Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Campion Foundation: School of Management & International Relations

In the context of a developing country like Nepal, studying management and governance is not just an academic exercise but a means to understanding if and how the application of these will impact the effectiveness of a struggling economy.Responding to this need, a proposed Institute should be set up to understand the complexities and to identify the constraints facing the economics and governance of Nepal and South Asia.As governance in Nepal and South Asia enters the 21st century, it is essential to equip the region's leaders with innovative tools to better understand and manage governance processes. To answer this need, the Institute will integrate the fields of management, international relations/development and governance to create a viable and practical program that balances theory and practice. It is hoped that such a program will have an impact on public policy, governance and economics and assist in the creation of a vibrant future for Nepal and South Asia.However, our scope is not restricted geographically, and the overall mission of the institution will be to forge academic, private and public sector links that would create a revolving pool of academicians, experts and managers whose job it would be to educate, apply and channel academic and non-academic resources towards creating a new kind of manager and global citizen.With the backdrop of the Himalayas, Nepal and Kathmandu would provide an ideal setting to undertake such a venture.

Dr. Viraj P. Thacker
International Facilitator
Ph.D. The University of Adelaide, Australia
International Relations/Public Policy
M.S. Iowa State University, USA
Development Studies, International Politics, Urban Planning
B.A. Luther College, USA
Politics & Government

Dr. Thacker's Academic Interests and Select Publications

Summary of Core Research Interests
The “growth model” of development has failed to recognize the needs and perceptions of the major sectors of the population of the Global South. Environmental degradation, disruption of livelihoods, gender violence, and exploitation of child labour, conflict, human rights violation and unbalanced globalization are some of the manifestations of this failure, which perpetuates poverty and incapacitates people. The Global South is a part of the world located, as the name suggests, primarily in the southern hemisphere and in desperate need of development. Development seeks to improve the welfare of people living in conditions of economic and social poverty. Why is the Global South seemingly prone to remain in this condition?

Despite many important advances since the “Bretton Woods” agreement, the state of Third World development remains extremely unsatisfactory. About a billion people live in extreme poverty and more than 800 million do not get adequate nutrition. Third World Debt looms large on the horizons of most underdeveloped nations and development continues to benefit the Third World elites, the developed nations, and their multinational corporations. The North-South divide continues to widen with very little “tricking down” to the poor majority in many nations. It is strongly believed that one-third of the world’s poor are getting poorer.

The conventional approach to development theory and practice, focusing on economic growth, investment, trade and free markets continues to benefit developed nations. Even in nations where free trade and markets have spurred growth, the net results of globalization have not reached the majority. Globalization defined as the “economic, social, political and environmental integration of nations” creates some major imbalances in a world system increasingly based on liberal market economies.

While states in the Global South may follow the steps of modernization, this does not mean they will develop. It can be argued that having a rigid set of “yellow bricks” to follow does not mean they will end up at the intended destination. One barrier to development could be simply geographical. However, there are other variables. As stated in 'A Global Agenda: Issues Before the 54th General Assembly': “Underlying all these initiatives [for development] is the assumption that poverty eradication and good governance are inseparable….because good governance brings about a proper balance among state action, the private sector, civil society, and the communities themselves.” The reason for this is that if a state has poor leadership it will directly affect its ability to develop. In relation to modernization theory, a state in the Global South must create conditions for efficient production and free trade, as well as enhanced internal characteristics.

Ultimately, the IMF-WTO corporate globalization model has failed to deliver for developing countries, severely punishing those least capable of protecting themselves – the billions, living on $ 400 million annually. Market access is only useful to countries at a stage of development that allows for their engagement in world markets, in a manner that promotes improved standards of living for their populations.

My research seeks to raise issues regarding the impact of globalization on North-South imbalances highlighting the crucial gaps in the globalization process. While outlining the parameters and theories surrounding the globalization process, the goal is to demonstrate the imbalances of the global system, highlighting the key areas of impact. The research also attempts to draw pertinent theoretical lessons that would contribute towards a better understanding of the effects of globalization on the South.

The main contribution of the research is to propose a development ethos that is based on transparency, social justice and a strengthening of North-South relations.

Teaching Strengths
My areas of strength include (but are not limited to) International Relations/Global Politics, Comparative Politics and the Politics of International Development.

I feel that to be an effective student of international politics, one not only needs to grasp the basics but also develop the tools to think critically about events, circumstances, and interpretations of political importance. One needs to look for issues that are often left out of political conversations and to recognize unquestioned assumptions that slip into political debates.

