28 Aug 2020 19:21 IST

Embrace flexibility over single-minded focus: Nobel laureate Duflo

At Krea University orientation, Esther Duflo encouraged students to take chances and be open

The School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences at Krea University welcomed 144 talented students into the second cohort of the undergraduate programme. The inaugural ceremony precedes the virtual five-day interactive orientation event, which will bring together the incoming batch, sophomores, faculty and speakers. The classes commence online from the first of September.

The admission process at Krea gauges potential beyond academic scores, ensuring a diverse set of students from varied backgrounds and interests. The 144 students come from over 17 states of India and from various boards of education. In keeping with the University’s need-blind admission and need-aware financial assistance process, over 25 per cent of them received financial assistance.

Dr Sunder Ramaswamy, Vice Chancellor, Krea University welcomed the students with the message of FLARE — Fun, Learning, Adaptability, Resilience and Empathy, which he deemed necessary for the young students to embrace, in their life at university. “As you begin the Krea journey, send out a ‘flare’ into the world. I hope you will make your impact, and as you are trying to make your life better, I hope you also make it matter.” He shared Krea’s mission statement to admit high potential students and prepare humanity for an unpredictable world.

Diversity is strength


Nobel Laureate and co-founder of J-PAL, Dr Esther Duflo, was the special guest of honour and addressed the students. In her keynote address Duflo extended three guiding principles for the students, for their time at Krea and beyond. She encouraged students to embrace diversity, be flexible and not be overwhelmed with problems. Tracing her own journey in life, she added, “You have the luxury of being at a very unique institution that values multi-disciplinary learning. Take this opportunity to take life chances, encounters, and let intellectual discoveries guide you. Embrace nimbleness and flexibility rather than single minded focus on one goal.”

She asked them to celebrate the diversity in their cohort, create social networks and learn from people who are different from their own selves.“You are here because you want to be change-makers but you might be wondering where to start. Don’t get overwhelmed. There is no problem however big it is that can’t be broken into smaller pieces. Pick one of those small pieces, apply your mind and skills to it and solve it. Then move to the next one. And don’t worry about the size of the overall challenge, before you know it you would have changed the world and changed yourselves as well.”

Fostering new ideas

Dr Bishnu Mohaptra, Dean of School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences, in his message to the students welcomed them to explore the idea of university. “Freedom, diversity and interconnectedness — all these ideas are debated within university and here within Krea. This is a place to debate these ideas and give them a new lease of life. It’s also a place where by giving new life to these ideas, we make them more meaningful, vibrant and useful.” He shared SIAS’s commitment to provide a space in fostering and strengthening these ideas and the ability of students to debate these ideas.

Dr Shobha Das, Dean of IFMR Graduate School of Business at Krea, added, “In weaving, two distinct sets of threads are interlaced at right angles to weave a cloth. The two schools, SIAS and GSB are distinct, and the University is woven with threads from the two schools, each distinct but both together forming parts of the woven textured cloth that is Krea.”