Exchange of ideas focus of Indo-Swiss seminar

To strengthen Indo-Swiss ties, the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) in co-ordination with the Universite of Lausanne (UNIL) flagged off a two-day Indo- Swiss seminar here on Tuesday.

The seminar aims to focus on five different aspects of society including distribution of social goods, cultural diversity, social integration, political reshaping, and environment and society. 

Speaking to Deccan Herald on the sidelines of the event, ICSSR chairman Prof Sukhadeo Thorat said the project began two years ago and through this workshop they hoped to identify various issues that could provide an opportunity for both the countries to take learning from each other. He explained, “For instance, we would like to look at how they have handled the situation concerning immigrants in Switzerland. Another area is about the Swiss government coping with the challenge of social security of senior citizens in their country. In India, we are still not completely nuclear families. However, we can take learning from the country as to how they have dealt with these situations.” 

In collaboration with UNIL, there are three projects being taken up from the city itself, Professor Rene Veron, Acting Chair, UNIL, said. These include a project at IIM-B with regard to inclusive growth and public health, a second one at Indian Institute for Human Settlements on Sustainable Urban Development and Land Use and a third in co-ordination with University of Agricultural Sciences on Education, Chemistry-Green economy. There are five projects in all taken up under the Indo- Swiss research programme in social sciences. The other two include a project on Higher Education Development at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and one of higher education and skills development being pursued in coordination with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). 

The two-day seminar saw participation from eminent researchers in the country and from institutions in Switzerland. According to the chairman of ICSSR, the project also focuses on exchange of faculty and PhD scholars. This is not the first-of-its-kind collaboration for strengthening research between the countries. In 2005, the Department of Science and Technology began collaboration with the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation for development in scientific and technological areas in both countries.

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