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Africa-Asia Roundtable – Pandemics: Surveillance, Preparedness, and Response

START
Tue, May 18, 2021 at 07:00am

END
Wed, May 19, 2021 at 09:00am

VENUE
Webinar

Register here for the talk

The Harvard Center for Africa Studies will convene our Africa-Asia Roundtable – Pandemics: Surveillance, Preparedness, and Response on May 18 – 19, 2021 from 7:00a – 9:00a EST / 1:00p – 3:00p CAT / 4:30p – 6:30p IST / 7:00p – 9:00p CST.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a global focus on pandemic surveillance, preparedness, and response. As a result of the 2014 – 2016 Ebola outbreak, the World Bank invested in the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) Program. Thirteen countries in West and Central Africa have received a $200 million funding commitment “to prevent, detect, and respond to the threat of emerging and epidemic-prone diseases.” In addition to funding, the program has provided for intra-country cooperation on detecting and preventing pandemics as well as regional lab networks and training opportunities. More recently, the Africa CDC  has spearheaded continental efforts to advance various elements of  detection and response to various health threats, with notable success related to COVID-19. Such programs are examples of how regional and global cooperation designed to respond to an infectious disease outbreak can be leveraged in future pandemics.

China has promised the delivery of its Sinopharm vaccine to countries in Africa, with 200,000 doses arriving in Senegal and another 200,000 in Zimbabwe. While the commitments fall far short of the 1.4 billion doses that will be needed to reach herd immunity in Africa, China’s vaccine distribution has moved alongside the WHO-endorsed COVAX plan (to which China will also contribute 10 million vaccines). India has also been a contributor to global vaccine distribution, both through COVAX and other direct supplies to the global south, distributing more than 60 million doses. The scrambling for vaccines from the global north highlights a disparity in equitable access to vaccines, raising questions about intellectual property and the possibilities for local production.

Over two days, we will convene four panels to further explore questions around vaccines and vaccine development, technology transfer, capacity building, and global cooperation strategies for combating pandemics. What lessons can the world learn from Africa’s response to previous epidemics/pandemics including Ebola and HIV/AIDS and the current COVID-19 pandemic? What is the role of global cooperation between Africa-Asia, and China-India-Africa in particular? Is the COVID-19 crisis and response, including vaccine development and distribution, an opportunity for a new era of global cooperation?

May 18, 2021: Vaccines

7:00a                     Welcome and Introductory remarks

7:10a – 8:05a     Panel 1– Vaccines: Discovery and Trials

The panel will explore vaccine development and the role of clinical trials held in Africa, by Africans, and on Africans as well as the generalizability of global trials of the COVID-19 vaccine in light of the spread of variants. We will discuss the clinical trials conducted globally and the contributions of African scientists and trial participants. Conducting clinical trials in Africa has also been a topic of controversy, in particular when some have suggested trials should take place in Africa due to a lack of personal protective equipment and a higher risk of infection. We will also explore whether the speed with which COVID-19 vaccines have been produced brings promise for other existing and emerging infectious diseases.

8:05a – 9:00a     Panel 2 – Vaccines and Diagnostics: Production and Technology Transfer at Scale

We will begin a conversation about local distribution of globally produced vaccines and technology transfer. Once a vaccine is developed, what conditions provide for local production, and what are the barriers? China and India, for example, have made bilateral agreements with several Asian and African countries to produce vaccines for COVID-19. Compared to India and China, Africa has limited production capacity for both vaccines and diagnostics. What factors explain the lack of production capability and capacity? Dakar, Senegal is one production site developing both rapid testing and antibody testing for COVID. What are the economic and public health factors that could drive local production at scale?

May 19, 2021: Surveillance and Response

7:00a                     Welcome and Reflections on Day 1

7:10a – 8:05a     Panel 3 – Capacity Building and the Role of Universities

We will explore the role of universities in training the next generation of scientists and health professionals who will lead the charge in discovery and translation of knowledge that is essential for addressing current and future public health challenges. Tomorrow’s pandemics require the next generation of leaders to be prepared to collaborate with peers within and across countries to navigate as yet unforeseen challenges. What have been the barriers to such collaborations? What novel and innovative approaches have been used to develop capacity building in an increasingly globalized world? The panel will discuss solutions that have been successfully implemented and can serve as models to further develop global public health leaders.

