The humanitarian trips that students in Professor Jaehong Kim’s course “Environmental Technology in the Developing World” take each spring break have become an established tradition at Yale. For the most recent trip, there were a few new twists.
After a few years of traveling to Nicaragua, the course brought students for the first time to India. There, they worked with a for-profit company — another first for the class. Kim, the seven students, and two teaching assistants worked with Water Health International (WHI), based in Hyderabad, India. The company operates small-scale community water treatment systems and sells treated water to consumers, who cart away water in jars for a small fee.
“It is a great humanitarian operation, but they still make money,” said Kim, professor and chair of the Department Chemical and Environmental Engineering. “It’s a very interesting and eye-opening experience to see such an operation, not only for me, but for the students. They learn that environmental engineering is, of course, about helping people, but it also has a business component to it as well.”
This two-day conference at Yale University, held from 13-14 April 2018, will investigate identities in contemporary Afghanistan. Social organization in Afghanistan is complex with interwoven identities based on religion, ethnicity, regional identity and political affiliation—amongst others—deeply entrenched by a legacy of conflict, processes of state formation and other broad historical forces.
The US-led intervention and the socio-political forces it has unleashed have triggered a period of significant social re-organization and change in Afghanistan. For example, new modes of government have led to shifting ethnic relations. Traditional forms of masculinity and femininity are being contested by imported Western conceptions of gendered identity and sexuality. Contemporary manifestations of Afghan nationalism engender new forms of national identity that, in turn, intersect and interact with emerging ethnic and regional identities. In addition, ‘new’ forms of identity have gained traction in present-day Afghanistan, including the growing distinction between ‘returnees’ and those who remained in-country during the recent decades of conflict. Class relations and associated modes of distinction have grown in importance in rural areas of the country and in previously impoverished communities. And, the salience of generational membership—in the context of a rapidly modernizing and increasingly educated youth—has become increasingly important.
The conference welcomes scholars to New Haven, Connecticut for the purposes of presenting papers and engaging in scholarly dialogue. Through a series of panels, speakers will present and discuss topics relating to identity, intersectionality, social organization and change in contemporary Afghanistan. The conference will be a public event in which proceedings will be enjoyed by Yale faculty and students and members of the public.
India tested its first nuclear device in 1974 and then in 1998 conducted three nuclear tests, defying an international ban and prompting condemnation. India’s experiences over the next two decades demonstrate the futility of restrictions against a very determined nation, explains independent security consultant Debalina Ghoshal. The country overcame international barriers to develop sophisticated long-range missiles that could deliver a nuclear payload to distant targets. India also developed a reputation for practicing non-proliferation and securing its nuclear stockpile. Reports confirm the country has applied for membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime – an informal and voluntary association that began in 1987 and later presented barriers to India’s missile development. The association now includes 35 countries that share the goal of non-proliferation of unmanned systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. Having succeeded in overcoming barriers and building its own missiles, India wants to join the regime to continue building a nonproliferation reputation and also develop export markets for missiles and defense systems in Southeast and West Asia, especially for countries that seek to counter China. – YaleGlobal
For two weeks in December 2017, Yale ophthalmologist Christopher Teng participated in a medical mission to provide free eye care to villagers in Nepal, a country that was devastated by an earthquake just two years prior. The trip was co-sponsored by Operation Restore Vision and Dooley Intermed, nonprofits dedicated to providing vision care in underdeveloped countries. YaleNews talked to Teng about his trip, which involved trekking on foot for two days to reach patients in a remote region of the Himalayan nation that still bore signs of the natural disaster. The following conversation has been edited.
In many parts of the rural developing world, a lack of jobs for agricultural workers in the months between planting and harvest creates a lean season at a predictable time each year. The nonprofit Evidence Action estimates that each year, some 600 million people experience this seasonal hunger.
Government and charitable programs can temper the impact, but they are costly and aren’t a solution to the core issue—a lack of work opportunities. Mushfiq Mobarak, a development economist at Yale SOM who often uses field experiments as a way to develop and test welfare-improving interventions, designed a program that offered round-trip bus tickets to agricultural workers, so they could migrate temporarily to cities where there was work. In Bangladesh, the $11 investment provided remarkable returns for the workers, their families, and their communities.
Ashish Koul is a Singh Postdoctoral Associate in the Council on South Asian Studies at the MacMillan Center. Her work focuses on caste, Islam, and politics in South Asia, with law and gender as components within that framework. We talk with Professor Koul about her essay, “Making new Muslim Arains: reform and social mobility in colonial Punjab, 1890s-1910s.”