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News Category: Pakistan


SAI hosts artists Komal Shahid Khan and Meenakshi Sengupta


Visiting the Harvard Art Museums

Visiting the Harvard Art Museums

From November 29 – December 9, the South Asia Institute hosted two artists from South Asia as part of its Visiting Artist Program. Komal Shahid Khan, from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Meenakshi Sengupta, from Kolkata, India, spent their time at Harvard attending classes, meeting with students and faculty, giving a public seminar, and had the opportunity to display their work on campus.

The artists visited several undergraduate classes where they were invited to speak about their work and engage with students. Courses included ‘History and Sexuality in the Modern West’ taught by Nancy Cott, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, ‘Comparative Politics of Gender Inequality’ taught by Ana Catalano Weeks, College Fellow in the Government Department, ‘Gender and the Making of Modern South Asia,’ taught by Catherine Warner, College Fellow in the Department of South Asian Studies,  and ‘Leaning in, Hooking up: Visions of Feminism and Femininity in the 21st Century’ taught by Phyllis Thompson, Lecturer on Studies on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. The artists were also invited to the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies for an informal gathering with concentrators and affiliates.

During their visit, Khan and Sengupta were exposed to the various arts-related resources at Harvard. Rachel Parikh, Calderwood Curatorial Fellow for South Asian Art, Harvard Art Museums, led a session for the artists in the Museum’s Art Study Center, and allowed the artists to access several pieces from the Museum’s collection. Lamia Joreige, Rita E. Hauser Fellow, Radcliffe Institute and a renowned visual artist and filmmaker from Lebanon invited the artists to her studio to speak about their artistic process.

“We experienced a lot. Visiting the museums and seeing the original works there, that means a lot to me,” Sengupta said.

During their time, the two artists collaborated on an interactive performance piece about Partition, an idea that formed when they met in Cambridge. (Video below).

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Student voices: Teaching history through empathy


15193682_1146680992035386_9720135855591234_nThis is part of a series in which we share reports from Harvard students who have traveled to South Asia with support from a SAI grant.

By Asad Liaqat, Doctoral candidate, Public Policy PhD program, Harvard Kennedy School; SAI Graduate Associate

This summer I worked with “The History Project” (THP) in Lahore, Pakistan to develop an evaluation strategy for an exciting set of workshops they are doing with school children. These workshops are aimed at improving critical thinking and increasing empathy in schoolchildren in Pakistan and India. As a researcher, my role in these workshops is to design an evaluation strategy to ascertain the impact of these workshops on critical thinking and empathy in children.

The workshops in themselves are borne out of THP’s previous work in schools in India and Pakistan, introducing children to the idea that there is multiplicity in historical narratives. They decided to place versions of the same incidents from Indian and Pakistani textbooks right next to each other and simply show that to students, taking in their reactions and learning how the rigid notions of right and wrong formed due to particular forms of socialization in formative years could be broken. Having gone through that development phase, THP was ready to start piloting its workshops this summer, and I formed a partnership with them to evaluate the impact of their interventions.

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Lakhani joins LUMS Suleman Dawood School of Business advisory board


Ent240491Congratulations to  Karim R. Lakhani, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, for his invitation to serve on the advisory board of Suleman Dawood School of Business, the oldest of the four schools at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

LUMS and SAI have recently signed an MoU to make LUMS a substantive partner in Harvard-SAI’s activities in Pakistan. Eminent scholars from Harvard Business School, as well as from IMD and Ivey School of Business played a key role in the establishment of the flagship 2-year full-time LUMS MBA program launched in 1986.

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Student Coordinators, 2016-2017


SAI is excited to welcome five students to serve as student coordinators for the 2016-2017 academic year. Interns play a vital role in SAI’s operations, including helping with SAI’s Grant Program, research projects, digital outreach efforts, and organizing SAI programs in the region.

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Meet our Fellow: Fahad Javed


Fahad Javed is SAI’s Aman Fellow for the Fall semester. He is mentored by Venky Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy.

Javed is an Assistant Professor in the computer science department at GIFT University, Gujranwala, Pakistan. His research is focused around smart grids, specifically on anything to do with demand side management. He believes that demand side management is the need of the hour for the world in general and developing world in particular. Before joining GIFT he completed his Ph.D. from the department of computer science, school of science and engineering Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). His thesis centered on constructing a demand side management framework for energy management in a city or region.

