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News Category: News


Spotlight on Saad Azmat: Babar Ali Fellow


On Monday, November 27th, 2017, Babar Ali Fellow, Saad Azmat will give a talk about his work about financial inclusion in Pakistan.

The seminar will focus on how different modes of financial inclusion have helped or hindered poverty alleviation in Pakistan. Azmat will examine factors such as psychology of the households and the institutional environment of the country, which may impact the effectiveness of policies geared towards poverty alleviation.

Saad Azmat spoke to LMSAI about the inspiration for his research and his hopes for how his work might impact Pakistan.

 

Where are you coming from before this?

I’m coming from Lahore University of Management Science.  I’m an Associate Professor of Finance there. And before embarking on my sabbatical, I was also the Associate Dean of Research.

 

Can you describe your current line of research in a few sentences?

My research focuses predominantly on financial inclusion. The underlying focus is the debt contract and if there are alternatives to the debt contract that we can use.  In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the focus on the debt contract has increased significantly in the literature, where researchers are trying to understand if there are any other viable alternatives. One particular alternative is risk sharing, where two people rather than one party, bears the risk.

 

Can you describe the risk-sharing contract, for someone who may not know a lot about finance, how it works?

To be honest, we are trying to understand risk-sharing ourselves.  The contract is very simple, it is the implementation of the contract which is problematic. The contract is easiest to understand in terms of a new firm or venture that is starting. The debt contract would require this new venture to pay a periodic return to the bank for the loan. A new business in its earlier years is not making a lot of profits, there is a possibility that their profits could be really high and low.  A risk sharing contract, on the contrary, promises the lender a portion of return of the business. If the business is doing well, the lender would get a bigger amount and if the business is not doing very well, the lender would also bear a loss. In a nutshell, it has more in common with an equity contract than a debt contract.

 

Can you tell me about when you first became interested in the risk-sharing contract?

My mother had a domestic helper who has been with us for as long as I can remember, she is an old lady.  I remember engaging her in a conversation, when she was cooking food. I started asking her questions about her life, how things have been, in her village life etc.

In those days, I was doing some research on capital structure and how firms borrow and so I asked her out of curiosity, how do you borrow in your village? She said that there is this very ‘nice guy’ in her village and they go and ask him for money. You have to understand there are no formalized banks in their village to borrow from and microfinance is still very new and hasn’t really permeated through the villages. I asked her if she could tell me about a recent time when she had to borrow?  She said, there are two events when the need to borrow is the greatest, one is during a wedding and the other is during a funeral; moments of extreme happiness or extreme sadness. She said during her daughter’s wedding, the need to borrow was the most, it’s a cultural thing, where dowry still exists.

She mentioned the instance when her cousin had to borrow, and again I’m talking about more than 10 years ago. Her cousin had borrowed about one hundred thousand rupees. I asked at what rate, she said at a rate of fifty percent a month. This was a time when the rate in the US was touching 0% a year. And there is this lady, who needs money and is borrowing at a rate of 50% a month. So I asked her,  isn’t the rate too high and she said it was much better than what other money lenders were charging in the market. I asked, how much does this guy make and she said he makes about fifteen thousand rupees a month. So you do the math,  fifty thousand rupees a month is the money that he has to return. I asked her, why she borrowed in the first place and she responded, as opposed to what, not getting my daughter married? That was her response.

It was very difficult to understand her decision, but one thing was very clear, that the debt contract may not serve their needs of the very poor.  you know the person who was offering the contract was doing everything right. I did the pricing myself and anyone who would want to make some money from lending to the poor would charge a very high rate.  So you know, you want to bring the poor into the financial sector, but at the same time you would also want to help them out.

 

Ideally, what do you hope will be the impact of this work?

People are trying to understand risk sharing for bigger businesses and they feel that if risk sharing can be implemented, it may have repercussion for financial stability and may be evading a possible financial crisis. It is a very tall claim to make, but that’s what has got many researchers interested. During a crisis you want people to take risks and that’s the time when people are most frightened, they are reluctant to take risks because they don’t want to bear losses. In a risk sharing contract, for the venture or borrower, the downside is curbed; it encourages people to take risks during the time when the economy needs it the most.

