SASA/SASNET field work travel grants to two Lund University students

In May 2015, SASA, in collaboration with SASNET, decided upon the announced student travel grants to do fieldwork in South Asia during the fall semester of 2015. The grants will cover travel expenses for airline tickets to the country of fieldwork for up to a maximum of SEK 8,000 per grant. The two successful candidates are Tullia Jack, PhD candidate at the Dept. of Sociology; and Axel Vikström, bachelors student of Journalism at the Dept. of Media and Communication. Tullia Jack is supposed to visit Mysore in India, to study Conventions, cleanliness and resource consumption in everyday life, whereas Axel Vikström is going to Maldives in the beginning of September 2015 to do reporting on the Crisis for Democracy.
Students enrolled at Lund University planning to do fieldwork in South Asia were encouraged to apply. SASA and SASNET expect to announce a new round of fieldwork grants during the fall 2015. Like our Facebook page “South Asian Students Association at Lund University” and follow our blog, to stay updated on new grant announcements.

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Pakistan in focus for third Fika without borders seminar

SASA organised its third 2015 Fika without borders seminar on Thursday 7 May 2015,17–19, at the usual venue: the basement floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund. See poster.

Uzma Rehman with Bubu Eklund, who had prepared the food.

Uzma Rehman with Bubu Eklund, who had prepared the food.

The May 7th event was dedicated to Pakistan, and two interesting presentations on Sufi tradition in South Asia were given by Dr. Uzma Rehman from
the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen, and Associate Professor Peter Lund-Thomsenfrom the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). They both work on Sufism, Religious co-existence, and Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Besides, Talat Bhat made a short presentation about his new film on Kashmir, ”Bring him back”. Delicious South Asian food was also served.
Fika Without Borders South Asia events is a project started by SASA, in collaboration with SASNET, in which SASA organises a fika once a month, each time focusing on one of the eight South Asian countries. The 2015 series started with a Nepal fika on 5th February, and an India fika on March 19th.

Peter Lund-Thomsen lectured on his Sufi experiences in Pakistan, and the football production in Sialkot.

Peter Lund-Thomsen lectured on his Sufi experiences in Pakistan, and the football production in Sialkot.

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India in focus for second Fika without borders seminar

SASA organised its second 2015 Fika without borders seminar on Thursday 19 March 2015, 17–19, at the usual venue: the basement floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund. See poster.

aradhnasemThe March event was dedicated to India, and the main presentation was delivered by Aradhna Aggarwal, new Chair professor in Indian Studies at the Asia Research Centre (ACR) within the Copenhagen Business School (CBS). Her presentation was entitled ”From SAFTA to South Asian Economic Union: Prospects and Challenges” and was highly appreciated by the audience.
Before joining CBS, Prof. Aggarwal worked at the Dept. of Business Economics, University of Delhi. Her research interests include industrial growth, entrepreneurship, globalisation, economic reforms, competition, international trade, FDI, technology transfer, technology creation and innovations, export competitiveness, and WTO-related issues. She has several publications in other national and international journals and chapters in edited books. She has singly authored monographs: The WTO Anti-dumping Agreement and Developing countries; and Social and Economic Impact of SEZs in India, both published by OUP.  She has also been the principal author of the “Kerala Perspective Plan 2030”.
The programme also included a cultural programme in the form of a rabindrasangheet session by Bubu Munshi Eklund.
Besides delicious home-made Indian food – aloo dum, ghugni chaat and fried rice was served.

Fika Without Borders South Asia events is a project started by SASA, in collaboration with SASNET, in which SASA organises a fika once a month, each time focusing on one of the eight South Asian countries. The 2015 series started with a Nepal fika on 5th February.

