What was first thought to be a coincidental meeting in New York between Manjeet Kripalani and Neelam Deo turned out to be something more than fortuitous, they eventually became the founders of Gateway House, a global foreign policy think tank which is the first women-led of its kind which has a special focus on independent and pragmatic solutions in order to design a new order across the world. Based in Mumbai, the company is very much India-focused as its goal is “to transition India from a global rule-taker to rule-maker and build intellectual institutional capacity. In this endeavor, we use traditional policy tools and fresh research based on the deep expertise of Mumbai’s financial institutions, private businesses, and entrepreneurs.
Gateway House was first set up in a parking lot like many global startups
Manjeet Kripalani was an Edward R Murrow Press Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, while Neelam Deo was an Indian Consul General, and while the two of them were in the US, Neelam used to organize a breakfast for those at the consulate who showed interest in investing in India and this was the time when the two of them got talking about how they could create a group of “a group of internationalists for India, who could articulate the Indian voice in global affairs.” After extensive research, they found that the study of international affairs was minuscule outside the city of Delhi and even outside the government and furthermore, the knowledge and experience of Indian multinational corporations were not being included in diplomacy across the country. “With a small amount of individual and corporate funding, we set up Gateway House in a donor’s parking lot – like startups all over the world – except we were building an intellectual institution. Our young scholars take original research to international policy-maker networks, ensuring that India participates, with a strong voice and well-prepared policy papers as new rules of global governance, technology, trade, law, security, space, and finance are written and regulated,” said Deo.
India is stepping onto the world’s stage and they will not stop at bettering the country
Gateway House has been closely working with the government and has been conducting research on strategic issues and multilateral engagements and organizations for the government. On the other hand, both of them have been tapping into the talent of the youth by collaborating with young scholars in order to address the gender imbalance. “We have history, economic, and political science majors, several engineers and MBAs, all multi-skilled and passionate about foreign policy, blowing away the cobwebs and bringing fresh ideas to India’s international engagement,” said Kripalani. According to them, India is stepping our onto the world’s stage and is taking on new responsibilities and therefore, they cannot and will not stop at deepening and sharpening their research to change the country for the better, particularly from the point of view of socio-economic development.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, Salzburg Global Seminar