Secondly, it would allow the small and medium enterprises to be financially included. The banks are risk averse, if you look at India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian economies you will find that banks are not interested to lend to small and medium enterprises, they’re more interested to lend to bigger companies or the government and partially because they feel that the smaller enterprises are risky.  Risk sharing contracts can help small and medium enterprises get funding from the banks.  They are risky, but since the banks are partners in a way, if some of these bigger ventures end up doing well then the banks will benefit from that and they would get a higher chunk of their profits.

 

How do you hope to implement your research when you return, what’s your plan?

Some of the projects are going to take at least 3 -5 years to implement, I have already started a few of them.  We have started running lab experiments and we are trying to test them in a lab setting to identify the challenges associated with that. But the bigger project that myself and Asim Khwaja are interested in is testing this product in a field setting. Now the next step would take place six months to a year down the line, once some of the challenges that we’ve seen in the lab setting are neutralized. We would encourage banks to test this product in a smaller setting and to see the challenges.   If we can show that this product can work in a smaller setting, and we if we can identify and iron out some of the problems with this product, then we can encourage this product to be implemented in a large setting. As an academic, my focus would be to work with these banks and to identify the upside and downside of this product.

The other way to go about it would be to apply to potential donors and get some funding. Two years ago, we got some funding from the State Bank. The idea hopefully is to go back to our donors so we can implement this product on the village level.  So imagine you give a risk sharing product to a hundred villages and to another hundred villages you give a debt product, in 3- 4 years you will understand how the risk sharing product impacts their lives and their economies. This has not been done yet, at least not in a published study that I know of.

 

How might these risk sharing contracts be perceived and received in a predominantly Muslim country like Pakistan compared to your work in North America and Australia?

Earlier, I talked about the idea of financial inclusion. One of the challenges of financial inclusion has been that people have concerns regarding the debt contract. Some of these concerns are religious concerns, primarily the prohibition of “riba” meaning interest.  Basically, the foundation of the debt contract is interest, which is a predetermined return. If you look historically, not just in the Islamic faith but in other faiths, usury is prohibited. In a predominantly Muslim country, a risk sharing project where returns are not fixed or they are not predetermined to be technically correct, a risk sharing contract would neutralize concerns emanating from faith and more people would be able to utilize that financial product.

Let me give you another example, Islamic finance has become very popular in many of the Muslim countries. In Malaysia, it’s about twenty five percent.  I have worked with Islamic banks, they are also looking for alternative products. Currently, some of Islamic banks are using products that have much in common with conventional products with debt like features. This creates an ambiguity in the minds of the customer. A risk sharing product is a completely distinct product so the ambiguity in the mind of the customer would be clear if the product gets implemented.

 

 

The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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Francis Wade Speaks to LMSAI about his Upcoming Panel


 

Village burningPhoto of Village Burning in Myanmar courtesy of Cresa Pugh

 

On Monday, November 20th, 2017, LMSAI, Asia Center, and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study are co-hosting a panel discussion on the Rohingya crisis. Since late August more than half a million Rohingya Muslims have left their homes in western Myanmar, in what the UN describes as “a textbook case of ethnic cleansing.”

The panel for “Mass Violence in a Changing Myanmar” include journalist Francis Wade, activist Kyaw Hsan Hlaing, refugee Mohammad Mustak Arif and moderator Kate Cronin-Furman, who have all undertaken extensive research on the ground in western Myanmar.

Francis Wade spoke to LMSAI about his motivation for organizing a panel discussion and the reception of his recently published book “Myanmar’s Enemy Within: Buddhist Violence And the Making Of A Muslim ‘Other.’”

 

Why did you decide to discuss the Rohingya crisis in a panel?

Although it’s only recently that this issue has come to public attention, there is a sizeable community of scholars and activists, both inside and outside of Myanmar, who have been watching developments in the country for a long time now and who can offer valuable insight into the crisis from various angles. I and the organisers were particularly keen to have both Rohingya and Rakhine come together and speak on this issue, and we’re very lucky to have been given the rare opportunity to do so, particularly given how stigmatised and, frankly, dangerous it is for people from either side of the communal divide to interact right now.

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You have been on a book tour, giving seminars and panel discussions regarding your book. What have been the most compelling questions that you have been asked? 

