Indian parliamentarians pondering global issues during leadership program

The fragile global economy, the evolving political and economic crises in the Middle East and Europe, and the 2012 U.S. presidential elections, along with the challenges of leadership, are among the topics dominating the sixth India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program, which began on June 20 and will conclude on June 30.

Yale launched the program in 2007, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the India-U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians.

“The India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program underscores Yale’s longstanding commitment to educating our students for service and leadership,” said President Richard C. Levin. “We have now gone a step further to include emerging and mid-career leaders. The program will provide the parliamentarians with opportunities to critically think about the challenges of leadership and to explore freely, away from the legislative arena, the issues facing India.”

The 2012 participants are drawn from seven different national and regional political parties in India. They are spending six days on campus with Yale faculty and four days in Washington, D.C. meeting with senior U.S. government officials.

The discussions with Yale faculty focused on on global economic governance, the U.S. economy, corruption in government, counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, political developments in the Arab world, the U.S. presidential elections, the economic and political crises in the Eurozone, Iran’s nuclear program, political and economic developments in China, and higher education in India, along with sessions on leadership, strategy, negotiation, and applied game theory.

In Washington, the delegation will hold meetings with officials in the highest levels of the U.S State and Defense Departments and the White House, along with private sessions with thought leaders and former U.S. government officials to better understand the U.S. economic and political system.

Baijayant (Jay) Panda, chair of the India-U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians, noted that the program “has been widely appreciated by those of us serving in politics. The presentations and discussions cover a range of topics and ideas, by and with some of the top academics in the world, and the setting is excellent for vigorous but non-partisan exchanges of views.”

The fact that more than 70 individuals have participated since the program was created six years ago, noted Panda, “only underscores the stature of the Yale program among India’s parliamentarians.”