SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

“First in the Field”: India, Decolonisation and the World Health Organisation’s ‘South East Asia Region’ (SEARO), 1946-8

Raghav Kishore (Kings College London)

Date: 6 February 2018Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 6 February 2018Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Faber Building, 23/24 Russell Square Room: FG01

Type of Event: Seminar

The World Health Organisation’s regionalisation programme was a much-heralded exercise in the decentralisation of international health operations by incorporating countries with purportedly similar epidemiological profiles and geographic characteristics into distinct zones of intervention. Yet the formation of the South East Asia Region (SEARO), the first of such endeavours, and the placement of its regional headquarters brought to a head the competing concerns of WHO member states: from the regional aspirations of newly independent nations like India to the anxieties of waning imperial powers like Britain, all set against the backdrop of decolonisation and the cold war. This paper will uncover the ways in which such tensions shaped the formation of SEARO and with it, the WHO in its early years.

Organiser: In association with SOAS Department of History

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