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Ajay Raghava, Ministry of the Environment and Forest, National Ganga River Basin Authority in India, on "Networks, Partnerships and the Pathways to Success"

Ajay RaghavaFrancine: About partnerships and networking, what's been your experience thus far?

AJAY RAGHAVA: One of the good things about the Humphrey Fellowship is that you interact with so many different people, and there are so many different events, different classes you attend, different professors you meet, different visits you do out of campus. Personally, I've been very lucky that I could meet some great people from my area of work for which I am able to connect with them. I have been also working on certain projects and partnerships which should go beyond the Humphrey year because this Humphrey year is not only about the 10 or 12 months you stay in U.S. It is a long term relationship between me and the professionals here in U.S., not only professionals but the friendship partners and others who you meet in your personal life to have those cultural relations which continue beyond your Humphrey year. It is not only about the individuals but it is about the partnership between the two countries. The small amount of work which you may do now or after the Humphrey year will lead to bigger things. This has been my personal experience in my previous visit to U.S. as a Fulbright Fellow. The research work which I did ended up into a bigger thing in the Indian environmental legislation. So, so you never know what you're doing now becomes important five years or 10 years from now.

Francine: Talk about how you network. How do you make those partnerships?

AJAY RAGHAVA: These networks and partnerships have to be a win/win situation because nobody will be interested in you only because you are selling yourself. The other person has to be interested in you, and what you're doing and how he or she is going to gain from that. I'm not saying in terms of monetary benefits, but in terms of professional achievements. If you're interacting with a professor, and you have to see that the kind of research he is doing. If you offer a certain field which is interesting to him, or in which there is a scope or potential to do more research which is going to help not only your home country but certain other countries, or maybe U.S. so you need to think about win/win situations where both you as well as the other person is going to gain from that partnership. It's more about the satisfaction which you get from these relationships which is more important. I certainly believe that the friendships which I cultivated 10 years back still are very strong. And for, for instance, I was at EPA in 2003, and I still continue to have a professional as well as a personal relationship with the person whom I was working for. She has been to India a couple of times, at least four or five times so I meet with family and it's been very rewarding.

Francine: That's important. Thank you very much.