Click to Subscribe & Stay Informed via Email!

Subscribe Here!

Subscribe and stay informed about our latest news and events!
  • Please List your Professional Affiliation
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

News Category: News


From Sunset to Sunrise: The Immense Untapped Potential of India’s Crafts


This is part of a special series on the SAI/Tata Trusts Workshop on ‘Creating Livelihoods for the Indian Craft Sector’ held in January in Gandhinagar

Ashoke Chatterjee addressing the workshop

Ashoke Chatterjee addressing the workshop

By Gayatri Divecha, Project Consultant and Dr. Shashank Shah, Project Director 

In his keynote address, Ashoke Chatterjee, former Director of the National Institute of Design (NID) and Hon. President of the Crafts Council of India, provided a comprehensive overview to the Indian Crafts Sector. The story of India’s crafts is unique. They enabled us to fight for our freedom; they were included in the first five-year plan; and have played an important role in economic renaissance between 1947 and 2000.

Documenting the Indian Crafts Sector

However, six years ago the Crafts Council of India (CCI) discovered that data on crafts was so woefully incomplete that they approached the Government to remedy the situation. To their surprise, they were told that crafts were a ‘sunset sector’, an embarrassment having no place in a modern society, with no importance for the future. Convinced that there cannot be an India without crafts, CCI embarked upon a journey with the Tata Trusts and the Planning Commission to improve data which would represent the bedrock for understanding the need and urgency of investing time and resources into crafts. Moreover, it would play an important role in guiding policy and decision making especially considering that the latest census only counts economic establishments and overlooks those who make products for themselves, barter and produce part-time. CCI and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Govt. of India are working towards a survey design that will demystify artisans’ and crafts people’s contribution to the national economy.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Alum Q+A: Saving the environment and improving women’s lives, one pad at a time


ruralgirls2This is part of a series of profiles of Harvard alumni who are young entrepreneurs in South Asia.

Menstrual hygiene is an obstacle for women in many developing countries, including India. Even as the use of sanitary pads becomes more widespread, new environmental problems have emerged for proper disposal.

Saathi, founded by several MIT/Harvard graduates who met while studying mechanical engineering, is trying to change that. They have developed an eco-friendly pad made entirely from local banana fiber that is fully compostable and bio-degradable.

SAI recently spoke with three of the founders, Kristin Kagetsu, CEO, Amrita Saigal, CFO, and Grace Kane, CTO, to learn more about the product and how they hope it improves the lives of women in India.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Student voices: Reslilience in Nepal


yoko1This is part of a recurring series in which we share reports from Harvard students who have traveled to South Asia with support from a SAI grant.

By Yoko Okura, MPP, Harvard Kennedy School, 2017

In April 2015, Nepal made headlines worldwide when a devastating earthquake struck the country, taking 9000 lives and affecting 8 million. Children, especially vulnerable to disasters, accounted for 30% of the deaths. 700,000 houses and 35,000 classrooms were destroyed, and many children continue to learn in temporary shelters over a year after the earthquake.

As an intern for the emergency unit of UNICEF NEPAL, my main responsibilities were to monitor the community-based and school-based disaster reduction programs implemented across the country. In addition to the ongoing earthquake recovery efforts, UNICEF Nepal provides significant work to a country also prone to other natural disasters such as droughts, fires, floods, and landslides; such disasters on average affect 335,000 people and kill 1,000 annually.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

SAI welcomes new Steering Committee member


Photo: Kent Dayton/Harvard Chan

Photo: Kent Dayton/Harvard Chan

SAI is pleased to welcome JP Onnela to its Steering Committee this year, joining the 18 current members who provide guidance and advisement to SAI. Onnela is an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

His research involves two interrelated research themes. In statistical network science, the study of network representations of physical, biological, and social phenomena, he focuses on social and biological networks and their connection to human health. In digital phenotyping, the moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype using data from digital devices, he focuses on psychiatric disorders. Please see the lab’s webpage for more details.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

SAI seeks Research Assistant, Animal Law


Timeframe: Fall Term with potential to renew for Spring Term

The Research Assistant for the South Asia Institute will research laws, policies, media reports, and empirical data related to farming and other agricultural practices in South Asia and, depending on interest and expertise, potentially also the Middle East and Asia. Working in collaboration with the SAI team and the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program and the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change, the Research Assistant will assess the information collected and prepare summary reports of the findings. The Research Assistant also will identify international scholars working in these areas and compile a spreadsheet of their contact information and credentials. The Research Assistant will work approx. 7-10 hours per week at SAI;s Cambridge office, 1730 Cambridge Street.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Video: Welcome Back Mixer


On September 8, SAI hosted its annual Welcome Back Mixer for over 150 Harvard students, faculty, fellows, and affiliates. Representatives from nine of Harvard’s South Asia student groups were present: India GSD, Harvard Pakistan Student Group, Harvard India Student Group, Harvard Mirch, Harvard Dharma, Harvard South Asia Dance Company, Harvard US-India Initiative, OMAID, and Harvard Students for Nepal. Take a look at scenes from the event in the video below:

 

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Student voices: The politics of contemporary women’s rights in Myanmar


E376E6F6-B311-42F0-8BD0-2E9C0C57EA54This is part of a recurring series in which we share reports from Harvard students who have traveled to South Asia with support from a SAI grant.

By Kate Hoffman, Harvard College ’17

Kate spent part of her summer conducting research in Myanmar on her thesis ‘The Politics of Contemporary Women’s Rights in Myanmar: The Paradoxical Case of Aung San Suu Kyi.’

With the SAI Summer Research Grant, I was able to spend the past few months in Myanmar conducting research for my senior thesis. I would like to thank SAI for allowing me to pursue this research project as the experience of living and researching abroad was extremely meaningful. Not only am I now much more knowledgeable on a subject I am passionate about, but it provided me with further insight into my post-graduation aspirations and ambitions. Overall, the summer was enriching, engaging, challenging, and rewarding and after completing it, I would recommend the experience to any young scholar.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

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.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Student voices: Labour and local politics in the Indian coal industry


One of the large excavators at the Sonepur Bazaari mine near Durgapur, West Bengal

One of the large excavators at the Sonepur Bazaari mine near Durgapur, West Bengal

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

Rohit spent his summer in India to work on his dissertation on the Indian coal industry.

By Rohit Chandra, PhD candidate in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

This summer, I continued my dissertation work on the Indian coal industry, this time focusing more on the labour relations and the local politics surrounding coal in different states. Part of what I was hoping to do is compare how mobilized unions are in different Coal India subsidiaries, and see how locally important these unions are as political actors and brokers of public services. To put together this information, I used a few different sources. The first was a continuing set of interviews of Coal India senior management on their experiences with labour over time. The second was a set of interviews with senior labour leaders and activists who have been engaging with Coal India for an extended period. Thirdly, I was able to access a fantastic in-depth study commissioned by the V V Giri Labour Institute in Noida which had commissioned a study on “outsourcing”[1] labour and its impacts on the mining labour class. And finally, I supplemented these sources with high level interviews with MPs and MLAs from coal-bearing areas who could tell me about the state and national level impacts (if any) of coal politics.

Continue reading →

Share Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn