Indian MPs debate economy, US poll at Yale

Indian parliamentarians pose for a photo with Yale University President Richard C. Levin in front of Yale University.-Pic courtesy Yale University

NEW HAVEN, CT: 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, dominated the 6th India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program that began on June 20 and concluded June 30.

Yale University, widely recognized for educating leaders in government, business, and civil society worldwide, launched the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program in 2007, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians.

The first five rounds of the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programs were held in October 2007, June 2008, June 2009, June 2010, and June 2011 respectively, with different delegations of Indian parliamentarians. In total, more than seventy members of India’s parliament will have participated since the program was created six years ago.

The 2012 cohort of 11 members of India’s parliament came to the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut on June 20 to complete a six-day leadership program with Yale faculty that is now being complemented by a four-day program of meetings, discussions, and interactions in Washington, D.C. with senior officials of the U.S. Government.

The 2012 participants are drawn from seven different national and regional political parties in India. Yale President Richard C. Levin said: “The India – Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program underscores Yale’s longstanding commitment to educating our students for service and leadership. 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.”

Baijayant (Jay) Panda, Chairman of the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians, said, “This annual leadership program for Indian parliamentarians at Yale University, now in its sixth year, 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. That more than seventy of us will have attended this program, and that many more want to attend in the years ahead only underscores the stature of the Yale program among India’s parliamentarians.”

FICCI Secretary General Rajiv Kumar stated: “When launched by Yale University in collaboration with FICCI and the India-U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians, the program was the first of its kind for Indian parliamentarians. Yale University will help the parliamentarians in achieving a greater and more informed engagement in public policy discussions.”

FICCI President R. V. Kanoria stated that “The program is designed to provide Indian parliamentarians with opportunities to critically think about the current global issues and leadership challenges in a neutral environment. With some of the world-renowned experts of Yale, the parliamentarians get an opportunity to interact with them on a wide spectrum of global issues as well as on issues relating to leadership and management.”

In the academic program on the Yale campus, the delegation participated in discussions with Yale faculty 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 held meetings with officials in the highest levels of the U.S Department of State, US Department of Defense, and the White House, along with private sessions with thought leaders and former US government officials to better understand the U.S. economic and political system.

The participating 2012 parliamentarians are: Baijayant Panda (Lok Sabha- Biju Janata Dal Party, Orissa and Chairman, India-US Forum of Parliamentarians); Dinesh Trivedi (Lok Sabha-All India Trinamool Congress Party, Barrackpur, West Bengal and Former Union Cabinet Minister for Railways); Birendra Prasad Baishya (Rajya Sabha, Asom Gana Parishad Party, Assam and Former Union Cabinet Minister, Steel and Mines); Thomas Sangma, (Rajya Sabha-Nationalist Congress Party, Meghalaya); Madhu Goud Yaskhi, (Lok Sabha-Indian National Congress Party, Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh); Shivkumar Udasi (Lok Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party, Haveri, Karnataka); Manicka Thakur (Lok Sabha, Indian National Congress Party, Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu); Ajoy Kumar (Lok Sabha, Jharkhand Vikaas Morcha Party-Jamshedpur, Jharkhand); Mukut Mithi (Rajya Sabha, Indian National Congress Party-Arunachal Pradesh); Vandana Chavan (Rajya Sabha, Nationalist Congress Party, Maharashtra) and Kamlesh Paswan (Lok Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bansgaon, Uttar Pradesh).

The parliamentarians are accompanied by Ramesh Chandran, Executive Director, India-US Forum of Parliamentarians and Advisor, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

According to George Joseph, vice president of Yale University, Yale has a long and distinguished record of educating government leaders. Graduates of Yale have included five American presidents, more than five hundred members of United States Congress, more than 60 U.S. Cabinet secretaries, 20 Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, and former heads of state of Germany, Korea, and Mexico.
Since its founding in 1701, Yale has educated leaders and public servants for all sectors of American society and, increasingly, around the world. Yale’s tradition of leadership and public service is found in every branch of government in the United States. Yale’s graduates are leaders in all areas of human endeavor – the arts, business, law, medicine, science, and civil society, and have led or are leading hundreds of the most recognizable global brands.

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 the world’s most consequential countries through leadership development programs in the United States.
Yale has since 2004 held governmental programs for senior leaders from China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates. Other specialized programs such as the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute draw health leaders from a range of African nations.

The India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program was developed in consultation with the parliamentarians and the India-U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians and reflects the belief that exposure to new fields and ideas can offer insight, perspective, and new ways of thinking for one’s own work. Lectures, discussions, and private meetings with renowned practitioners in their areas will complement the curricular activities of the Yale program. Faculty for the program is drawn from experts at Yale, as well as research institutes, government offices, and the private sector.

The India-US Forum of Parliamentarians is a body of leading Indian parliamentarians representing the broad political spectrum of India from both Houses of Parliament – the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and the Rajya Sabha (Upper House). The Forum was formed six years ago with the support of FICCI. The Forum, constituted on the lines of “Senate Friends of India” Group and the “India Caucus” in the United States Congress, today, has more than 130 lawmakers cutting across party lines, with many of its members heading or serving in vital policy planning parliamentary committees.

Encompassing all aspects of Indo-US 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 US, senior US 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.

India Post News Service