The hardest question always revolves around where we go from here. The situation is Myanmar is incredibly complex and multi-layered, and the growing resentment coming from inside Myanmar towards the international community regarding this crisis makes engagement increasingly difficult. My belief is that acquiring a nuanced understanding of how these deep prejudices have developed, and what the various motivations behind the military’s campaign of violence against Rohingya are, is the first step towards finding a path forwards. There seems to be a broad understanding among the crowds I’ve spoken to that the more material responses being tabled by governments—sanctions, economic development, and so on—will do very little to tackle these deeper processes, although I’m not sure to what degree that’s registering in policy circles. So my response to this question invariably begins with the need to better understand the many layers of the crisis. But after that, so much of the work needs to be done from within the country, not outside. The leverage that foreign governments have is very limited.

 

What are common misperceptions about the Rohingya crisis abroad and within Burma?

There seems to be a popular belief that this is primarily a religious conflict, I think particularly as a result of the role of monks in goading violence against Rohingya. But that misses the fact that there’s also a volatile ethnic cleavage at play here, as well as political motivations. Nationalist politicians see incentives in driving violence such as this, given how it often causes ethnic constituencies to rally around representative leaders, and which can then theoretically translate into support for ethnic-based parties. What’s also been realised too late I think is that Aung San Suu Kyi and her party—and what we used to call the pro-democracy movement—share many of the same prejudicial convictions that we thought to be largely the domain of the military or other conservative forces. This is the one issue that seems to unite people across other conflicting lines of interest.

 

What does Myanmar teach us about experiments in democratization?

Firstly that democratisation is often an incredibly fragile process, where different visions of what a democracy should look like, and which democratic gains will go to who, are contested, and violently so. Moreover, in Myanmar’s case, it’s been a moment of realisation that the so-called pro-democracy movement that was breathlessly supported by western nations during military rule contains influential elements that have a deeply illiberal, conservative agenda, particularly when it comes to ideas of equality among communities that many had I think presumed to be an obvious component of its vision for a democratic society.

 

How has your book been received in Myanmar as compared to Western countries?

It’s tough to say because I’ve had a hard time finding outlets that will sell it inside the country, given the subject matter, but I’m working on it. I hope it will be read. A book allows for room to explore the nuances of this crisis in a way that journalism often doesn’t, and I’ve purposefully featured a lot of voices of a key constituency that isn’t getting much air time in the general coverage, which is the perpetrators or supporters of violence against Muslims. Understanding their motivations, without excusing them, is key to understanding the crisis.

 

 

The panel discussion will take place Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 5pm in Tsai Auditorium.

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Kudiyattam Lecture, Workshop and Performance


Kudiyattam is the last living performance tradition of Sanskrit theater in the world. Recognized by Unesco as preserving “masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity,” this visually powerful tradition is performed by the troupe Nepathya, from central Kerala in South India.

KUDIYATTAM LECTURE
DAVID DEAN SHULMAN, HEBREW UNIVERSITY
CHAIR: RICHARD WOLF, PROFESSOR OF MUSIC AND SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES NOVEMBER 8, 2017
3PM-4:30/5PM
CGIS BUILDING S030

KUDIYATTAM WORKSHOP
NOVEMBER 8, 2017
5:15PM-6:30PM
AGASSIZ THEATER, RADCLIFFE YARD

NEPATHYA: KUDIYATTAM,
SANSKRIT THEATER PEFORMANCE
NOVEMBER 9, 2017
7:00 PM
AGASSIZ THEATRE, RADCLIFFE YARD

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Seed for Change Letter of Intent Due: December 8th


The Seed for Change Program aims to develop a vibrant ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India and Pakistan through an annual competition run by the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University  (LMSAI), in which grant prizes will be awarded to interdisciplinary student projects that positively impact societal, economic, and environmental issues in India and Pakistan. Projects in the early ‘seed’ stages are prioritized rather than start ups that, while may be in stages of infancy, have previously received substantial support.

India

  • Two runner-up teams will each receive $5,000
  • One final team will receive up to $40,000

Pakistan

  • One final team will receive $15,000

Teams with at least one current Harvard student at the time of submission, which can include undergraduates, graduates, or postdoctoral fellows.

All interested applicants will submit a one-page Letter-of-Intent (LOI) by December 8, 2017 that acts as an initial proposal.  Applicants will then receive feedback and support while they prepare their final application.  Please email jkang1@fas.harvard.edu with a PDF copy of the LOI by December 8, 2017 11:59 PM with the subject title “Seed for Change 2018 LOI”.

