The India China Institute is proud to host Madame Nirupama Rao for a talk exploring the trajectory of relations between these two Asian giants, so near and still so far from each other. Issues left over from the past still cast long shadows although the two nations and their leaders have built systems of interaction and dialogue that have helped maintain a peaceful environment in relations between them. Has the advent of strong, personality-driven leadership in both countries been a factor for closer understanding that can promote an accelerated settlement of outstanding issues or will the accelerated rise of China only intensify competition and strategic mistrust between the two neighbors?
Nirupama Menon Rao is a 1973 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, who served as India’s Foreign Secretary from 2009 to 2011, as well as being India’s Ambassador to the United States, China and Sri Lanka (High Commissioner) during her career. In July 2009, she became the second woman to hold the post of India’s Foreign Secretary, the head of the Indian Foreign Service. In her career she served in several capacities including, Minister of Press, Information and Culture in Washington DC, Deputy Chief of Mission in Moscow, stints in the MEA as Joint Secretary, East Asia and External Publicity, the latter position making her the first woman spokesperson of the MEA, Chief of Personnel, Ambassador to Peru and China, and High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
A Discussion on International Crisis Group’s Report
Nepal’s Divisive New Constitution: An Existential Crisis
The International Crisis Group, in partnership with India China Institute (ICI), will present its latest report, “Nepal’s Divisive New Constitution: An Existential Crisis.”
The earthquakes that rocked Nepal in Spring 2015 were followed by a period of political instability linked to a contentious constitution-writing process. Since the constitution was passed last September amid deadly protests, the country’s ethnic, social and political fractures have only deepened. Meanwhile, earthquake relief efforts have also been hampered by political infighting and corruption.
This special event aims to reframe the arguments regarding Nepal’s current political situation and move the discourse in a more productive direction. Panelists will examine the political, legal, and human rights challenges ahead, and recommend options for the international community to engage constructively to prevent further instability.
Anagha Neelakantan, International Crisis Group
Anagha Neelakantan is Crisis Group’s Deputy Asia Program Director, assisting the Program Director in leading research, analysis, policy prescription and advocacy activities of the Asia Program, overseeing and managing field staff, while ensuring timely communications between field and headquarters, spread across three sub-regional projects: South Asia, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia. Anagha follows in particular political transitions including peace processes, ethnic and other entrenched violent social conflicts, constitution-making, human rights, demobilisation and security sector reform, governance issues, India’s foreign policy and the role of geopolitics in conflict resolution. Anagha worked in Nepal from 2000-2013, as Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Nepal, an analyst with the United Nations Mission in Nepal, and as executive editor of the Nepali Times weekly. In 2014, she worked in Myanmar with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
Ashish Pradhan, International Crisis Group
Ashish Pradhan is Crisis Group’s UN Advocacy and Research Analyst and is based in New York where he supports the organisation’s advocacy at the United Nations. He assists in providing detailed analyses of developments at the Security Council to ensure adequate reflection of UN perspectives in Crisis Group publications. He also supports advocacy with UN officials, NGOs, and diplomats from a variety of UN member-states on country-specific crises and policy issues covered by Crisis Group. And he conducts research on thematic issues covered in Crisis Group reports, including on jihadi militancy in South Asia. He previously worked for Crisis Group’s Kathmandu office from 2010-2013 while analyzing Nepal’s peace and constitution-writing processes with a particular focus on identity politics, minority rights, and the federalism debate.
Richard Bennett, Amnesty International (formerly with OHCHR-Nepal)
Richard Bennett joined Amnesty International in March 2014 as Asia-Pacific Director and from July 2015 has been Head of Amnesty’s New York Office. Previously he served with the United Nations in senior human rights posts, heading the human rights components of peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and South Sudan. From 2007 to 2010 Richard was the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal. He has also been Chief of Staff for the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka and Special Adviser to the Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights in New York. A citizen of New Zealand and the UK, Richard worked for a decade at the NZ Human Rights Commission before joining the UN.
Rohan Edrisinha, UN Department of Political Affairs (formerly with UNDP in Nepal)
Rohan Edrisinha is a Senior Political Officer and Constitutional Advisor in the Policy and Mediation Division of the Department of Political Affairs of the U.N. He taught at the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo from 1986 to 2011. He served as the constitutional advisor to UNDP Nepal and the head of its constitution support programme from 2011 to 2014. In 2015, he functioned as an independent consultant on constitutional reform and federalism in Myanmar, and as a governance advisor to UNDP Sri Lanka. He taught at the Faculty of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, in 1995 and was a visiting fellow at Harvard University (2005) and the University of Toronto (2009). He was a founder Director and Head of the Legal and Constitutional Unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Sri Lanka, from 1996 to 2010.
