For the past three years, the World Centre for Humanist Studies, Mumbai Center, has been organizing national talent competitions among schools, encouraging students to reflect on the different dimensions of Universalist Humanism and express their insights in creative ways. Throughout history, humanity has advanced by challenging what was at that time given as absolute truth. This is one of the principal tenets of Universalist Humanism which also implies a sentiment and a way of life, forming a Humanist Attitude that expresses itself in different fields.
“Developing knowledge beyond the limitations imposed by prejudices, beliefs, and points of views seen as “absolute truths” is the theme for this year’s National Talent Competition. Thus far, the response has been phenomenal, with over 1000 schools in India and other parts of Asia, having expressed interest in participating in the Competition.
The Competition is open to all students from standard VIII – X & XI-XII levels, providing them with an opportunity to learn about this theme, to reflect on how to approach life from a humanist vantage point of wanting to contribute to the advancement of humanity towards greater freedom and happiness, and to use their talents in expressing their insights on the theme.
Participating students can write essay, short story or poem, compose a song, produce a video or create an artwork to give free rein to their imagination and creativity. Aside from giving students the opportunity to learn and cultivate their talents, aside from the accolades a school can garner by winning a National Competition, the competition gives schools and students the opportunity to make a priceless contribution towards developing and deepening understanding of what is essential in building a more progressive and more human society.
This year, the WCHS has launched another competition; this time an art competition open to all Asian art schools. This competition invites art students to create illustrations on the 12 Principles of Valid Action, giving students the opportunity to learn about these principles and express their understanding visually. One of the main concerns of humanist studies is about happiness in life. Every human being strives towards happiness but it is obstructed by pain and suffering. While pain is physical, addressing pain depends on the advancement of science and society. On the other hand, suffering is mental and these 12 principles as guidelines of behavior can help in mitigating suffering. (The booklet on the Twelve Principles can be downloaded from the WCHS website)
The Asia level illustration competition gives students the opportunity to learn about these principles and express their understanding in an art form. This, in turn, will encourage reflection on understanding the roots of suffering and how to work on it. Winners will be selected at the Asian level.
The deadline for schools to send their students’ entries for The 2018 National Talent Competition and the Art Competition is on November 30, 2018; winners will be announced on December 15, 2018. The Competition is open to all schools in India as well as other parts of Asia. For more information, visit The World Center for Humanist Studies, Mumbai Chapter webpage at http://www.wchs.in
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The World Centre for Humanist Studies (WCHS) Mumbai chapter organizes national competitions among school students to promote appreciation of different aspects of Humanist Attitude and to give students the opportunity to develop their talents.
The previous years’ competitions organized thus far: 2017 National Talent Competition “Respecting personal and cultural diversity”; 2016 National Talent Competition “Human being as the central value”; 2015 National Talent Competition “Violence and me”. Entries to the past competitions can be viewed at the website.
The World Centre for Humanist Studies is an organism of the Humanist Movement. The Movement first appeared on the 4th of May 1969, with a public presentation by its founder, Silo, known as “the Healing of Suffering”, in an outpost in the Andes called Punta de Vacas, close to the border between Argentina and Chile.
The Humanist Movement is based on the current of thought known as New Humanism or Universalist Humanism. This current can be found expressed in Silo´s works and in those of the diverse authors who are inspired by it. This current of thought, which also implies a sentiment and a way of life, takes shape in multiple fields of human endeavor, giving rise to diverse organisms and action fronts. All of them are applied to their specific fields of activity with a common aim: to Humanize the Earth, thereby contributing to increased liberty and happiness in human beings. In themselves, they have in common the methodology of Active Nonviolence and the proposal for personal change as a function of social transformation.
The World Centre for Humanist Studies was founded in the First World Humanist Forum in Moscow in October 1993. It is an organization dedicated to the study, investigation, and diffusion of the thought and vision of Universalist Humanism and its application to current social and scientific problems. It supports all tendencies that go towards the development of knowledge over the limitations placed by prejudices that are accepted as absolute and immutable truths. It also promotes structural, dynamic, relational and critical thinking.