The academic programs of VIDS are offered through three Learning Centres. The courses are designed to develop social consciousness, knowledge and skills. Through an action – reflection process, the participants are enabled to become change-makers in their chosen fields. The curriculum focuses on development issues and practices, and their impact on the marginalised communities and environment. The centres also facilitate research and publications on current development debates.
The Centre for Counterculture and Communication (CCC) is a unique, creative initiative of VIDS. Since its inception, Visthar has been involved in a critique of mainstream culture and in evolving counter cultural practices which are inclusive, equitable and communitarian. The CCC aims to develop an appreciation of counterculture movements committed to transformative politics and explore the role of religion, culture and communication in bringing about social change. The Centre will promote expressions of counterculture through media, theatre, visual arts and development communication.
CCC draws from the concept of counterculture coined by Theodore Roszak and the history of counterculture movements worldwide. More specifically, the Centre draws its inspiration from and is significantly influenced by the life and work of Sebastian Kappen, an Indian philosopher and liberation theologian. In his book, Tradition, Modernity, Counter Culture – An Asian Perspective (Visthar,1994) Kappen explores the contours of a counterculture which creatively transcends tradition and modernity, reorients our attitude to nature, overcomes the one-dimensionality of modern science and affirms communities of peace with justice.
Centre for Gender and Diversity (CGD) is an interdisciplinary training and research unit of the Visthar Institute of Development Studies. The objective is to contribute to knowledge and skill development on gender, diversity and intersectionality through interdisciplinary education and research. CGD has its origins in the processes towards Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing, 1995. Taking forward the concept of gender mainstreaming and the momentum of the conference, Visthar launched a series of sensitization and capacity building workshops for a wide range of constituencies.
CGD is committed to mainstreaming gender and diversity in Asian and African contexts. The Centre provides a platform for researchers and practitioners working in the field, and also for undergraduate and postgraduate students from a range of disciplines.
The core tenets of the Centre are inclusivity and interdisciplinarity. We believe that perspective formation and skills development are crucial for eliminating discrimination against women and other marginalized sections in all institutions including household, workplace and the political arena. CGD aims to be a hub connecting gender specialists within the academic circles as well as field based organizations and collectives.
The mission of the Centre is to foster transdisciplinary learning that advances the understanding of the complex interlinkages between the environmental, societal and economic aspects of sustainability. The Centre aims to develop the next generation of environment and sustainability leaders. CES offers courses on sustainable development practice in India, research and publications on sustainability related issues, eco justice education for schools, and public awareness campaigns.