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WORLD POLICY BOOKS

 

In A Deluge of Consequences, the first World Policy e-book, intrepid journalist Jacques Leslie takes us along on a mythic, spell-binding trip to the bucolic kingdom of Bhutan, where the planet's next environmental disaster is set to unfold. 

 

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The  World Policy Institute understands that policymakers and opinion leaders need creative ways to catalyze innovation and engage wider coalitions in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.  By working with artists focused on the same issues, this cross-cutting initiative seeks to build a new, collaborative model for social change. 

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Kavitha Rajagopalan

Senior Fellow

Expertise: Migration, integration, immigrant identity formation, comparative migration policy, migration in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany, Muslim immigrant communities in the West, regional spheres of migration, displacement and statelessness, financial access in immigrant and minority communities, urban sociology, socioeconomic marginalization, the informal economy, undocumented migration, corporate social responsibility


Kavitha Rajagopalan is the author of Muslims of Metropolis: The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West, a narrative nonfiction examination of migration, integration and identity formation in three Muslim immigrant families – a Palestinian family from Jerusalem to London, a Kurdish family from Turkey to Berlin, a Bangladeshi family from Dhaka to New York City. Her research involved policy analysis, in-depth interviews and social immersion, and media monitoring, and took her to Germany, the U.K., the Palestinian Territories, India, Syria, and Turkey. Kavitha’s writing approaches broader migration policy and management debates through individual narrative, exploring the influence of economic and policymaking trends, as well as societal attitudes and individual experience, on the development of collective narratives of either alienation or belonging in immigrant communities. She is interested in finding meaningful policy solutions to global conflict and instability by understanding and harnessing the economic, social, political and cultural capital of migrants.


For the past four years, Kavitha has worked in the financial services industry, working in consultative capacities with international firms such as Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Frost & Sullivan. Her research into corporate social responsibility, predatory financial practices, international labor movements and issues, and financial management strategy allowed her to deepen her understanding of global corporate behavior and financial systems. As a result, she has expanded her work on migration and immigrant communities into the financial access arena, partnering with social justice and advocacy entities such as Appleseed and the Center for Social Inclusion, to research methods for expanding participation in traditionally marginalized communities in mainstream financial and economic systems.


She began her career in journalism, first for a news radio station in Berlin, Germany, and then as a city reporter for The New Indian Express and Chennaionline, in Chennai, India. There, she wrote a series of features on social services and identity in marginalized communities, ranging from municipal policies affecting migrant workers in periurban areas to public health and criminal justice practices affecting the social identities of homosexuals, transsexuals, transgendered individuals and sex workers. She covered water and land use, urban planning, and family health. She went on to intern at CNN Headline News before leaving journalism to work on communications. She has developed communications strategies for a number of national and local nonprofit organizations, as a communications associate for InterAction and in volunteer capacities with grassroots New York City food justice and community development organizations.


She was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in political science, through which she studied political identity and lobby formation in Berlin’s Turkish community in 2000. In 2003, she was awarded the Foreign Language and Area Studies scholarship by the U.S. Department of Education to deepen her research on South Asian Muslim societies. In 2004, she was named a John J. McCloy Journalism Fellow with the American Council on Germany, researching Kurdish minority identity in Germany, focusing on religious subcommunities such as the Yezidi and Alevi, linguistic and regional sub-identities, and intracommunity political divergences. She received her Bachelor’s degree in international relations theory from the College of William & Mary and her Master’s of International Affairs in International Media and Communications from Columbia University’s School of International and Political Affairs.


Education:
MA, Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs
BA, College of William and Mary (International Relations Theory)


Languages:
German (fluent),
Tamil and Spanish (proficient),

Contact: kxraja@gmail.com
Twitter: @kxraja

Honors & Affiliations
 
John J. McCloy Fellowship in Journalism (Fall 2004)
American Council on Germany, Berlin 
Project Focus: Collective Loss and Collective Invisibility: Political Identity in das Kurdische Berlin
 
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Academic Year 2002-2003)
Columbia University, School of International & Public Affairs
  • Languages of Study: Hindi and Urdu 
 
Fulbright Scholarship (Academic Year 2000-2001)
Freie Universitaet zu Berlin
Concentration: Political Science 
Project Focus: Lobby Formation, Integration Policy, and Changing Political Identity in Turkish Berlin
  • Participated in research study of caste, gender, and changing social structures in one diasporic Kurdish sub-minority: Heiratsverhalten unter Yeziden in Deutschland
  • Co-organized and participated in a series of actions to
  • commemorate the 40th anniversary of Turkish labor migration to Berlin at the Kreuzberg Museum
 
AWFS College Scholarship (Academic Years 1995-1999)
Administered by the Association of Woodworking and Furniture Suppliers

  

BOOKS
 
Muslims of Metropolis
Muslims of Metropolis, Rutgers University Press (Summer 2008). The November 7, 2008 book discussion is now online.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SELECTED ARTICLES
 

“The Human Cost of Slum Clearance,” September 18.

Solving Chennai's Water Crisis”, September 13.

Google hangout, Greg Lindsay and Kavitha Rajagopalan

 
LECTURES AND APPEARANCES
 
 
Participated in a lecture and reading about narrative, identity, and Muslims in the West at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum on March 7, 2009.
 
Participated in a reading and discussion about law, society, and Muslim immigrant identity at the NYU Law School, February 25, 2009.
 
Spoke at the Carnegie New Leaders Event: Muslims of Metropolis: The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West, February 12, 2009.  The audio file and transcript are found here.
 
Mede Mythri Book Club, Chennai, India, March 21, 2008.
 

Voices: My Media
Imagining Global Asia, New York, NY, October 2006

  • Spoke on Muslim immigrant identity and perception of media in different Western cities. Interview presented as a short film on the IGA Web site.
2005 Global Anti-Money Laundering Summit
Goldman, Sachs & Co., New York, NY, July 2005
Organizer (member of Summit Committee)
  • Helped develop conference format and presentation content for an audience of GS AML staffers worldwide, meeting to be debriefed on emerging issues and technologies in AML work.
 

Six Months After: Rebuilding, Reconstruction, Reconciliation
Columbia University, New York, NY March 2003
Organizer (Co-president, SIPA Responds)

  • Planned day-long conference and organized a series of panel discussions and moderated open-mic forum through SIPA Responds. 
 
European Metropolises and Cultural Borders
EUROFOR Conference No. 32, Berlin, Germany, October 2000
  • Attended as resident researcher at the European Migration Center, housed at the Berlin Institute for Social Research. Informally presented preliminary research findings on urban political identity. 
 
40 Jahre Migration
Berlin-Kreuzberg Museum, Berlin, Germany (2000-2001)
Organizer, Moderator
  • Organized and moderated a series of panels on different aspects of the immigrant experience in Berlin: political participation, elder care, education/school policy, cultural presence.

 

Bosnia & the Balkans: Reconstruction & Reconciliation
College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA 1999
Organizer, Student Presenter

  • Organized conference as a culmination of a semester-long collaboration with Bosnian students from different ethnic backgrounds.
  • Paper on religious reconciliation selected to be one of three student presentations.