SPS has six flagship projects:
1. SPS Events: SPS organizes two kinds of events for the public – SPS RTs and SPS Lectures.
SPS RTs, or roundtable discussions, are centred on contemporary political, economic, strategic, security, foreign policy and social issues. These RTs seek to promote debates and distil ideas on burning issues and policies among policy makers, diplomats, analysts, commentators, journalists, academics and interested members of civil society.
Largely held in association with the India International Centre – these provide not just a platform for the speaker to articulate his/her views, concerns and perspectives but also a rare chance for the audience to interact with and benefit from the speaker’s experience, knowledge and standpoint on institutional, national and global affairs.
Speakers/panelists have included ministers, ambassadors, military officials, policy makers, domain experts, foreign scholars, etc. Special attention has been paid to engaging students and researchers and to bring in the youth perspective on many issues.
SPS Lectures – again a big draw – are organized in association with the India Habitat Centre and feature resident ambassadors, visiting dignitaries or eminent persons from various fields.
(Please visit our ‘Events’ section )
2. SPS Publications: SPS organises exclusive briefings for embassies, international organisations, multinationals, think tanks, etc., by some of India’s best known experts on contemporary issues. These can be arranged at your offices or outside, for in-station officials or visiting delegations.
SPS also prepares briefs on contemporary events, situations, trends in diplomacy, politics, strategic and social issues, economy, environment and even sectoral business outlooks, in India and other South Asian countries.
SPS also conducts orientation/sensitisation workshops on Indian culture, lifestyle and media for embassies, corporates, corporate communication personnel and even visiting media by known and established experts.
Our most recent project: In March-April 2016, SPS carried out Scenario Building and Scenario Analysis of Bangladesh as a part of Net Assessment of the country for the Directorate of Net Assessment, Headquarter Integrated Defence Staff (Ministry of Defence) which conducts net assessment on issues of national security and contemporary military aspects.
(Please visit our ‘Briefs’ section)
3. South Asia Monitor: South Asia suffers from a significant identity and knowledge deficit. Certain dominant narratives and perceptions have accreted, that in turn breed misconception and misunderstanding about the region among outsiders and gives rise to intra-regional distrust and misapprehension about each other’s motives and intentions.
Much of the knowledge/data base and information dissemination on the region is sourced externally – largely from Western and extra-regional sources. Basic information about countries of the region and their national perspectives on key issues are hard to get and are scattered across diverse sources whose authenticity and reliability remain in doubt.
In order to create a more credible and empathetic knowledge bank on the South Asian region and bridge the information gap inherent to it, SPS has created the South Asia Monitor (www.southasiamonitor.org), an independent web journal and online resource dealing with strategic, political, security, cultural and economic issues about, pertaining to and of consequence to South Asia and the whole Indo-Pacific region.
Developed for South Asia watchers across the globe or those looking for in-depth knowledge, reliable resource and documentation on this region, the site features exclusive commentaries, insightful analyses, interviews and reviews contributed by strategic experts, diplomats, journalists, analysts, researchers and students from not only this region but all over the world. It also aggregates news and views content related to the region.
4. The Indian Diaspora: India’s estimated 25 million-strong diaspora is the nation’s pride. People of Indian origin living in countries across the globe have enriched their adopted countries in diverse fields and have made a name for themselves in public life, economics, industry, business and trade, music and film, medicine, science, space and technology, academics and the culinary arts. In many countries people of Indian origin count among the richest, knowledgeable and influential families.
As new generations of people of Indian origin come of age in different countries and the demographics in India too change with a far more globally aware young population coming to the forefront in different fields, it is imperative that the connections between India and its diaspora are deepened and new bonds established. It is with this objective that SPS started a global Indian Diaspora umbrella portal, www.theindiandiaspora.com, to a). create the first-ever Database of the Indian Diaspora and its associations/bodies and, b). facilitate regular exchange of information, news, ideas and opinions between the diaspora and India and among Indian communities worldwide.
5. SPS Training: SPS offers orientation capsules for diplomats/foreign professionals/media personnel, whether resident or visiting, on issues of interest.
Ranging from one day to three days, depending on the time available to the participants, this capsule provides an introduction to the contemporary developments in India and the extended southern Asian region. The spectrum of issues covered include political, diplomatic/foreign-policy, economic/trade, security/strategic and development/gender issues that are relevant to the prevailing situation.
Some of its activities have been:
a. Media Training: SPS partnered with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) to set up the International Media Institute of India (IMII) in New Delhi. IMII ran a post-graduate diploma in journalism during the academic year 2010-11 that was attended by 30 students, including four foreign students from Bhutan and Liberia. IMII is a unique media training institute in India with an international outlook. It has devised multimedia, interactive and modern methods of training for aspiring journalists in India and around the world.
b. Media Literacy Workshops: The term “media literacy” refers to a citizen’s ability to understand, analyze, and utilize the media, as well as differentiate between quality, unbiased news and opinion. Media literacy also involves citizens’ understanding of the importance of free and independent media to the stability of democracy and a free information society. By educating young people, starting from high school students, and instilling healthy habits of inquiry through media literacy, Media Literacy Education can help prepare youth and adults alike for lives of active inquiry and give them a better understanding of the ties between information, community, and democracy.
Today’s younger generations, particularly those in schools and who are in their formative years, are particularly susceptible to media’s influences – through newspapers, magazines, TV, internet and mobile applications. But most of them have little or no idea how the media operate : what is news, who decides what news is and how news is disseminated – from news gathering to the news distribution stage.
SPS has developed a teaching module for high school students in India (Classes 9, 10, 11 and 12). In this programme, the students are acquainted with basic facets of a fast growing, pervasive media industry which impacts on and influences the lives and thinking of citizens in a democracy.
Even adults – from government information officials, armed forces/police personnel to even politicians – can benefit from understanding how media functions and, instead of assuming an adversarial or even wary relationship, know how to deal with it, respond to it and even utilise and harness the media to their own advantage.
6. SPS Internships: SPS is closely involved in the Washington Leadership Program (WLP), a highly appreciated initiative on Capitol Hill where young Indian Americans intern with influential US Representatives and Senators. Run for 15 years by the Indian American Center for Political Awareness (IACPA), a non-profit organization based in Washington, the objective of WLP, begun by the late visionary publisher Gopal Raju, was to sensitise Indian American youth to American politics and motivate at least some of them to consider taking up politics as a career. WLP today places close to two dozen young Indian Americans with US Congressmen.
SPS was involved in the India orientation of these interns by organising their meetings with leading Indian political personalities, foreign policy officials, strategic experts, business chambers, NGOs, etc.
SPS is equipped to organise similar orientation and internship programmes for schools, universities and other institutions.