A delegation from the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development at Somerville College visited Mumbai and Delhi, to collaborate with India’s leading academics, policy-makers and lawyers on the country’s most pressing sustainable development issues.
The OICSD is home to a thriving postgraduate and postdoctoral programme for talented Indian graduate students who seek to lead change to address issues of urgent global concern on their return to India.
Led by the Principal, Dr Alice Prochaska, the delegation included the OICSD’s Director, Professor Alex Rogers, Research Director, Dr Alfred Gathorne-Hardy, and Director of Development, Sara Kalim.
The team launched a fundraising appeal to establish the new Cornelia Sorabji Scholarship Programme that will enable talented Indian lawyers to study at Oxford. The scholarship will commemorate the first Indian woman to study at Somerville and Oxford University, who went on to become India’s first woman lawyer. The visit to India also presented the opportunity to promote the OICSD’s forthcoming July conference on Nutrition, Power and the Environment.
A brand new non-profit vehicle, the Oxonian India Foundation enables tax-efficient rupee donations for scholarships for outstanding Indian students, and was also launched on the visit with a lead commitment from a Mumbai business family.
The British Council India
Two lectures were given in partnership with the British Council India, in Mumbai and Delhi. Professor Rogers and Dr Gathorne-Hardy delivered talks on the sustainable use of the natural resources of the land and sea to packed audiences. The lecture at the British Council in Delhi was also jointly hosted by the Oxford and Cambridge Society of India and will be available to watch online shortly.
Professor Rogers discussed the most recent developments of how we use and manage precious resources and the implications of his findings for sustainable fisheries, climate change and other issues, following a recent exploration with a dive descending more than 10,000 feet underwater on the Central Indian Ridge.
Following Professor Rogers, Dr Gathorne-Hardy spoke on why bringing together different actors in the food system, from co-operatives to multinationals and nutritionists to psychologists – create moments of breakthrough and understanding in the movement towards sustainable global nutrition.
The Supreme Court of India
It was with a deep sense of honour and privilege that Dr Prochaska gave a short lecture at the Supreme Court of India on Friday 1st of April. Several hundred of India’s top barristers, including the President, Vice President and Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association, heard Dr Prochaska speak on the life and career of Cornelia Sorabji.
The Supreme Court also invited members of the OICSD, including Debottam Bose – Solicitor, Advocate and part of the OICSD Delegation who facilitated the event – to visit and interact with the members of the Bar.
Dr Prochaska’s lecture was preceded by talks in honour of Cornelia Sorabji by three of India’s most eminent lawyers: Ram Jethmalani, Senior Advocate to the Supreme Court of India, Member of Parliament for Rajasthan and high profile criminal lawyer; Fali Nariman, distinguished Indian Constitutional jurist, Senior Advocate to the Supreme Court of India since 1971 and President of the Bar Association of India since 1991; and Soli Sorabjee, Indian jurist who was honoured with Padma Vibhushan for his defence of the freedom of expression and the protection of human rights.
After graduating from Somerville with a degree in Jurisprudence in 1892, Cornelia Sorabji returned to India to work on behalf of women living in purdah and later became a distinguished member of Lincoln’s Inn. Sorabji was only able to take up her place at Oxford thanks to support in India and the UK. Today, many gifted Indian student lawyers find they cannot afford to study at Oxford. The Scholarship will provide the opportunity for a trainee Indian lawyer to study at Oxford’s Faculty of Law and live at Somerville College. It will be awarded to a candidate with an exceptional academic record who wishes to return to India and serve their country.
The OICSD’s mission is to advance India’s sustainable growth and development, through collaborative interdisciplinary research, postgraduate training, and practice-focused engagement with leaders from all sectors.
For more information, please visit the OICSD webpage or contact Sara Kalim at firstname.lastname@example.org.