The recipients of the ICS-HYI Fellowship for 2014-17 are Nirmola Sharma and Veda Vaidyanathan.
Nirmola Sharma is a Research Associate at the ICS. She is also a PhD Research Scholar at the Department of East Asian Studies, Delhi University. She has an M.Phil from the same department and has done her Masters in History from Department of History, Delhi University (DU). She was awarded a Ministry of Human Resources (HRD) Scholarship to learn Mandarin in China. Her doctoral research is on the Indian National Army (INA) in China. She has co-edited with her supervisor, Dr. Madhavi Thampi, ICS Occasional Paper No.3 titled ‘Catalogue of Materials Related to Modern China in the National Archives of India, Part I (Special Collections)’. She has presented papers in many national and international seminars. Her area of interest is Chinese history and she is particularly interested in studying Sino- Indian interactions in the modern era. Presently, she is undergoing Advanced Chinese language training and research in Department of History, Fudan University, Shanghai.
The ICS-HYI Doctoral Fellowship has had a phenomenal influence in transforming my life. This is one of the few scholarships available to Indian students doing Chinese studies in India. Not only did it give me a chance to hone my language skills in China, it also gave me an opportunity to experience the rigors of academic life in Harvard University. The fellowship also provided me with a reasonable degree of financial support which helped me to focus on writing my dissertation without having to think of how to make ends meet. Besides, as a result of this fellowship, I was able to meet and interact with some of the best minds in Chinese studies in India, China and the United States. It also made possible my travels to conferences in the United States and in China. The last few years has been academically enriching and individually exhilarating. Receiving this scholarship has bolstered my confidence in my abilities as a young Sinologist and instilled in me a determination to do good work as a student of Chinese history in India.
Veda Vaidyanathan is a Ph.D. candidate at the Centre for African Studies at the University of Mumbai, India. Her research is titled “Resource Diplomacy Strategies of India and China in Africa: Investigating Energy and Food Security.” She has conducted extensive fieldwork interviewing various stakeholders in India, China, Ethiopia, USA and the United Kingdom, and has presented papers in international and national conferences. She was initially a doctoral fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research and in 2014 received the Institute of Chinese Studies-Harvard Yenching Institute (ICS-HYI) China-India studies fellowship. From 2015-16 she was a senior visiting fellow at the Centre for African Studies, School of International Studies, Peking University, China. She is currently a visiting fellow at the Harvard-Yenching Institute in Harvard University.
The ICS-HYI Doctoral Fellowship is undoubtedly one of the best fellowships that exist in the country for China Studies or Sino-Indian studies. This multi-year, multi-university grant allows a research scholar to occupy different academic spaces and be immersed in distinct cultures that broadens one’s worldview in more ways than one. One of the most appealing aspects of the fellowship is that it relies extensively on the scholar’s own drive, incentive and ambition to make the most out of the opportunities it provides. There are languages to be learnt, classes to attend, conferences to present at, workshops to take part in, libraries to explore, networks to be built, friendships to make and places to travel to – but it is entirely up to the scholar to budget time, effort and resources. This means that the experiences of all ICS-HYI fellows are unique and not uniform, each with different takeaways and impressions. I have benefited enormously both professionally and personally from the ICS-HYI fellowship and I highly recommend scholars interested in the area to apply.
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