Thursday, July 19, 2007


Kumkum Bhattacharya is a Professor in the Department of Social Work at Visva-Bharati University, West Bengal, India. She has a PhD from Visva-Bharti, and a Post-graduate diploma in Educational and Vocational Guidance from the National Centre for Educational Research and Training, New Delhi. She has conducted research and published widely in the disciplines of anthropology and rural development, that included first hand study of communities in West Bengal. She has focused on women’s organizations and networks as well as leadership skills. She is currently interacting on the political empowerment of women, and was awarded an Exchange fellowship to the University of Connecticut, USA in the Asian American Studies Institute for the month of October 2005 to present this work.
Photo Sourc
e: University of Connecticut Website

Chandana Dey is the project manager for Srihaswani, or Creative Manual Skills for Self Reliant Development, set in West Bengal. Based in Shantiniketan, she is also leading an effort to revitalize Shantiniketan. She has worked for UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development) in Geneva, Switzerland. She served as Project Coordinator with the Ahimsa Trust in West Bengal for the past decade. Chandana has a background in History and International Affairs. Committed to facilitating grassroots development change, she is the co-founder of The Bhab Initiative.
Photo: Brenda Gael McSweeney

Krishno Dey was born in Kolkata, India, and developed his first interest in rural development traveling around villages with his father, then West Bengal's first Development Commissioner. After studying Economics in the United Kingdom at Oxford and Manchester Universities, he spent 26 years on a career with different United Nations organisations, starting in Morocco with the World Food Programme and Allende's Chile with the UN Development Programme, and ending with the United Nations Volunteers in Geneva. His work was concerned mostly with formulating and managing new programmes, with evaluations and policy analysis, always with a focus on low-income households. He returned to India in 1995 to pursue his interest in development in a voluntary capacity. There he co-founded the Bhab Initiative in Shantiniketan, West Bengal. He also continues to undertake assignments occasionally through the international system.
Photo Source:

Shahla Haeri is Director of Boston University's Women's Studies Program and Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology. She has conducted research in Iran, Pakistan and India, and has written extensively on religion, law and gender dynamics in the Muslim world. She has been awarded several postdoctoral fellowships, including one at the Women’s Studies in Religion Program, Harvard Divinity School (2005-2006); at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University (1996); and at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Brown University (1986-87). She has published widely and produced a video documentary entitled "Mrs. President: Women and Political Leadership in Iran."
Photo: Frank Curran

Malkit Kaur is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Punjabi University at Patiala specializing in Women’s Studies and Rural Sociology. She has researched and written on women and development, the girl child and Socio-economic and Cultural Dynamics of the adverse sex ratio in Punjab. She served as Head of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology from 1998 to 2001.

Yaaminey Mubayi received her Bachelors degree in South Asian Studies at Mount Holyoke College, Ma. USA. She completed her Doctorate on the Jagannath Temple, Puri at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2000. It was published in 2005 as part of the Heidelberg University series on Orissa. Yaaminey’s work with the Culture Sector in UNESCO, introduced her to the issues besetting development agencies and the importance of people's concerns in development initiatives. In 2003, she completed an M.Sc in Social Policy from the London School of Economics. She has subsequently worked with various NGOs in the field of Culture and Development. She strongly feels that Culture is a fundamental issue that underpins development initiatives. Yaaminey works on pilgrimage sites in Puri and Amritsar to illustrate the power inherent in Culture as a medium to drive development initiatives. Yaaminey also teaches Heritage and Community issues at the Department of Conservation, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. She is on the Expert Committee of Government of Punjab for Development of Cultural Tourism. Lastly, she is also founder member of Satark Nagrik Sangathan, an organization working on using the Right to Information for community empowerment in Delhi.

Brenda Gael McSweeney spent 30 years working for the United Nations; she joined the Women’s Studies Program at Boston University as the first-ever Visit
ing Scholar in September 2003. She brings with her vast global experience spanning from the grassroots to the policy-making level. She began her UN career in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, living in a West African courtyard and managing the project portfolio of the UN Development Programme. After performing various executive ro
les for the UN, including leading the global UN Volunteers, Brenda completed her UN career with a 5-year posting in India, heading UNDP’s largest operations worldwide. The UN Family in India, along with the Indian Government, chose “Promoting Gender Equality” as one of just two priority cross-cutting themes for the UN System’s work in India. Dr. McSweeney teaches 'Gender and International Development' at BU each Spring semester, and 'Gender and Development' in the Fall at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, where she is also a Resident Scholar at the Women's Studies Research Center.

Photo: The Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia

Gurmeet S. Rai is the founder and director of the Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative (CRCI). In 1996, Gurmeet established the CRCI to carry out projects related to preservation and enhancement of India’s cultural heritage. Through this initiative she has been able to complete many path breaking architectural conservation projects. A conservation architect, Gurmeet has worked to promote cultural heritage in Punjab, and has extensively documented historic buildings in the state. She is also an initiator of The Lime Centre that promotes appropriate conservation technology in the country. Recently, she has added her expertise to the Red Fort’s Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan in New Delhi. Gurmeet has numerous professional memberships and publications, and has produced cultural heritage exhibitions and films.
Photo: Brenda Gael McSweeney

Savyasaachi teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Sociology at the Jamia Millia Islamia (a Central University) in Delhi. He started his explorations of different ways of life with long years of fieldwork with the Koitor forest dwellers in Chattisgarh in Central India and with forest people (Hill Kharias and Kutia Khonds) in Orissa (East India). He has worked with conservation architects as well. Experience in these fields prompted him to engage with issues of method, decolonization, conservation, social life and culture. In the course of teaching at Jamia Millia Islamia he has been able to work on issues related to learning as opposed to teaching. He has been (2007-08) traveling faculty for the Re-thinking Globalization program coordinated by the International Honors Program at Boston University. He has several publications; the most recent one from Penguin India is titled 'Between the Earth and the Sky'.