Former President of India Visits UCF
Abdul Kalam, fondly known as the “people’s president” during his term as India’s 11th president from 2002-2007, gave several presentations at UCF during the past week. His speaking topics ranged from harnessing solar energy and sustainable development to a world free from war – all with the overarching goal to “improve the quality of life of the human race,” Kalam said.
The India Center at UCF, whose creation was announced earlier this year, along with the UCF Global Perspectives Office, hosted the visiting dignitary. During his stay, Kalam addressed more than 700 students, faculty, staff and members of the community at UCF. All of his presentation materials are available through the Speeches/Lectures section of his website, http://www.abdulkalam.com.
Kalam opened his visit to UCF on Sept. 27, with a classroom presentation titled “World Space Vision,” in which he suggested that harnessing solar energy from the sun could promote global energy independence for all countries, rich and poor alike. Kalam’s background is in aerospace engineering, which gives him special insight into the subject.
Later that same day, the former president met with a group from Sangam, the Indian student association at UCF, for a special lecture called the “Dynamics of Leadership.” He stressed the importance of competitiveness, creativity and integrity, concluding the presentation with the following advice: “Work with integrity, and succeed with integrity.”
The second and third days of UCF presentations on Sept. 28 and Oct. 1 focused on the themes of energy independence and sustainable development. Kalam stressed the importance of alternative and renewable sources of energy, such as solar power, electric and bio-fueled vehicles, and windmill technology, proposing that these steps could help lead to environmental restoration and eventual global peace.
On Tuesday, Kalam concluded his visit to UCF with a presentation entitled “World Without War: Is it Possible? World Vision 2030.” During the program opening, Pallavoor “Vaidy” Vaidyanathan, The India Center’s interim director, informed the audience that the former president’s talk on world peace appropriately was on the late Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. The public forum, which was preceded by a musical performance by professor Nandkishor Muley and his students, drew an audience of about 450.
In his final UCF speech, Kalam called for the establishment of global enterprises to provide water, education, health care and energy for the world’s population, in an effort to promote peace. Arguing that wars arise from factors such as fear, greed and anger, Kalam stressed the importance of conquering these emotions, urging the audience not to “let the problem become your master, but rather become the master of the problem.”
When asked how to motivate the world population to avoid war, he answered: “Vision makes the nation. If there is righteousness in the heart, then peace will follow.”
In addition to The India Center and the Global Perspectives Office, sponsors and partners included The India Group, Anil and Chitra Deshpande India Program Endowed Fund, UCF Diplomacy Program, UCF Student Government Association, UCF International Services Center, UCF Political Science Department, UCF History Department, UCF LIFE, UCF Book Festival 2013 in association with the Morgridge International Reading Center and the Global Connections Foundation.