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Teaching in Pakistan as an Act of Love and Courage

This blog post originally appeared on Fernando Reimers’ blog.

Members of the Harvard community gathered on Tuesday night, Dec. 16, for a vigil on Harvard Yard in honor of the victims of the Peshawar attack.

By Fernando M. Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education, Director, International Education Policy Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education; SAI Steering Committee member

I awoke this morning to the painful news that seven cowards had entered a school in Peshawar, in Northern Pakistan, where they had murdered 132 students and 9 teachers and staff. My heart goes out to their families and friends. I share the pain of those, still in disbelief, that anyone would intentionally target civilians not engaged in combat, in a school, with the deliberate intent of killing them.

A group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, in the name of the Taliban, as an act of war against the Pakistan military. Only they, in a world of delusion, think there is a justification for this gruesome act. No one else in the world shares their view of reality, not in Peshawar, not in Pakistan, not in the world. The assassins who conceived that it was fair game to assassinate hundreds of teenagers and their teachers to achieve some goal are alone in their thinking, they lack reason and soul. I can only imagine the grief of their mothers, of their spouses, of their families, in realizing how far the deep end of reason and reality these thugs have fallen. How their cowardice has robbed them of any sense of identification with country, with religion, with family. These murderers, and anyone else who enabled their crime, have no soul, they don’t belong in this planet, they are not recognizable as members of the human species.

In their madness, these seven criminals targeted students and teachers in a school, a place where together they worked to advance understanding, to gain the knowledge and the dispositions to better understand the world and to improve it. This crime was committed in a house of light and of love.

 It was in response to the atrocities committed by other murderers during World War II that those who crafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights included education as one of the basic rights we should, together, work to provide every person on the planet. The hope was simple, in educating all we would create the conditions for sustainable peace in the world. The hope was grounded in the understanding that education can cultivate the capacities that help a person understand another, and help us bridge divides, find ways to work together to improve the world.

This is the reason governments and ordinary citizens have collaborated over the last seventy years producing one of the most dramatic transformations in the history of humanity. A transformation that has provided most children in the world the opportunity to go to school. This work is unfinished, the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon, has proposed even bolder aspirations for this global movement, the education of global citizens, of people who can understand the world in which they leave, our shared global challenges, our interdependence, an education that can prepare us to collaborate with others in eliminating poverty, reverting climate change, resolving conflicts.

The seven criminals who killed students and teachers did not have the soul to understand how their own humanity binds them to the humanity of others. They could not comprehend how they could make common cause with other humans in addressing the challenges of the world. They were alone in the most despaired of solitudes,  of those who have lost all ties to other members of the human race. Whatever schooling these thugs had received, it had failed them. They feared education, teachers, and the empowerment that it produced for students.

With their horrific acts, however, these cowards have shed a light on the importance of the ongoing work of teachers and of those who support them, they have made evident that teachers who endeavor to educate in places where thugs like these fear them, is an act of love and courage. This cowardly act underscores the importance, indeed the urgency, of the cause of education for all which activists like Malala Yousafzai advance, the courage of her father who created a school so her daughter and others could gain an education that liberated them from the shackles of prejudice and intolerance, it underscores the importance of the work of teachers all over Pakistan, or public servants who advance the work of schools, of ordinary citizens who support their work, of international development and charitable organizations who advance the universal right of education.

Today, as I grieve the 141 dead, I salute them in their dedication to teaching and learning, I salute them in their love and in their courage, and appreciate even more all others who continue to advance the goal of providing all children an education that helps them become fully human, as they recognize the ties that bind them together with the rest of humanity, above all differences. I invite you to join me in supporting, in whatever way is within your means, those who do this work of love and courage.

    Tragedy in Pakistan

    By Mariam Chughtai

    ‘‘When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”

    Pakistan was struck with tragedy on Dec 16, 2014. Seven men armed with guns and suicide vests, went classroom-by-classroom killing children at a local Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. The Army was able to rescue 960 people; of the 141 people killed, 132 were children.

    A Kenyan saying encapsulates today’s events: ‘When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.’ Earlier this week, people of South Asia came together in celebration for children’s rights, as Malala Yousufzai from Pakistan shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi from India.

    Today, we come together in grief to realize the extent of work that needs to be done. The killing of school children today was claimed to be a planned and symbolic revenge by the Taliban for attacks against their women and children in the ongoing Pakistan Army operation Zarb-e-Azb.

    This is a day of deep reflection. War strategy against extremists, whether through drone strikes or carpet-bombing, must factor in the lives of children beyond collateral damage and prepare especially to protect the most vulnerable in society on both sides.

    Pakistan has spent much time preparing for outward existential threats but has yet to address the enemy within. A real solution needs judicial, political and civil society bearing responsibility in this fight against extremism.

    **The Harvard Pakistan student community has organized a vigil today at 5:30pm in Harvard Yard (by John Harvard’s statue) to share in each other’s grief and to unite in the standing up to extremism.

     

    Mariam Chughtai is a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

      Ayesha Jalal: The Struggle for Pakistan

      By Mehjabeen ZameerEd.M Candidate, International Education Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education; SAI Student Coordinator

      Jalal, right, with Ali Asani

      Jalal, right, with Ali Asani

      On Wednesday, December 3, renowned Pakistani historian Professor Ayesha Jalal of Tufts University, spoke about her new book The Struggle for Pakistan at a SAI Book Talk. Jalal highlighted the need for a comprehensive historical interpretation of Pakistan’s narrative and encouraged members of the audience to view the history of the country through a geopolitical lens rather than a religious one.

      The event was moderated by Professor Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Atiya Khan, South Asia Institute Aman Fellow, also participated as a discussant.

      Professor Jalal started off her talk by briefly touching upon the creation of Pakistan and argued that the theory of it being created was fallacious. The young state faced many problems, including the passing away of its founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and shortly after the assassination of its premier, Liaquat Ali Khan, which made the situation worse. In 1951, due to the Cold War and the regional dispute with India over Kashmir gaining eminence, the Pakistani military started coming to power.

      After this brief overview of the circumstances leading to the creation of Pakistan and leading to the rise of a powerful military, Professor Jalal then went on to interpret the 1971 separation of East Pakistan. She made the case that the context in 1971 was a mirror image of that in 1947, as it was all about power sharing.

      Atiya Khan, SAI Aman Fellow

      Atiya Khan, SAI Aman Fellow

      Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, then premier of Pakistan, declared Bengali demands to be legitimate, and conversely, the Bengalis, while intending to claim their power, did not want to quit Pakistan. However, during negotiations between the two parties, the Pakistani army intervened and in the war that followed, committed many atrocities.

      Following the separation of East Pakistan, Professor Jalal credited Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for being the architect of many key elements of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Not only did he endorse relations with China, he was also the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. However, the programme needed money and so Bhutto turned to the Arab petro-dollars. This move was capitalized on by the religious parties, who pushed Bhutto to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims.Professor Jalal then highlighted the transformation of Pakistan under the Zia regime, where it went from a moderate state to becoming a hot bed of nefarious religious thinking. She argued that the Soviet war in Afghanistan was the start of anti-Americanism in Pakistan and for the Pakistani military, served as a cash cow. The regime also resulted in Islamization which decreased Zia’s popularity and was ferociously opposed by many including women’s rights groups and other famous poets such as Habib Jalib.

      SAI Book Talk on Pakistan

      Lastly, Professor Jalal commented on the current political dynamics in Pakistan, by stating that the elections of 2013 were an important hallmark in the country as not only did they mark the first democratic transition, but they also were a warning from people to all political parties that if they did not deliver, they would be voted out. Highlighting the largest voter turnout in the country ever in the face of Talibanization, Professor Jalal credited the people of Pakistan for having extraordinary resilience.

      To conclude, Professor Jalal stated that if Pakistan had recognized regional demands, it would have been more successful in curbing militancy. She further pointed out the decline in military prestige due to ground lost to militants and suggested that it would take years of unbroken democratic processes to fix the system.
      The book talk was followed with questions by Atiya Khan, which proved to be even more enlightening for participants and sparked discussions about the future of Pakistan.

       

      Tweets from the event:

       

       

        2015 Student Winter Grant Recipients

        SAI has awarded 18 grants to support undergraduate and graduate student projects over the Winter Session in January, 2015. These include 6 undergraduates and 12 graduate students who will be traveling to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka for research and internships.

