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Joint ISAS-MEI Workshop: "Reflections on the Partition of India and Palestine after Seventy Years”

Institute of South Asian Studies & Middle-East Institute

Wednesday, 15 August 2018 from 09:00 to 18:00 (Singapore Standard Time Singapore Time)

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RSVP 15 Aug 2018 Free  

Share Joint ISAS-MEI Workshop: "Reflections on the Partition of India and Palestine after Seventy Years”

Event Details

Programme (9.00am - 6.00pm)

Registration (Starts at 8.30am)

Welcome Remarks
Ambassador Bilahari Kausikan
Chairman, Middle East Institute
National University of Singapore

Introductory Remarks
Professor C. Raja Mohan
Director, Institute of South Asian Studies
National University of Singapore

Introductory Lecture: What is Partition?
Dr Victor Kattan
Senior Research Fellow
Middle East Institute
National University of Singapore

Tea Break

Panel Discussion One:
The Partition of British India (August 1947)

Chairperson
Dr Gyanesh Kudaisya
Associate Professor of South Asian Studies
National University of Singapore

Panellists
Professor Ayesha Jalal
Mary Richardson Professor of History
Tufts University, United States

Professor Ian Talbot
Professor of Modern British History
University of Southampton, United Kingdom

Lunch Reception

Panel Discussion Two:
The Partition of Mandate Palestine (November 1947)

Chairperson
Dr Victor Kattan
Senior Research Fellow
Middle East Institute
National University of Singapore

Panellists
Professor Penny Sinanoglou
Assistant Professor of History
Wake Forest University, United States

Professor Laura Robson
Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History
Portland State University, United States

Panel Discussion Three:
The Partitions of India and Palestine compared
 
Chairperson
Dr. Iftekhar Chowdhury
Principal Research Fellow
Institute of South Asian Studies
National University of Singapore; and
Former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh

Panellists
Professor Amrita Shodhan
Senior Teaching Fellow
University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies
United Kingdom

Professor P R Kumaraswamy
Professor at the School of International Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

Tea Break

Panel Discussion Four:
Consequences of Partition for South Asia, the Middle East, and Beyond

Chairperson
Dr James M. Dorsey
Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Panellists
Dr Iqbal Singh Sevea
Visiting Research Associate Professor
Institute of South Asian Studies
National University of Singapore

Dr Mohamed-Ali Adraoui
Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service

Professor Kevin YL Tan
Adjunct Professor of Law
National University of Singapore

Closing Remarks
Dr Victor Kattan
Senior Research Fellow
Middle East Institute
National University of Singapore

End of Conference
       
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Abstract

Despite the similarities between the partition British India and Mandate Palestine, there have been few comparative studies. This is surprising as partition was raised as a possible solution to the dispute in Palestine as early as 1937. In 1947, both Indian and Pakistani diplomats took leading roles in debates at the United Nations General Assembly on the Partition Plan for Palestine, arguing in favour of a federal scheme that the Indian National Congress had rejected in India. Just over three months after the partition of British India on 15 August 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted by a slim majority to partition Palestine. The UK abstained, while India and Pakistan voted against the Plan.

The UN Partition Plan for Palestine, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 29 November 1947, was frustrated by the outbreak of war between Israel and the Arab states in 1948. Yet, despite that war, and the numerous conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians since then, the UN Partition Plan continues to be cited in UN debates until this day. Indeed, the two-state solution is, in many ways, a truncated form of partition. In contrast, the Partition of India has consistently been viewed in a more critical light, especially in India.

This workshop, one of the first of its kind, will provide opportunities for scholars to break out of the mold of looking at the partitions of the Middle East and South Asia individually, and to look at the bigger picture and the tapestries that link them. What do these pivotal moments tell us about the state of international relations in this period, and about partition more generally? Rather than thinking of partition as a uniquely South Asian, Palestinian Arab, Jewish or British phenomenon, we argue it is necessary to look at partition holistically and at the political leaderships, ideologies, laws, and institutions that connect them.

 

Speaker Biographies

Bilahari Kausikan is Chairman of the Middle East Institute. From 2001 to May 2013, Mr Kausikan was first the second Permanent Secretary and subsequently Permanent Secretary and latter Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He had previously served in a variety of appointments, including as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and as Ambassador to the Russian Federation. Kausikan has been awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold). In August 2012, he was awarded the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Service Medal) by the President of Singapore. In December 2002, he was awarded the “Order of Bernardo O’Higgins” with the rank of “Gran Cruz” by the President of the Republic of Chile. In February 2013, he was awarded the “The Oman Civil Merit Order, Second Class” by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

C Raja Mohan is Director, Institute of South Asian Studies. Earlier, Professor Mohan was Professor of South Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Professor Mohan was the Henry Alfred Kissinger Chair in International Affairs at the United States Library of Congress, Washington DC, from 2009 to 2010. He served on India’s National Security Advisory Board. Professor Mohan writes a regular column for the Indian Express and was earlier the Strategic Affairs Editor for The Hindu newspaper, Chennai. Professor Mohan has a Master’s degree in nuclear physics and a PhD in international relations. Among his recent books are Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific (2013) and Modi’s World: Expanding India’s Sphere of Influence (2015).

