• WEF 2017 | CHARNITA ARORA | Award-Acceptance Speech | YOUTH ICON

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    Speech Transcript:

    How was it the first time your parents’ looked at your face when you were just born?

    My first day as the assistant professor in a girls’ college at Delhi University. I enter the classroom and in front of me are sitting around 30 young girls. And I ask them about their story… I asked them…

    … I was hoping that I had mesmerized them with the spell of my question…taken into an emotional-imaginative journey into their own origins...

    “They didn’t want a daughter, they wanted a son, i was unwanted”

    My heart ached… and my eyes soaked … and I felt a knot in my throat.

    Emotions are beautiful places; all kinds of emotions. They stir us, sometimes like a wave and sometimes like a whirlpool… but they move us and remind us of a heart that is porous and alive.

    A lot of us come from emotionally-dysfunctional homes, where conflicts have not been resolved, emotions have not been taken care of and we take our wounds wherever we go.

    I believe Emotions Matter and they can not be just brushed under the carpet.

    And this is just one out of several instances, when emotions surfaced..

    And I realized, classrooms are miraculous-living social spaces spaces… if designed mindfully, they can transform the world into a world that is more compassionate, harmonious and emotionally health….

    How to redesign classrooms in a way that allow for emotional safety, trust and healing…

    How to design the content… that it facilitates personal renaissance, a fearless self-exploration, love for learning and life-relevant skills that lead to happiness and success…

    This became my passion.

    And, such instances inspired my to redesign classrooms in a way that promote emotional safety, healing, trust and compassion. For eg, using the space in an intentional way to replace traditional hierarchical relationship between students and teachers; but also ensuring that teachers are have internal space…. To be an example of vulnerability, authenticity and compassion.

    We did this by using 3 major practices
    NVC (Rosenberg) (replaces language of blame… radical responsibility for one’s feelings and needs), Mindfulness (Thich Nhat Hanh; Vietnamese Monk, peace activist)
    and Emotional Intelligence (the Founding Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence)

    Perfect Life Spot… the wellbeing nest….

    Skills to students and teachers to take care of their emotions, needs and relationship… within themselves…

    So far 10,000+ students made emotionally healthier

    Few days back, someone asked me what is your favourite word?

    And within a second, the word that came to me was “Nest”....

    How beautiful would it be if this world could be a living nest where everyone is included, respected, nurtured, everyone is treated like a family member with loving care and tenderness.

    Do you believe this kind of a world is possible?

    Well if we redesign our homes, classrooms, workspaces, public spaces and most importantly our own hearts… and the way we treat ourselves…. It is possible.

    My dreams are fireflies, they speak of living light -
    twinkling in the dark.
    - Tagore Show less
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