This book examines in the context of South Asia, four inter related dimensions that constitute the central policy challenges of our time: consolidating democracy, confronting violent extremism, overcoming mass poverty, and addressing the challenge of climate change. These dimensions areexplored at the country-specific as well as the regional level, by some of the leading scholars and eminent public figures from the region, and interconnected by the editors through a new perspective. Consolidating democracy in societies with varying degrees of hierarchical rigidity requires governments to give space to civil society and provide institutional access to the under-privileged strata of society over governance decisions that affect their life. Such empowerment requires rapid povertyreduction through inclusive growth and creation of high wage employment. Apart from currently exclusive institutional structures in the economies of South Asia, a major hurdle in achieving inclusive growth is climate change, which has a relatively greater adverse effect on the poor. Mitigation andadaptation measures in the face of climate change require regional cooperation in South Asia for joint water shed management, improved efficiency of irrigation and water use, development of heat-resistant varieties of food grains, and developing decentralized food stock silos to give quick accessover food grain to the people in case of severe shortages. This requires cooperation and coordinated policy efforts among South Asian countries. The editors advocate that a prerequisite for such efforts is a new approach based on inter-state peace and cooperation that could facilitate the establishment within individual nation states of institutional links between democratic structures, development initiatives, managing violence andconserving the environment.