Lectures and Interactive Sessions
Conflict Transformation and Peace Building (CTPB) Orientation Lecture
The CTPB Course 2017-18 started with the orientation lecture given by Dr. Shweta Singh, on 19 August 2017. Having nurtured and taught this course in the formative years, she gave a birds eye view of the entire syllabus to the new batch of students. She specially emphasized on the paradigm shift that the field of Conflict Transformation presents, particularly in terms of how the next generation of leaders can be empowered to prioritize coexistence and nonviolent social changes. She also focused on the changing nature of conflict and how there is a shift from inter to intra war. The talk also included a generic introduction to Conflict Analysis, highlighting a range of inter-disciplinary theories as well as the role of gender in contemporary conflict analysis.
Dr. Singh is Assistant Professor & Assistant Dean of Students, Department of International Relations in South Asian University. She holds a PhD from Jawaharlal Lal Nehru University. She has been conferred several awards including Mahbub-Ul-Haq Award by Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2013 and International Visitor Leadership Program by United States (Department of State), in 2010. Some of her recent publications include “Education for Peace through Transformative Dialogue: Perspectives from Kashmir” in International Review of Education and “Re-thinking the Normative in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325: Perspectives from Sri Lanka” in Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs.
India's Mediatory Role in the Korean Crisis 1947-1953
On 8 September, Amb. Skand Ranjan Tayal gave a lecture on India's Mediatory Role in the Korean Crisis 1947-1953. A long time practitioner in the field of international diplomacy, Amb. Tayal brought to the table fresh insights into the task of mediation. Using his experience, he explained the case of the Korean crisis as it developed over the period immediately after the Second World War and the Cold War. He highlighted the significant position India was given by the newly formed United Nations as an acknowledged non-aligned nation, able to keep its neutrality in the Cold War context. India found the best possible solution in a tense situation where the great powers - USA on the South Korean side and USSR and China on the North Korean side - were near intractable when it came to negotiations.
The Ambassador also highlighted the choice India made to send Medical Aid, given to both sides of the camp during the war, rather than sending armed forces when the UN began its intervention in the Korean War. Unconventional choices would have been difficult for a freshly Independent India and were very much defined by the context. The case highlighted the complexity of a high pressure environment in which hard decisions must be taken and the importance of having leverage at the time of negotiations. It also allowed the students to reflect on what constitutes a successful mediation given the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Promoting Intercultural Dialogue: Interaction and Communication
On 14 September, the ASSK Centre along with the College organized a dialogue on the theme of 'Promoting Intercultural Dialogue: Interaction and Communication’. The dialogue was organized between the students of the University of Macquarie, Australia and Lady Shri Ram College. The dialogue was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Priya Kumari, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Lady Shri Ram College. She also teaches the course of CTPB. As Samuel Huntington explains how clashes between civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace but also states how an international order based on civilizations is the best safeguard against war. With this backdrop, the dialogue aimed at understanding the role played by diverse Cultural Interpretations in conducting dialogue and negotiation. Students, after having a formal introduction session, engaged in role play at the individual, intra and inter group level. The dialogue acted as an ice-breaker in helping students break their cultural inhibitions and have an open interaction.
Comprehending Conflicts in South Asia
On 13 October Prof. Shanta N. Verma gave a special lecture on the theme of Comprehending Conflicts in South Asia. Prof. Verma is Professor in the Political Science Department of University of Delhi. She explained to the students how South Asia is also more socially complex because of the way in which linguistic, ethnic and class differences are expanded by the additional factor of caste and sectarianism. Perhaps the most significant accomplishment of South Asia is managing these social complexities and preserving democratic systems, albeit imperfect ones.
Prof. Verma, was also the Convenor for the D.S.A Peace Studies Programme, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi for more than 6 years. She has several publications which includes books on the themes of Foreign Policy Dynamics: Moscow and India, U.S. and India: Interest Policy and Image and India’s Environmental Ethos: Cultural Moorings to Climate Change. She was given several awards and distinctions which includes, Senior Fellow Australia India Council at Australian National University- Canberra, University of New South Wales – Sydney, Monash University – Melbourne, University of Queensland – Brisbane, University of South Australia – Adelaide amongst others.
