THE SECRET OF THE CIRCLE

“The Secret Of The Circle” is a social empowerment initiative project of Notikums Event Management Pvt Ltd. Run fully by a team of students from various universities in Australia, Canada, France, India, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK and USA who have come together and working on projects to bring in awareness, dialogue, discourse and solutions for various social issues by organizing impact colloquiums and other campaigns. Entire project is fully run by Socio- economically and sexual-linguistic and religious minority students with a mission to organize various educational events to create a discourse and bring in social change and reforms and provide opportunities for students by creating employment opportunities for the unemployed LGBTQIA+ educated youth. We are a students' led initiative to contemplate on the contemporary issues, challenges and driven towards solutions by intellectuals, academicians and activists. We believe to gather such like-minded people on a platform to make necessary reforms. 

We have recently started a lecture series called the "The Secret of the Circle webinar series" to facilitate dialogue on some of the most important questions that India is faced with. The vision behind the series is to set up a deliberative space that will enable conversations to occur without a power hierarchy, offering space for different voices to be heard; simulating the form of a circle, that stands for unity, harmony and equal consideration of all participants. We believe that the platform will create a free-flow of ideas that will allow the youth to ask relevant questions and embark on a solution seeking journey. We really do hope to see you become a part of this initiative of ours! 🌸

The secret of the circle hosted the organizations like United Nations, International Labour Organization (ILO), Asia Regional Child Labour Programme (ARC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in the platforms of “The Secret of The Circle”.

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The secret of the circle hosted personalities such as 

Mr Cesar Giovanni Soledad (Chief Technical Advisor, ARC Wing of ILO)

Mr Giovanni Soledad is the Chief Technical Adviser of the Asia Regional Child Labour Programme (ARC) of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

He is an international Civil Servant of ILO and he has been extensively working for the ILO's mission of eradicating child labour.

His area of expertise in ILO is based upon the ILO's mission to reduce vulnerability to child labour and enhance the protection of children from exploitation in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan to contribute to the eradication of child labour, particularly its worst forms.

ILO's project; "ARC Programme", is designed to step up the eradication of child labour, particularly its worst forms, in Asia and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 by 2025. ILO is implementing this Programme along with UNICEF and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and Mr Cesar Giovanni Soledad is the backbone behind ILO's ambitious project.

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Attorney Evan Wolfson (Founder, Freedom to marry and Attorney 

Evan Wolfson (He/Him/His) is an internationally recognized civil rights lawyer and social activist. He was the founder of "Freedom to Marry", the organisation which played an pioneering role in the legislation by the honourable Supreme Court of the United States of America which allowed same-sex couples the right to marriage, serving as its president until its 2015 victory and subsequent wind-down.

Widely acknowledged as the architect of the marriage equality movement, Evan has been an advocate for human rights around the world. During the 1990s he served as co-counsel in the historic Baehr v. Miike case in the state of Hawaii that launched the ongoing global conversation on the LGBTQIA+ community's freedom to marry.

He was named one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" by the National Law Journal in 2000 and was named one of "The Most Influential People of 2004" by the TIME's magazine. In 2012, Evan was awarded the Barnard Medal of Distinction alongside the ex US President Barack Obama.

Evan's work is featured in the documentary "The Freedom to Marry" by the award-winning director Eddie Rosenstein. It traces the build-up to the 2015 US Supreme Court triumph, going behind the scenes with Evan and key legal advocates, as well as campaigners on the ground as they led the way in changing hearts and minds, and then the law. He is also the author of the landmark work of literature "Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry".

Having achieved in 2015 the goal he had pursued for 32 years, Evan now devotes his time to advising and assisting diverse movements and causes in the USA and around the world. He now teaches law and social change at Georgetown Law School and at Yale University. He also serves as a senior counsel at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm.

Evan is a frequent speaker on the global stage and was involved in winning the freedom to marry in Canada, Argentina, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Ireland and other countries and is now assisting similar efforts in diverse countries.

#EvanWolfson #LGBTQIAplus #pride #allyship #ally #freedomtomarry #thesecretofthecircle #webinar

Dr. Chiranjeev Bhattacharjya (National Programme Manager, UNDP)

Dr Chiranjeev Bhattacharjya is the National Programme Manager, Health and Governance Unit of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He is a renowned International public health professional of United Nations. His mission for generating awareness through the United Nations Development Programme and The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). 

