Round-up of the 1st day October 29, 2009Posted by andeggs in International Social Justice Network.
Tags: Ahmedabad, British Council India, Dyslexia, Ministry of Resource Development, Ministry of Social Development, National Literacy Trust, National School of Public Administration, Tata Institute of Social Science, The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, University of Delhi
Here are some of the delegates at the Network. Follow the links to find out more about the organisation’s they are representing:
- Almudena Suarez Fernandez – Mexico’s Ministry of Social Development
- Mark Woodruff – The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts
- Dhananjayan Sivaguru Sriskandarajah – Royal Commonwealth Society
- Austin Williams – Future Cities Project
- Zhang Xuemei – Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences and AidAction
- Jonathon Douglas – National Literacy Trust
- Nomfundo Walaza – Desmond Tutu Peace Centre
- Devi Kar – India’s Ministry of Resource Development
- Frederico Campos Guanais De Aguiar – National School of Public Administration
- Shirley Cramer – Dyslexia Action
- Sharit Bhowmik – Tata Institute of Social Science
- Andre Beteille – University of Delhi
- Anne Harrop – Joseph Rowntree Foundation
You can also download Frederico’s presentation here and Ail Gupta’s presentation here. Thanks for them both to sharing their work!
On the road, none for the road October 27, 2009Posted by dcfrombc in International Social Justice Network.
Tags: Ahmedabad, British Council, British Council India, IIM, Justice, Social
Sujata, Sanjay and I arrived in Ahmedabad day before yesterday, yet it seems as if we’ve been here for ages. For one, accompanied by Priti Vaishnavi of IIMA and Ramesh Patel of SRISTI, we have covered close to a thousand miles on the road, recce-ing the places colloquium delegates are likely to visit as part of their field trips.
And even as I prepare to upload the blog, delegates are getting ready to hit the road. Here are a couple of glimpses of what life on Indian highways look like.
In the evening, when we return today from the field trips, several of our delegates take part in a Question Time style event with the IIMA students on the topic of Social Justice and Inclusive Growth. I believe sparks will fly.
Before I sign off, I cannot resist uploading this picture of Sujata eventually falling to the guiles of the non-alcoholic beer. When in Rome, do as Romans do!
Setting the scene October 23, 2009Posted by dcfrombc in International Social Justice Network.
Tags: Ahmedabad, Brazil, British Council, British Council India, China, Health care, IIM, India, Justice, Livelihood, Mahatma Gandhi, Mexico, Primary education, Right based work, Social, South Africa, UK
The First Colloquium of the International Social Justice Network (ISJN) sets its scene at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIM – A), India, from 27 to 29 October.
Part of British Council India’s Intercultural Dialogue programme, the colloquium hopes to establish the first international network of policy makers working in the area of social justice and equity in the middle income economies (India, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa) and the UK, and facilitate South-North learning on critical issues such as education, livelihood, shelter, healthcare and civil rights.
Our partners, the IIM – A, is particularly apt as hosts for the colloquium. It is, without doubt, India’s premier business school and amongst the world’s best. The co-convener of the ISJN colloquium is the remarkable Prof Anil Gupta, who leads a team of students and researchers in documenting innovation, ideas and entrepreneurship in rural India.
The best and brightest usually sign up for Prof Gupta’s courses and usually accompany the iconic professor on his ‘shodhyatras’ – long treks that cover hundreds of miles in rural India. A business survey carried out sometime back said that over 50% of India’s CEO’s are IIM-A alumni. It is difficult to imagine better grooming ground of future corporate leaders.
The architecture of the IIM-A campus is stunning. Created by Louis Kahn, Balakrishna Doshi and Anant Raje, the exposed brickwork buildings with huge arches and open spaces give the 60 acre original campus a timeless, monumental look. This youtube clip captures a touching conversation between Kahn’s son Nathaniel and Balakrishna Doshi, part of Nataniel Kahn’s Oscar-nominated documentary My Architect: a Son’s Journey (2003).
On our recent visit a few weeks back, Sujata, Sanjay and I dropped in at the Ashram, a tranquil heart in the middle of a bustling city. Schoolchildren bussed in from various parts of the state trooped around in relative silence, flakes of hushed conversation in various languages, Indian and foreign, swirled around and settled almost as silently as snow.
On the verandah of the house where the Mahatma lived from 1918 to 1930, sat an avuncular man, inviting visitors to try their hand at spinning the charkha, the wheel that spun a thousand revolutions in India under the Mahtama’s leadership.
I gave it an honest try, though Sujata and Sanjay were clearly not impressed!
After long discussions with Prof Gupta, and his students, Raju Mahana and Gautam Prateek on the programme and various aspects of managing the project, we were shown the colloquium venue by Mr Baskaran. The Blue Room, named after its famed blue carpet, now alas, replaced with standard beige, is a large hall, about 100 feet square, with plenty of natural light and all the accoutrements of an international conference room.
Late in the evening, directed by Moumita, our colleague in Ahmedabad (Sujata has named her Magic Moumita), we find ourselves in Manek Chowk , the market place in old town, now thick with crowds looking for the best deal on practically everything under the sun. Sujata heads for the spectacular “churan” shops that sell delectable natural digestives and mouth fresheners (never mind the unpalatable, unmanageable translation! If you are wondering why on earth digestives and mouth fresheners would go together, please post a comment.)
It is difficult to miss a certain innocence in Ahmedabad, however fragile it may be below the surface. Is it because there are ice-cream parlours where in other cityscapes thirsty eyes would seek out bars? Or could it be because we see in the Mahatma’s own backyard MontBlanc re-branding the messiah of anti-globalisation as a uber-cool khadi-clad fashion icon?
There’s lots to talk about Ahmedabad. And there’s a lot to talk in Ahmedabad – our next post will be live from the ISJN Colloquium.