Dr. Balu releases “i, the citizen” at Cornell University

Arun Karpur, MBBS, MPH

Research Faculty, Employment and Disability Institute, ILR School, Cornell University
GRAAM Technical Advisor

Dr. R. Balasubramaniam (fondly called as “Dr. Balu” in Cornell) released first of his seminal work on September 9, 2015 in the ILR School. This book titled “i, the citizen” provides a preview of Dr. Balu’s journey working alongside with indigenous communities. This event was organized by the ILR School’s International Programs and hosted by Ms. Donna Ramil, Associate Director of the International Program in the ILR School. Amongst a gathering of Cornell’s students, the book was officially released by Dr. Gary Fields, Professor of Economics and the John P. Windmuller Chair of

International and Comparative Labor at the ILR School and Mr. Joseph Grasso, Associate Dean of Finance, Administration and Corporate Relations.


Dr. Fields, a renowned development economist and an author of over 150 books and articles in international development, inaugurated the book. Dr. Fields, a GRAAM technical advisor, commented that he appreciated Dr. Balu’s work and commitment to the cause of human development. He said, though one might not agree with all Dr. Balu’s views, that this reflective synthesis of Dr. Balu’s journey with rural and indigenous communities provides valuable insights from a grassroots perspective of the impact of developmental programs and policies. Mr. Grasso, also a GRAAM advisor, recounted his experiences of working with

Dr. Balu and appreciating the book contents through his own journey of being a friend and an advisor for GRAAM.

Dr. Balu, in his introductory remarks about the book, noted that the book begins with an “i” in small-caps to emphasize his conception of citizen being a part of the whole country and world. Rich reflections of his experiences resulted in transforming him to become a transformational leader and thinker on development and poverty issues. He continued to emphasize the key partnership at Cornell University, especially within the ILR School that was a “second home” for extensive intellectual conversations on integrated human development. He appreciated the broader perspective of ILR school towards developmental issues, which, in many instances is always eclipsed by the parochial views of rational economic theories.

Cornell students who were actively involved in reviewing the book’s contents commented with much enthusiasm of how this work connects the abstract developmental policy analysis to the lived experiences of people for whom such policies impact the most.

Following an initial inauguration, two students received free copy of the book through a lucky draw. The event was also attended by Dr. Sarosh Kuruvilla and Dr. Arun Karpur, who are currently working with GRAAM on capacity building in research and collaborating on research projects.


The event was concluded with Ms. Ramil acknowledging Dr. Balu’s contributions to Cornell community and the partnership he brings with SVYM and GRAAM. Light refreshments served after the event was accompanied by a book-signing event with Dr. Balu. Video of the launch is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z7ZZJ-L7Qc.