New Trans4m Junior Fellow Moritz Merz joins Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka

26 November 2016: Moritz Merz from the University of St. Gallen is the latest Junior Fellow of Trans4m, focussing his research-to-innovation on integral education at Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka

Moritz Merz has been nominated a Trans4m Junior Fellow some three months ago. On November 1 then, his Fellowship officially started, as he joined Trans4m’s integral partner organisation Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka. Welcomed by Sarvodaya’s General Secretary Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne (himself a member of Trans4m’s Global Wisdom Council) and his team, he shall be contributing to the challenging, but exciting task to evolve Sarvodaya’s educational activities into a fully accredited institute, as a precursor for a holistically oriented university – building on Sarvodaya’s tested approach to integrated development, and supported and informed by Trans4m’s Integral Worlds approach.

Here is a first account of Moritz’ initial experience, in his own words:

My first three weeks at Sarvodaya were amongst the most enriching and intense of my life. Before actually starting the research-to-innovation process  I was given the chance of feeling the pulse of the organisation. I got to experience the vision and mission that pump through the veins of this unique development initiative. I attended the  85th birthday of Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, Sarvodaya’s founder, during which the Sri Lankan president delivered a speech. I participated in Buddhist ceremonies, and were engaged  in projects in a hospital and in the local slums. The welcome was extremely warm and the curiosity and generosity of the Sri Lankan people astonish me every day.

During my integral Junior Fellowship, my goal is to strengthen Sarvodaya’s educational branch SIHL (Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning). In order to transform SIHL into a degree awarding institution and finally into a holistic university by 2018, an innovative anchor course has to be designed. By designing a curriculum for ‘Sustainable Development’, built upon Sarvodaya’s longstanding experience and profound value base combined with Trans4m’s theory and global expertise and network, relevant local knowledge with global oulook will be created. Participants will benefit of a mixture of practical and theoretical knowledge, by linking the course closely with the different activity fields of Sarvodaya. The course structure will build creatively on Trans4m’s Integral Worlds approach to guarantee a holistic curriculum. Hence, students will develop a broad relevant knowledge base and practical skills related to, among others, sustainable aggriculture, peace building and reconciliation, renewable energies, social entrepreneurship and many more, all tailored to the Sri Lankan context.

Moritz Merz with Sarvodaya's Founder, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne (often dubbed as the "Gandhi of Sri Lanka") on his 85th birthday
Moritz Merz with Sarvodaya’s Founder, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne (often dubbed the “Gandhi of Sri Lanka”) on his 85th birthday on 5th November 2016