        The projects cover topics from many disciplines, for example: Using microfinance to alleviate poverty, sustainable housing, the “Islamization” of Divorce Law in Pakistan, vernacular literature of Indian Christians, changing education in the third world countries using cheap computing devices, and internships at health ministries in Sri Lanka.

        Graduate Students

        Arthur  Bauer, MPA-ID, Harvard Kennedy School
        Assessing microfinance’s effectiveness in alleviating poverty, India

        Jeffrey Bryant, MPP/MBA, Harvard Kennedy School/Harvard Business School
        January Term Research Position with HKS Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) India Team, India

        Ishani Desai, MPA-ID, Harvard Kennedy School
        Understanding the factors that influence adoption: A study on menstrual practices and sanitary pad adoption in Gujarat, India

        Hardeep Dhillon, PhD, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
        Research project seeks to retrieve the history of the women’s movement in the 1970’s through the collection of oral histories. Following the guidelines established by the Oral History Association, Dhillon intends to interview prominent members of the 1970’s women’s movement, India

        Joshua Ehrlich, History, PhD, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
        The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge, 1772-1835, India

        Michael Haggerty, M.Arch 1, Graduate School of Design
        Vernacular Construction for Urban Housing: New Structures for Architectural Practice to Deliver Sustainable Housing in Bangladesh

        Madiha Irfan, MTS. Harvard Divinity School
        Debates over the “Islamization” of Divorce Law in Pakistan

        Rakesh Peter Dass, Th.D., Harvard Divinity School
        Why Hindi? Translation Choices and Vernacular Literature Among Indian Christians, India

        Jonathan Phillips, PhD,Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
        Who Implements Programmatic Education Policies? Researching Surprising Patterns in Indian States, India

        Sarika Ringwala, PhD in Public Policy
        Empowering Citizens Through Service Delivery Reforms, India

        Divya Sooryakumar, Ed. M, Harvard Graduate School of Education
        Creating an SMS-based solution to an information gap for mothersto enhance their early childhood education and development practices for infants through the first 3 years of their lives, India

        Hector Tarrido Picart, MAUD & MLA, Graduate School of Design
        Remote Sensing Mumbai, India

        Maria Qazi, MPA-ID, Harvard Kennedy School
        Social protection and state legitimacy – the Case of Benazir Income Support Program

         

        Undergraduates

        Chesley Ekelem, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Health Policy, Harvard College ‘16
        Internship with St. Jude ChildCare Centres, Mumbai, India

        Angela Leocata, Harvard College ’18
        Little Stars Internship to Develop English and Writing Program, Varanasi, India

        Fei (Michelle) Lin, Human Developmental and Regenerative Bio, Harvard College ‘17
        Internship at Heal Asia’s inaugural project – Sri Lanka Medical Relief Program, Sri Lanka Ministry of Health, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

        Jacqueline Ma, Human Developmental and Regenerative Bio and East Asian Studies, Harvard College ’16
        Internship at HealAsia, Sri Lanka Ministry of Health, Colombo, Sri Lanka

        Tarik Adnan Moon, Mathematics and Computer Science, Harvard College ‘15
        Research on changing education in the third world countries using cheap computing devices, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Ishani Premaratne, Anthropology and Health Policy, Harvard College ’15
        Work on GrowLanka and completion of partnership with Sri Lankan Youth Ministry, Vavuniya, Sri Lanka

         

        Read the SAI 2014 Student Grant Report

          SAI Fellowships

          SAI offers three opportunities for scholars and practitioners to continue their research at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

          Fellows are expected to reside in the Cambridge vicinity during the time of their award and to actively participate in the events and intellectual life of the Institute. Fellows are also expected to contribute to the greater Harvard community by teaching, mentoring, or advising students. In addition to the stipend, fellows are provided with health insurance, as well as transportation costs for those traveling from South Asia to Cambridge.

          Aman Fellowship

          SAI offers three opportunities for scholars and practitioners to continue their research at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Fellows are expected to reside in the Cambridge vicinity during the time of their award and to actively participate in the events and intellectual life of the Institute. Fellows are also expected to contribute to the greater Harvard community by teaching, mentoring, or advising students. In addition to the stipend, fellows are provided with health insurance, as well as transportation costs for those traveling from South Asia to Cambridge.
          Total stipend for one term: $20,000

          Babar Ali Fellowship

          The Babar Ali Fellowship supports recent PhDs, those in the final stages of their PhDs, and advanced professional degree holders in areas related to Pakistan.
          Priority will be given to candidates who demonstrate prior educational history that has taken place largely in Pakistan, and plan to return to Pakistan upon completion of the fellowship.
          Total stipend for one term: $20,000

          South Asian Studies Fellowship

          The South Asian Studies Fellowship supports recent PhDs in the humanities and social sciences related to South Asia. Research topics can cover any period of South Asian history or contemporary South Asia. Candidates must be able to provide evidence of successful completion of their PhD by June of the year of appointment and may not be more than five years beyond the receipt of PhD.
          Total stipend for one year: $40,000

          Deadline: January 15, 2015 for Academic Year 2015-2016

          News about SAI’s Fellows.

           

          Reflections from SAI Fellows:

          “The Aman Fellowship provided me an opportunity to take advantage of Harvard’s resources for my research and to connect with leading academics and researchers in the world. I discovered new avenues for my research and I will be following these leads in my academic career. I also used this opportunity to develop and submit different proposals for my future research projects in Pakistan and abroad.”

          -Muhammad Zahir, SAI Aman Fellow, Spring 2014

          “The fellowship gave me the the chance to get involved with different types of discourse on South Asia.”

          -Shankar Ramaswami, SAI South Asian Studies Fellow, 2013-2014

          “A number of my friends who were involved in environmentalist NGOs in India were talking about the new Forest Rights Act, and I decided to focus on it for my dissertation. And it’s that work on this law, and the movements that helped pass it, and the groups now involved in organizing people to claim land rights through it, that I wrote my dissertation on, and it’s that work that I am continuing right now at the South Asia Institute. I’m writing articles based on the research I did for my PhD, and I’m beginning my book manuscript”

          - Anand Vaidya, current SAI South Asian Studies Fellow, 2014-2015

            Mass casualty triage

            Mass casualty incidents, from terrorist attacks, floodings, earthquakes to bus accidents, are chaotic. With proper knowledge about the principles of triage, even those with no medical training can help.

            Mass casualty triage was the topic of SAI’s second webinar of the semester, on Nov. 19, on disaster management with Dr. Usha Periyanayagam (@uperiy), MD, MPH, International Emergency Medicine Fellow, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Harvard Medical School.

            Eight universities from three countries in South Asia participated in the interactive session, using videoconference software provided by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), with a participation of around 100 students in South Asia, with many more watching online.

            Watch the presentation.

            Dr. Periyanayagam has worked with SAI and the Aman Foundation to improve disaster response in Karachi, and has extensive experience in emergency settings around the world.

            During the webinar, Dr. Periyanayagam explained that “triage” is not treatment – it is a method of sorting injured people and deciding who gets treatment first. “The goal of triage is doing the greatest good for the greatest number – it’s not doing everything you can for every patient,” Dr. Periyanayagam explained. She cited the 2013 Boston marathon bombing as an example of triage working correctly – of the 250 who were injured, no one who was transported to hospital died.

            In many places in the developing world, including South Asia, inefficient triage can lead to patients dying who could have otherwise been saved. For example, if someone is slightly injured but is still able to yell and talk, they are sometimes the first taken to the hospital because they are persistent. With proper triage, they should be the last treated – those who are most injured are the ones who can not vocalize that they need help.

            For people with no medical training, Dr. Periyanayagam explained that there are four main questions that should be used to evaluate each injured person:

            1. Can they walk? Anyone who is able to walk on their own should be separated from the more seriously injured.
            2. Can they breathe? Ask people if they need help, and anyone who can yell or scream is able to breathe sufficiently.
            3. Do they have a pulse? Another useful tip is to test their capillary refill – if you press on their skin and the color does not quickly go back to normal, they are seriously injured.
            4. Can they follow commands? Whether or not they are following instructions is an indicator of their mental state.

            After a 15-30 second evaluation for each injured person using the questions above, Dr. Periyanayagam explained the process of color coding the injured. It is important to keep groups separate if possible to prevent confusion. The injured should be split in to four color categories, which will indicate how quickly they should get to a hospital:

            1. Black: Dead or unsalvageable, and will be brought to the morgue.
            2. Red: In need of immediate treatment, and will go to a hospital first. Red patients have abnormal breathing, pulse, and mental status.
            3. Yellow: Will receive delayed treatment. They have normal breathing, normal cap refill, and normal mental status.
            4. Green: Anyone who is wounded but walking – they should go to a clinic or somewhere other than hospital.

