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#Honour: India’s former Chief Election Commissioner named Visiting Fellow at King’s India Institute

India’s respected former Chief Election Commissioner Dr S Y Quraishi has been named the 2015 Visiting Fellow at the prestigious India Institute at London’s King’s College.

Dr Quraishi, fresh from leading an Asian mission charged with monitoring Sri Lanka’s recent presidential election, will help develop programs aimed at helping British policy-makers and business figures as well as King’s College students and researchers engage with and find solutions to India’s essential challenges.

“Dr Quraishi is highly respected for his important contributions to electoral reform and has also overseen the implementation of critical social sector reforms in India”, said Dr Joanna Newman, Vice Principal (International) at King’s.

The Visiting Fellow will spend up to four months at King’s delivering lectures, conducting debates, mentoring students and interacting with policy and business networks in the UK whilst also working on a policy research paper.

The Fellowship was established in 2012 as part of a collaboration between the King’s India Institute and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), India’s largest business chamber.

The first two recipients of the Fellowship were Indian Foreign Service veteran Shyam Saran and Vikram Mehta, a distinguished former member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and one-time Chairman of the Shell Group of Companies India.

Dr Quraishi, himself an IAS veteran, was first appointed to the three-member Election Commission in 2006, assuming responsibilities as the committee’s chief in 2010.  He was the first Muslim to be appointed to the position. 

During his time in office he oversaw the 2009 General Election.

The Commission is arguably the most respected public body in India and is charged with overseeing and directing all elections to the Indian Parliament: an extraordinarily complex and gargantuan undertaking in what is the world’s largest democracy.

Dr Quraishi later chronicled his experiences in the appropriately-titled book ‘An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian Election’, a magnificent account of how a people with myriad aspirations and an even greater array of loyalties exercise their democratic franchise.

Whilst he is best-known for his work with the Election Commission, Dr Quraishi’s distinguished career also included a high-level stint at India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as well as his contributions to social sector reforms in India, covering areas such as health, education and gender equality.

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