New Delhi, May 19 : Saying that there was a big vacuum of intellectuals of today, the Vice Chancellor Delhi University, Prof. Deepak Pental on Monday asked students to think creatively, come up with solutions to problems and set the tone for politicians to follow.
Pental was inaugurating a unique two-week summer workshop for students on "India's Future Challenges", organised jointly the Delhi University and Observer Research Foundation, a prominent public policy think headquartered in Delhi.
Stressing the importance of research and out of box thinking to find solutions to country's problems, Prof. Pental said one should not expect political leadership to come up with solutions because of their vote bank compulsions.
But through persistent creative, analytical thinking, "you should set the tone of what political leadership would follow," Prof. Pental told the 20-odd undergraduate students attending the DU-ORF workshop at the ORF Campus.
Calling on the students to become "thinking individuals", Prof. Pental said the bureaucrats were not allowing intellectuals and academics to come up with solutions to country's problems. Talking about problems of the country, especially the food shortage, Prof. Pental said the problem was the top officials advising the Government never thought creatively to find solutions. "The country will have to pay dearly for this", Pental warned.
Pental called on the students to think seriously, analytically, creatively about country's problems and come up with solutions as they have enough time today. "Now you have plenty of time. Don't waste the time. Twenty years later, you may not find time at all to think about problems as you get busy with your work."
Welcoming the Vice Chancellor and the students, Mr. Vikram Sood, Vice President of ORF's Centre for International Relations and a former chief of the R and AW, said it was a unique opportunity for ORF to interact with the future of the nation.
Sood hoped that the workshop would help the participants to think out of the box and the text book taught at the university. Saying that the world has become much more complex now than in his student years at the Delhi University, Sood said students needed to know much more of the international relations today to understand the world and the issues.
This novel workshop is the idea of Pental who suggested to ORF Chairman R.K. Mishra a joint ORF-DU initiative to enable his undergraduate students to deepen their understanding of emergent national and international issues and help them think creatively.
The workshop intends to expose a group of 20-25 students for two weeks during their summer vacation to a number of public policy issues that are in the domain of ORF's specialisation.
It is hoped that such a programme would encourage undergraduate students, who otherwise get less opportunity to know about public policy issues unlike their post-graduate peers, to appreciate debates on public policy issues and understand the role of think tanks.
The workshop will be based on a series of lectures by ORF's distinguished faculty and domain experts followed by group discussions and group tasks. The faculty include seasoned diplomat Dilip Lahiri, a former Ambassador to France, Gen. V.P. Malik, former Chief of Army Staff, Vikram Sood, former chief of Research and Analysis Wing, Dr. S. Narayan, former Finance Secretary and Economic Advisor to Prime Minister, Prof. Rakesh Basant, IIM (Ahmedabad) and others.
The workshop will try to stimulate inquiry/questions and interactive discussion. It will also educate students on aspects of data search/collection, internet skills to search relevant information and research methods for conducting public policy analysis. Importantly, there will be a group assignment which will be evaluated at the end of the programme. Outstanding completion of group assignments will be suitably rewarded while all participating students will be given a certificate of participation by the Delhi University.
The theme of this year's workshop is on India's Future Challenges. The list of issues to be covered are quite diverse and very contemporary challenges. They include international issues, national security issues of internal as well as external, national economy and development and energy and climate change.