            Dr. Periyanayagam also shared some tips for treating patients in the field even if you do not have a medical background. Controlling hemorrhage should be the first task, since loss of blood frequently leads to death for trauma patients.

            First, pressure should be applied to the site that is bleeding, even if it causes pain. Dr. Periyanayagam said that many people make the mistake of not pressing hard enough because it pains the patient. Next, the bleeding body part can be lifted above the heart, which can help stop the bleeding.

            Dr. Periyanayagam explained that tourniquets should be used only if all other attempts to control bleeding has failed. A tourniquet is a device used to stop bleeding by tying something tight above the injured body part, but can be dangerous and can cause damage. A tourniquet can be made with what is available, for example a scarf or belt, and should not be used for more than 90 minutes, or the result can be permanent damage.

            Spinal immobilization is also important to make sure that a person is not paralyzed. Dr. Periyanayagam explained that it is important that the injured cannot turn their back or neck, so use anything you have available to immobilize them – for example, two shoes taped around the head. A splint can also be made using available materials, to set a broken leg or arm.

            The webinar was a valuable instructional tool in the principles of triage, that should be widely known to everyone, even those not in the medical community. “Doing something is still better than doing nothing,” Dr. Periyanayagam said, in situations with mass casualties.

            Students and faculty at participating universities had the opportunity to ask Dr. Periyanayagam questions directly during the webinar, as well as on social media. (See the conversation on Twitter here). Participating universities included Christ University in Bangalore, India, De La Salle University, Manila, Phillippines, and several universities from all over Pakistan.

            The next webinar is TBD. Please check our website for updates. We will be adding more resources to our website in the future.

            Watch the full presentation

            Learn more about SAI Webinars

            Webinar on Incident Command

              2014 Student Grant Report

              SAI offers research and internship grants to Harvard graduate students and Harvard college undergraduate students (freshmen, sophomores, and juniors) to be used during the summer and winter sessions.

              In 2014, SAI awarded 46 grants to students to do a variety internships and research projects in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Grant recipients represent the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, College, Graduate School of Design, Divinity School, Kennedy School, Medical School, and School of Public Health.

              In the SAI 2014 Grant Report, students reflect on their experience and what they learned.

              Examples of testimonials:

              “I can confidently say that this internship has brought me a long away, from my theoretical conception of environmental policy from Harvard courses, with a deeper understanding of the profession,  practice, and substance of environmental law and policy.”

              -Sabrina Ghouse, Social Studies & Environment, Harvard College 2015; Internship with United Nations Development Programme

              “My visit has allowed me to think more broadly about the relationship between private enterprise and urban planning and design in the context of developing countries.”

              -Justin D. Stern, PhD Candidate, Architecture & Urban Planning, Graduate School of Design; Research: Between Industrialization and Urban Planning: Tata Steel and the Two Faces of Jamshedpur

              “What was originally meant to be a preliminary research trip, morphed into a rather substantial research, far exceeding my expectations.”

              -Lydia Walker, PhD Candidate, Department of History, GSAS; National Separatist Movements in the Early 1960s in South Asia and Southern Africa

              “When my friends and coworkers asked me why I was so delighted to be in the city despite the monstrous heat, I’d say in absolute earnest that I have a big crush on Delhi: on its long afternoons working out some idea for a paper with friends over chai; on its lecture- and music- and addafilled evenings. I hope to return to Delhi after graduation for continued study and research”

              -Reina Gattuso, Literature and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard College 2015; Lokniti Program, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

              “Working with my other lab members, I was able to learn about science and the culture of India simultaneously. In between performing behavioral tests and analyzing our data, we would chitchat about everything from the must-see attractions in India to the country’s education system.”

              -Jacqueline Ma, Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology, Harvard College 2016; Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

              Spending a summer exploring the educational system in India was both sobering and enlightening. Nevertheless, every experience reinforced the importance of education.”

              -Sara Melissa Theiss, Psychology, Harvard College 2015, Prasad Fellow; VidyaGyan Leadership Academy, Uttar Pradesh

              “Although the summer is indeed a very hot time in Delhi and not the most comfortable period of the year to reside there, this summer confirmed my belief that the city is a growing hub of intellectual activity and energy… An entire scholarly community from around the world descends upon Delhi during this time. I had the opportunity engage with and be part of this group, and I am extremely grateful.”

              -Madhav Khosla, PhD Candidate, Department of Government; Centre for Policy Research, Delhi

              “While both of us have worked in India before, this was also the first time we had run our own survey. We became very aware of all of the things, small and large, that can go wrong when doing fieldwork. The grant from SAI gave us the opportunity to run a small pilot survey that gave us the experience we needed so that our future surveys are run more smoothly.”

              -Heather Sarsons, PhD Candidate, Department of Economics, GSAS; Dowry Payments and Female Welfare in India

               

              Click here to read the full report.

               

              Summer Grant Applications Deadlines:
              All Graduate Grant Applications: February 13, 2015
              All Undergraduate Grant Applications: February 9, 2015

                Progressive politics in Pakistan: Q+A with Atiya Khan

                Atiya Khan, SAI’s Aman Fellow for the 2014 fall semester, is a historian of Modern South Asia and through her research, aims to recover the untold story of progressive politics in Pakistan.

                Khan will lead a seminar at Harvard on Friday, Nov. 7, titled ‘Dictatorship and Development: The Dilemma of the Left in Pakistan, 1950s-1960s.’

                SAI recently talked to Khan about her research on Pakistan’s Leftist movement, how the Left has failed internationally, and why Pakistan seems to “always be in some kind of crisis.”

                SAI: What compelled you to study Pakistani politics from a historical perspective?

                Atiya Khan:  Growing up in Pakistan, it was frustrating that basic civil liberties were curtailed. As a young adult, I often wondered: Why was Pakistan always in some kind of crisis? How could one account for the difficulties of democracy in Pakistan? How might we ground our understanding of these difficulties through an investigation of the past?

                These were the questions that compelled me to study Pakistan. While historians and political scientists have provided accounts for the crisis of democracy in Pakistan, they tend to emphasize the role of the military-bureaucracy nexus that was inherited by the British and how this inheritance impeded the growth of democratic institutions. I adopted a different approach by examining the failure of democracy in Pakistan from the standpoint of the failure of the Left.

                It was the Left, after all, that took upon itself the task of vitalizing democracy in Pakistan. Various left-wing figures and organizations staked a claim to that political responsibility. In a certain sense, taking their claim seriously is the point of departure for my interpretation of Pakistan’s history.

                In my work, I trace the failure of the democratic Left since the inception of Pakistan in 1947 through the collapse of leftist politics in the wake of the Bangladesh War of 1971. What this history uncovers is the way in which the Left student and labor movements in Pakistan balked at forming a democratic government when the opportunity presented itself. Instead, various leftist groups lent organizational support to their opponents and helped them attain political objectives that were opposed to their own.  The disorientation and unwitting self-betrayals of the Left during this period complicate the question of what “the Left” actually is, and what it stood for, in the first place.

                SAI: Why do you think it is that the Leftists failed in Pakistan?

                AK: The history of the Left is perplexing in that, in retrospect, it appears to be a history of failure. Before elaborating on the failure of the Left in Pakistan, it is important to understand the failure of the international Left, which has ensued since the collapse of the Russian Revolution culminating in the rise of Stalinized communism. This meant that the Left abdicated from advancing the project of international socialism and came to bind itself, however unwittingly, to a politics narrowly focused on national demands. The Left in Pakistan was constituted in the context of this historical shift and was unable to chart an independent course of political leadership, even though it had a great deal of popular support.

                There are several reasons as to why the Left failed to assert itself. The explanation many offered at the time, and some still do today, is that the Left was simply overwhelmed by the repressive measures of the government, and this made it very difficult for its organizations to operate. That may be, and I am not dismissing the fact that the Left had to operate in adverse conditions, but this does not explain how or why the Left seemed to disintegrate during, or just following, those potentially opportune moments in which the government was in crisis and thus relatively weak.

                In my view, the Left ultimately failed because, at critical moments, it proved unable to distinguish itself from other political tendencies, and thereby incorporated its own political vision to the initiatives of Islamic groups and conservative nationalist parties.

                SAI: What is the status of the Left in Pakistan now?

