Under Profile


Ever since he was appointed to the Election Commission in 2005, he has tried to engage with as many student audiences as possible, on many campuses in the country. A list of his lectures is available on his website. He has also addressed student audiences on campuses abroad, including the University of Chicago (2014), the School of SAIS (John’s Hopkins University, 2014), as well as his almamater, The London School of Economics. He has also addressed think tanks, the Atlantic Council and the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C. The subjects he has spoken on are varied ranging from electoral management in India to subjects related to governance issues. For the last three years in a row, he has been invited by the Electoral Commission of Mexico (earlier called IFE and now called INE) in Mexico City. The subject has ranged from the nature of elections in countries of low per capita incomes, to related topics of electoral management in India and the South Asian Region. Within the South Asian Region, he has addressed legislators in Bhutan and members of the Election Commission of Nepal on the invitation of the respective Chief Election Commissioners of both the countries. Over a span of six years when he addressed student gatherings in India. He felt he was able to communicate with them and motivate them to become more aware of elections and the need for students to participate in them. In the beginning, he found the student audiences to be apathetic and disinterested. In the interactive sessions with them, of which he insisted that there should be part of his lectures, he tried to persuade them about the importance of their vote as a keystone of Indian democracy. From 2007 onwards, he began to notice a perceptible change in students attitudes. Just prior to the 2009 General Elections which Chawla conducted, he found that students were in a much more participatory frame of mind and efforts by the Election Commission to get election cards made for students were proving to be much more successful on campuses. He feels that the relationship that could be established by the Election Commissioners interacting with student audiences had a very important multiplier effect. After demitting office as Chief Election Commissioner in July 2010, Chawla has maintained his interaction with student audiences and has addressed audiences in full halls at Pondicherry University, Delhi University and colleges in Shillong (Meghalaya) and Guwahati. Many of these are on Facebook.