8:05a – 9:00a     Panel 4 – Surveillance and Response

We will invite panelists to speak to their roles and contributions on surveillance and response and to interrogate the possibility for global cooperation on these efforts. Infectious disease outbreaks such as Ebola or COVID-19 may tax a system in the near-term, but what can be done to develop more resilient health systems in the longer-term? Surveillance and response are also linked to good governance, and, with COVID-19, we have seen the risk of an infectious disease becoming politicized. The panel will explore how healthcare and response strategies must transcend domestic politics and foster global cooperation efforts as well as successful examples of such strategies.  

Sponsored by the China-Harvard-Africa Network at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Harvard University Asia Center; Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University; The Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard University; Harvard-Yenching Institute

25th Annual Harvard India Poetry Meeting

START
Sun, May 16, 2021 at 10:00am

END
Sun, May 16, 2021

VENUE
Webinar

The theme for this year’s India Poetry Reading is “Mother Nature.” This annual event celebrates India’s contribution to the field of literature and invites local poets to recite original compositions in the language of their choosing.

This event is hosted in partnership with the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University and South Asian Poets of New England. This year, the event will be presented virtually.

Please contact Bijoy Misra (bmisra@fas.harvard.edu) or Chandu Shah (bostonwale@gmail.com) for more information and the Zoom link for this session.

The COVID-19 Crisis in India: What is the Way Forward?

START
Thu, May 13, 2021 at 08:00am

END
Thu, May 13, 2021 at 09:30am

VENUE
Webinar

5:30-7:00 pm IST/ 8:00-9:30 am ET

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Stream the talk on YouTube

Lancet Citizens’ Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System Public Webinar Series, in collaboration with Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force

Panelists:

  • Gagandeep Kang, Professor of Microbiology, Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College
  • Peter Piot, Director and Handa Professor of Global Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 
  • Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University
  • K. Sujatha Rao, Former Secretary of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India 
  • K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India

Moderator:

Sarah Jacob, Editor/Anchor of ‘We The People’ on NDTV

Description: 

The Lancet Citizens’ Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System is an ambitious, cross-sectoral endeavor that aims to lay out a citizens’ roadmap to achieving universal health coverage for the people of India. Our new webinar series is intended to serve as a platform for public health discourse in India, and a means for academics, practitioners and the public to engage on substantive and timely issues regarding universal health coverage in India.

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission is an interdisciplinary initiative across the health sciences, business, finance, and public policy that was launched in July 2020. It has four themes: to propose recommendations on how best to suppress the epidemic; to address the humanitarian crises arising from the pandemic; addressing the financial and economic crises resulting from the pandemic; and rebuilding an inclusive, fair, and sustainable world. The work of the Commission is supported by twelve Task Forces, in areas ranging from vaccine development, to humanitarian relief strategies, to safe workplaces, to global economic recovery. The India Task Force of the COVID-19 Commission is the only country-specific Task Force, set up in recognition of the unique challenges that India faces in the context of COVID-19.

The first webinar in the series is a joint event with the Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force and will be a panel discussion about the devastating COVID-19 pandemic surge in India – focusing on the short and long-term actions that are needed to address the impact. Leading experts from the medical, scientific, and public policy community will discuss the lessons that need to be learnt and propose what the next steps should be to respond to, and improve, the situation in India. As a Citizens’ Commission, we invite the public to participate in the discussion, provide input and engage with the panelists.

Border Conflicts in the Himalayas: Bhutan, Nepal, India, and China

START
Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 09:00am

END
Wed, Apr 28, 2021

VENUE
Webinar

Register here to join the webinar.

An Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar Series

Panelists: 

Sudha Ramachandran, Independent Journalist; Adjunct Faculty, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai

Bhaskar Koirala, Director, Nepal Institute of Strategic and International Studies

Xiaoyu Pu, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Nevada, Reno; Public Intellectuals Program Fellow, National Committee on United States-China Relations; Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue, Washington, D.C

Frank O’Donnell, Postdoctoral Scholar in the Rising Power Alliances Project, Fletcher School, Tufts University; Nonresident Fellow in the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center

Moderator: 

Arunabh Ghosh, Associate Professor of History, Harvard University

Bhaskar Koirala is the founder and director of the Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies, which convened the first-ever China-India-Nepal trilateral meeting in 2013. Currently in the doctoral program at the School of International Studies, Peking University, he received his MSc in Public Policy from the London School of Economics and BA (distinction), Political Science, University of California, Berkeley.

Sudha Ramachandran is an independent journalist based in Bengaluru, India. She writes on South Asian political and security issues and has closely followed developments in the region’s conflict zones. She is an adjunct faculty at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai. Sudha has a doctoral degree from the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

Frank O’Donnell is a postdoctoral scholar in the Rising Power Alliances Project in the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Nonresident Fellow in the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center. He was previously a Stanton Junior Faculty Fellow in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His research specializes in South Asian deterrence and security issues.

Xiaoyu Pu is an associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is also a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow with the National Committee on United States-China Relations and a non-resident senior fellow with the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C. Pu received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China, the World Program at Princeton University, and Stanton Fellow at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) in Brazil.

Arunabh Ghosh is a historian of modern China, with research and teaching interests in social and economic history, history of science and statecraft, transnational history, and China-India history. Trained at Haverford College and Tsinghua and Columbia universities, Ghosh joined the History Department in 2015 from the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, where he was an Academy Scholar for the 2014-15 AY.

Sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center; co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard-Yenching Institute, and Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute.

Innovating in the Health Sector in India

START
Mon, Apr 19, 2021 at 10:00am

END
Mon, Apr 19, 2021 at 11:15am

VENUE
Webinar

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Stream via Youtube: https://youtu.be/CRXxXg7o6MA 

 

7:30–8:45 PM IST // 10:00 AM–11:15 AM EDT 
 
Over the past three years, the Mittal Institute, in partnership with the Tata Trusts, has been conducting research into innovations in healthcare in India. These innovations are focused on expanding access to care, widening the range of services offered, and re-imagining the mode of healthcare delivery. Join us for a discussion on this research. Panelists will speak about innovating in the public health sector, translating health research into practice, and the challenges of creating an enabling environment for these innovations to thrive.
 
Welcome Remarks by Manoj Kumar, Founder, Social Alpha and Senior Advisor, Tata Trusts
 
Moderator:
  • Vikram Patel, The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health, Harvard Medical School
Panelists:
  • Satchit Balsari, Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Anant Bhan, Bhopal Hub Head, Sangath
  • Pawan Sinha, Professor of Vision and Computational Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Rajani Ved, Former Executive Director, National Health Systems Resource Centre

India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present

START
Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 10:00am

END
Tue, Apr 13, 2021

VENUE
Webinar

Please join the Future of Diplomacy Project, the Center for Public Leadership, and the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University for a conversation with Shivshankar Menon, former National Security Advisor and Foreign Secretary of India, about his new book on India’s foreign policy entitled India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present. Mr. Menon will discuss India’s historical responses to the rise of China, in addition to other regional powers as well as analyze how India’s policies are likely to evolve in the future to address current and new challenges. Faculty Chair, Nicholas Burns will moderate this discussion.

RSVP to attend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mr Shivshankar Menon is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington.

Mr Menon served as national security advisor to the Prime Minister of India from January 2010 to May 2014 and as Foreign Secretary of India from October 2006 to August 2009. A career diplomat, he has served as Ambassador or High Commissioner of India to Israel (1995-1997), Sri Lanka (1997-2000), China (2000-2003), and Pakistan (2003-2006). He was a member of India’s Atomic Energy Commission from 2008-2014. Mr Menon has also served in India’s missions to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and in the Department of Atomic Energy in Mumbai.

Mr Menon has been a Richard Wilhelm Fellow at MIT and Fisher Family Fellow at Harvard University in 2015. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Asia Society Policy Studies Institute in New York.

In 2010, Mr Menon was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world’s top 100 Global Thinkers.

