By Ravi R. Ponangi
Atlanta, GA: A group of parliamentarians from India attended a leadership program at Yale University, which began on June 20 and ended on June 30. The fragile global economy, the evolving political and economic crises in the Middle East and Europe, and the 2012 US presidential election, along with the challenges of leadership were among the topics dominated the sixth India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program.
Yale launched the program in 2007, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians.
“The India-Yale Parliamen-tary 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 participating 2012 parliamentarians were drawn from seven different national and regional political parties in India. They were Baijayant Panda of Biju Janata Dal; Dinesh Trivedi of All India Trinamool Congress; Biren-dra Prasad Baishya of Asom Gana Parishad; Thomas Sangma and Vandana Chavan of Nationalist Congress Party; Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Manicka Tagore and Mukut Mithi of Indian National Congress; Shivkumar Udasi and Kamlesh Paswan of Bharatiya Janata Party; and Ajoy Kumar of Jharkhand Vikaas Morcha. They spent six days on the campus with Yale faculty and four days in Washington, DC, meeting with senior US government officials.
The discussions with Yale faculty focused on global economic governance, the US economy, corruption in government, counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, political developments in the Arab world, the US Presidential elections, the economic and political crises in the Euro zone, 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, DC, the delegation held meetings with officials in the highest levels of the US State and Defense Departments and the White House, along with private sessions with thought leaders and former US government officials to better understand the US economic and political system.
Baijayant Panda, chair of the India-US Forum of Parlia-mentarians, noted that the program “has been widely appreciated by those of us serving in politics. The presentations and discussions covered a range of topics and ideas, by and with some of the top academics in the world, and the setting was excellent for vigorous but non-partisan exchanges of views.”
The fact that more than 70 individuals had participated since the program was created six years ago, noted Baijayant Panda, “only underscores the stature of the Yale program among India’s parliamentarians.”