About

Who is Atul ?

Atul is still the boy who ran away from home at 17 after growing up in military bases all over the map. He first went to Allahabad where the Ganges and the Yamuna meet in ancient timeworn India. A boatman cheated Atul of the little money he had but through the kindness of strangers this teenager wound his way to Sarnath. This sleepy little hamlet lies in Atul’s ancestral homeland and is famous for Dhammacakkappavattana or the Buddha’s first teaching. It turned out be the first stop in a rather long walk through the Gangetic plains that transformed Atul from a chubby boy to a lean young man.

Atul’s wanderlust and quest for knowledge continue to this day. They have taken him from Nagaland to England, from Oxford to Wharton and from the City of London to Silicon Valley. Poet, playwright, sportsman, mountaineer, officer, orator, scholar, lawyer and explorer, Atul Singh is the Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Fair Observer, a nonprofit organization that informs and educates global citizens through its journal and education programs.

Among other things, Atul writes The World This Week that is read by an influential audience, including those in the White House, the World Bank and Wall Street. He divides his time between the US, the UK, India, Kenya, Mexico et al and is a true citizen of the world.

Atul has taught around the world from University of California, Berkeley and Tecnológico de Monterrey, Guadalajara to Moi University, Eldoret and Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar. Atul is a bit of a Renaissance man who teaches a range of subjects such as global political economy, modern world history, international relations, deep explanatory journalism, communication, leadership and teamwork.

Atul favors the Socratic method that he learnt from tutors like Michael Hart and the late Gavin Cameron at Oxford. He has conducted workshops for entrepreneurs, presentations for companies and given lectures to students around the world.

Atul taught the 2016 Voices of the World Program in four countries: India, Kenya, Mexico and the US. The United Nations Foundation and Fair Observer partnered to conduct this program. It sought to inspire young minds from around the world to focus on substantive issues such as water, health and poverty eradication, and tell their own stories regarding these issues.

Atul in His Own Words

“I have spent the last few days traveling with my parents after more than five years. On a personal note, the last few years have been full of trials and tribulations. My parents and my brother stood by me and supported me during these years as they always have. I would not be the man I am without the prodigious amount of work my parents put into raising me. In still socialist India, my parents, my brother and I traveled on one scooter, but he and I got an education that money cannot buy.

When I was a child my father gave us four history books to read. They were British, American, Soviet and, of course, Indian. Often, these books would have four different things to say about a single event. You can imagine little me going to my father asking which one of the four versions were true. He would respond with a twinkle in his eye that it was for us to figure that out. When I look back, I realize that I learned the power of multiple narratives and plurality of perspectives very early. I have my father to thank for that.

My father also hammered into me that I could never see through someone else’s eye or feel through anyone else’s finger. Come what may, I had to think for myself. This is unusual anywhere but more so in India where far too many people have lost their cultural confidence and bravery. In the words of Sir Mark Tully, a dear and learned friend, India is aping America after centuries of emulating the British. Anyway, I count my stars to have a father who questioned Soviet propaganda and American claptrap equally ferociously.

To my mother I owe much of my intellectual rigor. She is tough and demands excellence. The bar was not set by my peers but the greats who were dead. She constantly reminded me how my paternal grandfather had died young and how life had been an uphill struggle for my father. My mother also schooled me in language and literature—in English, Hindi and Sanskrit—giving me a great foundation to build on.”

Extract from The World This Year 2015

P.S. Atul has led a life straight out of the movies and his friends constantly nag him to pen his autobiography before some crackpot assassinates our modern day Cyrano de Bergerac.

Affiliations

University of California

Lecturer on Political Economy

Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar

Visiting Faculty teaching Global Political Economy, Modern World History & Writing

Universidad de Salamanca

Member of Advisory Board for Global and International Studies

Netleon Technologies Private Limited

Adviser to CEO

1776

Mentor to Startups