                AK: In contemporary Pakistan the Left does not exist in a meaningful way. Although there has been a resurgence of leftist parties and groups, what does it even mean to call oneself leftist when internationally the Left has long been in disarray, if not decay? What does it mean to be on the Left today when, with the exception of occasional and short-lived outbursts, progressive movements have been in retreat since the 1970s globally? The Left internationally is in crisis and Pakistan expresses this predicament acutely.

                SAI: What is the significance of the rise of Islamic militancy in Pakistan?

                AK: One may argue that Pakistan was never really free of the shadow cast by Islam on politics. Conservatives and leftists alike flirted with the strategy of politicizing Islam; many attempted to blend the precepts of Islam with socialism and democracy. But the rise of Islamic militancy is specific to the context of the 1980s when, under General Zia ul Haq’s project of Islamization, Pakistan became involved in the proxy war in Afghanistan. This was an outcome of the earlier political defeats of the Left that created space for a militant Islamic populism, which thwarted the already frail prospects for meaningful democracy in Pakistan.

                SAI: Why is it important for you to take a historical view of Pakistan, rather than a political science approach?

                AK: The problem of freedom in history makes history a worthwhile subject. Whereas the discipline of political science is more oriented toward a quantitative framework, history allows us to make sense of the present in relation to the past. Although the discipline of history is driven by empiricism, history more directly poses the problem of freedom in terms of the necessity, and perhaps non-necessity, of the present.

                In the case of Pakistan, one wonders about the diminished possibilities of restoring democracy. We can account for that by understanding the failure of the progressive energies in an earlier era, the 1960s. If the dialectical force of history is kept in tension, it can allow us to transcend the realm of “what is,” and push us to contend with the question, “what could be.”

                SAI: Are there any other Leftist movements that inform your understanding of Pakistan?

                AK: My interest and understanding of the Left in Pakistan stemmed from my interest in Marx and the history of international Marxism. The twentieth century is both fascinating and tragic: fascinating because it witnessed the rise of the vibrant Left internationally, and tragic because it is clearly marked by the defeats of the Left. The Left in Pakistan was not immune from the setbacks experienced by the international Left, and so the decline of progressive politics in Pakistan becomes clearer when we consider the state of the Left globally.

                SAI: Can you talk more about your next project?

                AK: I am moving toward a comparative research project that will examine the decline of progressive politics in places where it was once vital, such as the Middle East. The idea is to undertake a comparative analysis between Pakistan or South Asia at large and the Middle East, countries such as Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Syria. These are areas in which the socialist left once had a strong presence, but today are in the grip of extreme Islamist forces. The comparative dimension of my project is an attempt to construct a more adequately transnational history of the democratic left, which shared a specific understanding of democracy and social transformation.

                SAI: Does the Left have any success stories?

                AK: This is an interesting question. At face value, it may appear that the Left met with success in some countries such as Cuba, China, or even in India, where it had maintained a parliamentary presence. However, from the standpoint of socialism, which was after all the banner under which the revolutions in Cuba and China materialized, can we interpret this as success?

                This question, in a sense, goes back to the issue of historical shifts in the international Left, whereby it became bound up with the demands of nationalist politics rather than pushing its politics beyond the national framework and striving to overcome its present context. The Left has to learn to advance on the basis of its failures. This is, of course, difficult to think about because the means and resources are so scarce for meaningful political struggle undertaken by revolutionaries with emancipatory intent.

                But even the current inopportune situation might offer the occasion to reflect on the mistakes made as well as to think about politics in its various aspects. How does one deal with failure? There aren’t going to be immediate successes. That is why the notion of defeat has, in fact, always been central to the history of the Left.

                 Khan will lead a SAI seminar at Harvard on Nov. 7, titled ‘Dictatorship and Development: The Dilemma of the Left in Pakistan, 1950s-1960s.’

                 

                  Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai win Nobel Peace Prize

                  The Harvard South Asia Institute is thrilled to hear the news that Kailash Satyarthi of India and Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 for their incredible efforts in improving the lives of children worldwide.

                  Kailash Satyarthi has followed in Gandhi’s footsteps in promoting peaceful and nonviolent means to ending the grave exploitation of children and promoting children’s rights. Malala Yousafzai became an international spokesperson for the right of girls to education after being shot by the Taliban.

                  “We should, in our own small way as the South Asia Institute, capitalize on the attention towards these important social issues that these Peace Prize awards will generate,” said Tarun Khanna, Director of SAI and Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School. ”SAI does a lot of work on gender-related issues, and increasingly on education of children, and it behooves us to redouble those efforts.”

                   

                  Jacqueline Bhabha

                  SAI spoke with Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB Director of Research, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, whose own research focuses on human rights, trafficking, and gender in South Asia, on the significance of the awards.

                  SAI: What do you think stands out about the work that these two figures have done, that got the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee?

                  Jacqueline Bhabha: I think what’s really interesting is that on the one hand you have somebody [Satyarthi] who is a mature, seasoned human rights activist, who is well known to people working on child labor, and child exploitation for decades, and has really been in the trenches and has taken enormous personal risk and sacrifices to carry on the work he has done with a range of different strategies: working with trade unions, mentoring children, and using the courts. He has been a tremendously creative and inventive human rights advocate.

                  And on the other hand you have this young teenager [Yousafzai] who shows incredible personal courage in one extraordinary incident, and has built on that to make quite a focused campaign on gender and education. So there is an interesting contrast in strategy, skill sets, and experience. But in both cases, clearly, what the Nobel committee was struck by was the vision and courage of two very different individuals.

                  SAI: What do you see as the significance of giving the award to both an Indian and a Pakistani at the same time?

                  JB: It’s interesting, in that it draws attention to South Asia, which is a critical hotspot for children’s rights, which is important, even though issues of infant mortality and morbidity are very much widely spread –  plus, incidents of child rights abuses happen everywhere, South Asia is a particularly dark spot when we look at child labor, child marriage, and sexual slavery. So I think drawing attention to the continent rather than one country is interesting.

                  However, there is nothing quintessential about South Asia which says this region has to be mired in child rights abuses. Bangladesh has made enormous progress as a poorer country with very complicated political history and lots of natural disasters, yet has made progress on both child labor and girl’s education, and has made dramatic strives compared to India and Pakistan. So I think that’s a point worth making, that even though South Asia is a very dark spot globally, there are little tiny pockets within South Asia of very good practices.

                  SAI: Will this award help in bringing attention to these issues in South Asia, and worldwide?

                  JB: Absolutely. I do think it will do that for both the Indian and Pakistani government, but more generally, it will really draw attention to the pervasive reality of crimes against children.

                  I think one other point that’s worth making is that in a way, Kailesh and Malala represent two points of extreme on the spectrum. One of them draws attention to one of the worst abuses, and a lot of [Kailash’s work] in rescuing children from slavery really brought attention to the endemic nature of these kinds of violations. On the other hand, Malala represents the critical preventative strategy for trafficking, which is education – the best way of addressing the poverty, destitution and entrapment of children – through enhancing their education to help them escape from illiteracy and exploitation. So the two different awards really cover the spectrum.

                  SAI: How do you see the work that they are doing possibly translated outside of South Asia, to other countries?

                  JB: I think these examples are much broader than their relevant countries. Both these people have a global significance, and I think the strategies in countering child labor, for example, thinking about rescuing, thinking about organizing, thinking about globalization of workers, are strategies that have been adopted by countries in Latin America. I think the whole connection between gender and education is something that also is worth thinking about much more broadly.

                  I think this [award] is something that advocates can use and I think that politicians will have to pay attention to.

                  SAI: Malala was already such an international figure in the media, but Kailash wasn’t as widely known. Do you think this award the potential to catapult his platform to the forefront?

                  JB: Of course. It happened with Shirin Ebadi years ago, the Iranian peace laureate, when no one outside of Iran had really heard of her work. Then, it became a flashpoint of people talking about human right violations in Iran, and persecution in Iran. Although some of us have followed Kailash’s work for decades, he wasn’t as much of a household name as Malala. This will certainly be something that will raise his profile and the many different strategies he has used to address child labor.

                  This interview has been edited lightly for clarity and length.  

                    Responding to disasters

                    Dr. D’Andrea, right, interacts with universities in South Asia

                    South Asia is particularly vulnerable to disasters, from terrorist attacks, to floodings, to earthquakes that can affect large populations. In order to address these humanitarian crises, the fundamentals of mass casualty management are critical. 

