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Update from Rabtt: Summer Report 2014

Rabtt was awarded a SAI Omidyar Grant for Entrepreneurship in 2013, an award given to students who wish to pursue projects that provide entrepreneurial solutions to social and economic problems in South Asia. The grant was awarded to: Saniya Ansar, Harvard Kennedy School, Asad Husain, Harvard Business School, Nora Elsheikh, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Haider Raza, Harvard Kennedy School, and Imran Sarwar, Harvard Kennedy School.

Rabtt operates in public schools as well as private schools in Pakistan, working to improve three core competencies among students: critical thinking, tolerance, and creativity.

Read more about what they are up to this summer on SAI’s Summer Blog.



Connect. Educate. Evolve – A Story of Rabtt from Rabtt Official on Vimeo.

    Congrats, Class of 2014!

    Congratulations to the class of 2014! Commencement exercises were held at Harvard University on May 29, 2014. Former SAI students, including former student interns, Graduate Student Associates, and grant recipients received degrees from various Harvard schools. We wish all students the best of luck in their future endeavors!

    Former SAI Student Interns:

    Deonnie Moodie

    Deonnie Moodie, PhD, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
    Deonnie Moodie is graduating from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with a PhD in the Study of Religion.  At Harvard, she focused her research on the region of Bengal, spanning both India and Bangladesh.  Her dissertation is focused on Kālīghāṭ Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kālī in Kolkata, West Bengal.  She analyzes the ways in which this temple has been discursively produced from the colonial period to the present in tandem with ideas about what constitutes “good Hinduism,” the nature of the city and its colonial legacy, the role of law in religious institutions, modern notions of cleanliness and propriety, and identity among diaspora Bengalis.

    As an intern at the South Asia Institute, Deonnie gained invaluable exposure to cutting edge research on the region from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.  In particular, she assisted in the coordination of the “Mapping India’s Kumbh Mela” project.  Working with esteemed faculty and staff on this immense cross-disciplinary research project was a critical component of her Harvard experience.  She will now join the faculty of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma as an Assistant Professor.  There, she will teach courses on Hinduism and other South Asian religions, and hopes to contribute to the expansion of programming on South Asia more broadly at the University.

    Abigail Russo

    Abigail Russo, Ed.M, Harvard Graduate School of Education
    Abigail is graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a master’s in International Education Policy. While at Harvard, Abigail conducted research on classroom practices that enhance long-term memory in collaboration with a school in Sydney, Australia. Additionally, she worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to analyze how to collaborate with various partners to implement its Global Education Strategy in Kenya. Interning at SAI added tremendously to her understanding of the intersection between research and dialogue in global discourse and policy change.

    Former SAI Graduate Student Associates (GSAs)

    Namita Wahi, S.J.D., Harvard Law School

    Namita Wahi

    Namita Wahi recently completed her S.J.D. (doctoral) degree from Harvard Law School. Namita’s doctoral dissertation titled “The Right to Property and Economic Development in India”, traces the historical evolution of the right to property in the Indian Constitution from the colonial period until 1967.” Namita is now a Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (“CPR”), New Delhi, where she is leading a research project on “Land Rights, Environment Protection and Inclusive Development in India”. This project is a collaboration between CPR and the Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen and the University of Bergen.

    During her time at Harvard, Namita was Clark C. Byse Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School (2012-2013), and a Law School Graduate Programme Fellow (2008-2012). Namita taught “Politics of India” at Harvard College (2009-2010), and coached the Harvard Law School team for the Jessup International Moot Court Competition from 2008-2012.

    Namita was the founding president of the Harvard India Student Group (“HISG”), the first university wide India student group in Harvard’s 375 year history. HISG was created and sustained with the support of the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession and the South Asia Institute. Namita was also a Graduate Student Associate with the South Asia Institute for four consecutive years (2009-2013), during which time the GSA Programme evolved to provide a space for meaningful interdisciplinary engagement amongst scholars working on South Asia.

    Namita was also one of the founding members of the Harvard Law School S.J.D. Association and served as Director of Strategic Affairs for the Association from 2011-2012.

    During her S.J.D., Namita worked on projects with the Institute for Policy Research Studies (“IPRS”) where she wrote papers on campaign finance reform and measuring the effectiveness of Parliament for the first IPRS Annual Conference. Through her work with the Fisheries Management Resource Centre (“FishMARC”), Namita represented traditional fishermen in litigation against displacement and deprivation of their livelihoods in the Mundra region of Gujarat.

