Societies of the World 47
Contemporary South Asia: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Social and Economic Problems
Meeting time: Fall 2014, Monday and Wednesday, 3:30-5, and a weekly section to be arranged.
Location: Sever Hall 113 (Harvard Yard)
Instructor: Tarun Khanna, Director of the South Asia Institute & Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
Offered jointly at HBS (1266), HSPH (GHP 568), HKS (PED-338), HLS (543) and HGSE (A-819).
Visit the course’s iSite.
South Asia is home to two of the world’s seven billion people. The primary objective of the course is to engage students with the modern day challenges affecting South Asia, and to examine a range of entrepreneurial attempts to solve these problems. The course focuses on several categories of social and economic problems faced by the countries of South Asia, with specific focus on the realms of Education, Health, Financial Inclusion, and Urbanization.
The goal is to understand ways in which entrepreneurial action can effectively tackle major socioeconomic problems in South Asia, by combining knowledge of historical causes, qualitative and quantitative evidence, and context-specific knowledge of the commonalities and differences across South Asian countries. No prior knowledge of South Asia is required.
“The idea of the course is to bring together an eclectic collection of students from all corners of Harvard, from the undergraduate population as well as all of the graduate schools, and get them focused in interdisciplinary teams on some of the contemporary problems that are plaguing South Asia.
“I think the pressing need of the day is to be clever about solving some of the most basic elementary problems and I am a big believer in entrepreneurship,” says Tarun Khanna, course instructor.
“The room for creativity is simply immense,” Khanna says. “As you know, the problems really are intractable. In a region that has almost 2 million people with endemic poverty, so the opportunity and satisfaction of doing something that is both cool, technically feasible, and can see a dramatic effect, is really quite satisfying to everyone, and a lot of fun. “
The course will be listed at HBS, FAS, HSPH, HGSE, HLS, HMS, HKS and, time permitting, other Harvard faculties. Last year, the course attracted students from all over the University, including a number of advanced undergraduates. The mixture of student backgrounds is crucial for its success.
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