My teaching attempts to deal with current events in international politics that are related to the issues of global imbalances, social justice and inequity. While globalization supposedly interconnects the world in the economic realm, are we able to negotiate effectively in order to meet the political challenges that keep nations apart?

The challenge to think critically requires a review of key concepts related to globalism, international and intercultural perspectives, global civil society, contemporary international political economy, international institutions in international economic relations, regional organizations in international economic relations, multinational corporations (MNCs) and foreign direct investment (FDI), and non-government organizations (NGOs) in international development.

Additionally, I am very inclined to exposing my audiences to Planning and Development Theory, Technology and Social Change Issues, Social Impact Assessment, Ethics and Social Justice related to development, gender and the environment and the looming issue of Sustainable Development.

Select Books & Editorial
1. (Editor) “Exploring the Dynamics of Global Change – An Introspective Look At Globalization, International Development & Public Management”. Connection Publications in association with Campion College Press (January’ 2003)
Chapter “Living in a Technological World” by Dr. Clark Miller presented at the Kennedy School, Harvard University.
Contributing Authors: Dr. Clark A. Miller; Ajit N.S. Thapa; Madhukar SJB Rana; Prabha Thacker.

2. “Globalization: The Essentials – A Citizen’s Handbook to the Imbalances of the Newest International Order”. Manushi Publishers (June’ 2001), Reviewed by “The Statesman”(Kolkata), one of India’s most reputed newspapers (among others).

3. “The Myth of Prosperity: Globalization and the South” - Presently under review and due for publication in 2009.

4. Editor, book length feature on “India’s Infrastructure” published in the International Journal for Sustainable Development (March –July’2005) for “Sustainable Development”, New Delhi, India.

5. Research Editing Consultancy for the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal. The consultancy included editing a book length collection of His Majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah’s speeches to institutions around the world (Jan-March’2002).

6. *Concept Paper on “Strategies for Promoting Civic Education for Primary and Secondary School Aged Children”. Submitted to the USIS, Kathmandu, Nepal (July’2001).

7. * “Empowerment of Civil Society for Local Governance Through Strengthening of Cooperatives”. Sponsored by CCO (Canadian Cooperation Office – CIDA), Kathmandu, Nepal (March’2002-April’2004).

8. * “Study of NGOs and Government-NGO Relationships in Nepal”. Sponsored by ADB (Asian Development Bank), Manila (October’1996-February’1997).

9. *“Assessment of Community Development Programs in Nepal”. Sponsored by JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency), (August-December’1996).

10. *Affiliation Program with Oregon State University, Oregon, USA on Family Technology and Ecology Dynamics: Policy Dimensions – Sponsored by: USIS (United States Information Service), 1996.

11. *Study on Non-Governmental Organizations in Nine Asian Countries – Sponsored by Asian Development Bank /Manila - 1997.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Facilitation - Introductory Message From the CEO (Campion Associates)

To Whom It May Concern

This is to introduce Dr. Viraj P. Thacker, designated International Director of the proposed Campion International College, Kathmandu, Nepal. Dr. Thacker officially represents Campion Associates as an International Facilitator. Dr. Thacker has undertaken the task of visiting various academic settings to seek partnerships for Campion, Nepal with reputed US Colleges and/ or Universities in the USA, UK and Australia.
Campion Associates is a consortium of nine institutions from the Primary to Post Graduate levels with a vision to provide quality education in Nepal and India. At present, there are three Secondary Schools, three Higher Secondary Schools, two Graduate and Post Graduate Colleges and a MBA school, with over 4,000 students and 340 academic staff under the banner of Campion.
Aspiring Asian students wishing to further their studies especially from countries like Nepal, India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bhutan have brought new demands for Management and International Studies affliated to undergraduate and graduate programs from US Universities. This new and growing need is directly related to regional political, social and economic changes that are subject to world markets and the rush to capture global job market opportunities.
In view of present Asian demand for good management and international studies colleges with recognized degree courses, we are in the process of establishing Campion International College in Kathmandu, Nepal. For this, we are seeking a direct course affiliation from a recognized and reputed US university/college and also exchange of faculty members for the course operation in the initial stage. Campion in Nepal will be responsible for all legal and logistical support for the establishment of the degree course. All details of association will be subject to discussions and negotiations favorable to all parties.
We will appreciate all the support and co-operation rendered to Dr. Thacker on his visit to different colleges/universities to fulfill Campion’s goal to establish an international college in Nepal for the betterment of all.

Kailash K. Dewan
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Campion Associates