All applicants will submit a formal proposal and selected applicants will be asked to participate in a pitch presentation in late March. The tiered review process involves an initial internal review feasibility, methodology, and ethical implications. The review panel will recommend proposals for the pitch presentation. At the pitch presentation, three finalists for each India and Pakistan projects will be chosen by a panel of faculty. Finalists will then develop their project before the showcase event in May where the grand prize winners will be announced. Grants will be used for the duration of one year, from May 2018 to May 2019. The grant prize will contribute to establishing partnerships with local organizations and conducting experiments to test the viability of ideas in India and Pakistan.

All applicants will submit a formal proposal and selected applicants will be asked to participate in a pitch presentation in late March. The tiered review process involves an initial internal review feasibility, methodology, and ethical implications. The review panel will recommend proposals for the pitch presentation. At the pitch presentation, three finalists for each India and Pakistan projects will be chosen by a panel of faculty. Finalists will then develop their project before the showcase event in May where the grand prize winners will be announced. Grants will be used for the duration of one year, from May 2018 to May 2019. The grant prize will contribute to establishing partnerships with local organizations and conducting experiments to test the viability of ideas in India and Pakistan.

Applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty and area entrepreneurs.

Deadline to apply: February 15, 2018 for Spring 2019

https://harvard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1GMLYfCdEXBuqI5

The Seed for Change competition is made possible by a generous grant from KP Balaraj MBA ’97 and Sumir Chadha MBA ‘97.

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WorldWide Week at Harvard


WorldWide Week at Harvard
October 22 – 28, 2017

University wide Schedule

 

Events Presented by the Asia-Related Centers at Harvard University

ASIA CENTER AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10–MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2017
ASEAN@50: Student Interpretations: An art exhibit by Harvard students from ASEAN countries
ASIAN CENTERS’ LOUNGE, 1ST FLOOR, CGIS SOUTH, 1730 CAMBRIDGE STREET

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25, 2017 12:30– 2:00PM
Critical Issues – Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century
Richard McGregor, author of Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century and The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers; former Washington and Beijing Bureau Chief for The Financial Times
CGIS SOUTH S020, BELFER CASE STUDY ROOM, 1730 CAMBRIDGE STREET
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2017 12:00-1:30 PM
Imperial Crossroads: Britain and the United States in the Far East, 1853-1945Ahn Doohwan, Associate Professor, Department of Politics and International Relations, Seoul National University; HYI Visiting Scholar and Radcliffe Fellow in Residence
Chair/discussant: David Armitage, Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History, Harvard University
COMMON ROOM, 2 DIVINITY AVE., CAMBRIDGE
Harvard-Yenching Institute; co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2017 12:15 PM
Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar Series: An Alternate View of the North Korea-U.S. RelationshipThe Honorable Donald P. Gregg, Former Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; former National Security Advisor, former CIA officer; Chairman; Pacific Century Institute, Los Angeles; Chairman Emeritus, The Korea Society, New York City
Discussants: Katharine Moon, Professor of Political Science & Wasserman Chair of Asian Studies, Wellesley College; nonresident Senior Fellow, Center for East Asia Policy, The Brookings Institution John Park, Director, Korea Working Group and Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School; Faculty
Affiliate, Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, HKS
Chair: Karen Thornber, Victor and William Fung Director, Harvard University Asia Center; Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Harvard University Asia Center; co-sponsored by the Korea Institute, Harvard University
KOREA INSTITUTE AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2017 4:30-6:00 PM
“What was Different from Former Uprisings?: Candlelight Demonstration in 2016 and 2017”Tae Gyun Park, Kim Koo Visiting Professor in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, 2017-18, Harvard University; Professor, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
Chaired by Carter J. Eckert, Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History, Harvard University
S050, CGIS SOUTH BUILDING, 1730 CAMBRIDGE STREET
Kim Koo Forum on Korea Current Affairs
LAKSHMI MITTAL SOUTH ASIA INSTITUTE AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2017 5:00-7:00 PM
Looking Back, Informing the Future: The 1947 Partition of British India
Speakers: Tarun Khanna, Director, Harvard South Asia Institute; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Karim Lakhani, Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; Director Harvard Innovation Science Laboratory; Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design
TSAI AUDITORIUM, CGIS S010, 1730 CAMBRIDGE STREET

 