    Prior to her S.J.D., Namita was an associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York, where she litigated primarily bankruptcy, securities, and pro bono criminal defence and asylum law. Namita holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, where she was an Inlaks scholar, and B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degrees from National Law School of India University, Bangalore where she graduated with the first rank in class.

    Bilal Malick, Ed.D, Harvard Graduate School of Education

    His dissertation project reflects 18 months of fieldwork in  Pakistan, including field‐trips, interviews, and year‐long participant‐observation inside an Islamic seminary. His research focuses on the cultural and religious lives of seminary students and their entanglements within Pakistani society. In his dissertation, he is exploring the  relationships between every‐day practices, religious subjectivities, and sociopolitical projects of seminary‐affiliates. This first  ever ethnography of a male Islamic seminary in South Asia builds upon and contributes to theoretical, empirical, and policy work in two fields: scholarship on Muslim seminary education; scholarship on Islamist politics.


    Former SAI Grant recipients:

    2013 Grants (Read the 2013 Grant Report)

    Dipona BandyHarvard College Class of 2014
    Research grant: Transnational and National Approaches to Feminist Organizing around Sexual Violence in India

    Benjamin Lamont

    Benjamin Lamont, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Research grant: Indian foreign policy makers and decision making during 2008 Mumbai Attacks

    Ada Lin, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Research grant: Excavating the Red Corridor: An Intellectual History of the Naxalite Movement

    Danielle Schulkin, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Research grant: Tracking Cybernetics in India in 1950s and 1960s

    Darshali Vyas, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Research grant: Analyzing community-based healthcare in rural Gujarat

    Marcelle Goggins, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Internship grant: Taktse International School, Sikkim, India

    Eva Harvey, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Internship grant: Public Health Foundation of India, Delhi, India


    Marcelle Goggins, left

    2012 Grants (Read the 2012 Grant Report)

    Radhika Jain, Harvard College Class of 2014, History of Science
    Undergraduate Fellowship at Shots for Shots, Baroda, India

    Vishal Arora, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Internship grant: Operation ASHA, New Delhi, India

    Omer Awan, Harvard College Class of 2014, Applied Math
    Internship grant: Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Islamabad, Pakistan

    Rohit Chaki, Harvard College Class of 2014, Physics
    Internship grant: Taktse International School, Sikkim, India

    Louis Cid, Harvard College Class of 2014, Economics
    Internship grant: The Center for Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India

    Virginia Fahs, Harvard College Class of 2014, History and Literature
    Internship grant: Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centers, Mumbai, India

    Angela Frankel, Harvard College Class of 2014, Human Development
    Research with the Harvard-Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore, India

    Grace O’Neale

    Sophia Lajaunie, Harvard College Class of 2014, Social Studies
    Internship grant: Taktse International School, Sikkim, India

    Jenna Louie, Harvard College Class of 2014, Social Studies
    Internship grant: Yuva Unstoppable, Ahmedabad, India

    Grace O’Neale, Harvard College Class of 2014, South Asian Studies
    Internship grant: VidyaGyan, Uttar Pradesh, India

    Jeannie Tse, Harvard College Class of 2014, Social Studies
    Internship grant: The Empowerment Group of Friends of Women’s World Banking, Ahmedabad, India


    2011 Grants (Read the 2011 Grant Report)

    Pearl Bhatnagar, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Internship grant: Ujjivan, Bangalore, India

    Cayla Calderwood, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Internship grant: Asha, New Delhi, India

    Kristina Tester, Harvard College Class of 2014
    Internship grant: Asha, New Delhi, India


      2014 Prasad Fellowships

      This year, with the generous support of the Prasad family, the South Asia Institute has funded four Harvard College undergraduate students from various disciplines to study and complete internships in India this summer on issues ranging from the role of media in Indian democracy to environmental governance.

      Prasad meets with students in September 2013

      This is the third year that the Prasad Fellowship has supported Harvard College students. The opportunity has helped students from many disciplines learn from some of the most innovative and impactful initiatives in India and enrich their academic experience. Each award recipient will have the opportunity meet Mukesh Prasad in the fall, and he will serve as a mentor for the students as they continue their studies.

      Mukesh Prasad graduated in 1993 from Harvard College.  He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at Weill Cornell Medical College and is an Associate Attending Otolaryngologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

      2014 Prasad Fellowship Recipients:

      Zeenia Framroze, Government, 2015
      Research: How should the Indian media function to preserve Indian democracy?