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SASA launched 2015 spring semester with Nepal fika seminar

The South Asian Student Association welcomes old and fresh students to a new year full of activities. The first SASA 2015 Fika without borders seminar was dedicated to Nepal. It was held on Thursday 5 February 2015, 17–19, at the usual venue: The basement floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund. The event was hosted by Noshan Bhattarai and Rubana Musharrat from the SASA board, and Lars Eklund from SASNET. Dr. Uddhab Pyakurel from Kathmandu University, during the early spring 2015 based in Copenhagen as a Danida scholarship holder and being connected to the Dept. of Education, Aarhus University, was the chief guest. 35 people came to listen to his presentation entitled ”Politics of Education & Marginalized Community in Nepal”. See the poster.

pyakuelDr. Pyakurel (photo to the left) has a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and is teaching Political Sociology as Assistant Professor in the School of Arts at Kathmandu University. He is also associated with various democracy forums i.e., South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED), Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (VK), and Network Institute for Global Democratization (NIGD). In 2007, he wrote ”Maoist Movement in Nepal: A Sociological Perspective” (New Delhi: Adroit Publishers, 2007), and he has been the co-author of two books – ”Dalit Representation in National Politics of Nepal” (Kathmandu: NNDSWO 2012) and ”State of Conflict and Democratic Movement in Nepal” (New Delhi: Vij Books, 2013). Last year, 2014, he also edited a monograph entitled ”Higher Education in Nepal: Inclusive Policy Guidelines” (Lalitpur: School of Arts, Kathmandu University & SNV=Nepal, 2014). Lund University student and SASA board member Noshan Bhattarai also held an interesting presentation about his way from studying in Nepal to doing research in Sweden.

Dr. Neil Webster from Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS), but previously for three years working as regional technical advisor with the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in Kathmandu, who happened to be in Lund on this day – invited by SASNET – made some extremely relevant comments and summaries to the two Nepalese speakers presentations. Finally the Swedish NGO ABC with work being done in Nepal presented themselves, and they also catered for the food being served.

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Noshan Bhattarai to the left getting comments on his presentation from Neil Webster.

Fika Without Borders South Asia events is a project started by SASA, in collaboration with SASNET, in which SASA organises a fika once a month, each time focusing on one of the eight South Asian countries. During 2015, SASA will in addition to these regular events show movies from South Asian countries. First out was a film shot in Nepal, providing a powerful depiction of the rural lives of Nepal. It was Éric Valli’s film Himalaya from 1999 that was screened on Thursday 29 January 2015, and almost 40 people turned up for the event. More information about the movie.

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SASA/SASNET 2014 Fika without borders events series successfully completed

External building

SASA events are usually held at the ground floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building.

The South Asian Student Association at Lund University – the student body of SASNET –  has now completed its series of informal Fika Without Borders South Asia events in collaboration with SASNET. SASA has held these events once a month during 2014, and each time the focus has been one of the eight South Asian countries, that are the member states of SAARC. The Fika Without Borders South Asia events were successfully held on April 16th, with Nepal being the country in focus, on May 21st with India in focus, on June 5th with Pakistan in focus, on August 26th, with Maldives in focus, on September 23rd, with Sri Lanka i focus, on October 10th, with Afghanistan in focus, on October 30th, with Bhutan in focus, and finally on November 20th, with Bangladesh in focus.
The events were usually held at the same venue, the ground floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund (entrance from parking lot to the left of the building).
They always draw a mixed crowd of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and other international Lund University students and researchers, and each time a number of students and researchers from the country in focus were invited to share their knowledge and experience of their country in an informal way. The programme also included cultural performances and food.
SASA plans for a new series of Fika without borders events during 2015. More information will follow.

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Successful Bangladesh Fika without borders event

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) organised its eighth informal Fika Without Borders South Asia event in collaboration with SASNET on Thursday 20 November 2014, 17–19. Venue: Basement floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund. See the poster.

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The main speaker was Sanchari De, a PhD student from Jadavpour University in Kolkata but currently based at the Department of Communication and Media, Lund University. She spoke about the Bangladeshi protest/mass movement, Shahbagh, and the role of digital media and political mobilization in this movement that demands capital punishment for the war criminals of 1971.

One of the SASA Board members from Bangladesh, Rubhana Mussharat, then gave a personal account of experiences from being close to the Shahbagh movement, and explaining the historical and emotional reasons behind young people in Bangladesh demanding capital punishment. This issue caused intense discussion since several people in the audience questioned the use of death penalties.

