The Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and ZEIT-Stiftung are delighted to publish this compilation of essays titled, From Alpha Century to Viral World: The Raisina Young Fellows Speak. This is a result of the intellectual generosity of and contributions by the Raisina Young Fellows, class of 2020. They joined us from across the globe in January last year for a ten-day policy workshop in New Delhi, participated at the Raisina Dialogue, and became part of our Young Fellows community at a time when the world was still oblivious to the pandemic that was already upon it.
This collection of essays has been scripted by the contributors while battling the COVID-19 pandemic, even as we were all grappling with its implications on our personal and professional lives and reconfiguring our future passions and future pursuits. This volume is motivated by the theme of Raisina Dialogue 2020, “Alpha Century”, and, in some ways, bookends the upcoming Raisina Dialogue 2021, titled, “#ViralWorld”. These thought-provoking 17 essays compel us to engage with four important spheres of our existence that seek urgent inquiry and dialogue—climate and sustainability, the new world order, democracy and pluralism, and technology and digital societies.
With its wide scope, this publication puts forth ideas and themes that will be central to the post-pandemic era. From the future of liberalism and democracy to the insidious and increasingly overwhelming presence of technology in our daily lives, these thought pieces were written by young leaders of today, and they provoke us to appreciate that these disruptions implicate and announce the demise of the extant international order and signal the urgent need for a novel format of multi-stakeholderism and, indeed, multilateralism. These essays look beyond the rhetoric, the popular trends and hashtags, and help agitate ideas that allow us to re-invest in a world that works for all—across politics, sustainability and international relations.
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CLIMATE AND SUSTAINABILITY
2. A Sustainable Internet: Missing Pieces to a Healthy Future - Cathleen Berger
3. Water Scarcity in the Middle East: Beyond an Environmental Risk - Vali Golmohammadi
4. Security Implications of Climate Change: The Case of Permafrost Thaw - Sophie Briquetti
5. Defence Diplomacy and Environmental Security: Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and Beyond - Mélissa Levaillant
NEW WORLD ORDER
6. Why the Trading System Needs Even More Multilateralism Today - Ankai Xu and Nicolás Albertoni
7. Multilaterals as Catalysts for Private Sector Investment in Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure - Juan-Pablo Martinez-Molina Mercado
8. Europe in the Post-COVID-19 World - Lucas Maurer
9. Battle of Development Narratives: EU-Africa Relations in the Multipolar World - Loes Debuysere
10. Long Live Multilateralism - Nasim Pourghazian
DEMOCRACY (AND POPULISM)
11. The Complicated Relationship Between Liberalism And Democracy - Jan Hornat
12. Reversing the Wedge between Liberalism and Democracy in the Strongmen Era - Joanna Micah Eufemio
13. The Infiltration by New Right and the Threats to Our Political Culture - Franziska Fislage
14. The Borders That Bind Us - Mitali Mukherjee and Patrick Sandoval
15. Exploring the Prospects for Higher Education - Utkarsh Amitabh
16. Smart Working in the Way Ahead - Nicolo Andreula
17. Is Hydrogen the Answer to Global Electromobility Woes? - Krzysztof Michalski
18. Democracy: Debugging in Process - Suneera Madhok