Members of the new ASAP Students chapter at Delhi-area universities staged a successful launch workshop bringing together experts on food security and exclusion. Students from the University of Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Ambedkar University Delhi came together on the Delhi University campus to engage on crucial issues of poverty, to strategize and elect officers for the new chapter.
They were joined by a five-member delegation from the ASAP Students chapter at the University of Birmingham in the UK, as well as by ASAP Board Chair Thomas Pogge, who was visiting Delhi to speak to various audiences about his Health Impact Fund initiative. Pogge led the students in dialogue about current and potential ASAP projects, and ways in which the two chapters could work together to have concrete impact on poverty-related issues in India, the UK and elsewhere.
Suparna Priyadarshini, a PhD student at Delhi University, was selected as the first Chair of the Delhi ASAP Students chapter, and several other members were chosen for officer posts. The group will be advised by Dr. Ashok Acharya, ASAP Board member and Associate Professor of Political Science at DU. An initial emphasis at the chapter will be the inauguration of the All Rights India project, aimed at helping the very poor learn about and actually claim their social entitlements.
At the July 19 workshop, discussion focused initially on problems with the way India’s government counts the poor. Utsa Patnaik, professor emeritus of economics at JNU, provided detailed evidence showing that the number of those unable to buy sufficient food has dramatically increased in recent years, even as government poverty-line figures have decreased. Dr. Arindam Banerjee, assistant professor of economics at Ambedkar University, provided further detail on ways in which the government’s counting methods ignore recent worsening of conditions in how the poor actually live. In terms of access to food, shelter, decent housing and other indicators, he said, India’s new economic dynamism has not filtered down to the poor.
Narayan Sukumar Associate Professor at Delhi University, gave an impassioned talk about the persistence of discrimination against lower-caste persons in universities across India, as well as outside the academic sector. Despite laws formally banning caste discrimination, he noted, it remains pervasive in virtually all aspects of university life and the broader Indian social context.
For information on the ASAP Students Delhi chapter, including on how to join, contact Suparna Priyadarshini at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Joshua Lindsey-Turner
Students from the University of Birmingham’s ASAP chapter hosted a panel of experts from across the development sector. More than 70 students, staff and members of the public attended the debate and contributed to the discussions. This was the first event hosted by the Birmingham Chapter and it has formed the foundations for a series of events planned for the Autumn and New Year.
The panelists at the May 30 event ranged from leaders of local development groups, to national figures and academics. Neil Squires, Head of Health Advisory Services for the UK Department for International Development, and Dr. Philip Amis of Birmingham’s International Development Department, offered diverging views on the processes and aims of large-scale government development aid. From Oxfam, Sophia Ireland explained how charities and NGOs are seeking to move away from traditional shock tactics – featuring photos of starving children, for example — to secure donations, and toward approaches that reflect the long-term nature of most poverty issues. Dr. Muhtari Amiu-Kano of Islamic Relief, an aid organization working in several countries, argued for the importance of fair trade and arms restrictions.
Questions and audience dialogue focused on the future of development aid post 2015, and questions ranged from issues surrounding strategic aid to Afghanistan to the importance of education for African girls.
The debate was chaired by Joshua Lindsey-Turner and Bianca Moodie, the first Chair and Vice-Chair of the Birmingham Chapter. It was supported by funding from the School of Government and Society at the University of Birmingham.
To find out more about the Birmingham ASAP Students Chapter, you can Like the group on Facebook or follow it on Twitter.
More information: Luis Cabrera email@example.com
ASAP president Thomas Pogge spoke at TEDx Yale on the connection between market incentives and poverty alleviation:
Board member Gilad Tanay spoke at the same TEDx event discussing the ethics of being born in an unfair world:
More than 100 academics, students and development professionals gathered at Yale University to debate the legacy and possible future of large-scale development aid at ASAP’s One-Year Anniversary meeting.
Yale Professor Emeritus Gus Ranis, a top administrator at US Aid under the Johnson Administration, gave insight from his decades of experience in the field and classroom, and he stressed the continuing importance of promoting local ownership of development projects. Hugh Evans, a youth leader of the 2005 Make Poverty History Campaign, shared his experiences getting young people involved through his multi-country Global Poverty Project, and leveraging their involvement to secure large-scale commitments for overseas aid.
Phillip Alston, a Professor of Law at New York University who has filled several high-level human rights roles for the United Nations, offered an insider’s view of the UN Millennium Development Goals effort, and of recent talks to determine what should replace the MDGs when they expire in 2015. World Bank Lead Economist Branko Milanovic shared his most recent findings on global inequality and its importance to numerous issues around global poverty, and ASAP Board Chair Thomas Pogge of Yale encouraged those present to put their energy and academic expertise to use within the ASAP network.
Earlier in the day, ASAP Board members gave updates from efforts underway in India, the United States, the UK and elsewhere. Those include the launch of a pilot ASAP Students group at the University of Birmingham, the development of the All Rights India project in Delhi, aimed at better publicizing the entitlements actually held by India’s poor persons, and the development of an ASAP internship program at Yale.