Diversity and inclusion (D&I) have become very important to corporates today, with many of them taking D&I initiatives across the world. But what is interesting is that the trend has now reached education institutions of our country too.
Lovely Professional University (LPU), a private university in Ludhiana, organised a much-needed D&I workshop at its campus in partnership with Cognizant. When D&I can be an important agenda for the IT, FMCG, retail and manufacturing sectors, then why not education institutions too? If students witness diversity in their growing years, and come to firmly believe in the concept, it becomes much easier for the corporates, since they will not have to work on changing mindsets, which is one of the biggest challenges at present.
Sharing his views on the initiative, Ashok Mittal, chancellor, Lovely Professional University, says, “Our vision is to be a premier academic institution recognised for our contribution to industry and society, through excellence in teaching and learning. Championing diversity and inclusivity in our institution and doing our bit to create a culture of acceptance and affirmation across gender and other differences is a natural extension of that vision. This workshop marked an important step towards policies and practices aimed at making this vision a reality at LPU. In Cognizant, we have found a partner who is leading the discourse on diversity and inclusion by example.”
More than 50 faculty members deliberated on diversity, inclusion and disability rights, delving into the pedagogical, infrastructural and cultural changes required to overcome gender barriers and biases and foster greater diversity in places of learning.
Smriti Ahuja, vice president-HR, Cognizant, led the workshop at LPU.
“On behalf of Cognizant, I congratulate Lovely Professional University for pioneering such a dialogue on a critical topic. As a firm believer in the creative and competitive merits of a diverse workforce and an inclusive work environment, in meeting the complex demands of a changing business landscape, we think academic institutions have a key role to play in fostering greater awareness and adoption of diversity and inclusivity. This initiative is a significant step forward in turning the spotlight on diversity and inclusion in campuses. We look forward to engaging with many more progressive colleges across the country in order to help make diversity and inclusion a way of life in campuses,” shared Ahuja.
The workshop culminated in the formulation of LPU’s diversity and inclusion statement and a structured method for its implementation.