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The Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. 

About SAI | View the South Asia Institute video 

Upcoming Events

Tue, March 3, 2015 from 12:00pm - 01:30pm  /  CGIS South, S050

Addressing Healthcare Needs in South Asia: Innovation to Improve Outcomes, Expand Access and Increase Affordability

Social Enterprise and Global Health Seminar

Omar Ishrak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Medtronic

Discussant: Conor Walsh, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director, Harvard South Asia Institute, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School

Over the last several decades, medical technology advancements have steadily improved the standard of care for patients in many areas of the world. At the same time, a huge disparity in access to high quality, cost-effective healthcare continues to exist for billions of people.  The need in South Asia is particularly acute, with access to care limited to less than 10% of an estimated population of nearly 2 billion people. Innovation must address significant barriers, including a lack of patient awareness, infrastructure and training for healthcare professionals. Medtronic has started a unique program in India using a new business model to target a specific disease, define the full care continuum and build an ecosystem approach to address populations with little to no access to care.  Addressing this huge challenge – and opportunity – requires a coordinated effort across multiple stakeholders to deliver innovation to improve outcomes, expand access and increase affordability of healthcare in South Asia.

Lunch will be served.

Co-sponsored with the Asia Center

Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 12:00pm

Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 01:30pm

CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Wed, March 4, 2015 at 04:15pm  /  CGIS South, S010

Pakistan: From Crisis to Crisis

10th Annual Asia Center Tsai Lecture

Asma Jahangir, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Partner, AGHS Law Associates; former President, Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan; former Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Chair: Arthur Kleinman, Director, Harvard University Asia Center; Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University; Professor of Medical Anthropology and Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Discussants: Asad A. Ahmed, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

Jennifer Leaning, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights; Director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health; Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Co-Sponsored by the Asia Center and the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program

Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 04:15pm

Wed, Mar 4, 2015

CGIS South, S010

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA

Thu, March 5, 2015

Postponed: Webinar on Religious Literacy

This webinar has been postponed and will be rescheduled. 

SAI Webinar

Diane Moore, Senior Lecturer on Religious Studies and Education; Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions

Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations


Thu, Mar 5, 2015

Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    Thu, March 5, 2015 from 05:00pm - 06:30pm  /  Harvard Office of Career Services

    Explore Careers in South Asia (Panel & Mixer)

    Harvard undergraduates: Have you ever thought about working in South Asia, but aren’t sure what opportunities exist, what it would be like, or how to begin?
    Enjoy food from the region and hear from panelists who have worked in a variety of sectors in South Asia!
    After the panel, stay for an informal mixer, where you can meet with the panelists and talk further about their experiences in South Asia.

    Russell Mason ’10, HBS ’16, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mahindra Lifespace Developers, Ltd., Co-Founder and Co-President, Harvard Club of Mumbai

    Rahul Anand, HBS ’09, CEO & Founder,

    Dr. Duncan Smith-Rohrberg Maru ’02, MD/PhD, Physician at Children’s Hospital, Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School (Dept. of Global Health & Social Medicine), Co-Founder and Chief Programs Officer at Possible Health

    Pushpi Weerakoon, Harvard Kennedy School

    Planning to attend? Make it official! Please RSVP through Crimson Careers:

    Cosponsored with the Harvard Office of Career Services

    Join the Facebook event.

    Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 05:00pm

    Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 06:30pm

    Harvard OCS, 54 Dunster St, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

    54 Dunster St, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

    Sat, March 7, 2015 - Sun, March 8, 2015  /  Harvard Kennedy School

    India Conference at Harvard

    The India Conference at Harvard is one of the largest India conferences in the US. It is hosted at the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School by the graduate students of Harvard University.

    The conference will bring together business leaders, entertainment professionals, government officials, philanthropists, and many other leaders to engage in a conversation about India’s path to Global leadership.

    Cosponsored by SAI.

    Q+A: India’s path to global leadership

    Conference website.

    Sat, Mar 7, 2015

    Sun, Mar 8, 2015

    Harvard Kennedy School, TBD

    79 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge

    Mon, March 9, 2015 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  Science Center Hall A

    Beyond Harvard

    Arts at SAI and Student Event

    Rahul BoseActor, Director & Social Activist

    Chair: Richard DelacyPreceptor in Hindi and Urdu, Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University 

    Described as the ‘Indian art house icon’, by TIME magazine, Rahul Bose won Best Actor, Singapore Film Festival, and Best Debut Director (second prize), for ‘Everybody Says I’m Fine!’ at Palm Springs. His NGO, The Foundation, works in the areas of education and child sexual abuse. He is an Oxfam Global Ambassador and is a former India international rugby player.

