Jun 8, 2013

Abhinav bags Silver for India at IPO Denmark

I am very happy to inform you that India has bagged a silver consecutively for the second time, this year at the 21st International Philosophy Olympiad, held at Odense, Denmark between 16th & 19th of May. We had earlier got a Bronze and a Silver in 2012 at Oslo, Norway.
The olympiad is a competition for high school (up to Std XII) students to show their talent in different subjects. The UNESCO affiliates 1 olympiad per subject - Phy, Chem, Bio, Astronomy, Math, etc. The Philosophy Olympiad has run for 21 years and has a strong UNESCO support due to the fact that it is closest to the objectives of the UNESCO. 
It is run by a group of teachers working under the aegis of the FISP (Federation of International Societies of Philosophy). The teachers are university or high school (like myself) from different parts of the world. 
This year about 40 countries participated with about 90 students. I took the Indian delegation with 2 students - Abhinav Menon, Sd XI, last years bronze medalist and this years silver; and Asit Tarsode, Std X.
Abhinav missed gold by a small margin. The judges said it was a tough competition and only 5 medals were awarded instead of the usual 8-9. - 1 Gold (Hungary), 3 Silvers (India, Austria, Korea), 1 Bronze(Croatia) and 15 honorable mentions (consolation awards). 
The jurying is done at three levels and the final is the done by philosophers from the FISP. 
Abhinav Menon, wrote on a topic about how the lack of constitution in a rule of the majority can only lead to loss of human rights of minorities. (based on a quote by Hannah Arendt, a contemporary political philosopher). What some of the senior members of the FISP found most interesting was how a young person like Abhinav could clearly see the connection between the psychology and sociology behind majority rule and the exploitation of minorities. 
Overall the 4 days in the small town of Odense (home town of existentialist stalwart Soren Kirkegaard and fairy tale writer Hans Christian Anderson) were very busy for all the young crowd assembled there. After the competition on the 17th, there were many workshops and lectures and of course sightseeing and partying (we philosophers call intellectual endless chats into the night as a party).
However, like many students there, Abhinav and Asit had exams soon after the 21st (IB finals and IIT coaching, respectively), which these kids are gallantly managing. The training had been largely through video conference and digital writing tools, about 4-5 hours a day for the past 3 months, after being selected via the Abhinav Philosopher competition (held in December end)
Please look up the sites - International Philosophy Olympiad (http://philosophy-olympiad.org) , Indian Philosophy Olympiad (http://philo.abhinav.ac.in) and the Danish site for the 21st IPO - (http://ipo2013.dk). Also, lookup the news article in DNA.

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