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AAWH 5th Congress  

Asia and the Globe: Connecting the Past with the Present

12-13 October 2022
India International Centre
New Delhi, India


Akita Photo1.JPG

Jawaharlal Nehru and Afro-Asian Solidarity


Resistance to colonialism in Asia and Africa had begun in the nineteenth century itself. With the beginning of the process of the end of formal colonial power in country after country in Asia and Africa since the mid-twentieth century the newly independent countries were still left with the challenge of consolidating their economic and political sovereignty and not slipping into a neo-colonial situation, or even an unequal situation vis-a-vis the advanced countries, particularly the superpowers. This called for united action by the newly independent countries. Afro-Asian solidarity was conceived in this context.  Jawaharlal Nehru from his very early years in politics had a global understanding of issues faced by India and other colonial and post-colonial countries. Asian and Afro-Asian solidarity was a priority for him. The 1947 Asian Relations Conference, the 1950 Colombo Plan, the 1955 Afro-Asian Conference at Bandung followed by the Non-Aligned Movement, etc., were early efforts in this direction. The theme will have papers on various attempts at Afro-Asian solidarity by Nehru and other leaders of third world countries. They will bring out the commonalities and the differences in the objectives of methods preferred by various forces pushing for this solidarity from the Communists to Centrist and even Right-Wing leaders.


Keynote Speaker

Shigeru Akita is Professor of Global History, Department

of World History, Graduate School of Letters,

Osaka University, Japan.

He is also the Head of Division of Global History Studies,

Institute for Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives

(OTRI), Osaka University. He now acts as the President of

AAWH from June 2015. His major publications include

(1) From Empires to Development Aid (Nagoya U.P., 2017,

in Japanese);  (2) (ed. with G. Krozewski) The Transformation

of the International Order of Asia: Decolonization, the Cold

War, and the Colombo Plan (Routledge, 2015); (3) The History

of the British Empire from Asian Perspectives

(Chuo-Koron-Shinsha, 2012, in Japanese); and (4) The British

Empire and the International Order of Asia (Nagoya U. P, 2003). 

He got the 20th Ohira Memorial Prize in June 2004, and the

14th Yomiuri-Yoshino Sakuzou Prize in July 2013.

Message from Shigeru Akita


Panel 2 reconsiders the transformation of international order and historical roles of the Global South in the 1950s and 1960s in the context of global history. Usually, the period of the 1950s and 1960s is interpreted and symbolized by two big subjects---the formation and development of the Cold War regime (East-West divide), and the progress of decolonization in Asia and Africa (South-North divide).  However, from perspectives of the Global South, the Cold War needs to be fitted into decolonization, and the third subject of economic development of newly independent countries, led by so-called “developmentalism”, was more important than the Cold War and decolonization. This aspect is closely related to the subject of Panel 5.

Independent India under Jawaharlal Nehru administration played important roles in the Commonwealth of Nations as well as in the Colombo Plan in the 1950s and early 1960s. Indian development policies were closely linked with her holdings of the sterling balances and economic aids from various sources, including the World Bank.  On the other hand, the economic development in East and Southeast Asia (Korea, Taiwan and Singapore etc.) through industrialization was related to the Cold War regime and US economic aid. These developing countries adopted developmental policies by their own initiatives and carried out “developmentalism”.  This panel reconsiders international economic order of the Global South in the 1950s-1960s from the perspective of political-economy.  

I look forward to collaborating with many Asian historians for the reconsideration of world/global history from Afro-Asian perspectives.           

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