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Agenda for Survival

June 1, 2009-June 30, 2009 , New Delhi
Agenda for Survival
‘Agenda for Survival’, a month long course for students and young professionals was conceived to fulfill the urgent need to build a cadre of young environmentalists who will in future take the environmental movement and sensibilities forward.

In keeping with this mandate, Agenda for Survival has been designed as an interdisciplinary course to teach the country’s youth the theory, policies and practices of environmental management in India. During this intensive course, participants explore the complexities underlying the environment-development paradigms of this country.

Kamla Chowdhry Fellowships
Students were awarded the Kamla Chowdhry Fellowships to partly subsidize the stay cost of 14 of the 17 students who attended the course from outside Delhi. While the field visit cost of all the students were met by the fellowship.

The students represented a good mix – both academically and gender. There were 19 girls and six boys who attended the course. There were three students from the north – eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya. While some students came from Pune, some from Bangalore, Gandhinagar, Chennai, Bokaro. One of the participants has worked extensively in the Sunderbans Delta. And another participant works in the South Garo Hills of Meghalaya. Three Indian students who are studying in different foreign universities also participated in the course. They were academically and professionally from diverse backgrounds too. Some were college-going students (both graduate and undergraduate). While some were preparing for M.Phil some others are engaged in preparation for entrance examination to be the future decision makers of this country. The eclectic mix encouraged healthy discussions and fostered peer-led learning.

External faculty
The course faculty was drawn from CSE research and programme teams. In addition, eminent academics, activists and policy makers were invited to speak to and closely interact with the course participants. Eminent external faculty included academics such as Suhas Chakma (Director Asian Centre for Human Rights) who spoke about environment conflicts; Richard Mahapatra (Water Aid India) discussed the ecological basis of poverty, Archana Prasad Reader (Centre for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies), talked about environmental history and environmental movements of this country. Prof Purnamita Dasgupta (Head Ford Foundation Chair at Institute of Economic Growth) informed the students on payment for ecological services. Dr. Devinder Sharma (Food rights analyst) on Green revolution, its consequences and what is the way forward. Vimal Bhai (Anti Dam Activist) told the students what to see during the field visit. He also explained the damage being done to the Himalaya by the umpteen dams being built. Sandeep Gandhi (TRIPP) talked about buses not cars is what the country needs. RR Rashmi (Joint - Secretary, MoEF) deliberated on India’s stand on climate change.

Kirti John: Due to lack of time it was difficult to soak in everything because there was always something new and interesting that came up. It has given me a lot of answers to my questions.

Preeti Venkatram: I came for this course with what I perceived as lesser knowledge than most participants. I think perceptions were formed rather than have undergone any change. The programme conducted by various resource persons was good. BRT session was rather rewarding because after all that one has been exposed to in the media against the idea, it was eye opening to hear the defense made by the man behind its concept.

Nida Hasan: The ideology with which CSE approaches environmental issues and debates is quite the same with which I joined the course. Thus the expectations were high and they have been met. The questions I had in mind, some were answered and some continue to be. I hope with the understanding I have gathered, I will be able to address / approach these questions better.

Utkarsh Dwivedi: Field visits were eye – opener. Garwhal transformed me for sure. Please involve the participants in future CSE activities especially where participants are based. I would like to be associated with CSE in future.

Zuri Camille D’Souza: I was definitely introduced to many diverse opinions which have all prompted me to reconsider almost all that I have learnt before. After the course I have begun to look more closely at India’s political scene and how closely it is linked to environment and our national resources. Also I have found out that while we talk about the poor and protecting the forest as two separate things, they are very closely linked. In order to bring about productive change we must acknowledge this link.

  • Adithi N Rao
    Alexandra Weston
    Mount Holyoke College
  • Anupriya Karippadath
  • Charu Jishnu
    Kamal Medhi
  • Kirti John
    En Studies & Pol Sc
    Lalak Kothari
  • Manali Rane
    Mayank Jain
    Manufacturing Processes & automation
  • Nida Hasan
    Pallavi Roy
    BITS Pilani
  • Poorna Balaji
    Pune university
    Prateek Roy Chowdhury
  • Preeti Venkatram
    Ritu Manga
  • Sangeeta Gogoi
    Saurabh Mehta
  • Shereen Amin
    Simit Bhagat
  • Sumi Narah
    Tiasa Adhya
  • Tilottama Sarkar
    Delhi School of economics
    Utkarsh Dwivedi
  • Vasudha Ravichandran
    Zuri Camille De Souza