„Nobody thinks I’m Indian!“ This is how sympathetic and unbelievably smart global strategy expert Parag Khanna likes to kick it off. “When I get into a taxi, nobody thinks I’m indian. In Istanbul, the taxi driver thinks I’m turkish, in New York, they assume I’m from Mexico and even in New Delhi, people tell me they think I’m from Iran.“ But there are exceptions to the rule, he jokes. „The good people of Usbekista know an Indian when they see one.“ Obviously, there is a very typical song which they like to start singing when they meet up with Parag Khannad. As a friendly joke, of course. He smiles. A short history on one of the most accomplished global strategy consultants of the time: At just 41 years old, he has written half a dozen books, especially on geostrategic issues, including “Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization.” Recently his book “The Future is Asian” has been published.
The New York Times has described him as the “probably best connected person in the world.” Parag Khanna is of Indian descent and grew up in the United Arab Emirates, Germany and the USA, earned his doctorate at the London School of Economics and has traveled to more than a hundred countries. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Asia and Globalization of the National University of Singapore and also regularly comments on world affairs on CNN. But coming back to the big question that he started to ask himself: „Why do so few people think I’m Indian?“ Pragmatic as he is, he took the scientific path and sent in a saliva sample to the National Geographic Genographic Project which was launched in 2005 as a research project in collaboration with scientists and universities around the world with a goal of revealing patterns of human migration.
“When you take part in such a study, you quickly realize that none of us actually belongs to a particular ethnic group. Rather, we are products of random ethnic collisions that have occurred over hundreds of years. We are not just Indian, German or whatever.”
As far as the Asians are concerned, he has been sure since then: no matter where in Asia someone was born, he is certainly an Asian. In contrast to Europeans, who feel that they are part of Europe as well as their own nationality, Asians still see themselves as very national. Parag Khanna wants to strengthen the sense of belonging to Asia. He also wants to show that Asia is not only made up of China. He believes that Asia as a whole has what it takes to become the most important economic engine in the global world. And he means including China, but having the potential to be far more than „just“ China.
Parag Khanna, at the end of his lectures on Asia and the events there, likes to quote the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, who said: “Asia is once again waiting for such dreamers to come and continue the work… to establish the bonds of spiritual leadership.” The premium speaker Parag Khanna not only talks about the Asian markets, but also about the consequences of Brexit, the Eurozone, the US or the Chinese economy and world trade. Parag Khanna is fluent in English and German.
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