Sunday, August 1, 2021

FW: BRICS Academic Forum 2021 | August 3-6, 2021

ORF invitation

Greetings from the Observer Research Foundation!

The Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) are delighted to invite you to the
BRICS Academic Forum scheduled for August 3-6, 2021, organised under India's presidency of the BRICS this year. 

The BRICS Academic Forum convenes academics, experts, researchers and analysts on a range of international policy issues affecting the five BRICS nations and the world, in the run up to the 15th BRICS Leaders Summit later this year. 

Please find the link to the
Programme here

The sessions will be broadcast on ORF's bespoke web platform. Please register for the Forum to gain access to the platform, reading materials, and to be able to participate in Q&A sessions. 

The discussions will also be streamed on ORF's Twitter and Facebook channels.

We look forward to your participation.

Warm regards,
Team ORF 

Facebook Facebook
Copyright © 2020 Observer Research Foundation, All Rights Reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Observer Research Foundation, 20 Rouse Avenue, New Delhi-110002

If you want to subscribe, please send an email to 

Observer Research Foundation · 20 Rouse Avenue · New Delhi 110002 · India

Saturday, July 31, 2021

New Article "Quest of Data Colonialism and Cyber Sovereignty: India’s Strategic Position in Cyberspace" by S Gupta and R Sony AL

Quest of Data Colonialism and Cyber Sovereignty: India's Strategic Position in Cyberspace
by Shubh Gupta and Reeta Sony A.L., Legal Issues in the Digital Age, 2(2): 68–81. DOI: 10.17323/2713-2749.2021.2.68.81

Abstract: The dawn of the neocolonial project has seen the emergence of a new space: data. Data is a raw material that can be stitched, processed and marketed in the same way as the East India Company (EIC) used to do with India's cotton. EIC, which started as one of the world's first joint-stock companies, turned into a wild beast, building a corporate lobby with the help of lawyers and MP shareholders to amend legislation in its favor. The EIC became a particularly atrocious and innovative colonial project that directly or indirectly controlled continents, thanks to an army larger than the army of any nation-state at the time. The Drain Theory of Dadabhai Naroji has opened India's eyes to how the EIC was taking raw material from the country and converting it into a finished product that was marketed in India again in the same way as raw data is being processed outside India and then marketed here today. In today's digital era, big corporations need not own big armies, as companies are protected by nation-states and bailed out when required. Today, one does not need to travel overseas to explore and conquer Gold, God and Glory; instead, they are a click away. The neocolonial project runs on digital platforms, while the popular narrative of bridging the digital divide and giving internet access to millions of people resembles the idea of the "white savior" liberating the "noble savage" through modern Western education. Facebook's grand plan of providing free internet to all can be best understood as a neocolonial strategy to mine the data of billions by equating it with water and land. Similarly, the Cambridge Analytica scandal provides an example of how neocolonial forces can influence the fundamental democratic process of electing a government. Therefore, nations endorsing democratic values should be especially wary of the trap of neocolonialist forces, as such nations are particularly vulnerable to their project. This paper critically studies the cyber security infrastructure and policies in India and analyzes India's approach towards cyber sovereignty and data colonialism and thereafter examines India's strategic position in cyberspace and suggest policy recommendations.

New Article "eLegalls: Enriching a Legal Justice System in the Emerging Legal Informatics and Legal Tech Era" by S Sharma and R Sony A.L.

