Kiran Bir Sethi is a designer who became a teacher, a principal who grew into an education reformer and subsequently morphed into a social entrepreneur. A trained graphic designer from the National Institute of Design, she comfortably uses the language of design – iteration, prototype, design specs – to develop not only curriculum innovation, but also community-based social programmes.
Sethi founded the award winning Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, in 2001. Riverside, is viewed as a laboratory to prototype design processes that uses a systems approach to build a culture of empowerment, graduating young citizen leaders with an ‘ I CAN Mindset’ – using their agency for the greater good. The values that nourish this mindset are the 5 E’s – Empathy, Ethics, Excellence, Elevation and Evolution – intentionally moving us to becoming HumanE, by design.
Riverside Learning Centre ( RLC ) started in 2016, has codified the practices and processes of The Riverside School, and housed them in 6 Pillars ( Curriculum, Parent Partnership, Personal and Professional Development, Community, Administration and Leadership ) and designed Training Programmes that empower more schools to become user centered.
Kiran is also the founder of 'aProCh'—an initiative to make our cities more child friendly, for which she was awarded the Ashoka Fellow in 2008.
In 2009, Kiran launched “Design for Change” which uses a simple 4 step design framework – FIDS (Feel, Imagine, Do, Share) to cultivate the I CANmind-set in all children. Today,DFC is the world's largest movement of change - of and by children, and is in 60+ countries—impacting over 2.2 million children and 65,000 Teachers.
Over the years, Kiran, Riverside and Design for Change have won several accolades and Awards, and some of the most recent ones are:
In March of 2021, Kiran was invited to be judge for the prestigious YIDAN Prize.
In November, 2019, Design for Change conceptualised and helped to host the first ever All Faith - I CAN Children’s Global Summit at the Vatican in Rome from 27th to 30th November, with participation of over 2500 children from across 40 countries, who were blessed by the Pope!!
In October, 2019, she was awarded the Earth Prize in Luino, Italy
In June, 2019, she was the Keynote Speaker at the OIEC International Congress in New York
In March 2019, she was invited for one week to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as a ChenYidan Visiting Global Fellow, to conduct classes and workshops for their Post-Grad students
In January 2019, she has been honoured with the Lexus Design Award for 2019, in Pune, India.
In 2018, Kiran has been awarded the “Light of Freedom” Award, at the Vital Voices, U.S.A., Global Leadership Awards.
In 2017, Kiran met the Pope in the Vatican to sign an Agreement whereby DFC is being introduced in over 460,000 Catholic Schools across the Globe.
In 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 -DFC has been recognised as one of the 100 most innovative educational programmes in the world by HundRED.org (based in Finland).
Kiran currently resides in Ahmedabad with her Husband – Geet Sethi and two wonderful children – their son, Raag and daughter, Jazz. She loves listening to music, watching movies, singing, dancing and has an insane love for fruit-filled Dark Chocolates!!!