The New Year is a time to look ahead, with hope and resolve for the future that is unfolding. Hope is a fragile emotion, but it is what gives us strength and courage as individuals and groups.
When we look around today, the biggest sense of hope comes from the decline in Covid. The pandemic kept us all imprisoned and fearful for nearly three years. While we prepare for any resurgence, the hope is that it would not come back again.
The waning threat of Covid let us all enjoy the spectacle of the FIFA World Cup in December. The images of the Moroccan players hugging their mothers, crowned by Messi’s emotional hug with his mother after the final, were touching and revealing. Slowly but surely, a mother’s seminal role in her child’s success is gaining centre-stage recognition.
Hope for women
For women, 2023 also brings hope in numbers. Presently, out of 193, nearly 28 countries have women as head of state or Government around the globe. The number is still small, but it is steadily growing. President Droupadi Murmu took oath in July 2022, while Ms Dina Boularte, President of Peru and Ms. Natasa Pirc Musar, President of Slovenia, rose to these positions in December 2022. In another beacon, Ms Claudine Gay became the first black President of Harvard University, and only the second female to be so!
In the arena of sports, 2023 brings more support and resources for women. The BCCI has decided to pay the same match fees to male and female cricketers, and hold a Women’s IPL in 2023. Not only cricket, brands and sponsors are getting interested in women athletes across disciplines. The performance of our women athletes at the Commonwealth Games made PV Sindhu, Mirabai Chanu, Nikhat Zareen, and Sakshi Malik household names in India.
The leaps in technology in the current times are both challenging and full of hope. For a planet looking for alternate sources of energy, the announcement by Researchers at the US National Ignition Facility in California that fusion experiments had released more energy than was pumped in by the lab’s enormous, high-powered lasers, was a landmark. It could pave the way for abundant clean energy in the future.
The use of blockchain technology could grow by leaps and bounds to improve citizen services. India’s digital rupee is backed by this technology. The Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development issued nearly a lakh verifiable, tamper evident digital diplomas on this technology, providing better data security and transparency than normal online certificates. In UP’s Firozabad, people can file immutable FIRs on a blockchain empowered portal. The same tech could be used in the real estate space for immutable records and certificates, and the sectors could expand.
The year 2023 has been declared the International Year of Millets by the UN. For this sector in India, it brings joy and hope as the focus of the world will now be on our bajra, jowar, ragi and the like, giving them impetus.
The Loss and Damage Fund for countries vulnerable to climate change set up by COP27 in November and the historic Biodiversity Strategy to protect and restore 30 per cent of earth’s land and water by 2030 adopted at COP15 in December 2022 bring hope for the future of humanity. As the New Year settles in, let us hope that we utilise the opportunities that challenges bring.
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