eLegalls: Enriching a Legal Justice System in the Emerging Legal Informatics and Legal Tech Era
by Sugam Sharma and Reeta Sony A.L. International Journal of Legal Information, 2021, 49(1): 16-31. DOI:
Abstract: The research footprint of Information Technology (IT) in a legal system has not grown with the same pace as it has penetrated other domains. More specifically, in developing countries such as India, where the digitalization revolution is underway, the growth of legal informatics (LI) is still premature and very limited traces of IT can be observed to assist and elevate the legal system, which still functions very much in an old school way. The faster growth of population and the diminishing proportion of judicial executives and the deteriorating law and order situation along with declining human rights demand the urgent evolution of LI to grow at a very rapid pace to attain its maturity. However, human harassment is pretty prevailing across the nation, but its intensity increases manifold when it comes to the law-enforcement agencies tasked with responsible policing, more specifically, the state police, which often operates with compromised work ethics. The situation becomes more appalling with a vulnerable population, especially women. As a result, such a population often does not muster enough courage to go to a police station to file their complaints despite acute mental and emotional pain. This is to avoid further trauma by police harassment and ergo a large number of cases go unnoticed. An underprivileged rape victim, who tries to file a report by going to a police station is a classic example of such a situation; where she is not only denied, but also gets harassed by insensitive police official(s) at the station; consequently, a good number of such victims do not go and their cases are not reported.
In this research work, we have developed a computational framework, called eLegalls, an LI-enabled innovation, as an effective solution to the above stated issues. The eLegalls system facilitates users to file their reports to police in their geographic jurisdiction, through its efficient and secure interface without any in-person visit. The eLegalls will help the vulnerable population to avoid unwanted denial and impending harassment by the police official(s) at the police station. The system is also equipped with some secure and pertinent features for the lawyers or attorneys to efficiently advocate in assigned cases. The eLegalls is envisioned to eventually be a successful legal tech, effectively serving the community.
Keywords: eLegalls, Legal Informatics, Law Automation, Legal Tech

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Call for Applicants: British Academy Writing Workshop Series 2021

Call for Applicants: British Academy Writing Workshop Series 2021
Critical Communication: Supporting effective academic writing in the field of media, communication and cultural studies in India

We invite applications to participate in a series of three workshops funded by the British Academy that aim to support effective academic writing in the field of media, communication, and cultural studies. The workshops will be led by senior academics from India, USA and UK, and with the aim of supporting Indian early career researchers (late-stage doctoral students and junior faculty) to develop high quality international English-language publications.
The workshops will be led by Professor Usha Raman (University of Hyderabad), Associate Professor Vibodh Parthasarathi (Jamia Millia Islamia), Professor Emily Keightley (Loughborough University), Professor Aswin Punathambekar (University of Virginia), and Professor John Downey (Loughborough University). The workshops will also be supported by a research development manager at Loughborough University, who will share grant writing skills.
The workshops are appropriate for early career researchers approaching completion of their doctoral studies, post-doctoral researchers, and junior faculty (up to 5 years post award of PhD). We anticipate that applicants will not have an already well-established record of research publications in international journals.
There will be three workshops held in week commencing September 20th 2021, week commencing December 6th 2021, and week commencing March 7th 2022 (precise dates to be confirmed). It is anticipated that the first workshop will be online and will comprise four three-hour sessions held over four days. We envisage that the second and third workshops will be held in India in-person but this is dependent upon the global pandemic situation. Where workshops are held in-person the costs of necessary travel, accommodation, and subsistence will be met. We require accepted participants to attend all workshop sessions.
Applicants should complete the application form available here Writing Workshop application for download.docx. The application form includes requires applicants to complete a 500 word statement explaining why they wish to participate in the workshops, and requires the attachment of two additional documents: a CV of no more than two pages including a list of any publications, and a sample of writing of between 5000 and 6000 words (this could be a draft journal article or a chapter from your PhD thesis). We kindly request that all materials are submitted in English.
Please return completed application forms and the relevant attachments to
Closing date for applications is Monday 2nd August 4pm IST. Applicants will be informed of the outcome by late August.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

e-School on 'Climate Science & Policy' | 16-27 August

DST Centre of Excellence at Interdisciplinary Programme in Climate Studies (IDPCS), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay 
set up under Climate Change Program DST 

e-School on 'Climate Science & Policy' 

16-27 August 2021

STS MIGTEC Writing & Reading Retreat 2021: Sep 6-10

Dear colleagues,

We would like to invite interested scholars to an academic skills training at the intersection of science and technology studies and critical migration, border and security studies: namely to the 1st STS MIGTEC Writing and Reading Retreat, which will take place online from September 6-10. The deadline for application has been extended to the 31st of July. For further information see the detailed call as well as the flyers for the Retreat and the STS-MIGTEC Reading Club attached, which will be launched during the Retreat and continues in a monthly format. You can also take a look here: 

The 5 days-course aims to reflect and contribute to a critical understanding of current developments, shifts and transformations of migration and border control heavily shaped by the development, implementation, and usage of technologies and socio-material infrastructures. The STS MIGTEC Writing and Reading Retreat targets PhD students, early career and overall interested researchers from all academic backgrounds. It seeks to bring researchers from different disciplines and around the world together and to initiate scientific exchange to produce synergies for relevant knowledge production.

