Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

COVID-19 in South Asia Workshop

Friday, September 10, 2021

10:00am - 6:00pm EST

Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer St 

The School of Public Health led by Ashish Jha and Center for Contemporary South Asia led by Ashutosh Varshney will hold a day-long conference on Covid-19 and South Asia. The focus will be on variations. While it is clear that while the pandemic affected all countries, the outcomes varied significantly. Suffering in some countries was substantially greater, as was also true of the levels of suffering in different parts of a given country. How might we account for the variations in outcome?  Government policies, the strength of public health systems, citizen mobilization, vaccine availability and administration have all mattered in different ways. We need to begin to understand how these various factors, and potentially others, came together to generate the outcomes we have thus far observed.

Following the norms of our times, the conference will have a hybrid format. Some speakers, especially from South Asia, will appear virtually. Those in the US will mostly appear in person, though some from the US, too, may participate virtually. Members of the Brown Community may register to attend in person, all others are invited to join via zoom.

South Asia Seminar

10:00am - 11:45am | Welcome & Field Reports From Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka
Barkha Dutt, Mojo Story & The Washington Post
The Virus was not Not the Great Equaliser: How Covid wrenched open Indias Divides (New Delhi, India)

P. Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, Center for Policy Alternatives
Covid as a Cover for Militarization of Governance (Colombo, Sri Lanka) 
Maliha Mannan Ahmed, Founder and Executive Director, Organikare Bangladesh
Covid-19 and the “mysterious” resilience of Bangladesh (Dhaka, Bangladesh)

12:00pm - 1:30pm |  Lunch Time Plenary: COVID-19 in Pakistan 
Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant of Pakistan’s Prime Minister and Federal Minister
Moderator:
Beena Sarwar, Emerson College
Commentators:
Mashail Malik, Harvard University 
Muhammad Omar Afzaal, Brown University

2:00pm - 3:30pm | Covid-19 in India 
Bhramar Mukherjee
, University of Michigan
Predictions, Role of Interventions and the Crisis of Virus in India: A Data Science Call to Arms
Arvind Subramanian, Brown University
Three new estimates of India’s all cause excess mortality during the Covid pandemic
Patrick Heller, Brown University
Sub-national responses to the pandemic:  Politics and state capacity

3:45pm - 5:15pm | Covid-19 in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal
Mushfiq Mobarak, Yale University
Mask Up to Save Lives - adventures Distributing 100 million + facemasks in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and India
Asim Khwaja, Harvard University
Pakistan's COVID-19 Experience: Lessons and way forward
Ramu Kharel, Brown University
COVID-19's Rise and Its Unique Challenges Facing Nepal

5:15pm - 6:00pm | Reception in Starr Plaza