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Honorary Graduand Orations - Winter 2015

Orations are published after the respective ceremony has taken place.

Vivek Singh: Hon DLitt (11:00am ceremony on Wednesday, 21 January 2015)

Let me begin with a quote:

“Innovation today forms the basis of tradition tomorrow.”

Sounds like it’s been directly lifted from our University’s latest strategy document, doesn’t it? Actually, it graces the homepage of an Indian restaurant.

There is nothing incongruous about this statement though. The Cinnamon Club is a restaurant that reflects the intelligent approach of its CEO and Executive Chef; someone who has redefined expectations of Indian cooking by marrying Indian spicing with Western dining styles. We welcome a man whose boundary-pushing has led to deserved international recognition: Vivek Singh.

Vivek was born in Asansol in 1971 and it was there his love affair with food began. It was also here where he saw the fruits of cultures coming together – Asansol is a city that had a significant Anglo influence, meaning many of its inhabitants enjoyed both Hindu and Christian festivals.

It was an environment that duly influenced the young Vivek. In the early 90s, Vivek attended catering college at the Institute of Hotel Management in New Delhi. From there, the Oberoi awaited. By joining one of the world’s most decorated hotel chains, Vivek’s career skyrocketed. He progressed through the Oberoi ranks, beginning as trainee chef and working his way up to the five-star Oberoi Grand in Kolkata.

A subsequent move to Rajvilas in Jaipur, as its Indian chef, saw Vivek reach new heights. However, the freedom to express himself eluded Vivek. It wasn’t until 2000, when speaking with businessman Iqbal Wahhab, that Vivek saw the opportunity to pursue his culinary vision.

The following year saw Vivek and Iqbal establish The Cinnamon Club. The old Westminster Library venue is regarded as one the world’s finest Indian restaurants. Its lofty standing has been achieved by being different: the restaurant was founded on the aim of changing the way the British views Indian dining. Today, their ethos for The Cinnamon Club has endured. Indian spicing is paramount, but fuses seamlessly with influences from around Asia, Europe and beyond.

The eventual success of The Cinnamon Club led to Cinnamon Kitchen, a second restaurant that hosts London’s only tandoor bar and grill. The relaxed dining experience of Cinnamon Soho followed. Joho Soho, Vivek’s latest street-food innovation, took his style onto the road.

Vivek’s individual approach and creativity has also been evident in his substantial contributions to charity and to developments in the Indian restaurant sector. He became ambassador for the rugby charity for disabled and disadvantaged children, Wooden Spoon, in 2008, and hosts an annual Diwali charity event for Action Against Hunger. He works with charities Find Your Feet and The Prince’s Trust , as well as with the Mosaic Network and the Asian Restaurants Skills Board to attract the gifted and talented to the sector through college courses, work experience placements and apprenticeships.

Finally, Vivek’s exceptional skill has also made him popular on screen and in print. His latest 2014 publication, Spice at Home, provides a summation of his appeal – it’s an excellent, accessible demonstration of how Indian and UK cultures can be connected by spice. It shows how Vivek has played his part in revolutionising our attitudes to international cuisine. Indeed, as Vivek himself said:

“Most of the innovation and creativity was happening at the high end, but now it is all percolating down to every level.”

“The evolution is now unstoppable.”

Mr Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Vivek Singh.

This oration was written by Professor Laura Green (Life Sciences) 

Professor David Cardwell FREng: Hon DSc (11:00am ceremony on Wednesday, 21 January 2015)

At Warwick, we’re always delighted to welcome back one of our own - especially so, when that person embodies our ethos of making a real-world difference.

We invite to today’s congregation a Warwick alumnus whose work in superconducting engineering is both record-breaking and life-changing. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Professor David Cardwell.

David first came here to study in the 80s. He left Warwick with a Physics degree and a PhD in inelastic gamma-ray scattering; credentials that earned him a place at Plessey Caswell. The research industrial laboratory, which later became part of BAE Systems, gave David an introduction to superconducting materials. David never looked back.

David arrived at the University of Cambridge in 1992 to further his research into superconductors. He is now one of the preeminent figures investigating the immense potential for these materials, which exhibit zero resistance to the flow of electricity at extremely low temperatures. As a result, these materials are also capable of generating large magnetic fields. Their potential impact on the realms of energy, transport, health and more is enormous.

Cambridge is home to the Bulk Superconductivity Research Group, led by David to work on the processing and applications of bulk high temperature superconductors. The group, formed in the year of David’s arrival at Cambridge, has made significant advancements in superconductor activity. These include generating the highest magnetic field ever recorded in a superconductor.