    Cosponsored with the Harvard India Student Group

    Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 04:00pm

    Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 05:30pm

    Science Center Hall A

    Harvard University
    Cambridge MA 02138

    Tue, March 10, 2015 from 09:00am - 10:30am

    Webinar: Planning and Preparedness

    9:00 AM in Cambridge, 5:00 PM in Pakistan, 5:30 PM in India, 5:30 PM in Sri Lanka, 6:00 PM in Bangladesh, 5:45 PM in Nepal

    Payal Modi, MD, MPH, Fellow, Brigham & Women’s Hospital International Emergency Medicine Fellowship

    Mass casualty responses work best when there is a well-rehearsed plan. This seminar will cover planning for a disaster, preparatory drills, and debriefing, drawing from the experience of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

    This will be SAI’s third webinar in the series on Disaster Management and Emergency Response

    WATCH: One the day of the webinar, watch live on SAI’s website
    INTERACT: Tweet your questions and join the conversation on Facebook

    Twitter@HarvardSAI, #SAIWebinar

    This webinar was originally scheduled for February 10, 2015.

    Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 09:00am

    Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 10:30am

    Thu, March 12, 2015 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S250

    Sufi Shrines and the Secular State

    Muslim Societies in South Asia Seminar

    Speaker: Anna B. Bigelow, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, North Carolina State University.

    Chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, Harvard University.

    Sufi tomb shrines in India are well-known for their multi-religious constituencies. Yet the status of these sites is contested and ambivalent, with some groups lauding and celebrating them while others seek to undermine their diverse appeal. This presentation will compare cases of cooperation and conflict at two sites in Karnataka to explore the pragmatics of state secularism as well as local strategies of accommodation and competition.

    Co-sponsored with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program

    Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 04:00pm

    Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 05:30pm

    CGIS South, S250
    Harvard University

    1730 Cambridge Street
    Cambridge MA


    Innovative healthcare solutions

    Read highlights from SAI’s roundtable discussion in the Bay Area on India’s healthcare system organized in collaboration with USAID and the South Asian Healthcare Leadership Forum.

      The City and South Asia Podcast: Floating on Waste Islands

      The processes of urbanization, globalization, and climate change have made traditional methods of waste management difficult for the Maldives. In this podcast, SAI talks with Krishna Matturi, recent GSD graduate, about the country’s “unique culture of waste” and its possible solutions.

        Update from the Harvard Club of Nepal

        On Feb. 10, the Harvard Club of Nepal (HCN) hosted an event in Kathmandu with two newspaper editors who discussed the current political situation in the country and the role that media could play in resolving the chaos of constitution-making. The HCN, a group of Harvard alumni, has recently been reactivated.

          International Photo Contest Winners

          Congratulations to Gillian Slee, Harvard College ’16, and Sara Melissa Theiss, Harvard College ’15, who were chosen by SAI as winners for the Office of International Education’s Annual International Photo Contest.

            A US-India comeback?

            In an op-ed for The Boston Globe, SAI Steering Committee member Nicholas Burns, HKS, explains how President Obama’s visit to India for Republic Day is an important symbolic gesture that may kickstart the revival both countries have been looking for.

              Kashmir’s women in wait

              “More than the political aspect, it is understanding how women cope with the phenomenon of disappearances that appealed to me as a filmmaker,” says director Nilosree Biswas in an interview with SAI on the unique culture of Kashmir.

                The City and South Asia

                In SAI’s second annual publication, The City and South Asia, experts from a variety of fields, at both Harvard and elsewhere, have come together to hold up a cross-disciplinary lens to urban centers in South Asia.

                  Report on the Harvard US-India Initiative Conference

                  “If yesterday’s events urged participants to immerse themselves in the world of ideas, today’s panelists gave us diverse and exceptional examples of how to apply these ideas in practice,” writes Zeenia Framroze, Harvard College ’15, about the conference.

                    Creating a better India

                    SAI recently talked to Namrata Narain, Harvard College ’15, one of the organizers of the Harvard US-India Initiative’s (HUII) Annual Conference, to learn more about how HUII is working to increase discussions on important issues by connecting young academic communities in India and the US.

                      2014 Student Grant Report

                      In 2014, SAI awarded 46 grants to students to do a variety internships and research projects in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Read first-hand experiences from students in SAI’s Grant Report.

                        Tragedy in Pakistan

                        “This is a day of deep reflection. War strategy against extremists, whether through drone strikes or carpet-bombing, must factor in the lives of children beyond collateral damage and prepare especially to protect the most vulnerable in society on both sides.”

                          Ayesha Jalal: The Struggle for Pakistan

                          In a SAI Book Talk on Dec. 3, renowned Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University, spoke about her new book and highlighted the need for a comprehensive historical interpretation of Pakistan’s narrative and encouraged members of the audience to view the history of the country through a geopolitical lens rather than a religious one.

                            SAI Fellowships

                            The South Asia Institute offers several opportunities for scholars and practitioners to continue their research at Harvard University in Cambridge. Deadline to apply: January 15, 2015 for Academic Year 2015-2016.

                              2015 Student Winter Grant Recipients

                              SAI has awarded 18 grants to support undergraduate and graduate student projects over the Winter Session in January, 2015. These include 6 undergraduates and 12 graduate students who will be traveling to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka for research and internships.

                                Shaping problem-solvers

                                A Harvard Gazette article looks at SAI Director Tarun Khanna’s Gen Ed course, which spans disciplines to address social, economic challenges in South Asia.