UNESCO withdrawal: Sai Baba Conference on Education
Posted by robertpriddy on February 13, 2013
In 2000 the Sathya Sai Baba Organization and ashram made much hullabaloo about how UNESCO and Sathya Sai Baba were to co-ordinate an educational conference at Prashanthi Nilayam. However, the following notice was posted on UNESCO’s official website:-
Paris, September 15 – UNESCO has decided it will no longer sponsor nor take part in a conference it had been due to co-organize with the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE, Thailand) and The Flinders University Institute of International Education (Australia), in Puttaparthi, India, from September 25 to 29. The decision means UNESCO is no longer associated in any way – through sponsorship, organization or participation of any kind – with the conference on Strengthening Values Education: Innovative Approaches to Teacher Education for Peace and International Understanding.
UNESCO’s withdrawal was prompted by several factors. Certain decisions were taken by the ISSE without consultation, such as plans to hold some of the sessions at the Ashram of the Sathya Sai movement in Puttaparthi, and the inclusion of some speakers in the conference programme without their previous consent. Furthermore, the Organization is deeply concerned about widely-reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been levelled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba. Whilst it is not for UNESCO to pronounce itself in this regard, the Organization restates its firm moral and practical commitment to combating the sexual exploitation of children, in application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires States to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and violence.
The conference was a classic flop in the tradition of the strictly regulated partakers with pre-programmed Sai Baba praising speeches and total lack of feedback from actual front-line educators. UNESCO withdrew (and has never had anything else to do with and SB institutions to date), but the organisers soon went to work on the usual cover-up of untoward events, even lying that UNESCO had been present! It is most instructive to read the following (excerpt) from an article by a participant in 2000. This balanced article illustrates the empty claims and laughably paranoid control freakery and authoritarian running of the undertaking, at least when compared with any serious or anywhere near professional conference:-
The notice of withdrawal remained there for some years until the Indian government was begged by Sai Baba officials to take up the matter with UNESCO and demand its removal. The prime mover in this action was leader of Sai Baba’s propaganda machine – the credulous physicist Dr. G. Venkataraman (who believes fully that SB was God Creator of the Universe!) a besotted Sai Baba devotee and former atom bomb programme worker who revelled in his role as close associate and backer of the Creator Himself!
INCIDENTALLY, DESPITE CLAIMS TO THE CONTRARY, THE UNESCO NOTICE IS STILL FOUND IN THE ARCHIVES!
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Click here to see a further to view Notice of Withdrawal by UNESCO (recently removed from the archive!)