Students from India and Pakistan Meet Online in Cooperative Project on ‘Peri-Urban’ Development Issues

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HONOLULU (Sept. 4, 2103) -- Graduate students from India and Pakistan participated in a two-way video conference last week as part of a cross-border East-West Center project, funded by the U.S. State Department, that brings together experts, scholars, young professionals and university students from both countries to explore development issues in critical ‘peri-urban’ areas that lie between cities and the countryside.

Hyderabad, IndiaA total of about 20 students at Hyderabad Central University in India and Iqra University in Islamabad, Pakistan met via video link to share presentations on the unique issues posed by these rapidly changing rural-urban interfaces. Click here for a synopsis of the discussion.

The project’s principal investigator, EWC research fellow Sumeet Saksena, notes that each side made presentations based on expert reports from the other country. “It was a pleasure to hear the Indian students describe their understanding of Lahore,” Saksena reports, “and the Pakistani students talk in detail about Chennai, Guwahati, etc.”

Funded by a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State, the two-year project is a collaboration between EWC researchers and scholars at the South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies in Hyderabad, India and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Islamabad, PakistanTheir research is focusing first on the practical challenges of how to identify and map such areas, and secondly on pinpointing their primary development issues and exploring what kind of government structures and development tools might be best suited to deal with them.

“These areas have been overlooked from every angle,” Saksena says. “In both countries, peri-urban areas occupy large portions of the landscape, are home to tens of millions of people, and face serious environmental and human health problems that are often neglected by both rural and urban administrations.”