The STS MIGTEC Writing and Reading Retreat will cover themes like: border technologies, race and colonial/imperial power; border technologies and the (un)making of (un)knowledge; digital technologies, resistance and the mobile commons; migration control infrastructures and alternative infrastructures of resistance; migration control, technopolitics of public infrastructures, and (lacking) existential provisions and human rights.

Best regards & thanks,

STS MIGTEC Retreat organizing team:

Vasiliki Makrygianni, Silvan Pollozek, Olga Usachova, Ana Visan, Nina Amelung & Maria Ullrich

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

[apeid.higher_education.bgk] Participate in the public consultation on the Futures of Higher Education

Dear Colleagues,


Together with support of the Future of Learning and Innovation Team in Paris and UNESCO-IESALC, we are pleased to share news about an exciting public consultation on the Future of Higher Education. Please take a look below and join us to disseminate further!


Warm regards and thank you!


Wes Teter






As part of UNESCO IESALC’s project on the Futures of Higher Education, we invite you to participate and tell us your views about the futures of higher education. 


To have your say, complete our short survey in English, French, Portuguese, or Spanish. You’ll be asked for some basic information about yourself and then you’ll have your chance to answer the two key questions we’re tackling in this project: How would you like higher education to be in 2050? How could higher education contribute to better futures for all in 2050?


The results of this public consultation will feed into a major new report to be published later in 2021. Your views will also feed into the larger data gathering process for UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative. Your valuable contribution will help shape the way that we think about and plan for higher education into the next thirty years. So don’t delay, tell us your hopes, concerns, ideas and suggestions today!



If you experience any difficulty accessing the survey, please contact the Futures of Higher Education coordinator, Emma Sabzalieva at



Caracas, Venezuela









Se ha enviado este e-mail a

Ha recibido este e-mail porque está suscrito a Unesco


Cancelar la suscripción





© 2021 Unesco





Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development

Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education

UNESCO Bangkok


Mom Luang Pin Malakul Centenary Building

920 Sukhumvit Rd., Bangkok 10110, Thailand

+ 66 (0)2 391 0577 ext. 371




Friday, July 16, 2021

ICSSR invites applications for Doctoral Fellowships for the year 2021-22

ICSSR invites applications for Doctoral Fellowships for the year 2021-22 from Indian scholars.
The proposals should be in the field of social science disciplines or may be interdisciplinary in nature.

A Special Talk on Data Democratization by Dr. Neeta Verma, Director General, NIC | 20 July at 4.00pm IST

Pune Knowledge Cluster, CODATA India National Committee & The Indian National Science Academy Present
A Special Talk on Data Democratization
Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | 4pm to 5pm (IST)
About the Topic: Data has emerged as the key resource of the Digital Economy. Citizens, Organizations and Society at large will benefit from the democratization of data as it will become usable by anyone to derive insights out of it and build inclusive solutions for the development of our society.
Speaker: Dr. Neeta Verma, Director General, NIC
Dr. Neeta Verma is the Director General of National Informatics Centre (NIC). She has been spearheading the Digital Transformation initiatives through development of Digital Platforms for Government. She led the setting up of a technology platform for MyGov, a citizen engagement & crowd-sourcing platform engaging over 14 million citizens. With extensive experience in the field of open data, she has led the launch of Open Data Platform to release government data in open for public good, development of Mobile-First Strategy & formulation of Government Open Data License (GODL). She is also guiding the productization of NIC's popular solutions such as eOffice, eHospital, eProcurement & many more. She has worked closely with the Indian Judiciary, Government Ministries & State Governments during their Digital Transformation journey. To leverage emerging technologies in governance, she led the establishment of one of its kinds CoEs in Blockchain, Application Security, Artificial Intelligence, Micro Services & Data Analytics, which are working towards exploring applications of emerging technologies in governance. During the COVID-19 crisis, apart from ensuring a seamless provision of Network, Cloud to Messaging & VC Services, she was also entrusted by the Government to manage a mobile application, 'AarogyaSetu', by far the most downloaded government application in India (170 million downloads). She also led the development of RT- PCR app & supervised the establishment of the Central Data Hub to ensure secure exchange of Data among different IT systems of the Government. In 2019, she was featured amongst top 55 inspiring women around the world showcasing the prowess of technology in government.
Chaired by Prof. Ajit Kembhavi, Principal Investigator, Pune Knowledge Cluster; Chairman, CODATA India National Committee
The Pune Knowledge Cluster ( has been established by the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India. The aim is to bring together academia, R&D institutions and the industry of Pune and its surrounding regions to address the challenging problems of the region through innovative means, using scientific knowledge and engaging highly skilled human resources.

