In 2006, the India China Institute chose Urbanization and Globalization as the theme of its inaugural two-year fellowship program. The rapid economic development of India and China has significantly altered the landscape and context of their cities. The scale of globalization and urbanization is unprecedented and presents challenges not only for these two countries, but also for the world. Recognizing the urgency of this problem, the India China Institute’s fellowship program aimed to investigate the effects of large-scale migration, the rapid transformation and redevelopment of cities, and the kind of governance and policy needed to respond to this unprecedented phenomenon.
Through highly competitive national screening processes, a committee of distinguished scholars from India, China, and the New School selected 16 fellows from diverse backgrounds for the Institute’s debut cohort—six from New York, five from India, and five from China. A unique aspect of ICI’s two-year program allowed participants to meet in groups in each other’s countries at three residencies and public conferences. On April 28, 2006, Bob Kerrey, then President of the New School, delivered the opening address to Cities in a World of Migration: The Inaugural Conference. Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., at the time a Democratic Senator from Delaware, delivered the keynote address, in which he compared internal migration in India and China with immigration to the United States. Biden recognized the number of urgent problems facing India and China and called for the development of strategic relations between these two rising powers and the United States. In January 2007, Bob Kerrey gave a series of talks in Mumbai, Pune, and New Delhi, making him the first New School President to represent the university in India. Kerrey also attended Urban Futures: People and Planning in India and China, an international conference at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts on June 16, 2007. Also attending were more than 150 scholars, practitioners, and students, including the Vice Mayor of Beijing, Gang Chen, who provided the keynote address.
The group of extraordinary fellows drew on their intensive residencies and study trips to produce an array of innovative, influential, and far-reaching work. Many were—and continue to be—global resources, reaching beyond their own institutions to speak at conferences, give interviews and write op-eds in local, national, and international media, as well as publishing writings that reflect their deepened knowledge of both India and China. Fellow Aromar Revi, for instance, spearheaded the creation of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, a prospective National University for Research and Innovation, focusing on the challenges and opportunities of urbanization in India.
In addition, the works of the initial cohort were collected in our publication Parallax Visions and in an edited volume, Growing Cities in a Shrinking World: The Challenges of Urbanism in India and China, which archived and disseminated their contributions to research, politics, and social development in India and China.