Collaboration and Partnerships

OKDISCD’s academic commitment and research priorities over the last two and half decades have helped in widening its network and collaborative activities with national and international agencies. The collaborative engagement has produced noteworthy outcomes and contributed largely to fulfill the research agenda of the Institute. In the last decade, the Institute had worked in collaboration with Ford Foundation, South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE), Asian Dialogue Society (ADS) and Japan Foundation. Currently the Institute is engaged in various programmes in collaboration with Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO); Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata (IDSK); Department of Development Studies, Dhaka University Bangladesh, UNICEF Field Office, Guwahati, and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO). Besides, the Institute also collaborates with various colleges and universities, government departments, and other agencies. The collaborative activities have helped in widening the research network of the Institute as well as its research output. Some of the major research collaborations are outlined here:

Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative

The Company’s Act, 2013 makes it mandatory for the companies to take up projects under Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) and marks a new paradigm shift in the understanding of CSR activities in India. According to Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, a minimum of 6,000 Indian companies will be required to undertake CSR projects in order to comply with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. This regulatory measure has meant that companies have to pursue their CSR activities more professionally. Taking this step of the Government very seriously, the Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development has decided to make a major plunge in providing support to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to some of the major Public Sector Units (PSU) in the Northeast region. Preparation of Baseline survey and formulation of CSR projects for Northeastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) is one such major step. It also includes documentation, monitoring and evaluation during its implementation. The Institute has prepared the Baseline Surveys and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Projects for the period 2012-13 to 2016-17 for NEEPCO and is now supervising the implementation of its CSR activities.

Peace Research Institute Oslo

After achieving remarkable success in the arena of peace research, the Institute signed an agreement with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in January 2013 and became a partner- institute for the project Imagined Sovereignties Frontiers of Statehood and Globalization. This is a major global collaboration of the Institute. The project investigates how sovereignty is perceived and debated by stakeholders and contestants in on-going sovereignty contestations taking place in culturally diverse and historically unique settings. In order to explore the multiple ways in which sovereign futures are currently imagined, the project attempts in-depth studies of three cases of protracted, on-going conflict, exploring how sovereignty is imagined and debated by key actors and contestants, and their constituencies. The three cases under study are: statehood contestations on the divided island of Cyprus, the Basque movement for self-determination, and Northeast Indian separatist and autonomy movements. Each case exemplifies a particular issue in current debates on the meaning of sovereignty: statehood, nationhood and indigeneity. This project seeks to highlight the gaps between abstractions of sovereignty in theorisation and the meanings of sovereignty that are culturally shaped and drawn from everyday local experiences. By studying and comparing three cases of protracted and on-going conflict in which sovereignty issues are currently under negotiation, the project aims to shed new light on the changing nature of contestations over citizenship, legitimate governance and territoriality in a globalizing but still diverse world. The project has been funded by Research Council of Norway.

The Institute signed another agreement with PRIO in June, 2013 and became a partner Institute for a study on Making Women Count for Peace: Gender, Empowerment and Conflict in South Asia. With a focus on Northeast Indian experiences and a comparative look at Nepal, this project addresses the role of women in local governance and politics, particularly within the context of peace and security processes. This is a collaborative effort by PRIO and six partner institutions in India and Nepal: Malaviya Centre for Peace Research (MCPR) at Banaras Hindu University, Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group (CRG), WISCOMP in New Delhi, OKD Institute of Social Change and Development in Assam, Nambol L. Sanoi College in Manipur, and National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South in Nepal. The primary goal is to investigate what women’s empowerment might mean in different contexts, i.e. in protracted conflict without third party mediation in Northeast India, and a post-conflict setting with heavy multilateral and international involvement in Nepal. Recognising the active but understudied and often unacknowledged role of women in conflict as well as peace building, the study is expected to approach this question by analysing how gendered political power is transformed in conflict, assuming that differences in the forms and expressions of gendered power relations during and after conflict impact on how ‘empowerment’ might be achieved. By contextualising and tracing manifestations of gendered political power in conflict as well as post-conflict settings, this project aims at contributing new knowledge on processes of ‘disempowerment’ and ‘empowerment’ in conflict and peace building.