Conference organized by PROUT of Portugal
March 15-17, Lisbon, Portugal
Representatives of PROUTugal (PROUT of Portugal) organized a two day conference entitled “(R)evolutionar Portugal”, in a public auditorium in Lisbon. Many progressive groups were represented, including the Transition and Permaculture Movement, which were partners for the conference. There were seven panels, with a total of 27 presentations covering the following topics: Democracy and Civic Participation, Local Initiatives, Education, Socio-economics, Environment and Communities, Cooperatives.
Neohumanist Education was represented during the Education panel by Didi Ananda Devapriya who gave a presentation on the practical application of NHE in teaching diversity values and overcoming stereotypes in early childhood education.
Several of the other presentations introduced PROUT concepts which is a socio-economic theory that was created by the founder of Neohumanist Education, Shrii PR Sarkar. It extends the inclusiveness of Neohumanist philosophy to practical application in the sphere of socially just economics. It offers a viable alternative to the capitalist and communist models, which have been unable to create prosperity for the overall population and is based on the principles of maximum utilization and rational distribution of all types of resources – from natural to human. There has been a rising awareness of the limitations of capitalism, which has led to an irrational distribution of resources, seen in the extreme income disparities between the 1% and the 99%. In addition, the profit driven capitalist economy leads to a wasteful, ecologically imbalanced use of resources. On the other hand, Communism also failed as a model because it was unable to harness the full potential of human beings, trying to impose an artificial equality, without taking into account the need to provide motivating incentives. PROUT’s alternative model seeks to address both of these problems in a fresh way, creating a need-based economy rather than a profit driven one.
During the conference, Caetanya from Norway gave a relevant analysis of the current Euro crisis, offering practical Proutist short-term and long-term proposals. Nishita, a Proutist from Portugal gave an introductory overview of Prout and Brajesh explained about the organic food producer and consumer co-ops he has been running for the past 10 years. Kalyanesh, also from Portugal, gave an interesting perspective on PROUT as applied to ecology.
Following the conference, a group of parents who have been preparing to open a Neohumanist kindergarten, met with Didi Ananda Devapriya to deepen their understanding of Neohumanist Education, differentiate it from other alternatives, and receive some guidance regarding practical and legal concerns of opening a kindergarten. They have been in the process of planning the school for some time, and hope to have secured a building by the end of April.