Mr Menon studied at the Scindia School, Gwalior and St. Stephens College, Delhi University, where he studied ancient Indian history and Chinese.

ABOUT THE BOOK

India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present

A clear-eyed look at modern India’s role in Asia’s and the broader world

One of India’s most distinguished foreign policy thinkers addresses the many questions facing India as it seeks to find its way in the increasingly complex world of Asian geopolitics. A former Indian foreign secretary and national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon traces India’s approach to the shifting regional landscape since its independence in 1947. From its leading role in the “nonaligned” movement during the cold war to its current status as a perceived counterweight to China, India often has been an after-thought for global leaders—until they realize how much they needed it.

Examining India’s own policy choices throughout its history, Menon focuses in particular on India’s responses to the rise of China, as well as other regional powers. Menon also looks to the future and analyzes how India’s policies are likely to evolve in response to current and new challenges.

As India grows economically and gains new stature across the globe, both its domestic preoccupations and international choices become more significant. India itself will become more affected by what happens in the world around it. Menon makes a powerful geopolitical case for an India increasingly and positively engaged in Asia and the broader world in pursuit of a pluralistic, open, and inclusive world order.

Representation from Below: How Women Mobilize in India’s Weak Party System

START
Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 11:00am

END
Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 12:30pm

VENUE
Webinar

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Tanushree Goyal is a fourth and final year PhD candidate at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Goyal is also an academy scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, Harvard University. Starting in Fall 2022, she will join Princeton University as an Assistant Professor in Politics and International Affairs. Her research interests lie at the intersections of comparative politics, gender, and development with a regional focus in South Asia. Goyal’s dissertation uses natural, survey, and quasi-experiments to examine important questions in the field of representation and accountability and is set in the context of the World’s largest democracy: India. It shows how female politicians affect change by influencing intra-party politics in the context of India’s urban cities. Female politicians incorporate women as intermediaries and establish cross-electoral level networks to influence political campaigns and party decisions. This “representation from below” fundamentally alters party politics and democracy for good.

The History of British Diplomacy in Pakistan

START
Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 11:00am

END
Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 12:00pm

VENUE
Webinar

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Speaker
  • Ian Talbot, Director of the Centre for Imperial and Postcolonial Studies, University of Southampton
With Discussants
  • Mohammad Waseem, Professor of Political Science at Department of Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences
  • William Milam, Former Ambassador to Pakistan and Bangladesh, United States Department of State
Chaired by
  • Adil Najam, Dean, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and Professor of International Relations and Earth & Environment, Boston University

This panel will discuss the development of British diplomatic efforts in Pakistan from 1947 through the “War on Terror,” as chronicled in the new book by Ian Talbot, Director of the Centre for Imperial and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Southampton and Research Affiliate at the Mittal Institute.

Virtual attendees for the panel will also be provided the opportunity to purchase the book at a discount!

Modernizing Asia’s Countryside

START
Fri, Apr 2, 2021 at 09:00am

END
Fri, Apr 2, 2021 at 11:00am

VENUE
Webinar

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The Harvard-Yenching Institute’s Annual Roundtable

Panelists
  • Han Do-Hyun, Professor of Sociology, Academy of Korean Studies
  • Nguyen Thi Phuong Cham, Director, Cultural Studies Institute, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences
  • Nishikawa Kunio, College of Agriculture, Ibaraki University
  • Mini Sukumar, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Calicut
  • Wen Tiejun, Professor and Director of the Centre of Rural Reconstruction, Renmin University of China
Moderator
  • Elizabeth J. Perry, Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government; Director, Harvard-Yenching Institute

This interdisciplinary panel of distinguished scholars from China, India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam will explore the record of successful and unsuccessful efforts at rural development in their own countries. Why have some programs succeeded in increasing productivity, improving infrastructure and public services, alleviating poverty, and ameliorating social and economic inequality, whereas others proved much less successful? What have Asian countries learned from these achievements and shortcomings? And, based on that knowledge, what lies ahead for 21st-century Asian villages?

Co-sponsored with the Asia Center, the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Korea Institute, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies