Dr 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 a number of Committees including Social Commission, Population and Development Commission, Second (Economic) Committee, Information Committee, and President of the Conference on Disarmament. At the World Trade Organization, he chaired the Trade Policy Review Body, and the Committee on Trade and Development. He had been closely associated with the UN Reforms Process, and as a “Facilitator” helped shape the principle of “Responsibility to Protect” adopted by World Leaders at the UN Summit of 2005.
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.
Dr Chowdhury has a PhD and MA in International Relations from the Australian National University, Canberra. Earlier, he obtained a First Class in BA (Honours) from the Dhaka University. He has addressed seminars in many universities and think-tanks around the world. He has been a prolific writer on issues pertaining to current multilateral diplomacy and contributes regularly to learned journals and the media.
Prof. Muchkund Dubey is currently President of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. He is former Foreign Secretary, Government of India, and Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. He was India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Permanent Representative to U.N. Organizations in Geneva. He served at U.N. and UNDP Headquarters and was also India’s member on the Executive Board of UNESCO. His research interests cover a wide array of issues relating to world economy, international monetary and trading systems, security and disarmament, international development cooperation particularly South Asian cooperation and social and economic development in India. He has authored, edited and co-edited a large number of books and papers on these subjects.
Mr. Dipak Gyawali is Pragya (Academician) of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and Chair of the non-profit Nepal Water Conservation Foundation. He has been conducting interdisciplinary research on the interface between technology and society, and has published numerous articles on the topic of water, energy, dams, and climate change issues. A Moscow-trained hydroelectric power engineer and a University of California at Berkeley-trained political economist, he has initiated reforms in the electricity and irrigation sectors during his time as Nepal’s Minister of Water Resources in 2002/2003. As a Cultural Theorist upholding the idea of institutional pluralism and its “three-legged policy stool” that requires all three styles of organizing (state, market and civic volunteerism), he was able to introduce “communitization” of electricity, the largest privatization to date of a power company bombed during the Maoist insurgency, and introducing personnel and other management improvements within the hierarchic national electricity utility as well in his role as its ex-officio chair. He also initiated the first national review of Nepali laws with the guidelines of the World Commission on Dams and brought about policy changes in irrigation through enacting Irrigation Policy 2060 that provided more say to the informal farmer-managed irrigation systems.
He has been involved, inter alia, as guest scholar and researcher at various institutions such as the Queen Elizabeth House in Oxford, the Norwegian Center for Research in Organization and Management in Bergen, the International Environmental Academy in Geneva, at the London School of Economics, and at the United Nations University in Yokohama as UNESCO visiting professor of water and cultural diversity. He has served as a member of the panel of experts for the Mekong River Commission reviewing its basin development plan and was on the steering committee of the Mekong Program on Water, Environment and Resilience (MPower) where he has pursued the promotion of the Mekong-Ganga Dialogue. He was also on the international advisory panel of Pacific Northwest National Lab’s monumental work Human Choice and Climate Change; has served on Coca Cola’s International Environmental Advisory Board; and is currently vice-chair of the Technical Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Program; member of the Program Advisory Committee of Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) as well as member of the Advisory Board of the STEPs Center of the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), Sussex University
In Nepal, he was the founding chairman of of a grassroots voluntary NGO dedicated to the task of poverty alleviation, the Rural Self-Reliance Development Center (Swabalamban), as well as the first liberal arts college, the Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities. In 1986/87 he served as the member of a Nepal government commission (the ‘Pokhrel Commission’) which investigated the reasons for the failure of the 12-year long World Bank-led water supply projects in a dozen Nepali cities. He currently serves on the advisory board of several civic organizations such as Biogas Support Program, National Association of Community Electricity Users Nepal etc.; and he is also a member of the NWCF/ICIMOD team conducting action research on the causes and consequences of the drying of springs in Mid-hill Himalaya.
His current research interest being society-technology interface, he has published extensively in Nepal and internationally. He is proficient in English, Nepali, Russian and Hindi.
Professor Sohail Inayatullah is the UNESCO Chair for Futures Studies. He is a political scientist/futurist associated with Tamkang University, Taipei; an Associate at Melbourne Business School, and Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Mr. Halimullah Kousary is currently serving as director of research with the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies based in Kabul Afghanistan. His practice areas cover security and terrorism issues along Durand Line and the broader region. He has written extensively on local and transnational dimensions of terrorism, crime-terror nexus and the need for regional cooperation and collaboration to address this menace.
Mr. Kousary holds Master Degree in Strategic Studies from S. Rajaratam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.
Dr. Zia Mian is a physicist and co-directs the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University, where he also directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia. His research interests include issues of nuclear disarmament and peace with a focus on nuclear weapons and nuclear energy policy in South Asia. He is co-editor of Science & Global Security, the international technical journal of arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament and also co-chair of the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), a 17-country independent group of experts working to end production and to reduce and eliminate global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the key ingredients for nuclear weapons. He is co-author of Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation (MIT Press, 2014), and in addition to his scholarly work he has helped make two documentary films on peace and security in South Asia. He is affiliated with the Eqbal Ahmad Centre for Public Education (EACPE), Islamabad.