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Ms. Medha Patkar (Founder, Narmada Bachao Andolan)

Medha Patkar, or Medha Tai (‘Tai’ translates to ‘elder sister’ in Marathi) as she is known to many, was 31 years old when she first became associated with the Narmada Bachao Andolan, protesting against the Narmada Valley Development Project which would potentially affect the lives and livelihood of over 2.5 crore people. She was one of the main organizers of the national mass gathering on Development Paradigm with 350 people’s organizations in 1989 in the Narmada Valley. An unstoppable force of nature herself, she has since become synonymous with people’s movements across the length and span of the country.

She took an MA in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in 1976 with a specialisation in Urban and Rural Community Development. In the decades that have passed since she first visited the site of the Narmada dam as a young social researcher, she has since earned the Right to Livelihood Award, the Mahatma Phule Award, the Goldman Environment Prize, the Green Ribbon Award for the Best International Political Campaigner and the Human Rights Defender Award from Amnesty International.

She worked as a Commissioner on World Commission on Dams that studied large dams across the world from 1998 to 2000 and is one of the founders of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) since 1996. It is an alliance of more than 200 people’s organizations. NAPM carries forward and supports various movements of farmers, labourers, Dalits, Adivasis, women and youth. She, with her colleagues, has contributed to the making of policies and enactments that have had positively affected lakhs of people from different social backgrounds.

Not everyone can alter the course of a river. Medha Tai is truly a peoples’ protestor, enabling the voices of thousands to be heard. 🌾🌸

#TheSecretofTheCircleWebinar #MedhaPatkar #NarmadaBachaoAndolan #Environment #NAPM

Advt. Flavia Agnes (Co-founder, MAJLIS)

Adv. Flavia Agnes is a renowned women’s rights lawyer with expertise in marital, divorce and property law. A pioneer of the women’s rights movement, she has worked consistently on issues of gender and law reforms. Her own experience with domestic violence inspired her to become a women's rights lawyer.

She began working in the field of women in law in the 1980s at the very beginning of the second phase of the women's movement in India, and since 1988, Agnes has been a practising lawyer at the Honourable Mumbai High Court.

As the co-founder of MAJLIS (meaning "association" in Arabic), a legal and cultural resource centre, her primary engagement has been to provide quality legal and counselling services to women and children in need of such services since its inception in 1990. MAJLIS has worked consistently in countering the rising wave of Hindutva fundamentalism in the country.

She has played an important role in bringing women's rights to the forefront within the legal system and in contextualizing issues of gender and identity. A prolific writer, she has provided incisive analysis of many social trends and legal reforms including domestic violence, minority law reforms, secularism and human rights.

Agnes was one of the few people in India to voice their opposition to making rape laws gender-neutral, expounding that criminalizing rape of men "harm women more than men."

Significant among her many publications is her autobiographical book "My Story ... Our Story: Of Rebuilding Broken Lives" which has been translated into several languages from English. After the communal carnage in the state of Gujarat in 2002, she initiated a legal advocacy program for sexually abused women in relief camps and subsequently brought out a publication titled “Of Lofty Claims and Muffled Voices".

She is one of the few proponents of legal pluralism in India. Within the premise of ‘reforms from within’ she has played an important role in reforming the Christian Personal Laws as well as advancing the rights of Muslim women. Her more recent engagement has been with issues of democracy, secularism and identity politics.

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Prof. Rudrangshu Mukherjee (Chancellor, Ashoka University)

Most renowned historian of modern South Asian history. Chancellor of Ashoka University, previously he was the visiting professor at Princeton University, University of Manchester and University of California. He is internationally acclaimed as a historian of the revolt of 1857 in India and the Indian independence movement.

He was the Editor of the Editorial Pages, at The Telegraph, Kolkata. He studied at Calcutta Boys' School, Presidency College, Kolkata, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He was awarded a D.Phil in Modern History by the University of Oxford in 1981.