FAIRBANK CENTER FOR CHINESE STUDIES
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017 12:30–2:00 PM
China’s Future Leadership: An Instant Analysis of China’s 19th Party Congress
Speakers: Mark Elliott, Anthony Saich, Joseph Fewsmith, Elizabeth Perry, Edward Wong, Huang Yasheng
CGIS SOUTH S020, BELFER CASE STUDY ROOM, 1730 CAMBRIDGE STREET
Cosponsored by Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
MONDAY OCTOBER 23, 2017 4:00–6:00 PM
China Humanities Seminar Tina Lu, Yale University
CGIS KNAFEL K262, 1737 CAMBRIDGE STREET
TUESDAY OCTOBER 24, 2017 12:30–2:00PM
Jack Downey and the Third Force in ChinaJohn Delury, Associate Professor of Chinese Studies, Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies
CGIS SOUTH S050, 1730 CAMBRIDGE STREET
TUESDAY OCTOBER 24, 2017 6:00–8:00PM
China Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections
Speakers: Ambassador Susan E. Rice (webcast), Jeremy Goldkorn
CGIS KNAFEL K262, 1737 CAMBRIDGE STREET
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25, 2017 12:30– 2:00PM
Critical Issues – Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century
Richard McGregor, author of Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century and The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers; former Washington and Beijing Bureau Chief for The Financial Times
CGIS SOUTH S020, BELFER CASE STUDY ROOM, 1730 CAMBRIDGE STREET

 

EDWIN O. REISCHAUER INSTITUTE OF JAPANESE STUDIES & WCFIA PROGRAM ON U.S.-JAPAN RELATIONS

TUESDAY OCTOBER 24, 2017 12:30-2:00 PM
Japan’s Imperial Household and Abdication: The Contemporary Controversy in Historical Perspective
Speaker: Kenneth Ruoff, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies, Portland State University
Discussant: Andrew Gordon, Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University; Victor and William Fung Acting Director, Harvard University Asia Center (2016-2017)
Moderator: Susan J. Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics and Director, WCFIA Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Harvard University
BOWIE-VERNON ROOM K262, CGIS KNAFEL BLDG., 1737 CAMBRIDGE STREET

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25, 2017 12:00 PM
Jomon Food Diversity, Climate Change and Long-term Sustainability: Lessons from Prehistoric JapanJunko Habu, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
TOZZER 203, TOZZER ANTHROPOLOGY BLDG., 21 DIVINITY AVE
Harvard Archaeology Seminar Series

FRIDAY OCTOBER 27, 2017 4:00-5:30 PM
The Role of the Prison Chaplain in the Japanese Correctional System
Speaker: Adam Lyons, Reischauer Institute Postdoctoral Fellow (Ph.D. Harvard University 2017, Religion); Moderator: Helen Hardacre, Reischauer Institute Professor of Japanese Religions and Society, Harvard University
S250, SECOND LEVEL, CGIS SOUTH BLDG., 1730

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Mittal family donates $25m to SAI


Lakshmi Mittal and his family have announced a $25 million gift to establish an endowed fund for this institute. In recognition of the Mittal Foundation’s generosity, the center will be renamed the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard University.

“International centers like the South Asia Institute at Harvard University serve as a vital conduit between the University and the world we study,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “The generous support from the Mittal family is a testament to both the important work being done by this community of scholars and students and the continuing impact it will have in the region.”

“South Asia has played a dynamic and influential role in the development of our world since the very first civilizations,” said Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company. “Ensuring that we fully understand its history and unique dynamics is a critical enabler in helping to shape a successful future.”

“We are so grateful for the Mittal family’s support and what it will enable us to learn and share — across the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities — and the many people and institutions it will allow us to engage,” said Tarun Khanna, Director of the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute and Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School. “The world stands to benefit for generations from the work that these resources will generate.”

Read the full article in the Harvard Gazette.

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Call for applications: A Workshop on Genomic Applications in Healthcare & Translational Research


Workshop on Genomic Applications in Healthcare & Translational Research

 

The aim of this intensive workshop is to introduce highly talented Indian students to the emerging area of genomics and enable them to explore the power and excitement of Next Generation Sequencing technologies to address clinically relevant research questions. The workshop will train participants on the experimental aspects of genomic sequencing and computational analysis of sequencing data through didactic and research lectures and  hands-on sessions.

