India’s Parliamentarians Focus on Global Issues and Leadership Challenges in Yale University Program

Global political-economic affairs and the challenges of leadership will be the focus of the third India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program, June 20–27.

The 2009 cohort of members of India’s parliament will participate in a four-day program on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut, followed by three days of meetings, discussions and interactions with U.S. politicians, policy analysts and senior U.S. government officials in New York City and Washington, D.C.

“The India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program underscores Yale’s longstanding commitment to educating our students for service and leadership,” says Yale 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.”

Among the participants are Abhishek Singhvi, member of the parliament’s Rajya Sabha (Upper House), who is the national spokesperson of the Indian National Congress party and chairman of the India-U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians; Prakash Javadekar, the official spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party; and six newly elected members of the Lok Sabha (Lower House).

According to Singhvi, “The India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program is pioneering in the amazing diversity of topics explored; in the outstanding, cutting-edge quality of the world-renowned lecturers; in the truly bipartisan nature of the multiparty delegation; in the unusual blend of the vibrant young and the experienced vets comprising the delegation; and in the intense, disciplined and highly structured mix of academics and policy planning at our Yale and Washington, D.C. interactions. Most important, and perhaps most unquantifiable but clearly tangible, is the remarkable bonding between the members of the delegation over the course of the program—something not found easily even after years in Parliament!”

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Secretary General Amit Mitra says, “The India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program encourages greater understanding of public leadership, accountability, transparency and parliamentary oversight amongst the parliamentarians. It is designed to provide the parliamentarians capacity building and skill development and greater engagement in public policy discussions. The program is aimed at making an important contribution to their leadership capabilities to prevent and manage challenges through effective parliamentary governance.”

Lectures, discussions and private meetings with experienced practitioners will complement the curricular activities of the Yale program. Faculty members include experts from Yale, as well as from research institutes, government offices and the private sector. This year’s Leadership Program will cover these topics: U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Afghanistan-Pakistan; Religion and Politics; Economic Risks in the Global Economy; Poverty and Economic Development; India and Globalization; India in the Global Economy; India–China Economic Relations; Rule of Law and Governance in China; Reform of Higher Education in India; India’s Priorities in the United Nations Framework; Climate Change and Energy Security in South Asia; Obama Administration and South Asia; Innovation and Economic Progress in Emerging Markets; U.S. Response to the Global Financial Crisis; Negotiation and Strategy; Innovation; and Leadership Challenges.

In Washington, D.C., Leadership Program participants will discuss India-U.S. bilateral issues with senior U.S. government officials from the departments of Defense, Energy, Treasury and State as well as with the U.S. Trade Representative, and members of the Senate and Congress. They will also receive briefings on foreign policy issues from scholars and advisers at the Brookings Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

Yale has a long and distinguished record of educating government leaders. Since its founding in 1701, Yale has educated public servants for all sectors of American society and, increasingly, around the world. This tradition of leadership and public service is found in every branch of government in the United States and in all areas of human endeavor—the arts, business, law, medicine, science and civil society. In the past few months, a large number of Yale alumni have been appointed to serve in U.S. President Barack Obama’s new administration, and others served on his transition team. These include Gary Locke ‘72, the 36th U.S Secretary of Commerce; Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ‘73, the 67th U.S. Secretary of State; David Sandalow ’78, the Assistant U.S. Secretary of Energy; and James Steinberg LAW ’78, the Deputy U.S. Secretary of State. Earlier this month, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor LAW ‘79 to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court to join fellow Yale Law School alumni Samuel Alito Jr. LAW ’75 and Clarence Thomas LAW ’74. Seventeen Yale Law School graduates have been appointed to positions in the Obama administration and more than 40 Yale alumni and faculty members participated in the new administration’s transition team. Additionally, eight alumni are sitting U.S. senators and 12 alumni currently serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In recent years, recognizing that the complexity and demands of geo-political and economic affairs during the twenty-first century will require that governments at all levels have inspired leaders, Yale has sought to engage the rising leadership of some of
the world’s most consequential countries in leadership development programs in the United States. Since 2004, Yale has held programs for senior leaders from China, Japan, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates.

Yale launched the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program in 2007, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the India-U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians. The program reflects the belief that exposure to new ideas can offer insight, perspective and new ways of thinking. The first and second India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programs were held in October 2007 and June 2008, respectively, with different delegations of Indian parliamentarians. In total, more than 30 members of India’s parliament have participated since the program was created.

The participating parliamentarians are Jayant Chaudhary (Lok Sabha – Rashtriya Lok Dal – Mathura, Uttar Pradesh); Shruti Choudhry (Lok Sabha – Indian National Congress Party – Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, Haryana); Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo (Lok Sabha – Biju Janata Dal – Bolangir, Orissa); Priya Dutt (Lok Sabha – Indian National Congress– Mumbai North Central, Maharashtra); Naresh Gujral (Rajya Sabha – Shiromani Akali Dal – Punjab); Prakash Javadekar (Rajya Sabha - Bharatiya Janata Party – Maharashtra); H. D. Kumaraswamy (Lok Sabha – Janata Dal Secular – Bangalore Rural, Karnataka); Mausam Benazir Noor (Lok Sabha – Indian National Congress – Malda North, West Bengal); Mohammad Hamdullah Sayeed (Lok Sabha – Indian National Congress – Lakshadweep); Anurag Singh Thakur (Lok Sabha – Bharatiya Janata Party – Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh); Ijyaraj Singh (Lok Sabha – Indian National Congress – Kota, Rajasthan); Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Rajya Sabha – Indian National Congress – Rajasthan). The parliamentarians will be accompanied by Ramesh Chandran (Executive Director, India–U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians, and advisor, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).

The India–U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians is a body of leading Indian parliamentarians representing the broad political spectrum of India from both Houses of Parliament. The Forum was formed six years ago with the support of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Chairing the Forum are Abhishek Singhvi and Shobhana Bhartia, member of the Rajya Sabha.

Encompassing all aspects of Indo–U.S. relations, the Forum makes an effort to facilitate wider exchange of dialogue on crucial issues of bilateral and global concerns between parliamentarians of India and their counterparts in the U.S., senior U.S. government administration officials, business leaders, opinion–makers and the Indian–American community. The Forum, through Track II initiatives, adds an important parliamentary dimension to the bilateral relations.

For further information, contact George Joseph in the U.S. at india@yale.edu, +1-203-436-4654 or Vineet Handa in India at vineet.handa@kaizzencomm.com, +91-98-1166-0897

Media must request credentials from George Joseph (india@yale.edu or +1-203-436-4654) to cover this program in New Haven or Washington, D.C.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325

George Joseph: india@yale.edu, 203-436-4654