                    On Wednesday, October 1, SAI hosted its first webinar of the semester on disaster management with Shawn D’Andrea, MD, MPH, Instructor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. With the support of SAI and the Aman Foundation, Dr. D’Andrea has been working on a project in Karachi, improving mass casualty response and disaster response for first responders, and developing hospital leadership.

                    Using videoconference software provided by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), the interactive session included participation from five universities, in South Asia, allowing around 250 students and administrators in the region to interact directly with Dr. Andrea about the fundamentals of Incident Command.

                    An Incident Command System (ICS) is, by definition, “a tool used for the command, control, and coordination of emergency response.” Further, it is “a set of personnel, policies, procedures, facilities, and equipment, integrated into a common organizational structure designed to improve emergency response operations of all types and complexities.”

                    An example of an Incident Command hierarchy

                    ICS allows individuals from different organizations to work together when responding to a disaster. Dr. D’Andrea explained that ICS has a lot in common with the military, and it is based on a hierarchy. The system is used to prepare for planned events as well as unplanned disasters.

                    For example, Boston had an elaborate incident command system in place before the Marathon bombings of 2013. Dr. D’Andrea explained that understanding the concept is important even for those not in the medical community, in order to build awareness about what a a government’s response will be to a disaster.

                    “But a short conversation can change that. Discussions like these [the webinar], and whatever can be done at the university level, to make the public or the students know what the authorities will do in an event of disaster response, will help the broader public understand how the disaster is managed.”

                    A key concept is the designation of an incident commander at the top of the hierarchy who makes decisions and coordinates the response of many individuals. The incident commander is not always necessarily the most senior individual; whoever is the most highly qualified and trained in disaster response would take this role.

                    Throughout the presentation, Dr. D’Andrea shared real world examples of disasters, both natural and man-made, that can serve as lessons for disaster response, including the Boston Marathon Bombings, flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a building collapse in New York, and bombings in Pakistan.

                    In his presentation, Dr. D’Andrea shared the key concepts of ICS:

                    • Unity of command: Each individual answers only to one supervisor, which decreases confusion with orders and increases accountability.
                    • Common vocabulary: Allows individuals from different agencies to communicate effectively and minimizes confusion and miscommunication. The common language should rely on clear text, not radio codes, organization-specific codes, or terminology.
                    • Flexible organization: The hierarchy should be adaptable based on the scale of the situation. The principles will be the same, but will fit the needs of the disaster. The system does not necessarily need to rely on advanced technology; it can be implemented based on resources available.
                    • Span of control: The person in control only directs the actions of a limited number of people, ideally five, which limits distractions and allows individuals to focus on their specific task.
                    • Management by Objective: The response operations should be organized around specific objectives, and these objectives should be prioritized.

                    The interest of the participants was evident during the webinar, as students and administrators in South Asia asked follow up questions about the presentation, which contributed to a dynamic and lively discussion with Dr. D’Andrea. Questions were also submitted on social media. The session demonstrated how a webinar like this one is a vital tool in the exchange and generation of knowledge.

                    “I think universities play an important and unique role, which is to bring these principles, which can be a bit challenging and unusual initially, and demystify them and bring them to a broader public,” Dr. D’Andrea explained. “I think the best way for that to happen is through discussion like this, and also through local experts who are doing work on the ground already. Universities are great environments to share this information.”

                    Participating universities included Kinnaird College For Women, Lahore, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, University of Peshawar and the Centre for Disaster Preparedness and Management, University of Haripur, and NED University, Karachi. Not only did the sessionas allow these schools to interact with Harvard, they were able to interact with each other. The discussion was moderated by Erum Sattar, SJD Candidate, Harvard Law School.

                    The next webinar will take place on November 19, on the topic of Mass Casualty Triage with Usha Periyanayagam, MD.

                    Resources:

                    Full recording of the webinar (starting at 22:00)

                    FEMA National Preparedness Directorate National Training and Education

                    First Response Initiative of Pakistan

                    SAI Webinars

                      Fall Webinars: Disaster Management

                      Join the South Asia Institute for three interactive webinar events with Harvard University Fellows on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.

                       

                      South Asia is particularly vulnerable to disasters, from terrorist attacks, to floodings, to earthquakes that can affect large populations. In order to address these humanitarian crises, the fundamentals of mass casualty management are critical.These interactive webinars will highlight the work being done to systematically improve the response to emergencies in urban settings.

                      How to participate:

                      PREPARE: Visit SAI’s website to find articles and readings to prepare for the webinars.
                      WATCH: One the day of the webinar, watch live on SAI’s website
                      INTERACT: Tweet your questions and join the conversation on Facebook

                      Twitter: @HarvardSAI, #SAIWebinar
                      Facebook: Harvard SAI
                      Web: southasiainstitute.harvard.edu
                      Email: sainit@fas.harvard.edu


                      INCIDENT COMMAND
                      Wednesday, October 1
                      Shawn D’Andrea, MDInstructor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Fellow, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
                      This seminar will teach incident command, which is a simple organizational structure that allows a coordinated thoughtful response when the needs of the crisis overwhelm the resources.
                      8:30 AM in Cambridge, 5:30 PM in Pakistan, 6 PM in India, 6:30 PM in Sri Lanka & Bangladesh

                      MASS CASUALTY TRIAGE
                      Wednesday, November 19
                      Usha Periyanayagam, MD, International Emergency Medicine Fellow, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Harvard Medical School
                      When there are many injured people in an incident, non-medical personal might be needed to begin care of patients. This seminar will teach triage, a simple way to determine the priority of patient treatment, and the basics of treatment of patients.
                      8:30 AM in Cambridge, 6:30 PM in Pakistan, 7 PM in India, 7:30 PM in Sri Lanka, & Bangladesh (* Please note the time variation due to US Daylight Saving Time)

                       

                      PLANNING AND PREPAREDNESS
                      Date/Time TBD
                      Mass casualty responses work best when there is a well-rehearsed plan. This seminar will cover planning for a disaster, preparatory drills, and debriefing, drawing from the experience of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

                       

                       

                      If your school or organization has video conferencing capabilities and you would like to host a site for this webinar, email us! Host sites will have the opportunity to ask the professors questions in real time. We welcome participation of sites throughout South Asia.

                      Made possible with generous support from the Pakistan Higher Education Commission.

                        Update from Rabtt: Summer Report 2014

                        Rabtt was awarded a SAI Omidyar Grant for Entrepreneurship in 2013, an award given to students who wish to pursue projects that provide entrepreneurial solutions to social and economic problems in South Asia. The grant was awarded to: Saniya Ansar, Harvard Kennedy School, Asad Husain, Harvard Business School, Nora Elsheikh, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Haider Raza, Harvard Kennedy School, and Imran Sarwar, Harvard Kennedy School.

                        Rabtt operates in public schools as well as private schools in Pakistan, working to improve three core competencies among students: critical thinking, tolerance, and creativity.

                        Read more about what they are up to this summer on SAI’s Summer Blog.

                         

                         

                        Connect. Educate. Evolve – A Story of Rabtt from Rabtt Official on Vimeo.

                          Call for Papers: Pakistan Heritage

                          Call for Papers: Pakistan Heritage (First Circular)

                          Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan

                          Department of Archaeology, School of Cultural Heritage and Creative Technologies

                          August 7, 2014

                          Pakistan  Heritage  is  a  research  journal  of  the  Department  of  Archaeology,  School  of  Cultural  Heritage  and  Creative  Technologies,  Hazara  University,  Mansehra, Pakistan  and  is  jointly  edited  by  professionals  from Hazara  University  and  School  of  Archaeology  and  Ancient  History,  University  of  Leicester,  United  Kingdom.

                          This  recently  established  journal  focuses  on  current  issues  and  research  in  the  fields  of  archaeology,  cultural  heritage  management,  museum  and  conservation  studies in Pakistan  and  South  Asia.  It  is  published  annually,  and  to  date  four  volumes  have  been  produced.  As  part  of  our  long–‐term  policy,  we  are  in  the  process  of publishing  the  journal  online  (and  free  of  cost)  alongside  the  print  version.  Pakistan  Heritage  boasts  one  of  the  most  distinguished  editorial  boards  for  journals published  in  this  region.

                          As  editors  and  board  members,  we  are  committed  to  a  double  blind  peer-review  process,  with  a  transparent  reviewing  and  selection  policy.  We  are  aiming  for highest publication  standards  and  ethics,  and  have  zero  tolerance  to  plagiarism  (including  self–‐plagiarism).  We  would  expose  all  submitted  papers  to  anti- and  reviewers.  We work  from  our  reviewers  comments  (which  are  communicated  to  the  author(s)  for  inclusions)  and  decisions  (e.g.  out-right  rejection).  Needless  to  mention  that  all  our reviewers  are  from  outside  Pakistan.

