The Emerging Leaders’ Report: Volume One is the first in a series of publications which will showcase the thoughts and expertise of the Australia India Institute’s Emerging Leaders’ Fellows. The fellowship programme began in mid- 2011 and was conceived as a way of bringing outstanding mid-career Indian professionals to Australia to continue their research in an area of international significance and to engage with Australian academics, professionals and the wider Australian community. The fellowship programme was advertised widely throughout India and attracted an enthusiastic response from highly skilled and impressive candidates from a variety of disciplines including the media, academia, the civil service and public life. The applications were assessed by a specially constituted jury and eleven fellows were appointed. The fellowship programme will run from 2011 through to late 2012.
The fellows spend eight weeks with the Institute, working in our offices and with our staff and live across the road in residential accommodation. While they are with us they become part of the larger Australia India Institute community and through attending our many events, workshops and seminars have the opportunity to meet and network with Australians, many of whom have a great interest in India and who appreciate hearing our fellows’ reflections, particularly in their respective areas of expertise. The fellows give a public lecture on their research which is available as a podcast on the Institute’s website www.aii.unimelb.edu.au. They also travel interstate to meet colleagues and government officials and discuss their work. This exchange of ideas creates not only new connections between India and Australia but disseminates information about each other to each other which works towards breaking down some of the preconceptions and misinformation the two countries may have. The power of this people-to-people exchange cannot be underestimated. The Australia India Institute is Australia’s pre-eminent centre for the study of India. It is the only national centre in Australia devoted to building a capacity to comprehensively understand India through its teaching, research, public policy and outreach programmes. The Emerging Leaders’ Fellowship is but one of our programmes and activities which bring India and Australia together in a conversation that, I’m sure, will lead to a more productive and engaged relationship between these two great democracies.