His first book, Awadh in Revolt, 1857-58: A Study of Popular Resistance (1984)  has become a standard reference on the subject. He has looked at the 1857 rebellion in four other books: Spectre of Violence: The 1857 Kanpur Massacres (1998), Mangal Pandey: Brave Martyr or Accidental Hero? (2005), Dateline 1857: Revolt against the Raj (2008) and The Year of Blood: Essays on 1857 (2014).

He has also authored and edited several books on other themes, including The Penguin Gandhi Reader (1993), Politics and Trade in the Indian Ocean World: Essays in Honour of Ashin Das Gupta (1999), Remembered Childhood: Essays in Honour of Andre Beteille (2010), New Delhi: The Making of a Capital (2009), Great Speeches of Modern India (2011), Nehru & Bose: Parallel Lives (2014), Twilight Falls on Liberalism (2018) and Oxford India Short Introduction: Jawaharlal Nehru (2018).

Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd (Best selling author)

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is an Indian political theorist, Social Activist, A prolific writer and Activist for Dalit rights. His renowned works are both in English and Telugu. He retired as the director of the Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (CSSEIP) at Hyderabad. He is the Chairman of Telangana Mass and Social Organizations (T-Mass) that works for English-medium education. He played a pivotal role in Dalit-Bahujan and civil liberties movements in India. He received the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Award, 2000.

His paper ‘Experience as Framework of Debate’, which appeared in the Economic and Political Weekly, set up new terms for the debate on the reservation policy during the anti-Mandal struggle in 1990. His contributions have appeared in Economic and Political Weekly, Frontier and Mainstream, and in major national English dailies like The Hindu, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, Deccan Herald and Deccan Chronicle.

He is widely acclaimed and known for his (Stated below) firebrand dalit-Bahujan writings;

1. Why I Am Not a Hindu: A Sudra Critique of Hindutva philosophy, culture and political economy 

2. God as Political Philosopher: Buddha's Challenge to Brahmanism,

3. Buffalo Nationalism: A Critique of Spiritual Fascism

4. Turning the Pot, Tilling the Land: Dignity of Labour in Our Times.

5. Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution

6. Untouchable God: A Novel on Caste and Race

7. Democracy in India: A Hollow Shell.

8. Caste or Class or Caste-class: A study in Dalitabhujan Consciousness and Struggles in Andhra Pradesh

9.  In Search of the Roots of Anti-Caste Struggle: A Dalitist Reading of the Buddhist Discourse.

10. Productive Labour, Consciousness and History: The Dalitabahujan Alternative. 

11. Reservations: Experience as Framework of Debate

12. Dalit Freedom: Now and Forever; The Epic Struggle for Dalit Forever. 

13. Ayyankali: Dalit Leader of Organic Protest.

14. The Weapon of the Other: Dalitbahujan Writings and the Remaking of Indian Nationalist Thought. Delhi

15. Mother

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Amb. TP Srinivasan IFS (Indian Diplomat, Ambassador to UN, IAEA, Kenya, Austria, Slovenia, Fiji and 8 other south pacific states)

A former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Vienna and the Governor for India in the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna and Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia, he served in the Indian Foreign Service for 37 years. His previous postings were as Deputy Chief of Mission (Ambassadorial Rank) in the Embassy of India, Washington; High Commissioner of India to Kenya and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in Nairobi; Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York; and Ambassador to Fiji and 8 other South Pacific island states. He has also served in New Delhi, Tokyo, Thimphu, Moscow, New York and Yangon.

He rose to the highest level in the Indian Foreign Service in 2001 and retired in 2004. Mr Srinivasan has nearly 20 years of experience in multilateral diplomacy and has represented India at a number of international conferences organised by the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement. He has chaired several UN Committees and Conferences.

He speaks Japanese and Russian. He is the Executive Director of 'IAEA 2020’, a project launched by the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna. He was a member of the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India from 2009 to 2012. He was the Vice-Chairman and Executive Head of the Kerala State Higher Education Council with the rank of Vice-Chancellor.