      Brenna McDuffie, South Asian Studies, 2015
      Research: Hindi language study at American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India.

      Ekta Patel, Environmental Science and Public Policy, 2015
      Research: Urban-Population Vulnerabilities, Environmental Change, and Environmental Governance in Surat, India.

      Sara Melissa Theiss, Psychology, 2015
      Will intern at VidyaGyan, a leadership academy for the most promising underprivileged students of rural Uttar Pradesh.

      2013 Prasad Fellowships

        Harvard students in South Asia this summer

        SAI Summer Grants

        SAI offers a variety of in-region opportunities for Harvard students through the SAI grants program. Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply for research grants to support independent and thesis field work. SAI has partnered with over 50 organizations in South Asia to offer internships to Harvard students.

        Click here for an interactive map showing where Harvard students will be this summer (provided by Google Maps).

        Undergraduate Internship Grants

        Jennifer Chang, Mechanical Engineering, 2016
        Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

        Louise Eisenach**, Chemistry, 2016
        Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

        Reina Gattuso*, Literature and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, 2015
        Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

        Jacqueline Ma, Human and Developmental Regenerative Biology, 2016
        Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

        Annie Rak**, Applied Mathematics, 2016
        Harvard Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore

        Sara Theiss, Psychology, 2015
        VidyaGyan Leadership Academy, Noida

        Undergraduate Research Grants

        Zeenia Framroze, Government, 2015
        How should the Indian media function to preserve Indian democracy?

        Brenna McDuffie, South Asian Studies, 2015
        Hindi language study at American Institute of Indian Studies, Jaipur.

        Ekta Patel, Environmental Science and Public Policy, 2015
        Urban-Population Vulnerabilities, Environmental Change, and Environmental Governance: Surat, India.

        *Cosponsored internship with the Institute of Politics
        ** All or partially funded by the Office of Career Services.


        Graduate Internship Grants

        Arthur Bauer, MPA, HKS
        Center for Microfinance, Thanjavur

        Sarah Bolivar, MLA, GSD
        Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School, Surkhet

        Madhav Khosla, Government, GSAS
        Center for Policy Research, Delhi


        Graduate Research Grants

        Mou Banerjee, History, PhD, GSAS
        The Baboo, the Babi, and the Padri Sahib: Christianity, Colonialism, and the Creative World of Indian Intellectuals, c. 1813-1907.

        Jahnabi Barooah, MTS, HDS
        Sanskrit Study, American Institute of Indian Studies, Pune.

        Kyle Belcher, MAUD, GSD
        Mapping Post War Resettlement in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.

        Sourav Biswas, MLA, GSD
        Productive Landscapes of Peri-urban Kolkata: Mapping the resource-recovery processes in the East
        Kolkata Wetlands.

        Todd Brown, MTS, HDS
        Sanskrit Language Study in Kathmandu, with particular focus on Buddhist textual materials.

        Gregory Clines, Religion, PhD, GSAS
        Braj Bhasha and Early Hindi Workshop of Bansko, Bulgaria.

        Namita Dharia, Anthropology, PhD, GSAS
        Jugaad Development: the politics and experiences of urban growth in India’s National Capital Region.

        Vineet Diwadkar, MLA/MUP, GSD
        Modeling Mumbai: Human Architectural Currencies.

        Laurel Gabler, MD, HMS
        Role of community mobilization as it relates to neonatal and maternal health emergencies in Nagpur, India.

        Kanishka Elupula, Anthropology, PhD, GSAS
        Ethnographical engagement with caste in modern spaces: Social lives of Dalits in private corporate sector.

        Daniel Feldman Mowerman, MAUD, GSD
        Mapping Post War Resettlement in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.

        Kayla Kellerman, MTS, HDS
        Hindi Study, American Institute of Indian Studies, Jaipur.

        Joseph Kimmel, MTS, HDS
        The Kingdom of God among Nepalese and American Clergy.

        Ian Maccormack, Religion, PhD, GSAS
        The Contributions of the Regent Sangye Gyatso to Buddhism and Polity in Tibet.

        Aditya Menon, Comparative Literature, PhD, GSAS
        Sanskrit Study, American Institute of Indian Studies, Pune.

        James Reich, Religion, PhD, GSAS
        The Relationship between literary theory and religion in pre-modern Kashmir.