Aside from breaking records, David has played a pivotal role to bringing together global superconductivity experts. He’s a founding member of the European Society of Applied Superconductivity which set up in 1998. He established and led the successful European Forum on bulk superconductivity between 2002 and 2008. He’s presented at over 60 international conferences.

David is an active board member of five international journals, including Superconductor Science and Technology. Beyond journal writing, he is also the author of over 300 technical papers and patents.

David’s career represents a prodigious contribution to the development of superconducting materials for engineering applications. Recognition of his efforts came with his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012. As of late last year, he was additionally tasked with leading one of the world’s top ranked engineering departments – David was appointed as the University of Cambridge’s Head of the Department of Engineering.

This is a role that gives David an ideal platform to deliver practical outcomes for society, to engage with real issues and make a true difference…all things that David has notably achieved throughout his admirable career.

We talk here, at Warwick, of producing groundbreaking research, of making a global impact and of sustaining a real-world relevance. In Professor Cardwell, we can be proud of an alumnus who has achieved exactly that.

Mr Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Professor David Cardwell.

This oration was written by Professor Tim Jones (Pro-Vice-Chancellor)

Dr Patricia Lewis Hon LLD (3:00pm ceremony on Wednesday, 21 January 2015)

Dr Patricia Lewis is the Research Director for International Security at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs – the highly renowned policy institute in London that is ranked the No. 2 Think Tank in the world by the “Global Go To Think Tank Index”. On her Twitter account, Dr Lewis identifies herself as Physicist, Disarmament expert, and Flamenco dancer! While we may wish to learn more about the latter, it is for her work on nuclear disarmament and other international security issues that we are honouring her today.

Dr Lewis has made a unique contribution to the world of disarmament and arms control, combining technical knowledge, with a warm and charismatic personality, and smart international political strategy. Her latest work at Chatham House has focused on nuclear security, cyber security, conflict prevention, and the prospects for the now long overdue Helsinki Conference on the proposed Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East. As she warned recently: “If states fail to take this opportunity, the consequences will be severe.”

Dr Lewis is a dual national of the UK and Ireland – in fact, she was actually born here in Coventry. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Physics from Manchester University and a PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Birmingham. She is the recipient of the American Physical Society’s 2009 Joseph A Burton Forum Award recognizing 'outstanding contributions to the public understanding or resolution of issues involving the interface of physics and society'.

Central to Dr Lewis’ work has been the promotion of credible trust between states in international affairs. For example, she was instrumental in establishing VERTIC, which she directed from 1989 to 1997, and which at the time shared offices with BASIC, the organisation that I now Chair. As its Director, she established VERTIC as the most respected international source of information on verification matters, central to the confidence of states when they embark on treaty making. She went on to direct the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva from 1997 to 2008, when she was also a member of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. Before joining Chatham House in February 2012, she was Deputy Director and Scientist-in-Residence at the Center for Non-proliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

Dr Lewis’ impact on global disarmament and non-proliferation policy is undeniable. She has been a consultant for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Ministry of Defence on the verification of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. She was a reviewer for the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in 1996, a Member of the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament from 1998-99, worked alongside Hans Blix on the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission from 2004 to 2006 during the Iraq War, and was a special advisor to the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament in 2008-10. Most recently, Dr Lewis served on the Advisory Panel on Future Priorities for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Throughout her career, Dr Lewis has straddled many communities, and built a highly credible international reputation. But more importantly, she has used her position to question established assumptions and cynical game-playing, opened the debate on disarmament to visionary perspectives, and encouraged younger and marginalised communities to engage. As Paul Ingram, my colleague at the British American Security Information Council, has put it: “She remains a true inspiration.”

Mr Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present for Admission to the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Dr Patricia Lewis.

This oration was written by Professor Trevor McCrisken (PAIS)

Sir Rory Collins: Hon DSc (11:00am ceremony on Thursday, 22 January 2015)

To Follow

Professor Dame Sally Davies: Hon DSc (11:00am ceremony on Thursday, 22 January 2015)

Professor Dame Sally Davies is the Chief Medical Officer for England, Director General of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health. She is the first Chief Medical Officer to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and was acknowledged as the 6th most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by the BBC Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour in 2013.

While these achievements are clearly outstanding, it is her exceptional contribution to health research in the UK and her fierce commitment to putting scientific evidence at the heart of Government decisions about health that have and will impact us all.

Sally is a Birmingham lass and says that she benefited from having academics for parents. Her father, who I had the privilege of knowing, was the Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham and so it’s no surprise that discussions and debates about moral issues were common around the Davies’ dinner table. This sparked Sally’s interest in people and their rights as well as helping to formulate her prodigious negotiating skills.

