Chair: Jerold Kayden, Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design
South Asia is one of the most disaster prone regions of the world. It is also a region undergoing deep economic and political transition. As a result of global changes in the way humanitarian aid is viewed, as well as local imperatives, the principals and processes shaping the delivery of humanitarian aid in the region have been undergoing significant changes. What remains constant is the dire needs of the worst affected communities, though the way they themselves are viewed is also changing. Professionals engaged in this sector need to chart their course carefully, without losing sight of the little things that matter.
Chair: VG Narayanan, Thomas D. Casserly, Jr. Professor of Business Administration; Chair, MBA Elective Curriculum, Harvard Business School
Merrill Fernando is the founder and chairperson of Sri Lanka’s largest and most global tea brand, Dilmah.
Fernando joined the tea industry in Sri Lanka in the 1950s. Early in his journey, he observed that Sri Lankan tea, a finished product that was hand picked, produced according to a traditional and artistic process in Sri Lanka, was treated as a raw material and shipped at nominal value to Europe where value addition, branding and packing took place. As a result, producers of Sri Lankan tea received a tiny fraction of the profits from the sale of their tea, while large corporations benefited disproportionately.
Fernando has dedicated his career to addressing this inequity. His story is a remarkable one for it illustrates the exploitation that often characterizes products and commodities that are dominated by big corporations. It also demonstrates the power of fair and just trade in lifting less developed countries out of poverty.
Fernando’s love for tea led him to innovate in very important areas. He established the Dilmah brand in 1988 which became the first producer owned tea brand. Dilmah was not just another brand of tea; but it was a brand that was founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity in tea. Dilmah was also part of a philosophy that went beyond commerce in seeing business as a matter of human service. Fernando also pioneered the concept of single origin tea and packaging tea garden fresh, at source. These initiatives pitched Fernando directly against corporations many times the size of his tiny and fledgling business, and it also brought him into conflict with his peers and the Sri Lankan government who did not share his belief that tea could be picked and shipped direct from origin by growers themselves.
In this talk, Merrill Fernando will share his journey in the tea industry and discuss how he built a global brand.
Charles Shao, Founder and Executive Chairman of Huaxia Dairy Farm Ltd
Discussant: Ateya Khorakiwala, PhD Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director of Harvard South Asia Institute; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
Charles Shao is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Huaxia Dairy Farm Ltd. Huaxia operates three dairy farms in Hebei, Beijing and Jiangsu. It is the subject of an upcoming Harvard Business School Case Study.
In this talk, Shao will be speaking about issues related to food safety in China, and the role of business and entrepreneurship in addressing safety issues. Ateya Khorakiwala, whose PhD focuses on food-supply systems in India, will compare these issues to the India context.
Cosponsored by the Fairbanks Center for Chinese Studies
Omar Ishrak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Medtronic
Discussant: Conor Walsh,Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director, Harvard South Asia Institute,Jorge Paulo LemannProfessor, Harvard Business School
Over the last several decades, medical technology advancements have steadily improved the standard of care for patients in many areas of the world. At the same time, a huge disparity in access to high quality, cost-effective healthcare continues to exist for billions of people. The need in South Asia is particularly acute, with access to care limited to less than 10% of an estimated population of nearly 2 billion people. Innovation must address significant barriers, including a lack of patient awareness, infrastructure and training for healthcare professionals. Medtronic has started a unique program in India using a new business model to target a specific disease, define the full care continuum and build an ecosystem approach to address populations with little to no access to care. Addressing this huge challenge – and opportunity – requires a coordinated effort across multiple stakeholders to deliver innovation to improve outcomes, expand access and increase affordability of healthcare in South Asia.
Tarun Khanna, Director of the Harvard South Asia Institute, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
Professor Khanna will speak about his research on emerging economies, and the ways in which entrepreneurial action can effectively tackle major socioeconomic problems in South Asia in the sectors of education, health, financial inclusion, and urbanization.
Cosponsored by BRAC University. This event is open to the public.
Maitreyi Bordia Das, Lead Social Development Specialist and Team Leader for Social Inclusion, Social Development Department, World Bank Shankar Ramaswami, SAI Postdoctoral Fellow in South Asian Studies, Harvard University
Chair: Martha Chen,Lecturer in Public Policy, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard Kennedy School
S050, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge MA
Cosponsored with the Asia Center‘s Modern Asia Seminar Series