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Challenge of the Balance

Dec. 20, 2010-Jan. 7, 2011 , New Delhi
Challenge of the Balance
Challenge of the Balance is structured as an orientation programme to give international participants a first-hand experience of Southern perspectives concerning the environment-development debate. The interdisciplinary coursework allows participants to understand and critically evaluate issues that lie at the interface of environment and development; poverty; democracy, equity and justice; and culture.

This is a month long residential orientation programme for students and young professionals from the world over. We have been conducting this orientation programme for several years for the students of ‘The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, Norway’. It has been a huge success, wherein students have told us that the course has surly changed their understanding of the environment development debate.

In 2010 Anil Agarwal Green College conducted this programme collaborating with Engineers without Border (EWB), United Kingdom and South Asia. EWB is an international development organisation that provides opportunities for young people to learn about technology's role in tackling poverty (www.ewb-uk.org) Twenty seven students came together and lived in a hostel from July 12 to August 12, 2010. These were students from diverse background who discussed, debated and deliberated on environmental challenges concerning the global South.

Enthused by the response we announced a winter three week programme for students from all over the world with a large participation from South Asia. The course commenced Jan 20, 2010 and ended on Jan 7, 2011. Students and young professionals, sixteen in number, came from different parts of the world to participate in the course.

Participant Profile
The interdisciplinary course is for students and young professionals from around the globe. There were one members of U K chapter of EWB, two from Vietnam and 13 from the South Asian countries of Nepal, Srilanka and India. We received a large number of applications for the course but we carefully chose a good mix of social science, pure science and engineering participants. There was a student from University of Sheffield, Tribhuvan and Purbanchal University, Pokhara University in Nepal and Delhi University, Indian Institute of Technology, NIT Warangal, ILS Law College Pune, from India. They were all housed in a hostel near the training centre. After the class they discussed and debated on issues discussed in the class. At the end of the course they have kept in touch with each other and with CSE through facebook group.

Faculty is derived from CSE’s research team and well known academicians, activist, policy makers in the government, lawyers, economists, social scientists to name a few.
Some of the eminent speakers we invited were Kanchi Kohli , Writer, Teacher, Activist; Romit Sen Senior Assistant Director Water Agriculture divison (FICCI); Ritwick Dutta Environment Lawyer; Sucharita Sen Centre for Study of Regional Development Jawaharlal Nehru University; Bhaskar Goswami Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security; Tej Razdan Jheel Sanghrakshan Samiti Udaipur,Rajasthan; Viren Lobo Society for Promotion of Pastelands Development; Himanshu Thakkar South Asia Network for dams, rivers and people; Monali Zeya Hazra US AID India (climate team); Shankar Gopalakrishnan Campaign for Survival and Dignity, New Delhi; Tanushree Bhowmik, Project Manager - Access to Energy – UNDP and others.

Feedback: Some comments
Deep Prakash Ayadi: (Nepal): Field trips were the most useful component of the course.

Arpitha Upendra: (India): Speakers were very well informed. Gave us good South Asia perspective.

Rupak Koirala: (Nepal): Would recommend this course to young people in Nepal. A must do.

Sikander Sabeer: (Sri Lanka): My expectation was to gain more knowledge on South Asian views on climate change and environment. This course met my expectation.

Jeny Bullen: UK: I had no idea (concept) of India and its problem, its villages which is so different from UK. I get to know this.

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Participants
  • Mr Rupak Koirala
    Msc. Environment Management
    Mr. Abhishek Panja
  • Mr. Deep Prakash Ayadi
    Environmental Sciences
    Mr. Dilip Kumar Kumar
    B Engg: Electronics & Communication
  • Mr. K.Balaji
    M.Sc. Earth Sciences 
    Mr. Mohomed Shabeer Mohomed Sikander
    B.Sc Biotechnology, Biochemistry & Microbiology
  • Mr. Navin Dahal
    Environmental Science and Management
    Mr. Paras Tyagi
    B.Sc. Honours Physics
  • Mr. Prayash Raj Koirala
     GCE A-Level
    Mr. Rajesh Khadka
  • Ms Arpitha Upendra
    5th Year Law Student
    Ms Azeera Azeez
    B.Tech. Civil Eng
  • Ms Jeny Bullen
    Graduate Structural Engg Arch
    Ms PhanThi Bich Huong
    M.A in Linguistics
  • Ms Srijana Manandhar
    M.Sc. in Environmental Science
    Ms Thi Thanh Hai Tran 
    B.Sc in Environmental Sciences