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Government Building Columns


The field of governance concerns the structures, institutions and systems necessary to order human interactions when we live together in communities or work in consort. Governance issues range from questions of how nation-states are governed to regulation systems within corporations , non-corporate bodies and international organisations, considering the extent of checks and balances and transparency and the way individual freedom is protected

Featured Speakers

Andy Bayley
Abhijit Iyer Mitra
David Wood
Amish Tripathi
Geoff Hoon
Ram Madhav
Pippa Malmgren
Suhag Shukla

Sustainable Narratives 2020: Welcome Address and Sustainable Governance in a Rapidly Changing World

Sustainable Narratives 2020 seeks to address the big questions facing humanity today. From wealth creation to governance systems, institutionalised religion, human rights and postmodernism, this four-day virtual event promises to put the most prevailing narratives of our times on trial in the light of ‘sustainability’. Sustainable Governance in a Rapidly Changing World: Vichaar Manthan explores some of the toughest challenges facing governance in the next 50 years. We are joined by Ram Madhav, the Founder and Director of India Foundation, and the Director of the SOAS China Institute in London - Steve Tsang. The discussion is chaired by Andy Bayley, associate lecturer at Loughborough University’s Centre for Information Management.


Fireside Conversation: Understanding Trumpism

Join Suhag Shukla, the Executive Director of the Hindu American Foundation, as she explores Trumpism, it’s motives and objectives. Donald Trump is a polarising global figure. He is out to create a new world order by his own accord; a world order where America comes first and looks after its own interests above all others. He has systematically weakened international institutions, and encouraged nationalism all over the world. Hosted by Vichaar Manthan Fellow - Sumit Sharma.

Fireside Conversation: BIG state vs. small state

Join Abhijit Iyer Mitra, senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, as he explores what is better for human flourishing - a BIG state, one that takes a paternal role towards its citizens and proactively intervenes and shapes and guides the life of individuals? Or is a small state better, one that provides the basics - defence, security, and infrastructure, but refrains from involvement in the life of the individual? Will the Chinese model of governance model become the most dominant, or the Scandanavian interventionist model, or the American model of maximising individual liberty? Hosted by Vichaar Manthan Fellow - Ravi Lakhani.

Fireside Conversation: Global Order 2050

Shashi Tharoor explores what he thinks are the biggest challenges facing humanity over the next thirty years. How will technology alter democracy? Is liberty under threat? Will Nationalism outgrow internationalism? How will the Indian story play out in the light of a dominant China, and a nationalist America? Is Europe in a permanent decline? And what will the international order in 2050 look like? Hosted by International Vichaar Manthan Lead: Sachin Nandha.

Could the West ever embrace Dharma

Could the West ever embrace Dharma? Or are Western values too distinct, too deep rooted for Dharma to show us a way out of the fly bottle? Hear Amish Tripathi and Rajiv Malhotra discuss how political philosophy could learn from the narratives of long standing civilisations.

Is there a sustainable solution to homelessness?

Homeless charities have adopted as their goal the eradication of homelessness. But what causes homelessness? Is the work that charities do in the UK a sustainable solution to homelessness? Do they make our society more socially responsible for tackling it? And how successfully do they help the homeless to flourish, maintain good wellbeing and become responsible members of society?


Join us in conversation with Jon Sparkes to explore the role of charities in sustainably solving the problem of homelessness in British society.


Chair: Pravar Petkar, PhD Law at The University of Edinburgh Speaker: Jon Sparkes, CE Crisis

India's Farm Laws - What do we really know?

The recent farmer’s protests in India have garnered widespread media, and social media attention. A seemingly run of the mill reform bill in the Agricultural sector in the world’s largest democracy has ignited passions on both sides of the debate. Cutting through the smoke screens and cloaks of political power plays, Vichaar Manthan is asking the key questions.

What are these farming reforms about? Who do they effect, how do they affect them, and where? Will these reforms usher in an era of modernisation and mechanisation of India’s farming industry at the cost of the small farmer? Are there external, vested interest groups at the heart of the agitation who are utilising small farmers to their own ends, or is this really a valid uprising against unjust laws?


Join us as we explore the intricacies of these farm laws and get to the heart of the matter.

Vaccinating Against Misinformation: Who is Responsible?

Do you understand new medical discoveries and how they impact you? Steven Pinker, in his book “Enlightenment Now”, has outlined that billions of lives have been saved by the many scientists and that life span in Europe has gone from less than 40 years in 1860 to over 80 years by 2020. History shows that vaccines are one of the scientific advances which have played a crucial role in eradicating disease and saving millions of people.

With this in mind, why does there seem to be conflicting information about vaccines? How can we ensure information from scientists is effectively transmitted into society? Within the current system who is responsible for communicating this information? What processes would ensure greater accuracy?

Join us in conversation with Adam Ritchie to unpack these questions and explore the topic further.

Chair: Arun Tailor

Speaker: Adam Ritchie

What is sustainable leadership in local government?

The Nolan Principles, which are standards of conduct for any public office-holder, provide that office-holders should show selflessness, integrity and honesty, amongst other qualities. Yet these standards are not always upheld, with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government having to intervene in March 2021 in respect of widespread mismanagement in Liverpool City Council, alongside isolated incidents elsewhere.


Given this, what values should we be expecting elected local politicians in our society to uphold? What systems do we need at the local level to enforce these values? And how do we ensure that these values are upheld in the long-term?


Join Vichaar Manthan in conversation with Councillor Rajesh Singh and Councillor Dhanisha Patel on Saturday 18th September at 7pm to discuss the sustainable perspective on local government leadership.

Chair: Pravar Petkar

Speaker: Rajesh Singh and Dhanisha Patel

Are Prisons Fit for Purpose?

There are currently 78,750 people behind bars in England and Wales. Together with Scotland, we have the highest incarceration rate in Western Europe. “Our duty,” according to the mission statement of Her Majesty’s Prison Service, “is to look after [prisoners] with humanity and help them lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.” What does it mean to look after those in custody with humanity? Is a prison system founded upon the principles of security and punishment capable of promoting human dignity and personal development within its walls? In recent years, the prison service has seen overcrowding, record levels of self-harm, and nearly half of the adults are reconvicted within a year of being released. With the country’s prison population currently projected to rise by a further 20,000 people by 2026, it raises the question: are prisons sustainable?

Chair: Michela Sisti

Speaker: Jason Warr

What is sustainable leadership in local government?

Safety and Liberty are both key principles of a prosperous and liberal democracy, these ideas are often at odds with each other. Governments are perpetually having to strike a balance between the two.


What institutions are in place to maintain this balance in the UK and how do they do so? To what extent should we allow either value to encroach on the other? How much Liberty can we give up for the safety of ourselves and others around us? Conversely, should Liberty be upheld no matter what the implications are for our safety?

Chair: Gaurang Bhatt

Speaker: Adam Wagner

Can British Politics be 'sleaze-free'?

How do we ensure that politicians use their power for the right purposes? Since the ‘cash for questions’ scandal in the UK in the 1990s, a system to maintain standards in public life was established. Yet, this has been recently put under particular strain, with several politicians having seemed to breach these standards, bringing their integrity into question. Is the existing standards system fit for purpose? Is there a cultural problem in British national politics? And what is the sustainable alternative?

Chair: Rajashekar Asireddy

Speaker: Professor Elizabeth David-Barrett

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