        Sarika Ringwala, Public Policy, PhD, GSAS
        Evaluating Initiatives to Improve Public Service Delivery in India.

        Heather Sarsons, Economics, PhD, GSAS
        Dowry Payments and Female Welfare in India.

        Lauren Taylor, MTS, HDS
        Assessing the Relationship between Spiritual Practice and Community Health Outcomes in Rural, Southern India.


          Harvard College Pakistan Weekend

          The inaugural Harvard College Pakistan Weekend (HCPW), titled Ensuring Economic Progress in the Pakistan of the Future, took place on April 19th and 20th, 2014 with approximately 200 people in attendance. The successful event, held at Harvard Law School, was a manifestation of the hard work by the Harvard College Pakistan Students Association (HCPSA), and was co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute.

          The conference followed a busy schedule; the first day was filled with keynote speeches by Aly Jeddy, Partner at The Abraaj Group, Shujaat Nadeem, Chairman of Samba Bank, Pakistan, and Humayun Akhtar Khan, Former Commerce Minister of Pakistan, among others.  Panels focused on education policy and the energy crisis. Breakout-style interactive discussion sessions with experienced panelists from Pakistan and the United States also gave students the opportunity to interact with experts.  The second day focused mainly on law and technology, dealing with pertinent issues that have arisen over the last few decades.

          The conference was attended not only by members of the Pakistani community at Harvard and in the Boston Area, but also by students from all over the East Coast and many of the Ivy League schools. This diversity led to broad discussions, yielding a quality of discourse that could not have been possible without such an enthusiastic and well-rounded audience.

          Key discussion issues included the energy crisis in Pakistan, the entity of law and the problems related to its implementation, finance and economic opportunities in the region, as well as education, and how it can be used to bridge the gaps between the different strata of Pakistani society. The lunch and tea breaks turned into informal extensions of these discussions, and allowed attendees the rare opportunity to build their networks of professionals and students affiliated with Pakistan.

          Overall, the conference was an immense learning experience for all parties involved. HCPSA hopes to make this an annual occurrence in order to further the group’s goal: to keep the international narrative involving Pakistan headed in a positive and constructive direction.

          -By Eman Riaz Ahmed, Harvard College Class of 2016


          Student Testimonials:

          “Harvard Pakistan Weekend was a brilliantly organized event! (…) I particularly enjoyed the panels on education and energy, as they really hit at the core of the problems facing Pakistan. I really hope this event becomes an annual gathering, remaining true to its purpose!”
          – Sundus Noeen, Mt. Holyoke College

          “As a first-time attendee, I was curious to see how a conference with such a holistic approach towards Pakistan would be maneuvered. However, Harvard College Pakistan Weekend’s inaugural edition hit the rare trifecta of quality speakers, informative sessions, and great organization and did not deviate from its goal of offering an alternative narrative on Pakistan. Moreover, the HCPW team did a great job of bringing together leading industry experts to discuss the pertinent topics shaping the local and international media space. In particular, I enjoyed the panel discussion on Pakistan’s legal system and the keynote speech on private sector growth by Mr. Aly S. Jeddy, Partner at The Abraaj Group. Due to the interactive nature of the conference, I had the pleasure of meeting countless industry veterans and rising-star entrepreneurs, as well as students and student-leaders from both across and beyond the US. I came away with the distinct feeling of having experienced great content on Pakistan delivered in a professional manner – excellent illustrations and application – enough humor – good pace – I did not feel that it dragged out at any time. But most importantly, I came away with a deeper understanding of and greater responsibility towards Pakistan.”
          - Zuha Jamil, New York University ’15

          “HCPW was a great initiative (…). Having such discussions among ourselves is just a step stone towards pragmatically achieving some of the development goals discussed at the conference. I particularly enjoyed the Moving Beyond the Energy Crisis and The Public Private Education Paradigm panels. I hope whatever each of us took away from the conference will motivate us to contribute to the economic progress of Pakistan in any way possible.”
          -Alizeh Zaman, Mount Holyoke College

          “Listening to Adil Najam was both entertaining and educational. I enjoyed listening to the energy and education panel as it was a wake up call for me, knowing that load shedding is a difficult quagmire occurring in Pakistan and public education requires dire help. The panelists were truly knowledgeable and an honor for me to meet.”
          -Umme Lena, Mt. Holyoke University

          Visit the Conference’s Twitter page for quotes from the panels.

          View the gallery below for more photos: