AAPF and AARPC Participate and Co-Facilitate U.S.-India Dialogue in New Delhi

India-United States Scholarly Dialogue on Affirmative Action at the Institute for Social Sciences, New Delhi , India (September 29-30, 2007)

The African American Policy Forum participated and facilitated a conversation on affirmative action’s global impact and the need for an interdisciplinary approach to social inclusion measures. Done in collaboration with the Ash Institute at Harvard University , Gowher Rizvi, Director of the Ash Institute, provided the introductory remarks by emphasizing the significance of affirmative action in democracies with pluralistic societies.

The conference began by addressing, “What are the political and contemporary contexts of the affirmative action debate?” Ashis Nandy, Director for the Study of Developing Societies;  Ravinder Kaur, Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at Columbia University and University of California, LA, led this discussion. Latter that day, Luke Harris, Associate Professor of American Politics and Constitutional law at Vassar College , addressed the contemporary and political hierarchies in each country.

On the following day, Devon Carbado, Professor of Law at the University of California, LA, and Satish Deshpande, Professor of Sociology at the University of Delhi, compared and contrasted the different methods and interventions utilized in both India and the United States. Chairing the panel was K. B. Saxena, member of the Expert Committee on Jarawas. The day ended with a presentation by Prof. Crenshaw and Zoya Hassan, of the National Commission for Minorities, on the new frameworks for establishing and evaluating affirmative action programs emerging in each country. The chair of this panel was T. K. Oomen, former Prof. of Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University .

The conference concluded with the topic, “What should we aim for?” To begin with,  Prof. Harris and B.S. Baviskar, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Social Sciences, discussed the value of a collaborative project. They also encouraged participants to share how each field (law, political science, sociology) can contribute to a coherent view of affirmative action at the national and international level. 

Lastly, moderators invited all of the participants to identify next steps to advance the dialogue begun that week.  Through similar initiatives, the Forum plans to set the stage for a global conversation that can better equip and retool scholars and advocates as they build their social intervention plans in their respective nations.

 To see the coverage of the India-U.S. dialogue by the Institute of Social Sciences, please, click here.

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