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June - July 01


The concept of CIRHU

- by Alain Bernard

A Rs 129 crore (US$ 28 million) proposal to give a new impetus to research and experimentation in the development of Auroville has been submitted to the Government of India.

Dr. Kireet Joshi (left), here together with Mr. CaillouŽt, European Union Ambassador / Head of Delegation at the foundation stone ceremony of the Town Hall Annex on March 24th, 2001.

In January 2000, Aurovilians received from Dr. Kireet Joshi, the Chairman of the Auroville Foundation, a thick document entitled CIRHU, a concept paper. CIRHU is the acronym for Centre for International Research for Human Unity. Kireet envisaged the future city being progressively organized around education and research, and this would give to CIRHU the world-wide dimension that it is meant to embody. Kireet formulated the concept of CIRHU as resting upon four needs:

  1. the need to deepen, widen and heighten the higher levels of educational research

  2. the need to harness expertise, scholarship and professional experience, which are already available in Auroville, and also to invite help from relevant institutions in the country and in the world as well as from visiting scholars and teachers

  3. the need to give a more concrete shape to understanding the concept of human unity that underlies the Charter of Auroville

  4. the need to provide a suitable environment and programme of higher education to the students of the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research.

Kireet's proposed organization for CIRHU comprises a central faculty and seven other faculties:

The central faculty would be interdisciplinary, would receive from other faculties the results of their specific themes of research, and promote them by a process of interchange and enrichment. This faculty would have five major themes of research: Evolution, Synthesis of Knowledge, Synthesis of Culture, Human Unity and Next Species.

The seven other faculties would concentrate upon different aspects that are relevant to the theme of human unity in the context of evolutionary progression:

  • Indian Culture and Human Unity;

  • East, West and Human Unity;

  • Education for Human Unity;

  • Arts, Crafts and Technologies;

  • Studies in Sri Aurobindo and The Mother;

  • Perfection of the Human body,

  • Humanity, Nature and Development.

The first five year phase of CIRHU would include establishing a resource center with a library of 50.000 reference books for research purposes - an indispensable tool if Auroville wants to be able to attract and retain high level researchers - and the development of students/scholars/teachers exchange programmes.

Kireet's original idea was to have all the faculties under CIRHU. However, there soon came the perception that CIRHU should retain its character as a specialized high level research center. The seven faculties were thus "separated" from CIRHU and put directly under SAIIER - the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research - the umbrella organization for almost all the educational activities of Auroville which receives grants from the Government of India for promoting the development of systems of non-formal education in India.

From April 2002 the 10th Five-year Plan of India will begin. In order to obtain a large increase in annual grants for education in Auroville, SAIIER has formulated a development proposal which includes a substantial funding request for CIRHU. The proposal has taken thirteen months to elaborate, and has involved cooperation between a large group of Aurovilians involved in very diverse activities, including not only education and artistic activities, but also environment, agriculture, water, health, martial arts and physical education, architecture and planning, information technology, communications and multimedia, studies on Mother and Sri Aurobindo, the Unity Pavilion in the International Zone, Indian and Tamil cultures, village action and the reception of visitors - it would probably be quicker to mention what is not included in this development plan!

The proposal is an attempt to give a new impetus to research and experimentation in the development of Auroville. This explains the size of the financial support which is requested from the Government of India: 129 crore rupees (about US$ 28 million).
Auroville must make swifter progress towards its integral realization. The moment of acceleration has come.

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