Conversation Series

The Global South and the New Cold War

On 25 November 2022, UNU will host a conversation with Indian author Pankaj Mishra.

- Asia/Tokyo
1F Annex Space, United Nations University, 53-70, Jingumae 5-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan

Compared to the cold war of the 20th century, today’s new cold war straddles increasingly muddled geopolitics, globalized economies, and deep resource dependencies. But as North-South inequality grows and the lines blur between democracy and autocracy, many global South countries are hesitant to take sides and firmly align with a Western alliance, China, or Russia.

Mr  Mishra will join UNU Rector David Malone to discuss the shape of the new cold war and how it is perceived by global South countries. The conversation will explore the issues that influence how the global South engages with the new cold war’s powers and how these relations could affect sustainable development and peace.

The UNU Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation; you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation and at the reception that will follow, where all audience members are invited to enjoy snacks and non-alcoholic drinks while exchanging ideas and making new contacts.

Please note that this event will be in English. Advance registration (by 24 November) is required. Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the online registration page.

About the speaker

Pankaj Mishra was born in North India in 1969. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the Allahabad University before completing his MA in English Literature at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

In 1992, he moved to Mashobra, a Himalayan village, where he began to contribute literary essays and reviews to The Indian Review of Books, The India Magazine, and the newspaper The Pioneer. His first book was Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India (1995), a travelogue which described the social and cultural changes in India in the new context of globalization. His novel The Romantics(2000) an ironic tale of people longing for fulfillment in cultures other than their own, won the Los Angeles Times’ Art Seidenbaum award for first fiction.

Mr Mishra’s book An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World (2004), mixes memoir, history, and philosophy while attempting to explore the Buddha’s relevance to contemporary times. Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond, describes Mishra’s travels through Kashmir, Bollywood, Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, and other parts of South and Central Asia. Like his previous books, it was featured in The New York Times‘ 100 Best Books of the Year. Published in 2012, From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber prize in Canada, the Orwell Prize in the U.K, and the Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award in the United States. It won the Crossword Award for Best Nonfiction in 2013. In 2014, it became the first book by a non-Western writer to win Germany’s prestigious Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. In 2013, he published A Great Clamour: Encounters with China and its Neighbours. In 2017, he published Age of Anger: A History of the Present.

Mr Mishra writes literary and political essays for The New York TimesThe New York Review of Books, The GuardianThe New Yorker,  London Review of Books, and Bloomberg View, among other American, British, and Indian publications. His work has also appeared in Times Literary SupplementThe  Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New Republic, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Time,The Independent, Granta, The Nationn+1, Poetry, Common Knowledge, Outlook, and Harper’s.  He was a visiting professor at Wellesley College in 2001, 2004, and 2006. In 2004-2005 he received a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library. For 2007-08, he was the Visiting Fellow at the Department of English, University College, London. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2014, he was awarded Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize.


Pankaj Mishra


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