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News Category: News

Saving a culture, book by book

Maung Nyeu holds up the storybooks he has published for children in rural Bangladesh

Storybooks can capture a child’s imagination, teach moral lessons, and provide hours of entertainment. Maung Nyeu, Ed.D. candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has demonstrated that storybooks can do something else: preserve a culture.

Through his work with Our Golden Hour, which he launched in 2012, Maung has become an advocate for bringing culturally relevant storybooks to children in his native Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, and will continue this summer with support from a SAI summer grant.

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    Update from the Harvard Alumni Group in Nepal: Improving institutions

    Krishna Gyawali, right

    The Harvard Alumni Group of Nepal held its monthly meeting on June 10, 2015 in Kathmandu. Mr. Krishna Gyawali, a member of the alumni group and former secretary of the Government of Nepal, gave a talk on “Implementability of Plans and Reforms in Nepal’s Political Economy Context.”

    Gyawali, drawing from his extensive experiences in government, focused on government and governance. He discussed four basic contexts through which to view government: the political economy context, institutional capability context, behavioural context and the way forward.

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      Contribute to the Harvard For Nepal online photo exhibit

      Harvard for Nepal is a university-wide initiative launched by the Harvard South Asia Institute that aims to unite Harvard in response to the earthquake that devastated Nepal in April 2015.

      In order to continue to bring attention to the country’s needs, SAI is building an online photo exhibit to document the reconstruction process. We invite Harvard affiliates (faculty, students, alums, staff, fellows) to submit photos taken while in Nepal.The Flickr album will become public once we have a sizable collection.

      Our hope is that this archive can grow throughout the reconstruction process and shed light on the important work that Harvard affiliates are conducting on the ground.

      You can submit photos directly to us by emailing Meghan Smith, Please include the location the photo was taken, your affiliation, and any other background information or story. Please also share photos on social media using the hashtag #HarvardforNepal.

      Nepal Research and Reconstruction Fund

        Call for applications: Program for Emerging Artists from South Asia











        About: The Harvard University South Asia Institute’s Arts Initiative welcomes applications from emerging artists in South Asia to come to Harvard University to participate in discourse with students and faculty on critical issues.

        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. SAI’s Arts Initiative serves as a resource across all disciplines to explore critical issues of South Asia through the lens of art and design.

        Two artists will be selected for the academic year, including one fall artist and one spring artist. Selected artists will be invited to Harvard University in Cambridge, Ma for four days (a mutually convenient time will be decided upon by the selected artist and SAI). While our visiting emerging artists are on campus, SAI will support events and exhibits organized in collaboration with specific Harvard departments and faculty, and aligned with undergraduate course-content within Harvard.

        In addition of $1,000 USD of discretionary funds for the artist’s exhibit related costs, the costs of each artist’s economy travel, accommodation for 4 nights, and meals will be provided.

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          Research spotlight: Water and poverty in urban slums

           This is the third article in a series highlighting SAI’s ongoing research projects that were featured at SAI’s Annual Symposium ‘South Asia: Local Solutions with Global Impact‘ in April.

          Sharmila Murthy, Liza Weinstein, and Ramnath Subbaraman

          The Water and Poverty in Urban Slums panel at the Harvard South Asia Institute’s 2015 Annual Symposium provided an important, inter-disciplinary opportunity to examine the challenges of improving access to water and sanitation. The panelists were: Heather Arney, Shafiqul Islam, Sharmila Murthy, Ramnath Subbaraman and Liza Weinstein.

          The first half of the panel analyzed the intersection between water, poverty and land tenure through a case study of Mumbai, India.  Drawing on comparative examples from other parts of the world, the second half of the panel situated the Mumbai experience in a global context.  Through an engaging and dynamic format, the panelists discussed and debated these important issues with each other and the audience.

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            Spring semester’s most popular content

            As we wrap up another semester and enter summer, here is a look back at SAI’s most-viewed news articles from last semester:

            1. Spring 2015 South Asia courses at Harvard

            A list of the many courses Harvard offered in the spring 2015 semester related to South Asia, on topics including painting in India, religious violence, the informal sector in urban India, Buddhist ethics, religio-political movements in South Asia, and Islamic mysticism.

            2. SAI welcomes new members to its Advisory Council
            SAI announced that we have welcomed new members to the distinguished group who support our efforts to advance teaching and research on global issues related to South Asia.

             3. The Future of India’s Space Mission: Mars and Beyond
            Jaganath Sankaran, a SAI seminar speaker and research associate at the National Security Education Center at Los Alamos National Laboratories, discusses India’s succes in reaching Mars and the future of its space program.

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              Stay connected with SAI this summer!

              While you are traveling in South Asia or are away from campus, there are many ways to stay connected with the SAI community:

              • Follow SAI on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
                • SAI manages a Facebook group, ‘Harvard and MIT in South Asia‘ for students to connect with each other and share travel plans. Please email Meghan Smith,, to be added.
                • Share your experience using #SouthAsiaSummer
              • Visit SAI’s summer blog
                • Consider contributing: SAI welcomes submissions from Harvard students, faculty, alumni, and affiliates on an array of topics pertaining to South Asia.

                Citizenship practice and the pursuit of services in Rural India

                In her working paper ‘Navigating the State: Citizenship practice and the pursuit of services in Rural India,‘  Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Boston College; SAI Research Affiliate, examines patterns of state-targeted citizen claim-making in rural India, asking who makes claims on the state for public services, why, and how? These questions are critical to an understanding of state capacity and of citizenship practice, made all the more important in a global climate of public sector retrenchment and non-state service provision.

                Click here to read the paper.


                The SAI Research Affiliates Program supports scholars who contribute to the academic study of South Asia on campus by bringing their expertise on a wide range of issues to the University. At the end of their term, they are required to submit a working paper based on they research the conducted while at Harvard.