Social Justice, Peace and Development
This is a semester long study-abroad programme for under-graduate students from the US. Two liberal arts colleges, Gustavus Adolphus College and Concordia College, annually offer an alternate learning experience in India in partnership with Visthar. The course on Social, Justice Peace and Development (SJPD) celebrates its thirteenth year in India.
“This program in India is one of the finest study abroad programs in all of American higher education”
- Professor Douglas Huff, Gustavus Adolphus College, MN, USA
Students majoring in a wide range of subjects from Biology, Drama, English literature, Music, Nursing, etc. enrol for this course. Organised and facilitated by Visthar, the course takes students across India. The learning takes place in formal and informal settings, with an emphasis on hands-on experience.
Using an action-reflection model, the course offers four modules:
- Globalization and the Ethics of Development
- Identity, Resistance and Liberation
- Religions and Cultures of India
- Ecology, Environment and Livelihood
The pedagogical design includes travel to different states in India, field visits, hands on exposure, learning from NGOs and academics and submission of essays and projects.
“My wisest teachers have been the poor, illiterate of India” -Katie Everett, SJPD 2009
The students critique global issues from the experience of those in the margins. Towards that, the students will do 7-10 days field visits, studying:
- Children in bonded labour in Koppal
- Adivasi villages in Wayanad
- Dalit communities in Jolarpettai and Tumkur
- The drought-hit in Koraput
- Slums in Bangalore
With Kaattunaikars, an indigenous people in Wayanad, Kerala
As of date over 200 students have participated and passed through this programme. A substantial number of these students chose to work in the Non Profit sector on graduation, and many students have credited the experience in this course as being instrumental in their choice.
At the Taj
“Going to India on the Social Justice, Peace and Development Program was probably the best decision of my life”
-Catherine Keith, Gustavus Adolphus College