New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) With the declared intention of innovating and encouraging people to work together, the Indian chapter of Britain's 250-year-old Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) has been launched here, making India only the third country outside Britain to host such a facility.
'It's all about innovation and ideas, of trying to find new ways of doing things, of encouraging people to work together to find new ways of helping society,' British High Commissioner to India Michael Arthur declared at its launch here Thursday evening.
'The intention is to throw up ideas and to make them work in a diverse partnership that stretches across the globe,' he added.
In this context, he pointed to a RSA initiative under which a British designers' forum was working with Indian craftspersons and young people to create a completely new range of garments.
Arthur also read out a message from Queen Elizabeth II expressing happiness at the formation of the Indian chapter and hoping it would enable RSA take its mission forward.
Through its system of electing Fellows, RSA has, over the past 250 years, 'inspired some of the greatest innovations and radical solutions to solutions to social, economic, political and artistic challenges', Arthur told IANS.
'Practical proposals and completely original thinking have always been a hallmark of the RSA, where innovation is expressed within a powerful history and tradition.'
In the making for a year, the Indian chapter already has 100 RSA fellowship holders, making it the biggest outside any British city.
'Only two other such chapters exist - in the US and Australia,' Arthur pointed out.
Speaking on the occasion, Britain based businessman Raj Loomba, who played a key role in establishing the RSA India chapter, said 'arts and education must be the foundation on which we can build a decent, healthy society'.
'Arts and education can help to bridge the disadvantage of poverty. It can give young people the confidence to remove the barriers of discrimination,' added Loomba, who is known to be close to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
'Art and education can lead to equality of opportunity for all our citizens, young and old, rich and poor, men and women,' he maintained.
Painter and social activist William Shipley established RSA in 1754 with the intention of developing a fund to support improvements in the liberal arts, sciences and manufacturing.
Today, RSA programmes focus on five key areas: encouraging enterprise, moving toward a zero waste society, fostering resilient communities, developing a capable population, and advancing global citizenship.
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