Women Empower Humanities 2019:
G.D Goenka Public School hosted Women Empower Humanities 2019, a summer program. – an initiative by Panthalassa, a non-profit organization and Denison University, Ohio USA from the 16th of June to the 22nd of June this year, a summer program. Women Empower Humanities (WEH) is a summer program organized and developed by Panthalassa which hopes to provide a forum for encouraging young women currently attending high school to develop an interdisciplinary outlook grounded in the humanities on issues concerning women. Each year the program invites a scholar who educates the participants of the program on how gender and sex play out in history, classical studies, art, philosophy, music, language, and literature, as well as the politics and ethics of gender identity and equality in Humanities; or as Mrinalini Mitra, the CEO of Panthalassa, says the program is important because “women creativity is very powerful but often is an underestimated force.”The program this year, has invited Dr. Garrett Jacobsen, an associate professor of Classical Studies and Chair of the Classical Studies department at Denison University. Professor Jacobsen has been teaching full-time at Denison since 1984.
He received the A.B. in Latin from Franklin and Marshall College, and the M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from The Ohio State University. Professor Jacobsen teaches Latin and Greek, and a wide variety of courses on the history and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. As a scholar interested Roman poetry, specifically in the work and the reception of the poet Ovid, Professor Jacobsen’s most recent work includes an essay in the book Ted Hughes and the Classics, published last year by Oxford University Press, and an article on Ovid’s influence on the contemporary Irish poet, Ciaran Carson, published in the journal Classical Outlook.
The team members of the program are Denison University Students. Nyonika Mitra is an Art History major and a minor in East Asian Studies. The CEO and Founder of Panthalassa, Mrinalini Mitra, whose brainchild is Women Empower Humanities; is an alumnus of G.D Goenka and was the school topper for the CBSE board exams in 2016. She is currently a Founders scholar at Denison University, a liberal arts college in Ohio, USA. She has been on the Dean’s List- a list made up of the highest-ranking students of the University. She has also won the Davis Peace Project award for 2017 and currently runs her own non-profit Panthalassa- the organizer of WEH. She hopes to have expanded the network of WEH to China, Afghanistan, and other South Asian Countries.
This is the first time ever that a foreign university from the USA is collaborating with an Indian non-profit organization to provide a summer program for the students of various schools located in Lucknow. This year, students will read the latest English Translation of the ancient Greek Epic, The Odyssey, the first translation of this western classic by a woman Emily Wilson, a professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Through the reading of this poem, children will consider how the mythology of ancient Greece reflects universal truths about the nature of humanity, and how the epic journey of Odysseus to return home may relate to their own individual experiences living in the 21st century.
The session was attended by all the participants, information with regards to liberal arts education in particular, and career opportunities available for students from humanities background was disseminated by various speakers including Dr. Jacobsen who introduced children to the Odyssey and introduced them to the “Homeric World”.
Mrinalini Mitra was very impressive as she encouraged each and every student to use their imagination and to observe the little things and question things around them and notice their effects.
It was interesting to see her sister Nyonika Mitra directing the whole event with precision and moderating the program, including an open house session for the exchange of information. The support provided by the G.D Goenka school and its Chairman Mr. Sarvesh Goel goes a long way for exemplifying assistance in the field of academia and student mentorship. City business houses including Khyanshu Hora’s Spicy Hub actively supported the cause for providing a rich experience to the students of the state. The exposure and the experience including the euphoria among the children had to be seen to be believed. There was a request from those present for having many more such programs across the state.