A man of estimable qualifications, Dr Sreeram Chaulia is the executive director of the Centre for Global Governance and Policy (CGGP) at the Jindal School of International Affairs in O.P. Jindal Global University. Chaulias areas of specialisation include diplomacy, foreign policy, comparative politics, international political economy, international organisations, armed conflict, humanitarian practices and contemporary world history. He has over 380 publications to his credit and has published widely in journals across the world.
In an interview to Frontline, he talks about how the CGGPs convictions have made India a real leader in imparting education in disciplines such as global governance and international affairs.
The word global in the name of your university stands out. Could you elaborate on this qualification and on the vision behind such an alternative private university?
We walk the talk on the global tag. India needs global universities that have full-time faculty from all over the world, courses that are innovative and aimed at finding solutions to contemporary problems, collaborations with top-ranked universities of the world where students can do semesters and faculty can develop joint research projects, and infrastructure that is on a par with the best institutions in the world. A private university such as ours can raise the standard of social science education in India through these features.
O.P Jindal Global University is probably the first private university to focus on a wide range of subjects. Could you tell us about the motivation behind this?
Our university has been created with the conviction that the social sciences have been grossly neglected in India and that there is a gap that needs to be filled up in terms of teaching and research in the social sciences. Volume-driven private universities that are motivated by profit-making would naturally offer only courses that can fetch high revenues through student fees. But our goal is to maximise knowledge production in social sciences rather than to add one more science and technology university to an already overcrowded field of institutions that offer such courses.
What is the response to courses such as international affairs, law and public policy?
India can surprise anyone. The response to unorthodox courses such as international affairs and public policy has been tremendous. Many engineers and doctors have applied to these programmes and are currently our students, alongside students with backgrounds in humanities and social sciences. Our Law School is already rated among the best in India and it is ranked by Ernst & Young as one of India's premier higher education institutions.
Do you feel knowledge of international affairs among Indians could boost Indias place in the world positively? How does your university address this?
Our M.A. programme in diplomacy is extremely global in coverage of issues and regions. It trains students to think about the world systematically and to work towards solutions to pressing problems such as arms proliferation, global warming, child trafficking, gender-based violence and warfare. Our students are making careers in inter-governmental and international non-governmental organisations, showing new kinds of career paths to Indians. We have incentivised education in international affairs to make it relevant to Indias rise as a great power. A highly informed citizenry with broad knowledge of world affairs is the need of the hour for a rising power like India.
What kind of researches has the university produced over time?
Our university has over 30 research centres run by faculty members with the participation of graduate and undergraduate students. We emphasise on publication in international journals. Our faculty members works are cited by other scholars round the world. Each of our schools has a journal of its own and these journals are rated highly and included in leading databases such as LexisNexis and HeinOnline.
A university stands or falls on the basis of how much it is adding to the existing state of knowledge in various disciplines. We are conscious of it and are actively promoting a culture of research in social sciences.A Special Correspondent