By Curt Keester 20 November 2017
A prominent researcher associated with the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute was honored by selection for a prestigious fellowship by one of the nation’s oldest centers working to champion independent policy research, scholarship and civil dialogue.
The American Academy of Arts & Sciences inducted Dr. Sumit Ganguly into its ranks at a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 7. The Army War College salutes Dr. Ganguly for the scholarly merit of his work that earned the honor for him. Ganguly was one of eight new members inducted for their work in Public Affairs and Public Policy.
“My contributions are mostly focused on
defense, security and foreign policy in this particular region of the
world,” said Ganguly. “I’ve written extensively in this area. I consult
for various agencies in the U.S. government … and I’ve tried very hard
to bridge the gap between academia and policy.
“I’ve always seen that my academic work should inform policy making,” he noted.
SSI director Doug Lovelace invited Ganguly’s contributions as a visiting professor of research this year, knowing that his expertise in the US-India security relationship would fill a critical research capability gap.
“Membership in the academy is a great honor and is extended to only the most learned among us,” said Lovelace. “Dr. Sumit Ganguly, one of the world's foremost scholars on India and the larger South Asia region, clearly deserves such distinction.”
Ganguly’s diverse areas of study include international security, the role of nuclear weapons in international politics, ethnic conflict, and a specialization in the South Asian region, spanning Afghanistan to Burma and Nepal to Sri Lanka.
“For someone in my [public policy] category, I think it was the overall sweep of my work that got me in, rather than any particular breakthrough I’m associated with,” said Ganguly.
Ganguly’s home institution is Indiana University. He has a standing relationship with the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College, through conferences and books.
“Given India’s increasing importance both in Asia, and in international politics more generally, I think the Strategic Studies Institute thought it would be worthwhile to have me for a while,” said Ganguly.
“I grew up in a part of the world where I actually lived through three wars,” said Ganguly.
“In 1962, when I was a small child, I remember my mother coming home from work one afternoon quite early, and us sitting on our veranda talking to our neighbors, and my mother looking quite distressed saying one of the border towns in Northern India had fallen to the People’s Liberation Army. Even at that very tender age, I really felt this sense of fear that, at that time, my country being invaded….
“I saw the consequences of war first hand, and all of this led me to become interested in how do wars start, why do people resort to war given the awful consequences that wars bring?
As a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Ganguly is now in the company of elite, to include John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Oppenheimer, T. S. Eliot, Edward R. Murrow and Duke Ellington. Among the fellows are more than 250 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
“I kept telling my wife, I said, ‘I think they’ve made a mistake,’” said Ganguly. “They really didn’t intend for me to be part of this, but I think they are now stuck having made the decision,” he joked.