Sally studied Medicine at the University of Manchester where she further honed her debating skills in the Student Union while also sailing for the men’s team! She went on to specialise in haematology and embarked on research in the area of sickle cell disease. In the late 1980s she became involved in the management of regional NHS research and development and immediately recognised that things needed to change.

The ad-hoc funding of patient-based research had resulted in a fragmented system that had become inflexible and unable to generate the evidence that is crucial to deliver high quality health services. Rising to the post of Director General of Research and Development in the NHS and chief scientific adviser for the Department of Health in 2004, Sally was determined to tackle these issues and ran a national consultation to marshal the views of stakeholders around the country on the best way to address these challenges. This required all her skills of negotiation, management and persuasion – doctors are a particularly difficult bunch and vested interests are hard to shift. She obviously succeeded and created the National Institute of Health Research (the NIHR) in 2006 which has since transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. And all of this founded on the principles that Sally holds so dear – transparency, fairness, quality, delivery.

In June 2010 Sally was appointed interim Chief Medical Officer and was confirmed as permanent CMO in March 2011, the first woman to hold this post. She retains her role as Director General of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health. Aside from all these contributions to health in the UK, Sally is a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Advisory Committee on Health Research and advises many organisations around the world on health research strategy and evaluation.

In a recent interview on the BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific programme, Sally said that values had driven her whole life, that wanting to make a difference and wanting to do the right thing were her motivating principles. She has embodied these values in the transformation of our health research system and in her leadership as CMO. This is something for which we should all be grateful - we and our families will be the beneficiaries.

Mr Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present for admission to the degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, Professor Dame Sally Davies.

This oration was written by Professor Lawrence Young (Pro-Vice-Chancellor)

Janet Hemingway: Hon DSc (11:00am ceremony on Thursday, 22 January 2015)

Janet Hemingway CBE FRS is Director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.She was born in Birstall, west Yorkshire, and stayed in Yorkshire for her undergraduate degree obtaining a First in zoology and genetics from the University of Sheffield in 1978.Said thus, the achievement seems quite ordinary but women faced overt barriers to scientific careers back then and her school would not allow her three science A-level options – an A-level in Religious Studies was therefore needed to gain entry to University.Her grit remained just as clear once she arrived at Sheffield - she set up the university's first mosquito insectary as part of her thesis project, quite something for an undergrad.

She was invited to pursue a PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine obtaining her doctorate in 1981. Her Thesis addressed the biochemistry and genetics of insecticide resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes (which are the vectors of malaria) and this has remained her main scientific interest ever since. For example:She was first to report co-amplification of multiple genes and demonstrate their impact on disease transmission.Her studies on managing insecticide resistance transformed the use of insecticides in vector control strategies

She was promoted, in stages, to a Senior Lectureship at the London School and, in 1990, moved to the University of Cardiff to take up the Chair of Insect Molecular Biology.After 10 successful years at Cardiff, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was fortunate in securing Janet’s appointment as its Director in 2001, and it would be right to say that the School has not looked back since.At this point I ought to describe the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (or the ‘Trop Shop’ as it’s called in Liverpool) and Janet Hemingway’s effect on it:LSTM was founded in 1898 and is one of two Schools of Tropical Medicine in the UK; the London School was founded a year later in 1899 (and, try as it might, the London School has never managed to close that gap!).LSTM works in over 60 countries to fulfil its mission of reducing the burden of sickness and mortality through the delivery of interventions for such diseases as TB, HIV and malaria. The work is supported by research grants of over £200 million.The School collaborates widely and I’m pleased to say that collaboration between Warwick and LSTM is now well established.Although always a separate charity, throughout the 20th century LSTM worked in close collaboration with the University of Liverpool which obtained its Royal Charter in 1903.Under Janet Hemingway’s leadership research and education at LSTM have grown to such a degree that, by 2013, it was recognised as a fully independent institute of Higher Education.If staff, students and Trustees were asked to name the one person responsible for the remarkable growth in the fortunes of LSTM in the last quarter century I have no doubt they would name Janet Hemingway.

Janet’s establishment of the Innovative Vector Control Consortium, or IVCC, is making such contributions to international public health that it also needs mention here.Humanity is dependent upon insecticides, not only for food security but also for the control of disease vectors, but insects quite readily develop resistance to these chemicals. Janet recognised the need to address this issue in a programmatic manner stretching from discovery through field testing in endemic countries to partnerships with national control programmes.She raised the first $50m grant from Bill & Melinda Gates in 2005 and, in 2008 she turned IVCC into a separate company (running it as the CEO).In 2010, she obtained a further award from Gates, DFID and USAID (totalling some $68m) – and she is on the hunt for more funding at present.IVCC is now internationally-recognised as a catalyst that works with academics, governments and industry (like Bayer, Syngenta and Sumitomo) to create solutions that save lives.

