East-West center Oral History Project: Toufiq Siddiqi

Toufiq Siddiqi

Toufiq Siddiqi grew up in undivided India in an academic family, was schooled in England and Germany where he obtained a Ph.D. in nuclear physics.  He helped to found the new field which studied the environmental impacts of energy at Indiana University and left a tenured position to join the brand new EWC Environment and Policy Institute (EAPI) in 1977.  EAPI researchers worked to develop environmental awareness and research collaboration throughout Asia through dissemination workshops and jointly-prepared environmental guidelines for offshore oil and gas exploration, coal transportation, and air quality standards. In 1989 Siddiqi and EAPI held the first global climate change workshop for the Asia Pacific region.  As special advisor to President Victor Li, Siddiqi revamped the students’ Core Seminars program and oversaw the Jefferson Hall/Imin Center conversion. Siddiqi is president of Global Environment and Energy in the 21st Century, a non-profit organization based in Hawai'i.   He has been a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the first visiting senior fellow at Global Environmental Facility, and consultant to several international organizations, including UNDP, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.  The work of Siddiqi and the Center's environment research program is detailed in the chapter "Collaborating on Research" in The East-West Center Legacy.
Read Siddiqi's interview narrative (pdf)

  • Personal Background
  • Life Before EWC - Schooling in Europe - Arrival in U.S. - From Nuclear Physics to Environmental Studies
  • Life at EWC - Environment and Policy Institute (EAPI), 1977
  • Intellectual Innovations - Environment Programs - Producing International Environmental Guidelines -  Impact of EWC Environmental Work - Environmental Work in China - EAPI, 1977-85 - Climate Change Research
  • Institutional Transitions - Revamping Core Seminars - Imin International Center - RIF, 1995
  • Life After EWC - Global Environment and Energy in the 21st Century (GEE-21) - Consulting Work in the Region - Track II Diplomacy Between India/Pakistan - EWC Adjunct Fellow, 2004 - SAARC Energy Center
  • EWC’s Impact - On Career, Perspectives - EWC’s Impact on Students, Region - Friends of the East-West Center - EAPI, Global Impact - Influence on Alumni Professionally - The Mission/EAPI - The Mission/Refocusing on Education
Interview Quotes
"So I came here as a research associate, and our main idea was that we would start new environment programs because the Center had no programs in these fields. And we spent the first two or three years identifying the people in the region that we would be working with, and then starting the programs with them.  And I started the program which was called 'Environmental Dimensions of Energy Policies.' It was probably the first such program in the region that linked environment and energy very explicitly."

"And I’d got very interested then in the climate change area.  Even at our first meeting -- the one that I described to you, it’s a planning meeting for the Environmental Dimensions of Energy Policies project, when we decided on the coal and oil things -- we’d asked the people -- I asked them explicitly, “Do you think it’s a good time to start looking at global climate change?”  And they said well, it was a little too early. ...  They said, 'Talk to us again in 10 years.'  So when I came back here in ’89, I thought this was time to do so.  Climate change was just becoming a public concern.  So we organized here the first major workshop on global climate change, in 1989, at the East-West Center.  Had people all the way from China, India, to the Pacific Islands, and all of those."
These narratives, which reflect interviewees’ personal perceptions, opinions and memories, may contain errors of fact. They do not reflect positions or versions of history officially approved by the East-West Center.