Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL) observed its 1st Annual Convocation Ceremony on October 27th, 2021 at the HIAL campus, Phyang.
The Chief Guest for the occasion was Vandana Shiva, a scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, ecofeminist, and anti-globalisation author. Prof. S K Mehta, VC Ladakh University also graced the function with his presence as the Guest of Honour. Also in attendance were other dignitaries from the academic world, industries, and the government apart from Gitanjali J B, Founding CEO & Dean, Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL), and Sonam Wangchuk, Founding Director, Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL).
HIAL convocated 10 HILLs Fellowship students, 11 HIAL Experiential Leadership Module (HELM) students, 15 Eco Responsive Building students, 10 Responsible Tourism students, 6 Organic Food Processing Students, 4 Ecology & Ice Stupa students & 9 Solar Builders course students in its 1st Annual Convocation.
HIAL Experiential Leadership Module (HELM) is a three months course at HIAL, with an intensive introduction and deep dive into how to effectively lead and create impact in a community. Ladakh, being a high-altitude mountain region, challenges are not new to the land. But, after its declaration as Union Territory, it opened new opportunities and challenges to the people of the region.
The Eco Responsive Building course is a flagship course of HIAL that trains students in earth construction and passive solar technology. It is a smart solution that uses indigenous building practices and materials fused with modern techniques to make housing comfortable and most importantly sustainable in this cold desert.
Overall the course has produced 24 learners - 15 in ERB and 9 in the Solar Builders course. We dream of a future where all houses in Ladakh and similar contexts will be 100% sustainable. HIAL’s Responsible Tourism course enables young entrepreneurs to make the switch towards sustainable practices primarily through live projects like trek itineraries, farm stay development, culinary and hospitality development and simultaneously building the business model.
The Organic Food Processing course created a platform for learners to innovate their food products. The cohort developed some of the very unique recipes ranging from Buckwheat pancake to Seabuckthorn infused chocolate. In addition to creating recipes, making it a commercial success is equally important. Learners were exposed to business development through real projects such as HIAL’s Blue Yak enterprise development or launching their own product in the market.
Applied Ecology: Sonam Wangchuk built the first prototype of ice stupa in 2013, with a vision of conserving water and ecological restoration. Other similar projects like Ice wall by Aba Norphel have been leading contributors to this dream.
Last year, HIAL started offering a short course in this domain through the Applied Ecology course. The first 7 learners worked on diverse projects from vacuum tube experiment that reduces ice stupa piper freezing to Ice stupa manual for mass communication. In addition, all contributed to building Ice stupas across Ladakh. This course was designed to give an overall ecological perspective of the world we live in, climate crisis, and its impacts on the world, Himalaya and Ladakh.
Established in 2018, the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL) has the unique distinction of being the first institution located in the Himalayan region, working towards mountain development. In a short span of 3 years, the Institute has grown to prominence at national and international levels through the achievements and innovations in the field of passive solar heated buildings as well as ecology and ice stupa projects.
HIAL aims to reform the model of higher education by developing responsible citizens as well as encouraging the direct application of knowledge to solve community challenges. Empowering the innovators and entrepreneurs, who will tackle these challenges and be the architects of the future for the Himalayan region.
HIAL also established its 'Incubation Center' for innovation and entrepreneurship maintenance and supervision. The objective is to promote entrepreneurship using institutions that serve as focus centers among locals. It is a forum to foster, promote and develop innovation and business skills amongst students, scientists, graduates, and students in the region.
Enterprise is on the brink of rapid expansion in India. Investors, corporate ventures, media, startup groups, service providers, mentors, and educational enterprises will grow. And the incubator – where start-ups are born – is an essential trailer in the wheel. Likewise, a start-up is nurtured in an incubator that offers it the opportunity, before it reaches the world, to shape its company.
HIAL Alumni Community (HAC) was founded on Convocation day. Creating an engaged, supportive alumni network is crucial to an institution’s success. A dedicated alumni network enables the institution to gain by lending their assistance to the students, the institution, and each other, from our graduates' knowledge and expertise. HAC plans to create a community network dedicated to keeping the alumni well informed, as our graduates are our most dedicated supporters, our finest ambassadors, and their personal and professional networks are essential for marketing and promotion of the brand HIAL.
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