Join: YouTube Live | Join on Zoom

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Article "Lies and Honest Mistakes" by Richard V Reeves

Lies and Honest Mistakes
by Richard V Reeves

Our crisis of public knowledge is an ethical crisis. Rewarding 'truthfulness' above 'truth' is a step towards a solution. Making more effort often means turning to a higher-quality news source than your Facebook feed. The point is not to disprove one claim and prove another. It is to cast doubt over all claims. The world is a complex place, and the search for simplicity is very often what gets us into trouble.
Read Online:

Thursday, July 1, 2021

AI Ethics: Another step closer to the adoption of UNESCO's Recommendation

UNESCO Press Release 2021 58


AI Ethics: Another step closer to the adoption of UNESCO's Recommendation


Paris, 1 July, After months of constructive dialogue and negotiation, representatives from UNESCO's member states have agreed on the draft text of an ambitious and wide-ranging new template for the ethical development and deployment of Artificial Intelligence. 


Momentum for change on ethical AI is gathering in the run-up to UNESCO's General Conference in November – when the Recommendation will be submitted to UNESCO member states for adoption. The draft Recommendation is a global framework to ensure that digital transformations promote human rights and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. It will address issues around transparency, accountability and privacy, contain action-oriented policy chapters on data governance, education, culture, healthcare and the economy, and provide governments and policy makers with a framework for regulating AI. 


"Once adopted, leaders everywhere will have a shared reference point on how to control the risks and harness these new technologies as a force for good. AI has the potential to radically reduce inequalities, promote diversity, and benefit humanity as a whole" said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.


Algorithmic justice

While AI technologies have extraordinary potential for social and economic development, artificial intelligence presents complex and unique challenges to policymakers. AI raises significant concerns over bias, stereotyping, and discrimination. Increasingly, decisions in both the public and private spheres are being taken on the basis of analysis generated by AI. UNESCO has called for AI to be developed in a way that ensures fair outcomes.


The Recommendation will include provisions to ensure that real-world biases are not replicated online, and offer concrete policy actions anchored in universal values and principles. It also mandates UNESCO to analyze the level of advancement of each country in the field of AI in order to assist them in the implementation phase.



24 leading experts from across the globe contributed to the text, which ensured the Recommendation's broad, comprehensive, and diverse scope. It was developed through a global consultation process, which built in a multiplicity of voices from different stakeholder groups around the world.


UNESCO is ready to work with members and partners to ensure that this Recommendation will deliver on its promise to provide AI with a strong ethical grounding, that delivers for people. 


"The Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence will be a blueprint for global consensus on the 'what,' as well as the 'how' of ethical regulation of this game-changing technology. UNESCO stands ready to assist governments and other stakeholders in developing their capacities to address the challenges, including through the ethical impact assessment" said Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences Gabriela Ramos.




Media Contact: Clare O'Hagan:

+33 145 68 17 29



If you would rather not receive future communications from UNESCO, let us know by clicking here.
UNESCO, 7, place de Fontenoy, PARIS, NA FRANCE France