In addition, S.M. Shahriar Shakil, Research Assistant at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund
University, spoke about interesting research collaboration in the field of Biotechnology between Sweden and Bangladesh. Mr. Shakil is also an excellent interpreter of traditional Baul music, and sang a number of songs by the legendary Lalon Fakir.

Finally, the winner in the SASA competition for a new logotype – PhD candidate Aravin Chakravarthi – was given his prize. It was handed over to him by SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund. This was the last SASA/SASNET Fika without borders event for 2014, but new Fikas are being planned for the coming year.

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Winnie Bothe and Johan Westman participated in SASA/SASNET Bhutan seminar

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) organised its seventh informal Fika Without Borders South Asia event in collaboration with SASNET on Thursday 30 October 2014, 17–19. Venue: Basement floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund. See poster.

winniefikaIn this Fika Without Borders Bhutan’s development model of ‘Gross National Happiness’ and the nation’s political order were explored with the help of Dr. Winnie Bothe from the Dept. of Political Science, Lund University. She provided insights in the Bhutanese development model by illustrating how local governance does not necessarily promote empowered citizens which Western donors imagine, rather the model may function as a channel for disciplining citizens to become bearers of an imagined civilizational culture.

In addition there was a cultural programme. A live Skype connection was established with Swedish ethnomusicologist Johan Westman, living permanently in Thimphu. He introduced a number of Bhutanese musicians who gave samples of their traditional folk music on various instruments and representing different parts of the country. Read more. 

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Presentation by Thomas Bibin at SASA/SASNET seminar on Sri Lanka

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Kenneth Carlsson (to the left) listens to the presentation by Thomas Bibin.

The South Asian Student Association at Lund University – the student body of SASNET – organised its fifth informal Fika Without Borders South Asia event in collaboration with SASNET on Tuesday 23 September 2014. The theme country for this month’s event was Sri Lanka, and featured a presentation by Thomas Bibin, well-known Swedish Radio journalist now living in Halmstad, with 40 years experience of Srilankan politics and development and with a unique insight regarding the Tamilian issue. His presentation was entitled ”Some aspects to the problem of Monotheism in a Multiethnical and Multilingual Country”. Another journalist, Kenneth Carlsson, who is the editor of the Lund University students union newspaper Lundagård, also participated with a presentation focusing on the issue of identity, drawing on his personal experiences growing up in Sweden with a mixed origin, as a half Swede, half Srilankan. Read more. 

In connection with the Sri Lanka seminar, a new board for SASA was elected for the academic year 2014/2015. The new board consists of the following three Lund University students: Jacco Visser, Rubana Mussharat Priyanka and Noshan Bhattarai.

Fika Without Borders South Asia events is a project started by SASA, in collaboration with SASNET, in which SASA organises a fika once a month, each time focusing on one of the eight South Asian countries. The next Fika Without Borders event will be on Friday 10 October 2014, 17-19, with Afghanistan being the country in focus.

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New board elected for the South Asian Student Association (SASA)

On 23 September 2014, the South Asian Student Association (SASA) at Lund University elected a new board for the academic year 2014/2015.

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The new SASA board, from left to right Jacco Visser, Rubana Mussgarat Priyanka and Noshan Bhattarai.

Jacco Visser is the new SASA chairperson. He is a second year student in the Masters programme in Asian Studies at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE). Rubana Mussharat Priyanka and Noshan Bhattarai were elected as deputy chairpersons. Rubana is also an ACE student, whereas  Noshan is a MSc student in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modeling and Management (GEM) at Lund University.

SASA was launched on 24 April 2013, as a student body of the Swedish South Asian Research Network (SASNET) and is registered as a working group under the Social Sciences Student Union. The overall aims of establishing SASA has been to promote Lund University student’s research interest in South Asia region, and also provide a platform for students in Lund – coming from both South Asia and other countries – to discuss, exchange and build partnerships relating to South Asian development. Over the past one and half year, SASA has been actively organising educational and cultural activities related to South Asia, including seminars, movie nights, and cultural celebrations.

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