Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Sri Suresh Goel

Sri Suresh Goel (DG ICCR) |

Suresh K Goel, a veteran IFS officer of 1978 batch, is currently Director General of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which is the pre eminent institution engaged in cultural diplomacy and sponsor of intellectual exchanges between India and other countries. He has served in various diplomatic positions in Indian Missions in Singapore, Malaysia, China, Egypt and South Africa. He has also served atPermanent Mission of India to UN in New York during 1991-95 where he coordinated and advocated Indian positions on the UN reforms in a comprehensive manner. He also headed UN efforts on removal of Apartheid structure in South Africa. Before joining as Director General, ICCR, he served as Ambassador of India in Lao PDR.

His position as Director General of ICCR has provided him an opportunity to give shape to his vision of the global cultural perspective of India. ICCR has increasingly worked to bring out the prominence of cultural, intellectual, civilization and historical communications between different segments of societies and nations as a step towards civilizational dialogue and connectivity. He believes that this would be the durable basis for international interactions towards the building the vision of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam”, particularly in today’s world fragmented by all types of strifes, terrorism and extremism.

His work at the ICCR over the last approximately one year has therefore been dedicated to discovering and establishing new idioms for cultural communications in an all inclusive manner. This encompasses new genres such as Jazz and contemporary dances; joint conferences with interested partners in areas where the cultural traditions of India and host countries interact; development of India Chairs in Universities abroad to encourage and promote India related studies and research which could lead to creation of a resource base of helpful India friends and experts. He has also paid greater attention to encouraging senior academics from abroad to undertake research
projects in India on ICCR fellowship basis.

He believes in bringing new culture creativity and innovation into ICCR’s work relating to this cultural dialogue. The recent Jazz Festival in Delhi which drew overwhelming response was guided by this. He also brought this innovation in ICCR approach to Tagore Birthday Celebrations abroad which would project Tagore not just a writer and a painter but as a person who lived in the context of the society of his days and worked towards reforms through the world of advertisements by promoting products on national platform, by associating himself with films not only through writing but also an actor, his contributions to the sartorial trends in Thakur family by creating unique dress styles and by bringing out the tremendous work he did for reforms relating to women. He has introduced imaginative space for academic and cultural interactions with other countries such as ”Liberal Cultural Traditions of India and France”, using the liberal Islamic traditions of India such as Sufism to carry this interaction to John Hopkins University, Stanford University, UK and other places. He projected this image of India through media with the result that culture is not associated with the performing arts only but more importantly with the overall civilization and traditions of the society.

He organized the meeting of prominent authors at the United Nations on the theme “Unlearning Intolerance” in association with DPI of the UN.

His credentials as cultural administrator who has displayed the sensitivity towards our own artists and art forms and the need for them to take the message out of India has been well established and is well recognized by the community of the artistes in India as well as experts from abroad. Having been brought up in the cultural capital of
old Delhi, he has inherited a unique sensitivity to diverse cultural ethos and tehjeeb of India which is his forte in his present work.

He has also acquired considerable expertise in international relations through his work at the Permanent Mission of India in Ney York, Egypt and in East and South East Asia through his postings in China and ASEAN countries. At the UN, he was dealing with all UN reforms both in General Assembly and the Security Council as well as the
“Agenda for Peace” proposed by Boutros Ghali which introduced radical departures in concepts of international structures such as sovereignty and intervention in national situations.