Victor Kattan is Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is also an Associate Fellow at NUS Law. Victor is the author of numerous articles in international law journals and the author of two books: From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Pluto 2009) and The Palestine Question in International Law (BIICL 2008). Victor has taught courses at Yale-NUS College, NUS Law, and the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS. In 2017, Victor was announced the winner of the Asian Society of International Law Younger Scholar Prize. He writes regularly for newspapers and is an occasional contributor to Haaretz, the longest running print newspaper in Israel.

Gyanesh Kudaisya is Associate Professor of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. He has held visiting research appointments at the Asia Research Institute and the Research School of Pacific & Asian Studies at ANU. He is the author (with Tai Yong Tan) of The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia, (Routledge Series in the History of Modern Asia 3) New York & London, Routledge, October 2000, hardback edition & paperback edition February 2002; and Partition and Post-Colonial South Asia London, Routledge, 2008, in 3 volumes.

Ayesha Jalal is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University where she teaches at both the History Department and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Her publications include The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (Cambridge, 1985 and 1994); The State of Martial Rule: the Origins of Pakistan's Political Economy of Defence (Cambridge, 1990) Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: a Comparative and Historical Perspective (Cambridge, 1995), Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia (Cambridge, M.A: Harvard University Press; Lahore: Sang-e-Meel, 2008), The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide (Princeton University Press, 2013), and The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics (Cambridge, M.A: Harvard University Press, 2014).

Ian Talbot is a Professor of Modern British History at the University of Southampton. His publications include A History of Modern South Asia (Yale University Press); The Partition of India (Cambridge University Press) (co-authored with Gurharpal Singh) and Divided Cities: Partition and its Aftermath in Lahore and Amritsar which was published in 2006 with Oxford University Press. He is currently working on a history of the UK High Commission in Pakistan (1947-2008).

Laura Robson is Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History at Portland State University. Her most recent book, States of Separation: Transfer, Partition, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (University of California Press, 2017) explores the history of forced migration, population exchanges, and refugee resettlement in Iraq, Syria, and Palestine during the interwar period. She is also the author of Colonialism and Christianity in Mandate Palestine (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011) and editor of Minorities and the Modern Arab World: New Perspectives.

Penny Sinanoglou received her Ph.D. in History from Harvard University, and her B.A. in History and Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University. She has published on twentieth-century British policy-making in the Middle East, and works more broadly on questions of empire, nationalism, ethnic identity, and decolonization. She is the author of ‘The Peel Commission and Partition, 1936-1938’, in Britain, Palestine and Empire: The Mandate Years, Rory Miller, ed. (Ashgate, 2010), pp. 119-140 and ‘British plans for the partition of Palestine, 1929-1938,’ The Historical Journal, 52, 1 (2009), pp. 131–152.

Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury was Foreign Advisor (Foreign Minister) of Bangladesh from 2007 to 2009. During his four decades of public service career, he has held the posts as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to both New York (2001-2007), and Geneva (1996-2001). At the United Nations (UN), he had also been Chairman of the Social Commission, Population and Development Commission, Second (Economic) Committee, Information Committee, and President of the Conference on Disarmament. He was knighted by the Pope in 1999. In 2004, the New York City Council issued a Proclamation naming him as “one of the world’s leading diplomats”, acknowledging his global contribution to advancing welfare, alleviating poverty, and combating terrorism.

Amrita Shodhan is Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where she teaches a course on Histories of Partitions – India/Palestine 1947/1948. Her publications include a Question of Community: Religious Groups and Colonial Law (2001).

P R Kumaraswamy is Professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He was a Research Fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1991-1999). Ever since joining JNU in September 1999, he has been researching, teaching and writing on various aspects of contemporary Middle East. His works include India’s Israel Policy (Columbia University Press, 2010) and A to Z of Arab-Israeli Conflict (Scarecrow, 2009).

James Dorsey is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. A veteran, award-winning foreign correspondent for four decades, James has covered the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the United States for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Financial Times. James writes a widely acclaimed blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, has published a book with the same title, and authors a syndicated column. His latest book China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom will be published by Palgrave in September.

Iqbal Singh Sevea is an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His research focuses on modern Islam and modern South Asia. He is the author of the book, The Political Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal: Islam and Nationalism in Late Colonial India (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). He is currently completing his second book entitled, Islamic Political Thought in Modern South Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2018). Before joining the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Dr Sevea was an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Contemporary Islam Programme at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Mohamed-Ali Adraoui is a Political Scientist working on contemporary International Relations. Currently a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. His ongoing research deals with the United States’ foreign policy towards Islamism. Prior to this, he was a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute and a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore.

Kevin Tan is an Adjunct Professor at NUS Law. He has written and edited some 30 books on the law, history and politics of Singapore. From 1998-2000, he was also Chief Editor of the Singapore Journal of International and Comparative Law and from 2000-2003 was the journal's Adjunct Editor. He is also Adjunct Professor, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; Editor-in-Chief, Asian Yearbook of International Law. Kevin is the author of the leading biography of David Marshall, Singapore's first Chief Minister.

 

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When & Where


Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)
Conference Room, Level 1
31 Heng Mui Keng Terrace
Singapore 119595
Singapore

Wednesday, 15 August 2018 from 09:00 to 18:00 (Singapore Standard Time Singapore Time)


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