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News Category: News

The potential of mobile technology

This summer, with support from Harvard’s President’s Innovation Fund for International Experiences, SAI ran an 8-week summer program in India for Harvard College students to explore the potential of mobile technology to enable economic and social mobility, which combined academic coursework and experiential learning. The program culminated in a final project, which the students presented on campus at an interactive event on September 21, with feedback from the faculty leaders.

Education and Technology in India

Kais Khimji, Harvard College, ‘17

Eshaan Patheria, Harvard College ‘18

Kair and Eshaan spent time during the program at EkStep, an organization using technology to improve literacy and numeracy for millions of children in India. Kais and Eshaan conducted stakeholder analysis for the to understand drivers and inhibitors in the educational ecosystem for the Indian context.


Mobile Phones and Health

Pradeep Niroula, Harvard College ‘18

Pradeep spent time at JanaCare, an organization that uses technology for diabetes control. In India, economic growth is leading to a more sedentary lifestyle, and more chronic health problems, while the health system can not keep up. Pradeep learned that mobile health can help in this new landscape.

    Fail and pass: Why Modi must take a cue from Li’s rhetoric

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to members of the media following a bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to members of the media following a bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

    This article was published in The Indian Express

    By Tarun KhannaDirector of the South Asia Institute, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School

    That India should not be afraid might seem an odd thing to say at a time when Indians are brimming with confidence. After all, it is the only one of the original BRIC economies that has not disappointed expectations recently. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just concluded his successful week-long swing through the United States, with excited members of the Indian diaspora cheering him on.

    But ultimately the prime minister came to office on a wave of enthusiasm for his pro-enterprise and “can do” attitude, along with a track record as chief minister of Gujarat that was generally seen as having delivered prosperity. That is one important dimension on which he’ll be judged as he leads the nation. And the most significant indicator for improved prosperity in India has to be net job creation. With roughly 10-12 million net additions to the workforce annually for the next decade, it is clear that no amount of optimisation of existing enterprises, public sector and otherwise, is going to deliver this. Net job creation must go hand in glove with net enterprise creation — that is, it must be delivered by entrepreneurship and innovation.

    Continue reading →

      Faculty Profile: Sunil Amrith brings South, Southeast Asian expertise to Harvard

      150910_sunil_photoThis article was originally published by the Harvard Asia Center.

      For Sunil Amrith, joining his academic research interest with his own personal history interest has led him to the teaching podium at Harvard.

      “One of the key threads in all of my work is that I am very interested in the links between South Asia and Southeast Asia,” says the Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies and Professor of History, who joined Harvard University at the start of 2015 and has begun teaching this fall. He grew up in Singapore, has family in India, and received his undergraduate and graduate education from the University of Cambridge. For the past nine years, he has taught at the University of London.

      The global travel and experiences all contribute to Amrith’s understanding of the colonial backgrounds of some South Asian and Southeast Asian regions and the connectedness of the areas. Continue reading →

        Fellow profile: Javed Younas

        20150523_165437-1-1-1Javed Younas is SAI’s Aman Fellow for the fall semester. SAI recently spoke to Younas to understand what he is focusing on during his semester at Harvard.

        “I study the consequences of terrorism in developing countries,” says economist Javed Younas, the current Aman Fellow at SAI. “The situation in Pakistan over the last many years has moved me to do more research on these issues.”

        With a Ph.D. degree in Economics from West Virginia University completed in August 2007, Dr. Younas has previously been a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and held a faculty position at Central Michigan University. He is at Harvard on leave from his current posting as an Associate Professor of Economics at the American University of Sharjah, UAE.

        While at Harvard, Dr. Younas will focus his research on two areas: 1) The connection between education and political violence, and 2) the perspectives of the recipient country in situations where donor countries provide grants and loans.
        Continue reading →

          Winter Session Grant Deadline: October 16

          SAI offers research, internship, and language study grants to Harvard graduate students and Harvard College undergraduate students (freshmen, sophomores, and juniors) to be used either during the winter session (J-Term). The deadline to apply is October 16, 2015.

          Come to our Open House on Tuesday, Oct. 6 to learn more!

          Click here to learn more about the grants and application process.

            India Student Group hosts Fall Mela

            The Fall Mela 2015, a one of its kind community initiative planned by the Harvard India Student group, was held at Harvard’s Science Center Plaza on September 20, and was cosponsored by SA. The event, attended by over 300 students, helped spread awareness about Association for India Development (AID), a volunteer movement for improving the standard of living of the underprivileged in India with initiatives in diverse spheres like education, women’s empowerment, and health.

            Students visited various stalls through the plaza, which made for a lively afternoon: showcasing the essence of Indian art forms like henna (hand painting), art of living (pranayam and yoga), and a photo booth with Taj Mahal in the backdrop.

            The event featured captivating performances by the trainers of BollyX, a Bollywood dance fitness club, which was showstopper. Sharanya Chandran, a classical dancer from India’s Natya Vriksha Academy performed a beautiful Bharatanatyam routine. The Harvard World Music Ensemble members sang a Sanskrit composition accompanied by the tabla, which enthralled the crowd.


              Tracking disease at the world’s largest religious festival

              This article was originally published by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

              September, 24, 2015 — From July through September this year, up to 30 million people are traveling to the cities of Nashik and Trimbakeshwar in India to bathe in the holy waters of the Godavari River, as part of the Kumbh Mela Hindu religious festival. Amidst this mass gathering—supported by acres and acres of temporary parking lots, police stations, fire stations, health clinics, streetlights and toilets—a small band of health and IT experts from the U.S. and India has introduced a new mobile health surveillance system to help keep the millions of visitors healthy while they’re at the festival.

              The Harvard South Asia Institute’s Jana Swasthya Project (“Jana Swasthya” means “public health” in Hindi), has two goals: One is to conduct disease surveillance in real time to help health workers at the festival nip potential outbreaks in the bud and allocate health resources wisely. Another is more long-term: to conduct a mass screening program for oral health and hypertension for visitors and workers at the festival.

              Continue reading →

                Podcast: Christianity, Colonialism, and Indian Intellectuals

                In this podcast, Mou Banerjee, SAI Graduate Student Associate and History PhD candidate at Harvard, discusses her dissertation ‘A Question of Faith: Christianity, Colonialism, and the Creative World of Indian Intellectuals, 1830-1907’ which examines how Indians formed a complex relationship with Evangelical Christianity.

                Mou will give a seminar on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 4PM: ‘The Disinherited: Conversion to Christianity and the Economies of Loss in Colonial Calcutta.’

                  Shahab Ahmed

                  SAI is deeply saddened to share the news that Shahab Ahmed, Professor of Islamic Studies at Harvard, passed away yesterday. Shahab was a brilliant scholar and contributed much of his knowledge to SAI.

                  He will be deeply missed by the Harvard community. A funeral service will be held on Saturday in Cambridge.


                  An Extraordinary Scholar Redefined Islam by Noah Feldman

                  Rest in peace, Shahab Ahmed, prominent Islamic scholar from Pakistan by Beena Sarwar