 

The workshop is sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology
Biotech Park
Electronics City Phase I
Bengaluru 560 100
India
Tel: 080-285 289 00, 080-285 289 01, 080-285 289 02

 

dbt-logoIBAB_Logo

Themes

  • Cancer genomics and translational medicine
  • Population genomics
  • Infectious and rare disease genomics
  • Nutri genomics
  • Genomics of non-coding RNA
  • Epigenomics

Confirmed Speakers

Cynthia C. Morton (Harvard Medical School), Marc Lenburg (Boston University), Maha Farhat (Harvard Medical School), J Carrot Zhang (Broad Institute), MRS Rao (JNCASR), Rakesh Mishra (CCMB), K Thangaraj (CCMB), Amit Dutt (ACTREC-Mumbai), Vinod Scaria (IGIB-New Delhi), P Dasaradhi (InStem,Bangalore), Aswin S Seshasayee (NCBS, Bangalore), Subha S (IBAB), Vibha C (IBAB), Vijayalakshmi M (IBAB)

Deadline: November 15, 2017

SAI aims to notify applicants by late November regarding decisions.

Qualifications

  • Open to pre-doctoral, doctoral and post doctoral researchers in Life Sciences /Biotechnology / Bioinformatics / Computer Science, currently engaged in a relevant area of research
  • Students currently enrolled in MBBS / M.Pharm programmes
  • Exceptionally talented undergraduate students

Selection:

The applications will be scrutinised by an international panel. A maximum of 25 participants can be accepted

Application Instructions:

  1. Please look below for applications to apply to the genomics workshop.

You will need to submit the following materials:

  1. Upload an updated curriculum vitae—listing your academic degrees (including disciplines and dates the degrees were received), your publications, research presentations, previous grants and/or fellowships, and any additional experience that shows scientific background and productivity.
  2. One page Statement of Interest, describing how your participation in the workshop will help in the advancement of your career
  3. Recent academic transcript(s)
  4. Two letters of recommendation.

Applying to the B4 Genomics Workshop
These instructions apply to non-Harvard candidates ONLY.  If you have any questions, please email Jee Soo Kang (jkang1@fas.harvard.edu).
1. Request an XID: https://xid.harvard.edu/xid-apps/displaySSCreateForm.do  You MUST do this in order to apply.  Please wait at least 24 hours after requesting an XID to apply to the Genomics Workshop.  Otherwise, you will not be able to login.
2. Go to this link:
https://apps2.registrar.fas.harvard.edu/carat/applicant/newApplication?applicationPurposeId=16&fundingSourceId=7083
3. Toggle to the “XID” Login Option instead of the “HarvardKey” Option and login with your XID.

4. You should be taken straight to the application page for the “B4 Genomics Workshop.”  If you are not, search up “B4 Genomics” to look for the application.

Instructions to Apply to B4 Genomics Workshop

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City in Garden Event with Rajnish Wattas


Most people in India and over the world would describe Chandigarh as Le Corbusier’s ultimate canvas, mostly associated with its poetic buildings and planning. Professor Wattas, an avid tree lover as he calls himself, eloquently elaborated on the magnificent city’s emphasis on landscape. He demystified claims of Corbusier only being influenced by built form. The material presented anatomized the history and philosophies which led to the forming of the garden city. He specifically analysed Corbusier’s sketches and their applications in the city.

Having lived in Chandigrah most of his life, Professor Wattas explained his city from the Point of View of a local with the lens of a landscape designer. He cited precise details such as how residents use the landscape as forms of shade, centers of business and even where to park their car. The lecture closed with relevant concerns regarding current and future urbanization strategies being observed in India, instigating a healthy Q&A session.

 

-Sahej Bhatia, Harvard College Student

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Nandan Nilekani speaks at Harvard SAI about Aadhaar


Nandan Nilekani, founder Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, a mammoth bio-metric infrastructure that establishes the identity of an individual vis-à-vis the Indian state (aka the Aadhar), engaged with a full room audience on the benefits of effective technology at scale. Nilekani spoke at length about the social development benefits the Aadhar can and is yielding in the public and private sectors in India by encouraging financial inclusiveness and the elimination of middle men when implementing public sector schemes for the under-served. Nilekani also spoke about the Aadhar model being replicable in a favorable political environment and addressed questions around the effectiveness, cryptic nature and data security of the technology involved.

-Shivani Mangal, Harvard College Student

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