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"Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking and its greatest failures by not talking.
It doesn’t have to be the future. With technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded.
All we need to do is make sure we keep talking."
Stephen Hawking

Investing time in building relationships with children:

My mind runs back to a conversation I had with my adorable 7-year-old nephew Aditya Aram over Christmas 2017. We had just returned from a field visit. As we got off the car, he asked ‘Bua - who is the boss at Shanti Ashram?’ The word ‘Boss’ bothered me. Within a fraction of a second, it made me reflect as to what leadership example I was presenting to him. Even as I managed to answer this question, his second question quickly followed, ‘When you die - who will lead?’ To this, I said very honestly, that I had not started thinking about it, but I was sure that someone good and able would be ready to lead. Throughout the conversation, he was engaged, curious and patient and it seemed that just having the space to ask questions and to be in the conversation were important first steps for him. In the week preceding this particular conversation, we had often walked to my office and participated in programmes together. He got to see my work first hand at the International Center for Child & Public Health. For me too, just sharing my daily work & life with him was enriching....and I have come to look forward to my conversations with Aditya. My work with children over the past 20 years has given me the rare privilege of meeting children from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. Interactions with them have often been purposeful, open and constant and it has surely helped me evolve into who I have become.

I would like to share nine (9) brief points. The first three are conceptual and addresses what we mean by social cohesion. The second three points relate to my broad diagnosis of the root causes of deadly conflict and violence, which is the anti-thesis of social harmony. Lastly, I conclude by sharing three modest suggestions as to how we can contribute to building a culture of social cohesion.

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