Oxford’s Top India Expert to be AII’s New Director

08 May 2015

One of the world’s leading experts on contemporary India, Professor Craig Jeffrey, has been appointed the next Director of the Australia India Institute (AII) Australia's national centre for research, teaching and analysis on India, based at the University of Melbourne.  

Professor Jeffrey is currently Professor of Development Geography at the University of Oxford. He will take up his five-year appointment in October 2015.

The appointment continues a period of vigorous growth for the AII, Australia’s leading centre for the study of India, which has also seen the Institute establish a centre in New Delhi – AII @Delhi, adding to the AII’s network currently active at La Trobe University and the University of New South Wales. It comes at a time when the relationship between Australia and India is growing rapidly in importance, along with the need for a deeper and more nuanced understanding of India’s past and potential future significance for Australia and its region.

Professor Jeffrey has been appointed after a year-long global search by the AII for a successor to its Foundation Director, Professor Amitabh Mattoo.

Professor Jeffrey’s scholarly interests, which complement the AII’s growing spectrum of expertise, cover contemporary Indian society and global development, with a particular focus on Indian democracy, educational transformation, globalisation, and the politics of youth.

He is the author of six books including Timepass: Youth, Class and the Politics of Waiting in India (Stanford University Press, 2010) and Keywords for Modern India (with John Harriss; Oxford University Press, 2014). His scholarly output has been academically acclaimed even as its significance for public policy has been recognised. 

A Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, Professor Jeffrey is currently leading a large project funded by Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council on educated unemployed youth in South Asia. He was recently elected a Fellow of Britain’s Academy of Social Sciences, and also contributes regularly to BBC Radio 4 and The Guardian.

Professor Jeffrey will succeed Professor Amitabh Mattoo who has returned to India to serve as Honorary Director of the AII@ Delhi, and Professor of International Relations at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Professor Mattoo described Professor Jeffrey as a “great successor; an inspired choice” and a “truly exceptional scholar with credentials to position the Australia India Institute as the leading academic and policy centre for the study of India across the English-speaking world.”

The Chairman of the AII, Robert Johanson, welcomed the appointment. "With Craig in Melbourne and Amitabh in Delhi we have two exceptional leaders,” he said. “They complement each other, and we look forward to making an even greater contribution to the development of the India-Australia relationship, which is now of such crucial importance.”

Professor Jeffrey will also be taking up a professorial position at the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography.

Professor Sue Elliott, University of Melbourne’s Deputy Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor  (International), said the university was "delighted” by the appointment. “Professor Jeffrey is an excellent researcher and teacher, who is deeply engaged with modern India and who shares his knowledge and insights with the wider community through extensive media engagement,” Professor Elliott said.

For further media enquiries contact Kog Ravindran via Kogulan.ravindran@unimelb.edu.au

(Professor Craig Jeffrey speaks to SBS Hindi)