The University of Birmingham and Yale have got together to support a unique initiative at Delhi University.

The Nyaya Global Justice Programme will be a major intellectual hub for the study of international ethical questions which have strong implications for India and neighbouring countries. These include questions about India’s role in the World Trade Organisation, G20 and United Nations Security Council, fairness in international trade, cooperation in poverty reduction efforts, and ethics in global security issues.

Nyaya, meaning ‘justice’ in Hindi, will also serve as the centre for a trilateral doctoral student exchange programme connecting the University of Delhi, the University of Birmingham’s Centre for the Study of Global Ethics and Yale’s Global Justice Programme.

Dr. Luis Cabrera, reader in Political Theory at the University of Birmingham’s Department of Political Science, told The Hindu: “It is very exciting to be taking this initiative forward with colleagues at Delhi and Yale. Nyaya will be the first major global justice programme in India and it will add an important focus on the Global South, as well as voices from South countries, to the dialogue on ethical issues that cross borders.”

According to Dr Ashok Acharya, Director of the Nyaya programme setting up a global justice programme in India, and especially at the University of Delhi, has been a dream project that he had been nurturing for the past 10 years or so. ``I am sure, once established, this will grow from strength to strength and bring together the best of the minds from across the world and apply them to resolve key global inequities,’’ he told The Hindu.

The Nyaya initiative begins this year for two years, and may well continue into the future. The idea is to institute a global justice programme in University of Delhi. This is a multi-disciplinary research programme and the primary objective is to develop in partnership with Yale and Birmingham a world-class research and international collaboration programme and focus on issues of global justice and ethics, with emphasis on ways in which those issues are manifest in the Indian context. Once established, it is believed this will bring together the best of the minds from across the world and apply them to resolve key global inequities with a focus on the perspectives from the global South.

Conference

“The programme plans a major international conference at the University of Delhi in April/May 2014 which will bring together global justice scholars from the global South and North countries to present original work and engage in crucial dialogue around perceptions of issues in justice, including human rights doctrine, fair trade, aid conditionalities, microfinance programmes, and institutional reforms of supranational institutions,’’ Dr Acharya said.

The programme is designed to support student mobility (mostly doctoral students, besides the M. Phil students) across the three institutions. This includes intensive short-term fellowships at Yale and Birmingham, to be connected to the Yale Macmillan Center and Birmingham Global Ethics center respectively. Fellows will work closely with global justice researchers and PhD students, and they will have the opportunity to make vital contacts for future mobility.

Funding also will be awarded competitively to two Ph.D. students each from Yale and Birmingham to travel to work with faculty and students in the Nyaya Programme at Delhi. In 2015, the University of Birmingham will host students from India, the U.S. and U.K. at a dedicated postgraduate conference, where they will present their work and receive feedback on it from experts in global justice and related areas.

Dr Cabrera added: “The programme will fill important gaps in the training of Ph.D. and post-doctoral researchers at each of the partner universities, and it will give opportunities to them to work with some of the world’s leading analysts of poverty and social issues.”

It is also hoped that the programme may pave the way for introducing student internships at the undergraduate level to work on global justice issues, an area that our conventional educational system does not give much significance.

“We at Birmingham are very excited to be moving ahead with Delhi University and Yale on the Nyaya programme. We look forward to hosting DU doctoral students on global justice study visits, and to hosting the 2015 postgraduate conference involving Indian, U.K. and U.S. students,” Dr Cebrera said.