Globalization, Universities and Issues of Sustainable Human Development
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Globalization, Universities and Issues of Sustainable Human Development

Edited by Jean L. Pyle and Robert Forrant

This volume raises an important question: Given the fast-changing global economy and the challenges it presents, what is the role for the university as an institution promoting sustainable human development? The editors begin by outlining the changes associated with the recent wave of globalization, particularly transformations in the relative power of institutions internationally. They analyze the constraints universities face in industrialized and developing countries in promoting sustainable human development.
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Chapter 7: Striving Towards Sustainable Development in a Globalizing Economy: Universities and Civil Society Organizations in India

Jamuna Ramakrishna


Jamuna Ramakrishna I. INTRODUCTION The title of this chapter uses the word ‘striving.’ The use is intentional. Is sustainable development possible in a globalizing economy? One could evade the question by saying that the answer would depend on how ‘sustainable development’ is defined. But if it came to a point, most civil society organizations (CSOs) in India would express the gravest doubts about such a possibility. Nevertheless one development of the last decade that gives cause for hope is the emergence of a few tentative collaborations between universities and CSOs which attempt to address the impacts of economic liberalization and globalization. The initiatives are small, isolated and driven by individual commitment rather than by institutional policy. The motivations of CSOs and universities vary. Whereas CSOs tend to have short timeframes and value practical outcomes, universities tend to operate in longer time horizons, and interpret excellence quite differently. In spite of all these ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ these partnerships are worth looking at more closely since they hold the promise of improving the effectiveness of CSOs working for sustainable development while rejuvenating universities – both small but necessary steps towards the ideal of sustainable development. This chapter begins by describing the broader context of higher education and of CSOs in India, so that the environment within which these partnerships must survive can be understood. The emerging, tentative collaborations seem to fall into four basic types of relationships, namely ‘mutual collaboration,’ ‘seeking specific support,’ ‘providing capacity building...

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