Peace Process in Sri Lanka
On 3 November, Dr.. Smruti S Pattanaik, Research Fellow at IDSA delivered a talk on the topic of Peace Process in Sri Lanka. Her area of specialization is South Asia. Her current research project is titled “India’s ‘Near abroad’: What Ails its Neighbourhood Policy”.
Dr Pattanaik has been a recipient of many international fellowships. She was a visiting Asia fellow (Asian Scholarship Foundation, Bangkok) at the Department of International Relations, Dhaka University in 2004. In 2007 she was also selected for a follow up study grant by the Asian Scholarship Foundation to research on politics of identity in Bangladesh. She was also awarded the Kodikara fellowship in 1999 (RCSS, Colombo). She was the Course Director of India-Bangladesh studies program jointly conducted by Jamia Millia Islamia and Dhaka University. She developed a course on "Political Developments in Bangladesh 1971-2010" as part of the European Union-funded project on Curriculum Development on Peace building in Europe and South Asia, organised by the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, in 2011. Dr Pattanaik has published more than 40 articles in various journals, has contributed more than 20 chapters in edited books, and delivered lectures on security issues both in India and abroad.
Research Methodology Workshop
On 13 January, Dr. Ravindra K. Assistant Professor Sociology Department, L.S.R, conducted a research methodology workshop for the CTPB students. This workshop was helpful for the students, as it gave them a detailed insight on how to do a Qualitative research. He very well explained to the students, the strength of qualitative research methodology which lies in its ability to provide complex textual descriptions of how people experience a given research issue. It provides information about the “human” side of an issue – that is, the often contradictory behaviors, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and relationships of individuals. Qualitative methods are also effective in identifying intangible factors, such as social norms, socio-economic statuses, gender roles, ethnicity, and religion, whose role in the research is essential. Additionally he also helped the students in clarifying several other doubts on how to write a dissertation.
Women, Conflict Resolution and Peace building :Contemporary Practices and Challenges for Gender Justice
On 20 January, ASSK Centre organized a talk by Prof. Rumki Basu from Jamia Millia University on the topic of 'Women, Conflict Resolution and Peace building :Contemporary Practices and Challenges for Gender Justice’. Whereas, the notional aspect of war - which is masculine in nature-merely perceives women as victims. However, she explored the theme of how women are not just the victims but also act as agents in war. Moreover, she identified the multiple roles women play in the process of peace-building; and discussed strategies for strengthening women’s roles in it.
Prof. Basu was also the Honorary Director of Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women Studies, Jamia Millia University. She is also External Member, Board of Studies of Centre for Law and Governance, JNU, University of Guwahati, School of Social Sciences, Mizoram Central University, Department of African Studies, University of Mumbai, Developing Countries Research Centre, University of Delhi and School of Liberal Studies, Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar. She was conferred several awards including the “Bharat Jyoti Award” by the India International Friendship Society for “Meritorious Services, Outstanding Performance and Remarkable Professional role”. She has published 11 Books, 18 chapters in Books and more than 23 Journal Articles.
Transitional Justice/Truth and Reconciliation Commission
On 24 March, Dr. Siddharth Mallavarapu gave a lecture on the topic of ‘Transitional justice/truth and Reconciliation Commission’. Dr. Mallavarapu is an Assistant Professor of International Politics at the Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). His publications include a book (on the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on nuclear non-use rendered in July 1996) titled Banning the Bomb: The Politics of Norm Creation (New Delhi: Pearson Longman, 2007) and two co-edited books (with Prof.Kanti Bajpai) on International Relations Theory in India. His research interests include theories of International Relations (IR) with an emphasis on critical approaches, disciplinary histories of IR, globalization, Indian political thought and research methodologies in the social sciences.