Ashok Gurung, India China Institute
Ashok Gurung is the senior director of the India China Institute (ICI) and is Professor of Practice in the Julien J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs at The New School. A founding director of ICI, he is responsible for establishing and the overall development, management, and coordination of ICI programs and projects in India, China, and the United States. A native of Nepal, he has taught several courses on development management, political and social issues in Nepal at the New School. Ashok has over twenty years of international development experience as an educator, researcher, manager, grant-maker, policy analyst, activist and training facilitator with civil society groups, academic institutions, foundations and multi-lateral organizations, and governments worldwide. Among various roles, he was the program officer for the International Fellowships Program, the largest global leadership initiative ($280 million) of the Ford Foundation.
Join India China Institute for a discussion on what the future holds for China with David Shambaugh.
China’s future is arguably the most consequential question in global affairs. Having enjoyed unprecedented levels of growth, China is at a critical juncture in the development of its economy, society, polity, national security, and international relations. The direction the nation takes at this turning point will determine whether it stalls or continues to develop and prosper.
Will China be successful in implementing a new wave of transformational reforms that could last decades and make it the world’s leading superpower? Or will its leaders shy away from the drastic changes required because the regime’s power is at risk? If so, will that lead to prolonged stagnation or even regime collapse? Might China move down a more liberal or even democratic path? Or will China instead emerge as a hard, authoritarian and aggressive superstate?
In this new book, David Shambaugh argues that these potential pathways are all possibilities – but they depend on key decisions yet to be made by China’s leaders, different pressures from within Chinese society, as well as actions taken by other nations. Assessing these scenarios and their implications, he offers a thoughtful and clear study of China’s future for all those seeking to understand the country’s likely trajectory over the coming decade and beyond.
About David Shambaugh
David Shambaugh is is an internationally recognized authority and author on contemporary China and the international relations of Asia, with a strong interest in the European Union and transatlantic issues. He is currently the Director of the China Policy Program and a Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University. Professor Shambaugh is a prolific author, having published more than 30 books and 300 articles.
The India China Institute (ICI) at The New School, the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), American University’s Center for Latin America and Latino Studies (CLALS), and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) are excited to announce an international conference on the theme of mountains and sacred landscapes, to be held at The New School in New York City from Thursday April 20th to Sunday April 23rd, 2017. The conference will include the latest research on the intersections or religion, nature and culture and will also feature special presentation from the India China Institute’s three-year research project on Sacred Landscapes and Sustainable Futures in the Himalaya (Sacred Himalaya Initiative).
Diverse mountain communities from the Himalaya to the Andes to the Appalachians face growing pressures linked to social and ecological changes. Melting glaciers, shifting agricultural patterns, conflicts over mining and resource extraction, and risks to livelihoods, the consequences of increasingly erratic global climate change, pose unknown future challenges to many sacred landscapes, including mountain communities and ecosystems and those beings, human and nonhuman alike, who rely on these habitats. Scholars have even suggested we have entered a fundamentally new geologic epoch called the Anthropocene.
The conference seeks to critically explore how the idea of sacred landscapes is entangled with these communities, with a particular interest in topics related to mountain landscapes. Some of the issues we hope to explore include: major challenges and opportunities facing communities in the 21st century; religious conceptualizations of place and landscape; relationships between mountain spiritualities and peoples adapting to climate change; traditional ecological knowledge held by communities that can help address issues of social and ecological justice; the future of mountain and forest peoples; and the fate of more than human worlds inhabiting these diverse landscapes. What kinds of meanings shape and are shaped by the effects of climate change, mass extinction, human population growth and ecological degradation of mountains, forests, rivers and other sacred landscapes? How do ritual activities linked to sacred landscapes respond to environmental challenges, or not? How do mountains—as highly biodiverse ecosystems, as critical sources of water, energy, and materials, as repositories of tradition, and as sacred beings—remain vital components in ongoing processes of religious change? How do understandings of the sacred manifest within and across different landscapes, such as deserts, rivers or forests?
More details about the conference are available on the conference page here.