                          We  are  now  in  the  process  of  accepting  papers  for  volume  5  of  Pakistan  Heritage  and  are  aiming  to  publish  this  volume  by  December  2014.  We  are  looking  for  8-12 high  quality  research  papers  of  6000  – 8000  words  (in  MS  Word)  and  would  generally  accommodate  6 -8  illustrations/maps/photos  per  paper.  We  will  also  accept  short fieldwork  reports  of  3000  words with  up  to  5  high  quality  illustrations.

                          We  shall  be  very  much  thankful  to  you  if  you  could  kindly  submit  a  paper  to  our  upcoming  volume  5.

                          We  would  also  appreciate  if  you  could  widely  circulate  this  in  your  respective  peer  groups  and  on  relevant  public  forums.  Sincerely,  Editors  [Ruth  Young  (University of  Leicester)  and  Muhammad  Zahir  (Hazara University)]  and  Associate  Editor  [Shakirullah  (Hazara  University)]

                          Official  Email:  ph@hu.edu.pk

                            Postsecondary education in South Asia: Q+A with SAI’s Research Affiliate Mumtaz Anwar

                            Mumtaz Anwar

                            During his time as a SAI Research Affiliate, Mumtaz Anwar has used Harvard’s resources to develop his research on the expansion of postsecondary education in South Asia, and he has attended classes, lectures, and conferences that have opened his eyes to new forms of learning.

                            SAI’s research affiliate program brings researchers and faculty to Harvard each year whose area of interest is South Asia. Anwar is under the mentorship of Asim Khwaja, Sumitomo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development, Harvard Kennedy School, while at Harvard, and he is also a research fellow at Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI), Germany, along with his permanent position of assistant professor in the Department of Economics, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

                            SAI recently talked to Anwar to learn about the progress he has made on his research while at Harvard:

                            Q: Can you talk a little bit about your research and what you’ve been doing while at Harvard?

                            Mumtaz Anwar: I am working on two issues here. One is expansion of postsecondary education in South Asia and developing countries. There has been a lot of expansion in postsecondary education in all developing countries in last two decades, and I am focusing mostly on South Asia and Pakistan.  For example, in Pakistan, in 2002, there were only 35 public and private sector universities, now there are nearly 200. So there has been a lot of expansion in postsecondary education. First off, what I’m looking at is what are the determinants; whether it is due to economic expansion; whether it is due to social pressure; whether it is due to more young people coming in; and some political factors as well. Secondly, while a lot of expansion has happened in the last 2 decades, at the same time there are a lot of quality problems coming in. There are a number of students who couldn’t be admitted to universities before, but are now coming in with easy admissions into the universities and higher education institutions, which needs analysis.

                            Anwar, left, with Asim Khwaja

                            The second aspect which I am working on is the relationship of higher education with the job market. For example, look at the Middle East, A lot of people are saying that the Arab uprising is due to a problem where young people have education, but they are not getting jobs. So what I am looking at in South Asia is that how in Pakistan, where 65 percent of the population is composed of young people, this issue can be addressed. So if they are going into post-secondary education, what will happen with them after? Will they be able to find jobs? Will they get a job according to their degree and qualifications? The problem is that people may be getting jobs, but these jobs are not according to their qualification and experience. So instead of getting out of the poverty trap, they are going into it. So this is the second aspect I am researching while here [at Harvard].

                            All in all, I am interested in the expansion in postsecondary education and human development in South Asia and particularly in Pakistan. Under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there was a lot of funding for the primary and secondary education but very little funds has been allocated to higher education. What I am looking at is whether these international donors should also consider higher education as well. So I am looking at all these aspects of postsecondary expansion, its role in the labor market, and then a policy proposal for the international donor agencies.

                            Q: And how has working with Asim Khwaja [Harvard Kennedy School] helped your research and how have you learned from him while at Harvard?

                            MA: It’s fantastic. He basically gave me a new direction in my research, and it has been very interesting for me, because what I was doing in political economy and development policy, which is my main area of research, has been given a new direction because of Harvard. The time I have spent here has changed my whole frame of mind. This research has opened new avenues. For example, I never knew about the new methodologies of research, like RCTs (Randomized controlled trials). So I learned it here, and now I am going to practice it as well. Asim [Khwaja] helped me by motivating me and he encouraged me to learn these tools as well.

                            I audited a few classes at the Harvard Kennedy School and MIT. In these courses, I learned a lot about how to do research, and current research practices. What I did in my old research now seems old and traditional. Here, I have learned so many new things.

                            Q: How has your time at SAI as a research affiliate influenced your research? I know you have been to a lot of SAI events and have met a lot of people who have influenced your research.

                            Anwar, second from right

                            MA:  It has been amazing for me, really. I spent four years in the UK, and 3 years in Germany, have traveled around the world, so this is my seventh university altogether. I have studied in four universities, have worked in two universities, and have been a visiting fellow. At SAI, and at Harvard, I have seen debates and intellectual discussions that are going on here, which has no parallel and that is amazing. It means people are exchanging their views, they are debating the issues, and by that, you are learning new things as well, and more innovative things as well- more current research, more visionary ideas. What will happen next? That is something different, that each and every kind of group can have views, and can express freely. I have participated in a number of activities [classes and lectures at Harvard and in the area], and this has given me, on a whole, a broader scope of learning.

                            Q: After your time at Harvard, what do you intend to do?

                            MA: After Harvard, I plan to work with Asim [Khwaja], to design an experiment and return to Pakistan to develop policy guidelines for better quality higher education in Pakistan, and an improvement of higher education in all of South Asia.

                            This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length. 

                              Karachi, Pakistan: Disaster Mitigation in the City of Migrants by Satchit Balsari

                              By Satchit Balsari, Fellow, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University; Director, Global Emergency Medicine Program, Weill Cornell Medical College / NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

                              Earlier this year, a delegation from SAI visited the Aga Khan University Hospital and observed some of Pakistan’s unique emergency care challenges.

                              One of the most populous cities in the world, yet one of the least understood, especially in the West, is the bustling port-city of Karachi, home to over 20 million residents and financial capital of Pakistan. Spread over 1360 square miles, Karachi is a dense urban agglomeration accommodating over 15,000 people per square mile. Tracing its roots back to the old town of Kolachi, settled by Sindhi and Baloch tribes, Karachi saw exponential growth in the second half of the 20th century. Starting with a population of about 400,000 on the eve of Pakistan’s Independence in 1947, the city absorbed wave after wave of migrants—first Muhajirs from partitioned India, then immigrants from the newly independent Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan), and finally Pashtuns from Khyber Pankhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Areas, northern Balochistan, and Afghanistan.

                              Consequently, Karachi is now a bustling South Asian metropolis, with all the trappings of modern South Asian cities: overcrowding, unplanned growth, inadequate rapid transit facilities, poor water and sanitation facilities, unsafe housing, unorganized labor, and an unflappable, can-do populace with hopes for a better tomorrow.

                              In addition to the challenges faced by rapidly expanding urban centers, Karachi faces the constant threat of terrorism. In 2013, there were 94 bombings in Karachi—one every four days. More than 700 Karachiites were injured, and 124 died. As recently as April 24, 2014, six people were killed and over 30 injured as a result of another suicide bomb in the city.

                              The bombings have not spared healthcare facilities, either. In 2010, as victims of a bomb blast were being brought to one of Karachi’s premier public hospitals, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre, a bomb went off outside the emergency department, shattering glass, breaking walls and injuring and killing patients and staff. Dr. Seemin Jamali, who has served as chief of the emergency department at JPMC for two decades recollects the day vividly. “We were busy taking care of the crowded emergency department when there was a huge explosion and I was thrown to the ground. One of my staff helped me out.” The sporadic bombs and targeted killings continue unabated, adding a sheen of perpetual uneasiness to daily city life. This reign of violence overlays all other medical emergencies in Karachi, including an astounding 30,000 annually reported road traffic injuries.

                               

                              Read the full article.

                               

                               

                                Women in Politics: The Case of India

                                Left to right: Erum Sattar, HLS, Mariam Chughtai, HGSE, and Lakshmi Iyer, HBS

                                “This is not an India problem, or a South Asia problem. It is global,” said Lakshmi Iyer, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School at SAI’s webinar ‘Women in Politics: The Case of India.’ Iyer was referring to the fact that women comprise only 21 percent of national parliaments worldwide.

                                On Thursday, May 8, SAI hosted its last webinar of the semester with Professor Iyer. Using videoconference software provided by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), the interactive session included participation from 7 universities in South Asia, allowing students and administrators in the region to interact directly with Iyer. Questions were also submitted on social media.

                                Iyer’s presentation addressed two questions: Does electing women to political office make any difference? How can women’s representation in political office be increased? Based on her extensive research of the issue, Iyer explained that the answer to the first question is: Yes, electing women to political office makes a difference in many metrics. Iyer shared many statistics to support this claim, and said that this research can be applied to other disadvantaged groups, such as racial, religious and ethnic minorities.

                                Iyer’s research shows that electing more women to political office results in a range of policy changes and development outcomes. Particularly, she said there tends to be improvement in issues important to women, such as infant mortality and education. Another change is that giving political representation to disadvantaged groups increases their access to the criminal justice system, which means they may be more likely to report crimes.

                                Throughout the presentation, Iyer drew comparisons to other countries, including the United States. Many Western nations are not necessarily doing better than South Asian countries in getting more women elected. For example, women make up only 18 percent of the US congress.

                                Iyer addressed several methods for increasing political representation of women. More than 100 countries have some form of quotas in their electoral system, but research does not show that this is necessarily the most effective method. For example, India’s Panchayati Raj required that all states comply with a 1993 constitutional amendment for implementing quotas, but many states found ways to avoid the requirement.

                                In some countries, for example France and Spain, Iyer said that political parties opted to pay a fine rather than putting up women candidates, or they put women in races that the candidate is expected to lose anyway. This shows that mandating quotas from the outside does not always work.

                                An alternative method to increase participation of women could be the “demonstration” effect, an organic process that encourages more women to get involved in politics by seeing other women win elections. When more women are elected to office, more women are also likely to consider entering politics. Iyer said that relying on just this method would take a long time, and that there needs to be other efforts to get them involved. Quotas at lower levels of government, such as party organizational positions, can help, creating a “pipeline effect.”

                                Iyer said that the problem for increasing women’s political representation is not a “winnability” factor; her research shows that women candidates do well once they enter the race. From 1980-2013, only 5.9 percent of India’s state legislators were women, but only 4.7 percent of election candidates were women. The problem, then, happens before voting. Not enough women are becoming candidates.

                                Studies show that women are much less likely to consider themselves good candidates compared to men.  Women are also much less likely to be encouraged by others to run, due to a culture that sees politics as a ‘man’s field.’ Iyer ended her presentation by saying that a political career must be made more attractive and welcoming to women.

                                The following universities participated in the webinar: Aga Khan University, IED, Karachi, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Kinnaird College, Lahore, NED UET Karachi, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, University of Management, Lahore, and University of Sargodha, Sargodha.

                                Watch a recording of the full webinar.

                                View Iyer’s Powerpoint presentation.

                                 

                                A sample of the conversation on Twitter:

                                 

                                  Aman Fellow Muhammad Zahir shares research on protohistoric cemeteries in Pakistan

                                  Zahir, right, with Richard Meadow

                                  On Thursday, May 1, Muhammad Zahir, SAI’s Aman Fellow for the spring semester, shared his ongoing archaeology research at a seminar titled ‘Modern Ethnicities and Ancient Graves: The Deconstruction and Re-Analysis of the Protohistoric Cemeteries and Ethnic Origin Stories in Pakistan.’

                                  The seminar was chaired by Richard Meadow, Director of the Zooarchaeology Laboratory at the Harvard Peabody Museum, Senior-Lecturer in Anthropology at Harvard, and Project Director of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project, who has served as Zahir’s mentor at Harvard, and has been excavating sites in Pakistan since 1974.

                                  Since 2001, Zahir has been extensively involved in different archaeological excavations and surveys, publications, and museums’ documentation and management projects both in Pakistan and abroad.  He has also worked in the development and implementation of the UNESCO project for the preservation of the endangered movable cultural assets of Gandhara art in Pakistan.

                                  Zahir has used the resources at Harvard to deconstruct and conduct a genealogical analysis of the concepts of Aryans in Pakistan archaeology; its use in the interpretation of archaeological remains, ethnic identities, and the personal and professional interests of archaeologists/academics involved, and the state patronage, and acceptance in Pakistan.

                                  Zahir excavating in Swat, Pakistan

                                  Zahir started the seminar by saying that he considers Pakistan the country with the richest archaeological history, given its strategic location for migration on the subcontinent. Zahir explained the Indus Civilization as the first large-scale urbanization in South Asia. Most of Zahir’s talk focused on protohistoric cemeteries and the Gandhara grave culture in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

                                  These gravesites shed light on the burial practices and cremation customs of the various cultures in the region. Studying the pottery, human figurines and iron implements found at the sites has informed his research, and his work has debunked many of the commonly supported theories on archaeology in Pakistan. Meadow explained that the growth and evolution of technology in the last 10 to 15 years will help understand more of these paradigms.

                                  Zahir is SAI’s inaugural Aman Fellow, an opportunity that supports recent PhDs and advanced professional degree holders in areas related to Pakistan, particularly areas of science and development.

                                  “I am honoured to have been selected as the First Aman Fellow at Harvard South Asia Institute,” Zahir said about the position. “It provided me an opportunity to take advantage of Harvard’s resources for my research and to connect with leading academics and researchers in the world. I discovered new avenues for my research and I will be following these leads in my academic career. I also used this opportunity to develop and submit different proposals for my future research projects in Pakistan and abroad”.

                                  Of Dr. Zahir, Meadow wrote, “He has both the possibility and dedication to raise the bar quite significantly on the quality of archaeological work, interpretation, and instruction that is done in Pakistan, which would be a great boon to the country. He is developing a public presence within Pakistan and promises to be an important spokesman for the importance of the study and the preservation of the past for Pakistan’s future…”

                                  Read more about the Aman Fellowship.


                                  See the photo gallery below for photos from Zahir’s seminar:

                                    Why study the brain?

                                    “How can you possibly not be excited to study what the brain does?” This is what Professor Venkatesh Murthy, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard, asked viewers across South Asia at SAI’s second webinar of the semester on Friday, March 14.

                                    Using video conference technology provided by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), 15 universities in South Asia participated in the interactive session about the importance of studying neuroscience. Because everything we do comes down to the brain, the field has implications not just for science, but for all disciplines, Professor Murthy explained.

                                    Murthy explained that the brain is incredibly complex. With 100 billion neurons, there are many things scientists still have to learn about the brain. Looking at just one area of the brain is like saying, “I know what the entire city is doing on a whole by looking at just one person.” We should think of how the brain works as a world wide web network: many computers talking to each other in a complex language.

                                    Murthy predicted that in the next 100 years, we will see many advances in neuroscience. He explained that the brain’s ability to make sense of chaos can help us learn how to create things like machines and other technologies. For example, creators of Facebook’s facial recognition software can take inspiration from how the brain processes visual images. The growing field of big data can also learn from how the brain processes large amounts of information.

                                    15 universities in South Asia participated in the webinar

                                    Murthy answered several questions from students and faculty at participating universities, as well as questions submitted on social media. When asked about how aging affects the brain, he explained that, similar to an old bicycle, material in the brain degrades and neuron connections get worse. To counter this effect, he recommended that people work as late in life as possible, which helps keep the brain productive. Exercise is just as important for the body as it is for the brain, so we should take advantage of mental exercises that are available.

                                    Are there differences in the composition of the brain based on gender? Murthy explained that it is “very difficult to separate brain differences form cultural differences.” The difference between genders is very subtle, so we must instead consider cultural influences to differentiate between what is learned and what is intrinsic.Several questions focused on how external factors affect the brain. Murthy explained that most scientists agree that the amount of power in phones is too small to affect neurons in the brain. Mood is clearly affected by the weather, although he said it is still unclear why this happens in the brain.

                                    Answering a question about how someone can become a neuroscientist, Murthy commented that there is no reason you cannot change your path – just be open-minded. “It’s never too late to learn more,” he said.

                                    The participating sites were: Agha Khan University, Institute of Educational Development, Karachi; Bahria University, Islamabad; Bahria University, Karachi;  Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology, Khuzdar; Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education; Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi;  Fatima Jinnah Women’s University; GIK Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology; Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar; King Edward Medical University, Lahore; Kinnaird College For Woman, Lahore; NED University of Engineering and technology, Karachi; Riphah international university, Islamabad; University of Health Sciences, Lahore; and University of Sargodha, Sargodha.

