The northeast region of India is resource-rich, boasting strong industries in tea, crude oil and natural gas, and silk. At the same time, it is burdened with a poor infrastructure and conflict-scarred by insurgents, two of its key social and cultural differences from mainstream India.

Why are the people in this troubled region marginalized from the rest of the country? What can be done to transform the states, now plagued by guns, drugs and rebels?

Ajailiu Niumai, Raman Post-Doctoral Fellow and a visiting scholar in the Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa, will present “Strengthening Connections with Northeast India” at 7 p.m., June 12, in G21 of the Ming Hsieh Hall on West Virginia University’s downtown campus.

The talk, which is part of the Gandhi-King Lecture Series on International Relations and Peace Studies, is free and open to the public.

For decades, Niumai said, northeast India has been characterized by racial and ethnic conflicts over land and flawed policies by the country’s government to integrate the region.

The philosophies of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she argues, apply to the contemporary social concerns of India.

Niumai’s research is focused on the sociology of gender, non-governmental organizations and development, and the Indian Diaspora.

The Gandhi-King Lecture Series on International Relations and Peace Studies is an annual event exploring the ongoing significance of a peaceful, nonviolent approach to dealing with national and international problems, issues and conflicts.

The lecture series began in 2009 with a $25,000 endowment from Ranjit Majumder, V.K. Raju, Gangarao Hota, S.N. Jagannathan, and Mridul Gautam.

For more information on the lecture series, please contact Valerie Bennett at (304) 393-4611 or



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