Drum Roll Please...
Claire and I are both incredibly honoured and deeply grateful to Manish Jain who has agreed to be a speaker and facilitator at our inaugural 'wisdom' weekend.
Our excitement has nothing to do with the fact that Manish holds a Master's Degree in Education from Harvard. Nor because of his BA in Economics, International Development and Political Philosophy from Brown University, and certainly not because of his experience as the Principle Architect of UNESCO Education without Frontiers initiative.
We are excited because of the potential for us as a fledgling learning community to learn from Manish due to the numerous hats he wears.
Manish, together with his wife Vidhi, is the parent of a self directed learner/teenager.
Manish is also the co-founder of Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Re-thinking Education and Development in Udaipur, India. Shikshantar's work in Udaipur has culminated in so many exciting and innovative initiatives – The Grandmother's University, Wisdom Weekends, Walk Out – Walk On etc. There is so much we can learn from Manish in transforming our own community.
Manish is also the co-founder of Swaraj University – an innovative immersion/learning space for 18-30 year olds. The focus of the programme is on self-designed learning and green entrepreneurship, including exploration of basic business skills within the context of ecological sustainability and social justice. Swaraj University is part of the Ecoversities Network – a network of over 40 alternative spaces for higher education – and Manish is the convener of this network. Many of us wonder about the world beyond alternative learning, about higher education, about the next step. Well, this is our chance to more than just wonder. With Manish present, we can really interrogate this area of concern for the older kids and young adults in our lives.
Manish is also a founding member of Learning Societies Unconference in India, Creativity Adda – an unschool within a government school in Delhi – and the Giftival Network.
He is a featured speaker/advisory member of the Economics of Happiness network for localization. He has edited several books on Vimukt Shiksha (liberating learning) on themes such as learning societies, unlearning, gift culture, community media, and tools for deep dialogue.
These multiple hats provides us with a rich space to share and discuss our passions and how we express these in the form of self directed learning, building democratic schools, community development initiatives that incorporate learning and skills development, and changing the system from within. That we get to have Manish in our midst, in our discussions for the whole weekend is truly a gift that we are deeply grateful for.