The Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute (SAI), Harvard University, today officially opened its new India headquarters in New Delhi. Professor Mark Elliott, Harvard’s Vice Provost for International Affairs and a world-renowned historian of China, inaugurated the headquarters at The Imperial Hotel, Janpath. Harvard historian and Indian Member of Parliament Professor Sugata Bose, SAI Executive Director Meena Hewett and SAI India Country Director Dr. Sanjay Kumar were also present at the event. The opening of the South Asia Institute’s India office marks the beginning of a new era of Harvard engagement with the region, committing additional major resources to the study of South Asia, which will permit students and faculty alike to deepen their research and gain invaluable new insights and experience.
As the director of the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Professor Tarun Khanna from the Harvard Business School has been the visionary behind the Institute’s exponential growth at Harvard and in the region. As part of a month-long celebration of the formal launch of the Delhi office, he will give a talk at the ‘SAI India Seminar Series’ on April 5, 2018 and speak about the Institute’s partnerships with several Indian institutions
Commenting on the inauguration, Mark Elliott, Vice Provost for International Affairs, Harvard University, said: “Harvard is extremely pleased and proud to open this office in Delhi, the third Harvard office in the country, and the first in the capital. Birthplace of a great and ancient civilization, and home to a remarkable diversity of peoples, religions, languages, and cultures, India is well known as the world’s largest democracy and one of its fastest developing economies. Harvard scholars have long held a strong interest in India’s past and present, and we are confident that the New Delhi office of the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute will help us to further develop our strengths in this area and ensure that Harvard remains among the very best Universities where the study of India may be pursued. In addition, we believe that our Delhi office will enable us to grow our collaborations with Indian academic and cultural institutions, contribute to the development of outstanding research across the sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities, and further strengthen our already close ties with numerous Harvard alumni who live in India and across South Asia.”
Throughout 2018 and beyond, leading scholars from South Asia-related fields will be delivering a series of free public lectures in Delhi. Currently, the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute is running various programs/research projects in India, which include the Boston Bangalore Bioscience Beginnings funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India; Social Entrepreneurship in India: Multidisciplinary Approach to Innovative Social Enterprises, and the ‘Looking Back, Informing the Future: the 1947 Partition of British India’; the Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program etc.
Founded in 2003, the South Asia Institute serves as Harvard’s premier center for regional studies, cross-disciplinary research, and innovative programming pertaining to South Asia. As such, it is the nexus of Harvard’s engagement with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet, and diaspora populations from these countries. In Harvard’s sprawling, intellectual ecosystem, area centers like SAI play a crucial role in bringing together faculty and students from different parts of the University to sustain, coordinate, and stimulate academic engagement with the region. This engagement spans the full range of intellectual endeavour, from the arts and humanities to social and natural sciences, and from engineering, law, architecture, and design to education, business, medicine, and public health.
SAI enables Harvard students, faculty and researchers to engage deeply with the region, complementing more than 140 South Asia-related courses that are taught on campus with academic and cultural exchanges. The institute works alongside more than 250 academic staff from a variety of disciplines across Harvard and other institutions, including several in India.
Major SAI projects include:
‘Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Mega City’: 55 faculty and students, from Harvard and other institutions in the US and India, completed this multidisciplinary project between 2013-15. The team worked closely with the Government of UP to research and analyse the Maha Kumbh.
‘Looking Back, Informing the Future: the 1947 Partition of British India’: SAI’s major current research project involves faculty and researchers from Harvard and other institutions in the US, South Asia and the UK, investigating humanitarian issues, migration patterns, political rhetoric and more, gathering thousands of untold stories from survivors of that era and analysing the data with cutting-edge techniques.
Boston Bangalore Bioscience Beginnings (B4): B4 supports progress in biosciences by developing partnerships with leading Indian universities and welcoming the best young Indian scientists to Harvard. B4 is a collaboration with the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB), Bengaluru. It is supported by the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka.
Multidisciplinary Approach to Social Entrepreneurship in India: A range of India-focused research, innovation and social entrepreneurship projects are under way, led by leading Harvard scholars and colleagues from two other world-class institutions – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) – in an important collaboration with Tata Trusts.