Policy intervention

Swarna Rajagopalan's Consultancy Work

Founded in 2005, Chaitanya is a small Chennai-based consultancy specialising in research and academic programming on political and policy issues relating to gender, international relations and security broadly defined. Chaitanya was most active between 2005 and 2008 doing policy intervention through research, communication and consultancy projects.

Swarna Rajagopalan is the founder and Director of Chaitanya. Her team projects are carried out under the Chaitanya rubric and in addition, as listed above, she has a considerable portfolio of research, consultancy, writing and teaching to her credit. A fuller listing of Dr. Rajagopalan’s work, both under the Chaitanya banner and on her own, is available here.

Current and recent projects by Dr. Swarna Rajagopalan under the Chaitanya rubric:

Swarna Rajagopalan's consultancy portfolio has been diverse, both in terms of clients and the nature of the projects she has undertaken. She undertakes consultancy projects alongside her work as the founder and Managing Trustee of Prajnya, and has worked with several Indian and international organisations on assignments calling for research, content and editorial intervention, curriculum development and teaching and evaluation skills.

  • Evaluation research, Management Systems International, February-May 2017.
  • Gender consultant, Study on women’s access to vocational education opportunities in North and East Sri Lanka, GTZ Sri Lanka, September-October 2016.
  • Review of classroom materials, EZ Vidya, Chennai, July-September 2016, March 2017.
  • Gender and peace-building consultant, National Peace Council, Colombo, February-March 2016.
  • Editorial and research consultancy for the Swayam Shikshan Prayog, July-September 2015.
  • Asia segment of UN Women e-learning course on women, peace and security, November 2012- February 2013.
  • Report on the state of security studies in South Asia, Macarthur Foundation, July-August 2006.
  • Brainstorming Workshop on How to Re-construct "South Asia," Ford Foundation, April 11-12, 2006.
  • Consulting series co-editor, Gender and Non-Traditional Security Project, WISCOMP, January 2005 – May 2006.
  • Post-conflict grant application referee, World Bank, May and July 2005.
  • Potential interventions related to women and conflict in Asia and their presentation at United States Agency for International Development regional workshop in Bangkok, USAID/ Juarez and Associates Inc., Los Angeles, July-August 2004.
  • Review of Sri Lanka poverty reduction report, World Bank, July 2004.
  • Preparation of program reports, Centre for Security Analysis, Chennai, January 2004.
  • Evaluation and review of Refugees/IDP grants, World Bank, Summer 2003.

Dr. Rajagopalan's consultancy also includes commissioned academic research which forms part of larger publication projects.

  • Desk-based study on violent extremism and women’s interventions to counter it for Women & Peace Studies Organization (formerly Women, Peace and Security Research Institute), Kabul, Afghanistan, July-August 2016.
  • Desk review on women’s human rights tribunals and a global overview of regimes and policies relating to displacement, for Women’s Regional Network, March 2015.
  • Peacemakers’ Tales from Afghanistan,” a booklet based on oral history interviews with women peacemakers for the Women, Peace and Security Research Institute, Kabul, Afghanistan, February 2015. The booklet is available at http://www.riwps-afghanistan.org/site_files/14295232651.pdf.
  • Regional overview and executive summary for Women’s Regional Network Community Conversations project, November 2013-February 2014.
  • Reconciliation ideas in the Indian political tradition, International IDEA-WISCOMP (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance-Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace) consultation on reconciliation, New Delhi, November 2004.
  • Peace Accords in Northeast India, Northeast India Study Group, Internal Conflicts in Asia Project, EastWest Center, Washington DC, 2006-07.

Policy intervention

Between 2005 and 2009, Chaitanya created and maintained several useful web-based research resources. These research resource sites, news round-ups and briefs were designed to highlight events and trends with long-term significance and to be of use to others working on specific issues.

  • Chaitanya Guides: As part of its policy intervention mission, Chaitanya Guides provided a point of departure for researchers, policy-makers, mediapersons, activists and interested citizens seeking to learn quickly on topics of contemporary interest. They are also useful as pedagogical tools for social science and history teachers.
  • Chaitanya Briefing Papers: Chaitanya created and disseminated briefing papers on current topics, providing background, analysis and interpretive prognoses.
  • Central Asia Chronicle: This was a resource guide that collates news stories and background articles on issues that concern and connect Central and South Asia. The Central Asian Republics (CARs) are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Peripheral Vision: This series of ready reckoners was devoted to those regions and units within South Asian states that geography, politics and even history conspire to keep out of the news and out of common consciousness.
  • Subcontinent South: Attention to South Asia remains largely attention to its large states; India and Pakistan’s troubled relationship garners the maximum attention. Subcontinent South was an initiative of Chaitanya-The Policy Consultancy intended to draw attention to news, developments and trends in the southern part of the South Asian subcontinent, which we define as including Sri Lanka, Maldives and India’s southern states and island territories. It provided a weekly update on security-related news from the southern part of the Southasian subcontinent. Subcontinent South was the most popular of Chaitanya’s resources. We are ever-hopeful of a revival.

Academic Consultancy

Chaitanya’s consultancy projects have included both research, review and writing assignments that Dr. Swarna Rajagopalan received that to do that call on her training as a political scientist, as well as projects which were undertaken by a project team.

The Chaitanya Team portfolio mainly comprises academic consultancies which we have carried out successfully.

  • Michigan State University – Chaitanya Summer Program on Culture, Politics and Globalization, July 2007 and 2008.
  • WISCOMP Fora on non-traditional security: Disasters and Security Forum, Chennai, September 2006; Gender, HIV and Security, February 2008.

Chaitanya is open to academic programming assignments in areas relating to gender, governance, international relations and security studies:

  • Small academic conferences: We can provide end-to-end help from the concept paper to the event to the report.
  • Course design and teaching: Curriculum design, teaching, logistics and evaluation.
  • Reviews, manuscript evaluation and substantive editing on research projects.

The team, 2005-2023

Apart from Dr. Swarna Rajagopalan, Subhashini Selvanathan was part of the Chaitanya team as administrator from April 2006 to May 2014.

Individuals who have interned at Chaitanya include:

  • Rachel Shubert
  • Nandhini Parthib
  • Gokul Chandrasekar
  • Hemant Shivakumar
  • Michelle James
  • Vignesh Rajendran
  • Malavika Ravi
  • Niroopini Muralidharan

ACR Sudaroli, Sandhya Srinivasan S. and Anu Aroon were part of the "Surviving Violence" project team for Tamil Nadu.

Sita Umamaheswaran helped with logistics in the first year of the MSU-Chaitanya summer programme and Anjale Stephanos was full-time Logistical Coordinator in the second year.