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Divyadaan's Represenation At The 38th Meet of Association of Christian Philosophers of India


By Fr. Robert Pen sdb
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Mumbai, Nov. 1. The 38th annual meeting of ACPI (Association of Christian Philosophers of India) was held at St. Charles Seminary, Seminary Hills, Nagpur from 25th to 28th October 2013 to reflect on the theme ''Dynamics of Development: Negations and Negotiations''. Divyadaan Institute, Pune, was represented at the meet by Frs. Ashley Miranda, Felix Fernandes, Robert Pen and Brian Bandya, Ofm Cap. Imbibing the Indian and Christian heritage of the integral development of humans, and responding to the call to work towards such an idea, 70 professors of philosophy across the country launched themselves into a praxis-oriented philosophical reflection on development.
The meeting commenced with an inaugural ceremony in the presence of Fr. Deepak Paulson OP, the Rector of St. Charles seminary, Fr. Johnson Puthenpurackal Ofm Cap, the President of the ACPI, Fr. Keith D'souza SJ, the Secretary and other dignitaries.

Swami Sachidananda Bharathi, founder of Dharam Bharathi Ashram, Kochi - Kerala, through his keynote address on ''philosophy of Holistic Development from a Christian perspective & its practical applications in the multi-religious context of India'' set a tone to the entire meet.

During the meeting altogether 20 papers were presented. Fr. Ashley Miranda presented a paper on ''The Church and Development'' wherein he presented Church's insights and refection on developments that are both comprehensive and holistic. However he challenged the gathering to back the social teaching of the Church with action to create a world in which authentic and integral human development is not a distant dream but a gradually dawning reality.

In his exposition on ''Media, Technology and the Development of Communication in India'' Fr. Robert Pen analysed the impact of information technology on society and proceeded to explore various prospects of using ICT as a potent tool for achieving economic and social development.

In his conclusion he suggested opening up of different mass media and technology and its easy access to masses in rural areas along with the coordinated efforts directed by clearly defined priorities as a strategy for future development and growth.

The rest of the papers focused on various aspects of development, as well as the contentious issue of rival models of development based on different ideological positions. Each paper was followed by elaborate discussions that enriched the participants.

The proceedings of each seminar are later published in a book. There are already seventeen books published under the auspices of the ACPI, as well as the two-volume ACPI Encyclopedia of Philosophy, published in 2010.

Earlier, during the inaugural function, the latest ACPI book entitled Identity, Difference and Conflict: Postcolonial Critique containing articles of the last year's seminar was released.

The seminar concluded on October 28th, with a Holy Mass presided over by Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara, on his 44th ordination anniversary. He encouraged the philosophers to instill in the minds of the students and learners of philosophy, the need to critically reflect on the issues all around us.

The next ACPI research seminar is scheduled to be held in St. Joseph's Pontifical Institute, Aluva, on the theme, ''The Symbolic''.
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