Learn more:

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In their own words: Why I support the arts


IMG_9103 - CopyRepresenting Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, the members of the SAI Arts Council provide financial support and advisement for SAI’s Arts Program. The program connects South Asia’s artists with Harvard faculty and students to support research that advances the understanding of cultural, political, social, and economic issues of the world through art.

SAI recently welcomed Omar Saeed, based in Lahore, to the council. Mr. Saeed came to SAI as an in-kind supporter 5 years ago. He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Service Industries Ltd. since July 31, 2011. Mr. Saeed served as Chief Operating Officer of Premier BPO Inc. He ran Service Sales Corporation as Chief Operating Officer from 2002 to 2010. He founded Ovex Technologies (Private) Limited in 2003 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Saeed has served as President of Harvard Business School Club of Pakistan and is an adjunct faculty member at LUMS. He is a graduate of Brown University and did his Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

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Partition Project moves forward with in-region meetings


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From left: Jennifer Leaning, Uma Chakravarti, and Meena Hewett. Chakravarti oversees the researchers work in India.

The 1947 Partition of British India represents the largest recorded instance of forced migration in human history. Despite abundant historical and political scholarship on Partition, and despite a growing literature of personal reflection and fiction, very little has yet been written from the humanitarian perspective about the experiences of people during their flight and temporary settlement.

The aim of the The 1947 Partition of British India: The Demographic and Humanitarian Consequences Project, led by Jennifer Leaning, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University, is to develop a rich and empirically grounded understanding of Partition using the extensive archival records of British India—in the region as well as elsewhere. The project aims to explore questions such as: What prompted people to move, by what means of transport, along which routes? What difficulties did they encounter en route?  Where did they depart from and where and how often were they required to relocate? How did people suffer and where did they find help? What efforts were made by government and civil society to mobilize relief and mitigate the myriad of severe consequences encountered along the lines of flight and migration?

The project aims to focus on the relief efforts and rehabilitation of refugees by government at all levels and by local or national organizations. The research team based in Cambridge has been working with research teams in Pakistan and India in this multi-site endeavor.

In August 2016 SAI hosted meetings in Lahore and Delhi, where Professor Leaning met with the in-region research teams to share research conducted to date and formulate plans for further research in the coming months. At both meetings, the teams discussed the ambition to write reports and narratives from a range of geographical perspectives and ultimately to share what has been found in an accessible and scholarly mode. SAI will coordinate and produce the initial output volume, to be released in or around August 2017, which will focus on the humanitarian consequences experienced by those on both sides of the Punjab border.  Further research from both sides of the Bengal border and elsewhere is now underway and reports from these areas will be forthcoming.

 

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Alum Q+A: Saving lives at birth


IMG_20160504_233926This is part of a series of profiles of Harvard alumni who are young entrepreneurs in South Asia.

In developing countries such as Pakistan, many births take place at home and are often attended by unskilled birth attendants in suboptimal conditions. This leads to a prevalence of infections – especially umbilical infections that can lead to life-threatening neonatal sepsis.

Sabeena Jalal, an alum of Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and currently based in Karachi, is trying to do something about it. She has developed a special blade to be used by midwives to cut the umbilical cord. The blade is made of zirconia, which prevents bacteria from growing and does not rust. Jalal hopes that this tool will reduce the rate of infant mortality in developing countries.

SAI recently spoke to Jalal about how she developed the idea, and her experience as a young “entrepreneur” in South Asia.

SAI: Tell me a bit about the background for this product. What problem are you trying to solve?

Sabeena Jalal: When I worked in medicine at a government hospital, I got the idea to develop something that no matter what the environment is – hospital or home – a woman giving birth will be healthy.

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Widener’s growing South Asia collection: “The sky is the limit”


IMG_8862 - CopyIn the middle of Harvard’s campus, deep below the impressive facade of Widener Library, is a treasure trove for scholars of South Asia – and a team of librarians working to make it accessible to scholars all over the world and usher in a new era of South Asian studies at Harvard.

Michael Grossman, Librarian for Georgian, Armenian and South Asian Languages, has been working meticulously with his team at Widener’s Middle Eastern Division to purchase, then fully catalog, process, and shelve 22,000-plus volumes that the library has acquired from Pakistan over the last 10 years. The unprecedented project was undertaken with the help of the late Professor Shahab Ahmed, Professor of Islamic Studies at Harvard, who connected the library with an “an energetic, insightful” book dealer based in Lahore, Pakistan.

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