International visionary professor Achyuta Samanta, social entrepreneur, philanthropist, educator and 2014 Gusi Peace Prize Laureate spoke before a crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members on his first visit to St. Cloud State University.
He shared his philosophy of the “Art of Giving” that he developed as a poor child and young man — a goal to eradicate poverty and better the lives of others. He spoke about visiting educators and leaders throughout the world who are striving toward the same goal and shared the plight of the tribal people of India.
Samanta is the founder of the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) and the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS).
KISS is a free residential institute serving 25,000 of the poorest tribal children in India.
KIIT is a world class multi-disciplinary institution specializing in engineering and research. India’s largest private university, it serves more than 25,000 students from throughout India and 22 other nations. Funds from tuition at KIIT help to fund the work at KISS.
President Earl H. Potter III, and American Indian Center Director Jim Knutson-Kolodzne also spoke at the event and Mille Lacs healer Herb Sam spoke and gave a blessing. Members of the Red Lake Drum Circle opened the event with their drumming.
St. Cloud State’s relationship with KISS/KIIT emanates from the university’s regional interest in American Indian cultures and extends to indigenous peoples of the world. St. Cloud State’s global circle of partner institutions include those that have engaged in advancing knowledge of local indigenous peoples in Chile, Kazakhstan, South Africa and India.