As you would expect Professor Hemingway has won many awards and honours during her academic career including:Inauguration as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2006.Election to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2010.Inauguration as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011.Award of a CBE in 2012.

Her private life is dominated by a love of horses, which is shared by her daughter Charlotte. Monty, her deranged Arabian horse, is now retired through ill health, but his career has been almost as outstanding as that of his owner – Monty has the pretty unique distinction is that he bit Sir Nigel Thrift, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick.Vice Chancellor I commend Janet Hemingway CBE FRS for the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa.

This oration was written by Professor Peter Winstanley (Dean, Warwick Medical School)

Sir Peter Bazalgette: Hon DLitt (3:00pm ceremony on Thursday, 22 January 2015)

Arts Council England exists to champion arts and culture throughout England. This is a major undertaking at the best of times…but we have not been in the best of times. Economic woes have resulted in cutbacks across the board. Arts and culture have not been immune to this changed environment.

During these exceptional years, it has been vital that the Arts Council has been steered by exceptional leadership. Thankfully, its current Chair has provided exactly that, drawing upon his considerable experience as a media advisor, entrepreneur and innovator. I am delighted to introduce to this afternoon’s congregation the Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Peter Bazalgette.

Peter’s media career began in London, after leaving both Cambridge University and his tenure as President of the Cambridge Union[1]. He joined the BBC News graduate news training scheme and subsequently made an impression on Esther Rantzen. The host invited Peter to become a researcher on BBC’s That’s Life, his first significant brush with popular broadcast entertainment. This area was to prove fruitful for Peter.

By producing Food and Drink for the BBC, Peter started to carve the niche that led to the creation of Bazal, his independent production company. Bazal produced a string of ratings hits, including Ready Steady Cook and Changing Rooms. These accessible lifestyle shows struck a chord with aspirational viewers, seeking new ideas in their kitchens and around their homes.

From bringing out the inner homemaker in his audience, Peter’s next eye-catching move was to turn the camera onto the audience themselves. When Bazal eventually found its way into the clutches of Dutch media company Endemol, a groundbreaking TV format found its way into the hands of Peter’s team. Big Brother became a cultural landmark in the UK, providing endless ‘watercooler’ moments. The Channel 4 adaptation helped popularise the Big Brother format across the world.

Peter’s achievements have made him a much sought-after advisor. As you might expect, the broadcast industry has clung to Peter – no wonder he’s currently Non-executive Director for ITV and President of the Royal Television Society. Away from the world behind the small screen, Peter also advises market researcher YouGov, and digital advertiser MirriAd.

Government has also recognised what Peter brings to the table. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed Peter as a non-executive director, looking to capitalise on his media business expertise[2]. The English National Opera were similarly impressed, appointing Peter as its Chair in 2012, after a number of years as a fundraising board member.

It is this broad range of interests, commitments and experiences that make Peter a compelling Arts Council leader for an unprecedented challenge.

He’s an entrepreneurial businessman who is held in the highest regard amongst Government circles.

His popular shows changed the way millions viewed television; their influence continues to resonate today.

He’s the most energetically active supporter of arts and heritage – whether fundraising for a provincial steam museum trust or for an innovative international opera house, Peter’s commitment to the arts has been, and continues to be, wholehearted.

Today, we acknowledge that commitment.

Mr Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Sir Peter Bazalgette.

This oration was written by Professor Ann Caesar

David Bintley CBE: Hon DLitt (11:00am ceremony on Friday, 23 January 2015)

From Huddersfield to Birmingham, via Japan – some may think this an unlikely route for a ballet dancer, choreographer and director of international repute. However, it’s a journey befitting a man whose diverse résumé marks him out as one of ballet’s great innovators. I am delighted to introduce today’s congregation to David Bintley.

His love for dance began at an early age whilst in Huddersfield. London followed, where a 16 year old David started his training at the Royal Ballet School. In the presence of the notable likes of Dame Ninette de Valois, Margot Fonteyn and Kenneth MacMillan, David thrived.

He moved from the Royal Ballet School to Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet. Here, David excelled as a character dancer with a string of acclaimed performances. Alain and Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardée, the smaller Ugly Sister in Cinderella and the title role in Petrushka ranked amongst his earliest successes.

