call Centres and Experiences of Youth-hood, documentation of dying sports and indigenous games in Rural Bangalore, Situation of Textile Artisans in different parts of India and presented this as a photo-exhibition and guided students research into land sales in the wake of liberalisation, and the situation of workers in the floriculture units around Bangalore.
Samvada the organization she founded works with college students and youth to sensitize them to issues relating to caste, communalism, gender, environment and poverty. It links them with social movements in the country and encourages them to work in the fields of alternative media, education, energy and health. Laying a strong emphasis on livelihoods, Samvada offers the following courses on Alternative Livelihoods
Sustainable Building Technologies targets young workers in the construction industry and equips them with skills and perspectives on energy efficiency, water management and use of ecologically sustainable raw materials in building construction and maintenance.
Community based Eco-Tourism enables youth from forest communities earn a livelihood by organizing 'adventure cum sensitization' activities for tourists. Local youth thus function as conservation activists as well as environmental and cultural educators.
Counselling for Empowering Women will train youth who work with women to double up as counsellors and mediators in times of conflict and stress.
Journalism for peace and Development trains budding rural journalists in the Kannada Language, to equip them with skills so that social issues are contextualized in their writings.
Sustainable agriculture trains youth from agricultural families owning 0-5 acres of land and demonstrates how small holder agriculture can be a viable and sustainable option when organic farming is combined with agro-based diversification
Neelam Chibber is one of the leading social entrepreneurs of the country. She is the founder of IndusTree that promotes locally owned and operated craft manufacturing enterprises. She also the Executive Director of MotherEarth a socially oriented company that straddles craft with big business.
Raghav Rajagopalan is a specialist on organisational culture and human processes. He specialises in supporting handicrafts promotion and rural development.
Ritu Sethi is the Chairperson, the Craft Revival Trust which is an organisation committed to the mapping and documentation of intangible heritage of crafts, textiles, folk and tribal arts and the oral knowledge systems that support them.
Title: A Symposium on Traditional Occupations in a Modern World
This Key Note Symposium will look at a spectrum of issues facing traditional occupations and their implications for career counseling and livelihood planning.
Traditional occupations like small holder farming and crafts are floundering today weighed down by feudalism within communities practicing these, as well as hostile markets that prefer the agribusiness corporation to the farmer and the techno savvy mass producer to the artisan. Young people from farming and craft communities often find that the lack of dignity, of intellectual challenge and of economic reward, makes their parents' occupations, something to run away from.
At the same time, instances of organic farmers as successful modern eco- businessesman, and of artisan collectives as aesthetically focused export oriented entrepreneurs throw up several interesting questions about the "modernization" of the "traditional". Today there are farmers and artisans emerging from time warps, re-negotiating primordial caste identities and gender norms, and struggling with new worldviews and finding new ways of engagement with society and the market.
This Key Note Symposium will examine the challenges posed by these instances for career counseling and livelihood planning with young people from such communities. An unwitting encouragement to them to abandon these occupations in search of status and security has several implications for the individual, as well as for notions of occupational mobility.
The Session will also focus on subtle messages about traditional occupations conveyed in the course of career guidance, especially to those who don't belong to farming/artisan families. How these occupations (and those who practice them) are to be perceived - as belonging "to the past" or as voices of sanity and health for the future- needs serious examination. The symposium will thus help in placing issues concerning traditional occupations, in the broader discourse of careers and livelihoods.