This year, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy welcomes Ambassador Pradeep Kumar Kapur, of India, to the School. Ambassador Kapur, who spent 35 years working with the Government of India, says he plans to bring the viewpoint of a practicing foreign policy expert to the UMD School of Public Policy.
“I’m extremely happy to have been given this opportunity,” Ambassador Kapur says. “Academics has always been of great interest to me. The more I look at the School of Public Policy, the more I get enamored with this beautiful entity, it is very impressive and its reach and activities are so diverse and so varied. Having had a career that has had aspects of work that are so similar to the work being done here, it makes it all the more interesting and makes it all the more exciting for me and inspiring for me to contribute in a very significant manner.”
During his time as a visiting professor, Ambassador Kapur says he plans to accomplish many things to help improve the school and enhance the experience of the students. “While I’m here I intend to organize various conferences. I intend to do a lot of teaching. I intend to do a lot of mentoring, and I intend to be a guide to students who have an interest in areas where I have a lot of expertise, such as South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia.”
I’ll bring in very specific examples from my own experience having worked in different countries and different continents so students can understand how these things happen in different contexts.Ambassador Pradeep Kumar Kapur Visiting Clinical Professor
Building on the School’s international strengths, Ambassador Kapur also says, “I feel that the outreach activities of the School in terms of collaborations with other countries as an entity needs to be further enlarged,” he says. “That’s another area I’d like to focus on, in terms of bringing in collaborations and having SPP take its expertise to other countries. The School has great potential to go out and show the world what a brilliant institution it is.”
One of Ambassador Kapur’s first endeavors at the School will be a Winter 2015 course on development diplomacy and inspired leadership. “I’ll start in this program by talking about the aspects of foreign policy and diplomacy, but in a dynamic sort of framework from the viewpoint of a practitioner, how these have been evolving through the ages and where they are currently, not in a theoretical construct only,” he says. “It’ll have the perspective of a person who’s practiced it so many years of his life. I’ll bring in very specific examples from my own experience having worked in different countries and different continents so students can understand how these things happen in different contexts.”
Ambassador Kapur obtained a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Systems and Management from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, India, before attending Oxford University where he carried out research on “Technology Transfer, Public Policy and Development Diplomacy.” In 1991, Ambassador Kapur was selected as UN Fellow with a Third World Diplomat Award, under which he taught at Georgetown University. He co-authored the book "Ta Prohm: A Glorious Era in Angkor Civilisation" and co-edited the book "India of My Dreams."
He began his career as a diplomat in 1981 in Spain. He went on to have postings as a career diplomat in Tanzania, Paris and Nepal. In 2001, Kapur was appointed as India’s Ambassador to Cambodia. He then served as India’s Ambassador to Chile (2009-2013). In between his overseas postings, he served in various positions in New Delhi, including under secretary (West Europe), deputy secretary (Americas), director (South), under secretary (Textiles), under secretary (Export Promotion for Chemicals and Allied Products) and deputy chief controller of Imports and Exports. As acting director general for the Indian Council of World Affairs, and as joint secretary for the Foreign Service Institute, Kapur promoted the image of India in global affairs and offered lectures and courses on diplomacy and international relations.
In February, Ambassador Kapur accompanied SPP Dean Robert C. Orr on a trip to India to build relationships between the school and Indian government officials, business leaders and academic institutions.