                                    Click here to watch a full recording of the webinar.

                                    The next SAI webinar ‘Women in Politics: The Case of India,’ will be Thursday, May 8, 2014.

                                      Pakistan summer internship and research deadlines: March 19

                                      SAI has extended the deadline for Pakistan-related summer internships and research grants to March 19, 2014. 

                                       

                                      Please note: Only undergraduates with Pakistani citizenship are eligible. Graduate students of any nationality are welcome to apply

                                      CLICK HERE TO APPLY

                                       

                                      Application Components for SAI Pakistan Related Summer Grants

                                      • 750-word proposal outlining your project
                                      • For research grants: One-page bibliography including annotations on your research topic (disregard for language study)
                                      • For internship grants: Letter of acceptance from host organization
                                      • A current resume/CV
                                      • Unofficial current transcript

                                      Direct your recommenders to email letters directly to Nora Maginn, maginn@fas.harvard.edu

                                      • Two letters of recommendation

                                      ———————————————————————————————————————————

                                       

                                      The Aman Foundation is offering 2 internship opportunities this summer at Aman Health and Aman Tech 

                                      Name: Aman Foundation (AMAN Health)
                                      Location: Karachi Pakistan
                                      Position: Intern
                                      Schedule: Up to 8 weeks in the summer

                                      About the Organization:
                                      AMAN Foundation is a local, not-for-profit trust, based and operating in Karachi, Pakistan with the mission is to champion dignity and choice for the underserved in Pakistan through Sustainable, Scalable, and Systemic development in the areas of health and education. AMAN Foundation’s vision is to be a globally recognized knowledge center for innovative social investment and a prominent catalyst for social impact in Pakistan.

                                      About AMAN Health Care Services:
                                      AMAN Health Care Services is an SECP registered company operating under the umbrella of The AMAN Foundation. Its mission is to reduce barriers to health care, primarily for the under-served people of Pakistan, by offering high quality & affordable health services, building effective advocacy mechanisms & supporting critical research. Aman Health’s vision is to provide access to health care for all in Pakistan.

                                      What we do: AMAN Health Care Service’s core functionality is to provide Health related services in the form of following 3 business units:

                                      • Emergency Medical Services
                                      • Aman Community Health Program
                                      • Aman Tele-Health

                                      Where we are located: Our head office is located at Korangi Karachi, Pakistan.

                                      What we are looking in an Intern:
                                      The intern will be responsible for:

                                      • Reviewing the existing research done on health sector & key strategic initiatives taken by Aman
                                      • Giving recommendation on the existing research
                                      • Conducting interviews of key stake holders
                                      • Developing reports on the basis of research done (in the form of Excel, Word or Powerpoint presentations)
                                      • Reviewing the grey literature related to health sector
                                      • Any other related task assigned by internship supervisor
                                      • The intern will work with Dr. Junaid Razzak, CEO  of AMANHEALTH

                                      Logistics
                                      Office Location – Karachi, Pakistan
                                      Start/End Dates – June 2 – July 31, 2014.
                                      Compensation
                                      Rs. 4,000 – 8,000 per month

                                      *Please submit a CV and Cover Letter outlining your interest to sana.mahmood@amanfoundation.org and maginn@fas.harvard.edu
                                      *Please submit all queries to sana.mahmood@amanfoundation.org
                                      Deadline: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
                                      *Please note: Only undergraduates with Pakistani citizenship are eligible for this position. Graduate students of any nationality are welcome to apply.

                                       

                                      Name: Aman Foundation (AMANTECH)
                                      Location: Karachi, Pakistan
                                      Position: Intern
                                      Schedule: Up to 8 weeks in the summer

                                      About the Organization:
                                      AMAN Foundation is a local, not-for-profit trust, based and operating in Karachi, Pakistan with the mission is to champion dignity and choice for the underserved in Pakistan through Sustainable, Scalable, and Systemic development in the areas of health and education. AMAN Foundation’s vision is to be a globally recognized knowledge center for innovative social investment and a prominent catalyst for social impact in Pakistan.

                                      AMANTECH is a large-scale establishment committed to serve neglected youth. This institute will provide a mix of vocational training and soft skills, and facilitate access to employment opportunities overseas. The Aman Foundation hopes to build a sustainable future for the youth of Karachi thereby vastly improving their standard of living. It intends to create a growing force of skilled workers with a positive mind-set and a strong work ethic. AMANTECH’s goal is to help place members of this workforce in regional organizations so as to enhance their earning capacity and generate foreign currency remittances for Pakistan.

                                      Project or Type of Work
                                      To analyze the organization structure and internal systems and suggest how to (a) improve these in line with Aman Foundation’s mission and vision (b) better organizational interface. Further, to act as a consultant on data analysis and quantitative methods which may improve the reporting structure of organization and analytical skills of staff.

                                      Qualifications

                                      • To suit requirement for above assignment.

                                      Logistics
                                      Office Location – Karachi, Pakistan
                                      Start/End Dates – June 2 – July 31, 2014.
                                      Compensation
                                      Rs. 4,000 – 8,000 per month

                                      *Please submit a CV and Cover Letter outlining your interest to sana.mahmood@amanfoundation.org
                                      *Please submit all queries to sana.mahmood@amanfoundation.org and maginn@fas.harvard.edu
                                      Deadline: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

                                      *Please note: Only undergraduates with Pakistani citizenship are eligible for this position. Graduate students of any nationality are welcome to apply.

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                        Engineering Education in the 21st Century

                                        What role does engineering education play in our modern society? According to Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, engineering is crucial to a well-rounded society.

                                        On Thursday, February 27, SAI hosted its first webinar of the semester, titled ‘Societal Grand Challenges and the role of Engineering Education in the 21st Century’ with Professor Narayanamurti, who described engineering as “the ultimate liberal art” because of its role as a linking discipline.

                                        Using videoconference software provided by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), 15 sites in South Asia were able to participate live and interact with Narayanamurti. Viewers were also able to watch the webinar live on SAI’s website, and submit questions via Facebook and Twitter.

                                        Narayanamurti started by describing the importance of engineering at leading universities like Harvard, saying that “we want renaissance engineers who not only know how things work, but how the world works.” He explained that all of the major accomplishments throughout history have happened because of engineering, and the economic impact of engineering is huge. “Engineering underpins the economy,” he said.

                                        Explaining the role of engineering as a linking discipline, Narayanamurti said, “engineering is not applied science; it is science that is applied engineering.” He made a strong case for a well-rounded education in all fields, and said that we must encourage students to learn the creativity and innovation of entrepreneurship.

                                        Another ‘grand challenge’ of engineering education is getting women involved, which Narayanamurti explained is vital for societies. He explained that women’s access to science education is more of a challenge in the developing world, but not one that cannot be overcome. Having women leaders in all fields is an important step: “Can women be renaissance engineers? Yes!” he said. “We need more women role models so that it is an accepted reality.”

                                        15 sites from South Asia participated in the webinar

                                        Narayanamurti spent time explaining what skills are vital to engineering education. From teaching his own class, he has learned that creativity, as well as analytic and problem-solving skills, are essential. Since Harvard has a strong global presence, it can serve to be a leader for this sort of education.

                                        Throughout his presentation, Narayanamurti emphasized the importance of merging the study of engineering with biology, by combining the perfection of biology with the creativity of engineering, because “nature perfected how human beings and the living world were created.” Technology is evolving to become more human-like, which means merging biology with engineering is more important than ever.

                                        After his presentation, Narayanamurti took questions from students and education leaders at the participating sites, as well as questions on social media from viewers in Pakistan, India, and Australia.

                                        The universities participating live were: Bahria University Islamabad, Bahria University, Karachi, Comsats Institute of Information Technology, Attack, Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, Fatima Jinnah Women’s University, Rawalpindi,  Institute of Space and Technology Islamabad, Kinnaird College For Women, Lahore College of Women University, Lahore, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences Islamabad, University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore, University of Malakand, and University Of Sargodah, Sargodah.

                                        Mariam Chughtai, Ed.D. Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education, moderated the discussion, and Meena Hewett, Executive Director of SAI gave an introduction. Erum SattarSJD Candidate, Harvard Law School, tracked the discussion on social media.

                                        Click here to view all tweets from the discussion on Twitter.

                                        Click here to view a recording of the whole webinar.

                                        Click here to learn more about SAI’s upcoming webinars.

                                        SAI’s webinars are made possible with the support of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC).