In India, an arts education has always been looked at with a skeptical eye. Concerns range from how arts graduates secure employment to how arts degrees compare to more technical lines of study.
To address these issues and answer many more, UFV India hosted one of the region’s first seminars on the possibilities and the value of a liberal arts education in today’s technology-driven landscape.
Power of Ideas, as the seminar was rightfully called, brought forth the stories and personalities of achievers, pioneers, and thought leaders to discuss about the power of a liberal arts education. The goal was to inform students about potential career opportunities and how they can make a lasting, positive impact on the world.
Over five hundred students from top schools in the Chandigarh region, bubbling with energy, questions, and ideas, listened to four remarkable thought leaders as they shared the story of their individual journeys and inspired students about the bright future ahead for liberal arts graduates.
The day started with a talk by Ms. Satwinder Bains, the Principal of UFV India and the Director of the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada. Bains spoke about the various skills she learned from pursuing a liberal arts degree: critical thinking, communications, and problem-solving to name a few. Skills applicable to real-world problems that bring continuous value to the workforce.
“Liberal Arts is the overarching study of the human–including humanity’s history, the physical world we live in, and the natural laws of science we’re bound by.,” says Bains. “Arts graduates are flexible and adaptable, they are born leaders who can see the world from 30,000 feet and make sense of what is on the ground.”
Ms. Aneesha Bedi, an award-winning journalist from the tri-city, took to the stage to share her experiences reporting on current events. Students listened as Bedi described the challenges, inspiring moments, and outstanding people she met throughout her career.
She engaged the students by speaking about the current journalism landscape, describing how news travels, and outlining the future potential for the ever-important journalism industry.
“I believe curiosity and sheer passion are the two most basic needs to enter this domain.”, announced Bedi. “If there’s a will, there’s a way, I believe you can always overshadow your struggles and that’s what hopefully makes it all the more gratifying in the end.”
Dr. Monika Singh, one of the first clinical psychologists to begin practising in Chandigarh, shared her empowering story of breaking the status quo and pursuing an education in psychology.
She shared a Robert Frost quote reminding students that it is okay for them to forge their own path. That it is okay to take “the road less travelled”.
Former IAS officer and acclaimed author and speaker, Mr. Vivek Atray, concluded the seminar on a high note.
He enlightened students with information about leadership, interpersonal, and creative skills along with a discussion on the importance of gratitude for a successful life.
Atray’s outlined six principles for success — creativity, cheerfulness, contentment, character, courage, and calmness.
Ignited minds and inspired souls walked out of the seminar with ideas resonating around. “Arts offers valid career choices”, said one student participant. “It’s not all about the sciences or medical paths!”
“It’s more important to love what you do and do what you love”
UFV India was the presenting sponsor for the first-ever Power of Ideas seminar. View more images.