Currently the Director General at Kerala International Centre and an advisor to ‘Asianet’, he produces a weekly TV programme on international issues titled ‘Videsha Vicharam’. He also contributes articles regularly to “Asia Wall Street Journal”, New York Times, the Hindu, the Times of India, Pennews, Thelede, Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi among others. He is a Visiting Professor of International Relations and the Chair of the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod. A Visiting Fellow on Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, Washington in 2009, he has written four books. His vast experience is what makes him the best person to speak on the art of diplomacy. 🌸

Dr. Kafeel Khan (Doctor & Social Activist)

A doctor by profession, Dr Kafeel Khan garnered national attention after he worked proactively to remedy the faulty infrastructure at Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College, which became infamous for the oxygen shortage that claimed the lives of many children.

What followed was a tumultuous time for Dr Khan, where at first, he was charged for medical negligence and was suspended despite being hailed as a hero for all his efforts to save the children and after nine months in jail, he was absolved of the charges. In a rather dramatic turn of events, a fresh inquiry against him was authorised by the UP government for making 'anti-government political comments, in relation to a speech made by him at Aligarh Muslim University during the Citizenship Amendment Act protests in India.

Mr Khan stands as a symbol of courage and resistance to our generation as he shares his experience in police custody and challenges the narrative that seeks to question his 'Indian-ness' due to his religious identity. He believes that constant questioning of a broken health system is what has put him under the government's wrath and has not let the difficult experience shatter his resolve to keep speaking up about the systemic failures that India faces, especially in the public health sector, which is evident from all his public statements after being granted bail on 10 February 2020.

It is this determination and commitment to using the avenues given to him to start and engage in relevant discussions, that makes his takes on "Police Brutality: An Unhinged Power Structure" all the more significant.

#KafeelKhan #PoliceBrutality #powerstructure #TheSecretofTheCircleWebinar

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Mr. Kannan Gopinathan IAS (Indian Administrative Service)

Joining the Indian Administrative Service in the 2011 batch, Kannan Gopinathan first came to the limelight for a rather unusual letter to the then State Bank of India Chairperson requesting an ATM in the remote subdivision of Hnahthial, in Mizoram.

During the 2018 floods that ravaged the state of Kerala, he posed as a rehabilitation worker with fellow volunteers in the state toiling for more than 10 days until the District Magistrate of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli was recognised by a fellow bureaucrat. He took personal leave and chose to plunge into manually doing relief work after his official visit to Kerala. This was widely reported as he, unlike many others, jumped into the arena to help people shattered by the deluge.

He resigned from the Service as a mark of protest against the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of article 370. After his resignation, he has been vocal on the importance of raising questions in a democracy, the threat of perceived victimhood among the majority and the violation of the Fundamental Rights in Jammu and Kashmir as a social activist. Being a vociferous critic of the constitutionality and morality of the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 and the proposed NRC, he became one of the leading figures in the Anti-CAA protests that erupted across India.

This is what makes Kannan Gopinathan the best person to speak on “Bureaucracy and Democracy: The Voice of Dissent in Governance”.

#TheSecretofTheCircleWebinar #KannanGopinathan #bureaucracy #democracy #dissent #governance

Mr. Yousuf Saeed (Independent film maker) 

Yousuf Saeed dons many hats. From being an independent filmmaker, writer and designer to being the Project Director of 'Tasveer Ghar', a trans-national virtual platform for collecting, digitizing, and documenting various materials produced by South Asia’s popular visual culture.

He started his career in educational television in the year 1990 as the Co-director of 'Turning Point', an award-winning weekly science magazine programme for Doordarshan. Since then, he has worked on many a documentary on varied topics that were screened on television as well as at international film festivals and academic venues.

Yousuf has also been actively working towards popularising Urdu as a 'people’s language', making the public aware of the prevalence of Urdu in popular culture as a more natural, organic phenomenon that needs no official patronage which would enable it to thrive.

'Campus Rising', a documentary directed by him in 2017 about the struggle of students in reclaiming freedom and justice in India's universities is appallingly relatable to this date. The documentary features interviews with several students voicing their grievances against administrative bodies, parochial attitudes, institutionalised casteism, and all-around intolerance towards the freedom of expression.

He has been exceptionally vocal on instances of hate speech and violence and is on a crusade against the fake news brigade that is thriving in our country through different media.

#theSecretoftheCircleWebinar #YousufSaeed #onlinehate #fakemedia

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