India’s First Research Centre on G20 Studies
17 January 2023, Sonipat, Haryana: O.P. Jindal Global (Institution of Eminence Deemed to be University) — JGU announces the establishment of the Jindal Global Centre for G20 Studies. This will be the first research centre established by any Indian university, which will exclusively focus on research, thought leadership, and capacity building initiatives relating to G20.
O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has taken efforts to build this Centre in the light of India assuming the Presidency of G20 from 1 December 2022. It is a fantastic opportunity for India to play a leadership role in promoting transformative ideas for making this institution more relevant and impactful. G20 is an intergovernmental forum which has 20 countries and the European Union as its members. Its main objective is to address issues relating to the global economy, especially on matters relating to international financial stability, climate mitigation and sustainable development. However, what needs to be recognized is that G20 comprises of the world’s largest economies – both industrialized and developing countries. Remarkably, G20 accounts for around 80% of the gross world product (GWP), 75% of the international trade, two-thirds of the global population, and 60% of the world’s land area.
The Jindal Global Centre for G20 Studies (JGC4G20) at O.P. Jindal Global University will have five major objectives: first, to develop a strong vision for enabling academic institutions across the G20 region to build international collaborations between them; second, to launch new initiatives to promote G20 studies and greater understanding of the countries in G20 in all its dimensions across other Indian higher education institutions; third, to organise periodic lectures, seminars and conferences of topical relevance to India-G20 cooperation in partnership with other universities, think-tanks and government officials; fourth, to build and strengthen capacities for pursuing research relating to G20 countries within India with a strong focus on joint research between institutions in G20; fifth: to develop multisectoral training and capacity building programmes in close partnership with higher education institutions in the G20.
Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, the Founding Vice Chancellor of JGU observed, “As India assumes the Presidency of G20, this will be the first such Centre established by any Indian university. I am happy to announce the appointment of Professor (Dr.) Mohan Kumar, former Indian Ambassador to France and the Dean of the Office of International Affairs & Global Initiatives at JGU as the Inaugural Director of the JGC4G20. This will be a university-wide research centre, which will pursue five major initiatives in this year of India’s Presidency of G20. First, JGCG20 will be hosting a Global Conference of 200 Universities from G20 Countries with representation of 10 universities from each G20 partner to focus on the future of education; second, to organize a G20 Ambassadors’ Conclave that will promote a dialogue on the future of diplomacy; third, to host a Global Justice Colloquium with a focus on bringing together lawyers and judges of the G20 countries to discuss and debate on the state of the justice systems across G20; fourth, to host the World Sustainability Forum for bringing together thought leaders and institutions in G20 to engage on issues relating to environment and climate change; and fifth, to host the Global Public Policy and Development Dialogue for bringing together policy makers and academics in G20 to discuss issues confronting the world of policy and development.”
Commenting on the significance of this initiative, Professor Kumar observed, “The vision for proposing a G20 Global Education Forum should enable the opportunity for another summit hosted in parallel to the G20 summit, which will bring together the leading universities of the G20. The vision of this Centre is to transcend the functioning of G20 that is currently limited to the governmental organisations, politicians, and diplomats. The democratization of the functioning of G20 as an international forum will require a complete reimagination involving other participants, especially the young people who are part of the universities of the world. Their involvement and the participation of universities including their researchers, albeit in a separate forum hosted on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, will send a powerful signal to make the working of G20 more inclusive.”
The Director of the newly established JGC4G20, Ambassador Professor (Dr.) Mohan Kumar has had a remarkable career in the Indian Foreign Service for over 36 years which culminated in him becoming India’s Ambassador to France based in Paris. Under his watch, the Indo-French strategic partnership was strengthened and consolidated further in spheres such as defense, space, nuclear & solar energy, smart cities and investment. Earlier, he was India’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain where he witnessed and dealt with a strategically complex region characterized by events such as the “Arab Spring”. Ambassador Dr. Mohan Kumar has enormous expertise in the area of international trade — he was India’s lead negotiator first at the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and then at the WTO (World Trade Organization) in crucial areas such as Intellectual Property Rights, Services, Dispute Settlement, Rules and Technical Barriers to Trade. Ambassador Dr. Mohan Kumar also has strategic understanding of India’s ties with some of her key neighbours such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Maldives. Ambassador Dr. Mohan Kumar holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi and a Doctorate (Ph.D) from Sciences Po University, Paris. Ambassador Dr. Mohan Kumar also served as the Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) from June 2018 to June 2022. Ambassador Kumar is the author of a book entitled “Negotiation Dynamics of the WTO: An Insider’s Account”, published by Palgrave Macmillan (2018).
On his appointment as Inaugural Director of the JGC4G20, Professor (Dr.) Mohan Kumar said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been given this responsibility at a time when India has just assumed the presidency of the G20. G20 has gradually emerged as an indispensable multilateral forum on the international landscape. It has also expanded its remit to dealing with the burning problems of the day, after starting off in 2008 as an institution which was aimed at management of the global economy. The newly established research centre will undertake independent and inter-disciplinary research in the following areas already established by India as priorities for its presidency. These are, inter alia: (1) Accelerating SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in Education and Health; (2) Accelerated, Inclusive and Resilient Economic Growth; (3) Green Development and Climate Finance; (4) Multilateral Institutions for the 21st Century; (5) 3 Fs: Food, Fuel and Fertilizers; and (6) Gender: Women-led development. The vision of JGC4G20 is to draw upon the tremendous expertise in all the schools of JGU and bring it together under one umbrella. The JGC4G20 thus hopes to make a substantial contribution not just in the presidency year of India, but well beyond in the future.”
O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) is a research-intensive university with the prestigious Institution of Eminence (IoE) status accorded by the Government of India. In a short life span of 13 years, JGU has been ranked for the last three years in a row as the ‘Number 1 Private University of India’ by the QS World University Rankings (2022). One of the reasons for JGU’s remarkable rise is research led by the outstanding contributions of its 1000+ full time faculty members who come from 48 countries in the world. JGU has over 55 interdisciplinary Research Centres that are faculty-run and student-driven (over 10,000 students), spread across 12 Schools, and covering a variety of issues in humanities and social sciences. Some of these Research Centres have a country-specific focus, such as the Centre for Israel Studies, the Centre for Afghanistan Studies, the Centre for India Australia Studies, and the Centre for India-China Studies. All these Centres are promoting knowledge and doing policy advocacy relating to these specific countries and are quite actively engaged in improving India’s relations with those countries. They also administer a wide variety of academic courses and degree programmes for students in collaboration with partner universities and governments of those countries.