The Nelson Mandela Chair, established under the SIRP with the aim of initiating studies and research on Afro-Asian affairs, started functioning during 2014-15. The first incumbent of the Chair, Prof. V. Suryanarayan, an International Relations Scholar and Fellow in the Centre for Asia Studies, Chennai, and former National Security Advisory Board Member, Government of India joined the Chair on 23 January 2015. Ambassador T.P. Sreenivasan, Vice Chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council formally inaugurated the Mandela Chair on 4 February 2015.
The Nelson Mandela Chair organized a National Seminar on “Understanding China: Indian Perspectives” on 27-28 February 2015, jointly with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the Institute for Contemporary Chinese Studies (ICCS), UGC Area Studies Centre at Mahatma Gandhi University. Eminent scholars and diplomats from India and abroad participated in the seminar. Sri. Venu Rajamony IFS, senior diplomat in the Ministry of External Affairs, currently Press Secretary to the President of India, delivered the keynote address.
Prof. Srikanth Kondapally (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Prof. Madhu Bhalla (Delhi University), Prof. Jia Haitao (Jinan University, China), Sri. Murali Nair (former Consul of India, China), Sri. Hormis Tharakan (former Chief of RAW), Prof. V. Suryanarayan, Nelson Mandela Professor(MGU), former diplomat Sri. D.S. Rajan, Commodore (Retd) R.S. Vasan, Dr. T.G.
Suresh (Jawaharlal Nehru University) were among the main speakers.
Sri R. Venu delivers keynote address
The seminar sought to familiarize the participants with the complex issues relating to contemporary China and sensitize them to the policies and programmes of the Chinese Government and how they will affect international and regional politics in the twenty first century.
The Chair also, in association with the Institute for Contemporary Chinese Studies, organized a Conference on “Engaging Diaspora: Challenges and Opportunities” on March 23-24, 2015. The Conference sought to bring together a cross section of specialists – policymakers, diplomats, academics, senior journalists and representatives of Diaspora organizations – and analyse in depth the problems and prospects of these communities and how India can mobilise their expertise and skills for the economic development of the country. The Conference was inaugurated by Ambassador T.P. Sreenivasan, Vice Chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council, who was Indian Ambassador in Fiji, Myanmar and Kenya where a substantial number of Indians live. The keynote address was delivered by Shri N Narsimhan, former Secretary to the Government of India. Other distinguished former diplomats who spoke at the Conference included Ambassador Izrat Aziz, Ambassador Dayakar and former Consul in China, Sri. Muralidharan Nair. Distinguished civil servants who dealt with the Indian Diaspora in their professional career include Shri Hormis Tharakan(former RAW chief), Shri K Subramaniam (Govt of India) and Shri Krishna Kumar. Academics of international repute, including Prof. Mao Yue, Prof. Jia Haitao, Prof. V. Suryanarayan, Prof Lakshmi Balaji and others also presented papers.
The Conference being naugurated by Ambassador T.P. Sreenivasan, Vice Chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council.
Ambassador Izrat Aziz