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Ex-IAS Wajahat Habibullah, India's first CIC, to lead top New Delhi think tank

By Kashif Ahmad Khan* 
The Centre for the Studies of Plural Societies (CSPS) has announced new leadership for the next two years. Wajahat Habibullah (retd IAS) and former first Chief Information Commissioner of India, will now lead the think tank, while Prof AK Ramakrishnan, retired professor of the Centre for West Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, will be the new Vice Chairperson. Prof Ahmad Kamal, the distinguished scientist and former scientific advisor to the government of Telangana was the founding Chairperson of the CSPS since 2021.
Wajahat Habibullah, a distinguished public servant, intellectual, and author, is the former Chief Information Commissioner of India. An IAS officer from 1968-2005, he has a distinguished record of public service including as secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Textiles, and Department of Consumer Affairs. 
He has been a member of prominent international and national institutions including a member of the World Bank's Info Appeals Board in July 2010, a former member of the Advisory Council, Brookings Doha Center, former member, Advisory Council, USIP Education and Training Center, Washington DC, and former Chairman, Board of Governors, National Institute of Technology, Srinagar. His publications include “Government to Citizens Relationship in the Changing Economic Scenario", "Promise of e-Governance-Operational Challenges", "The Protection of Human Rights in a Disturbed Situation", "Searching for Common Ground in South Asia",  "The and "My Years with Rajiv: Triumph and Tragedy".
Prof AK Ramakrishnan, a teacher, and public intellectual, holds an MA in International Studies and a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has a four decades-long bright career of teaching international relations, feminism, transnationalism, West Asia, orientalism, and postcolonialism in different Indian universities including Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 
He is widely acclaimed for his contributions to developing West Asian studies in Indian universities. His publications include “Normative Dimensions of India’s International Engagement”, “Neoliberal Globalism and India’s Foreign Policy: Towards a Critical Rethinking,” “A Critique of contemporary liberal IR Theory from a South Asian Standpoint”, "Contestations Over Sovereignty: Revisiting the Role of EU in International Politics,” and “Postcolonialism, Islam, and Area Studies.”
Distinguished members of the governing council of the CSPS Anwarul Hoda, IPS (retd), former DG, Andhra Pradesh;  Sushil Kumar, (retd IAS); Prof Furqan Qamar, Jamia Millia Islamia, former VC of Central University of Himachal Pradesh and University of Rajasthan; and Prof Arvinder A Ansari, Professor of Sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia.
 Prof Ahmad Kamal, recognized among the top 100 global scientists, scientific consultant to the Government of Telangana, and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard; Muazzam Naik, businessman, philanthropist, and president of Humanity International Foundation (HIF), expressed their gratitude and best wishes to both Wajahat Habibullah and Prof AK Ramakrishnan (photo).
CSPS was established in 2021 as an independent, non-profit, educational and research training center in New Delhi to provide training and support in the spirit of a nuanced and analytical approach, and objective, method-based scientific research on all issues that arise or are at stake in a pluralistic society like India: 
  • Nuanced intervention in national and international contemporary and historical debates, bringing the perspectives of the marginalised peoples and discourses into focus while generating new sustainable ideas.
  • Developing ideas based on reason and debate involving theoretical and methodological frameworks in pursuit of critical engagement.
  • Creating a skill-developing ecosystem through grassroots, national, and international academic and policy-oriented collaborations to become a robust contributor to government bodies with an ability to provide inputs and advisory on diverse themes and fields of research to enable dialogue across sectors.
  • Providing training and opportunities to early-career scholars and young graduates by providing practical research experience and preparing them to compete and contribute to impactful research in academia, policymaking, and industry.
  • Undertake rigorous data collection exercises to investigate contemporary research agendas in line with the SDGs to enrich discourses to establish a just and sustainable future.
Over the past three years, the CSPS has trained three batches of interns and completed several short-term courses and workshops along with dozens of academic talks and distinguished lectures. CSPS has also signed MOUs with several universities and institutions to provide our support to their students and faculty members.
---
Programme Officer, Centre for Studies of Plural Societies (CSPS), New Delhi

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