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Life-sized hologram of Gandhi holds forth at Ahinsa Lecture in Paris


Paris: A life-size hologram of Mahatma Gandhi participated in a dialogue with panellists at the fourth Ahinsa Lecture here, organised by the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), in cooperation with the Permanent Delegation of India.

The dialogue was on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for education.

It was opened by the Ambassador of India to France and Permanent Representative of India to UNESCO, Vinay Mohan Kwatra and the Assistant Director-General Priority Africa and External Relations, UNESCO, Firmin Edouard Matoko.

The Ahinsa dialogue, held on Tuesday at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, commemorates the International Day of Non-Violence on October 2 which marks Gandhi''s 150th birth anniversary, the MGIEP said in a statement.

Gandhi''s hologram exchanged views with Gregoire Borst, Professor of Developmental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience of Education, CNRS and Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilhe, Member of Advisory board of UNESCO MGIEP''s TECH 2019. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP, moderated the discussion about the importance of Gandhi''s philosophy of education for human flourishing. The event attracted about 1,000 people, including youth, educators, academics, policy-makers, and delegates from several member states of UNESCO.

Indian Ambassador Kwatra opened the discussion highlighting the importance of promoting Gandhian values of education to build a culture of peace in the world. His remarks set the tone for a highly engaging dialogue between the hologram of Mahatma Gandhi, Gregoire Borst, Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilhe and Anantha Duraiappah.

The discussion started with the panel presenting their perspectives on the meaning of education in the world today. It focused on raising awareness on the future of education and SDG 4 (to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all).

The holographic avatar of Mahatma Gandhi was created using photo-mapped images from 1930-1940 and advanced contouring software and 3D printing to create a life size wire-frame of the Mahatma. Digital sculpting tools were used to add colour and texture to produce a real life image of Gandhi. The image was then animated and the voice lip synced to produce a colour hologram with advanced reprographic techniques. The process was curated by Birad Rajaram Yajnik along with the technical team of Mahatma Gandhi Digital Museums and was sponsored by Gandhi Smriti.

While Gandhi was amongst the most photographed people of his time and the world has access to his photographs, filmed interviews and radio addresses, it is less than 5 per cent of the compiled 98 volumes of Mahatma Gandhi''s written work. A hologram can bridge this gap and the written word of the Mahatma can be experienced in a life-like scenario.

Through Holography, a standing hologram of Mahatma Gandhi can speak for a total of 15 minutes with 2 to 3 minutes to set the tone for the panel discussion. (The talk was extracted with due reference of his writings on Satyagraha, Ahinsa, Kindness, critical inquiry and education).

One of the quotes from the hologram of Mahatma Gandhi emphasizes, "The essence of all education is kindness -- kindness to all, friends, foes, men and beasts. The chief objective of education is the building of character. Imparting knowledge should aim at character building. Knowledge is the means and character building is the end".

In its fourth edition this year, the Ahinsa Lectures began in 2016 and have featured leading intellectuals and policy makers each year discussing transformative ideas that can create more peaceful communities.

Organized by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace (MGIEP), a Category 1 research institute established by UNESCO and funded by the Government of India, the dialogue was part of the Ahinsa Lecture series which was launched in 2016 by MGIEP under its Distinguished Lecture Series program. MGIEP works towards transforming education systems to create peaceful and sustainable societies.

The Ahinsa Lecture is organized to mark the International Day of Non-Violence celebrated on 2 October to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Ahinsa Lecture was introduced in the year 2016 and is a part of the Distinguished Lecture Series.


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