Before long, it was David’s talent as a choreographer that came to the fore. In 1978, his first professional commission resulted in The Outsider. His first major narrative ballet, The Swan of Tuonela, premiered in 1982.

By 1983, he had become resident choreographer of Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, a role he was to subsequently take up with The Royal Ballet. David triumphed at The Royal Ballet with ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café, with its still-pertinent environmentalist theme. Hobson’s Choice, a charming narrative ballet about the working class, brought him further plaudits.

By now, and throughout the years that followed as a freelance, David’s versatility marked him out as a special talent. His canon is studded with contrasting delights, be it the elegance of Tombeaux or the daring Edward II.

In 1995, David arrived in West Midlands to join Birmingham Royal Ballet. It is where he continues to work today as its Artistic Director.

David, who was later rewarded with a CBE in 2001, was now able to shape a company in his own light. Birmingham Royal Ballet shared his passion for ballet in its most classic form. It matched his desire to find new ways of conveying that passion. Together, David and his company found success from a ballet based on Einstein’s most famous equation. They used jazz to pay tribute to Shakespeare. They convincingly expressed Olympic inspiration onto the stage.

It’s a diversity that indicates David’s willingness to find new expressions of the form. That pioneering spirit took him to Tokyo – for four years, David divided his time between Birmingham and a new challenge as the National Ballet of Japan’s Artistic Director. Again, David found his audience with popular works such as The Prince of the Pagodas and Aladdin.

Both these ballets attracted a similarly appreciative audience for their British premieres. The fact the ballets held equal appeal for audiences thousands of miles apart is testament to the appeal of David’s work: universal yet intelligent, classic yet relevant.

Mr Provost, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, David Bintley.

This oration was written by Professor Simon Swain (Pro-Vice-Chancellor) 

Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze: Hon DSc (3:00pm ceremony on Friday, 23 January 2015)

Today I am delighted to present Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze for the award of an honorary degree in recognition of his significant contribution to poverty reduction through sustainable agriculture and international development and, most notably, for his achievements at IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, where he has been President since 2009.

Dr Nwanze is a Nigerian national with extensive understanding of, and experience in, complex development issues. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1971 followed by a Doctorate in Agricultural Entomology from Kansas State University, USA in 1975. A respected academic and thinker, he has published extensively and is a member of several scientific associations. As an intellectual leader on issues of food security in particular, Dr Nwanze has also been a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security since 2010, and formerly chaired that group.

But his contribution to these important issues has not remained a solely academic one. Having worked on a variety of projects across Africa and Asia, Dr Nwanze became IFAD’s vice-president, a position he held for two years before taking over the helm. For those of you who are not familiar with IFAD, it is an agency of the UN which works with governments and other organisations to develop and finance projects that enable rural poor people to overcome poverty themselves.

Under Dr Nwanze’s guidance, IFAD has played an important role in ensuring that agriculture and the concerns of smallholder farmers as well as other rural people are a central consideration for governments in their international development efforts. During his Presidency, IFAD has significantly increased its presence across many countries and is now delivering a much larger programme of loans and grants, helping more rural people out of poverty than ever before. It is estimated that since it started operating in 1978, IFAD has touched some 370 million people with his projects.

Yesterday in the Department of Economics, we were privileged to hear Dr Nwanze speak on the “Cost of Inaction.” In his truly captivating and eloquent way, he made the case that if we are serious about narrowing the gap between the world’s richest and poorest, we must transform the often neglected rural areas of the developing world since they are home to more than 75% of the world’s poorest people.

As an economist with an interest in solving inequalities, his lecture was stimulating and thought provoking. As a member of this University it was music to my ears. Indeed had you heard his lecture, you could have been forgiven in thinking that I had colluded with Dr Nwanze on its content because it chimed so perfectly with many of the issues we hold dear at Warwick - not least our two Global Research Priorities on international development and global sustainability.

Writing in the Guardian last year Dr Nwanze said that he was tired of waiting for change and

this impatience was clear in yesterday’s lecture also. I’m sure all of you here today - whatever discipline you have studied or whatever your future plans may be – will have sympathy with his frustration. When it comes to poverty alleviation, to investing in rural communities, to delivering on international development commitments there is much more to be done and to be done quickly.

Through his leadership and vision, Dr Nwanze is proving that in this complex landscape – full of political, economic and practical challenges - his message of change is getting through and he and his colleagues are making a real and positive difference to many people’s lives.

It is a great, great privilege to honour this outstanding researcher and inspirational public leader.

Mr Provost, in the name of the Senate, I am delighted to present for the admission to the Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Dr Kanyo Nwanze.

This oration was written by Professor Abhinay Muthoo (Economics)