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The South Asia Institute Retreat, held on Friday, September 27 at the Harvard Faculty Club, was an opportunity for select faculty, students and senior administrators from across Harvard, faculty from peer institutions and donors to meet and reflect on SAI’s role at Harvard and South Asia in light of its ten year anniversary, and to discuss SAI’s future direction.

The University showed its support for SAI, and South Asian Studies more broadly, with welcoming remarks by President Drew Gilpin Faust, and the participation of Alan Garber, Harvard University Provost,  Krishna Palepu, HBS Professor and Senior Advisor to the President of Global Strategy, and Leah Rosovsky, Vice President of Strategy and Programs among some of the senior faculty and administrators.  Tarun Khanna, SAI Director and and HBS Professor welcomed the participants and introduced SAI with a screening of the video which highlights its role at the University and in the region.

Faculty, including Diana Eck, Jennifer Leaning, and Venkatesh Murthy, presented on interdisciplinary projects related to the Kumbh Mela, Global Health, and Science, Engineering, and Technology, respectively. These interfaculty initiatives, catalyzed by SAI, engaged faculty and students from multiple schools, and the larger community both in the United States, and in the region.

One of the resounding messages of the retreat was SAI’s unique position as a platform for connecting and executing cross-disciplinary research and collaboration which deepens the inquiry of unexamined issues and harnesses the collective knowledge of Harvard and the world.  Faculty discussed additional ways that SAI could continue to develop this synergy in the future, suggesting collaboration with institutes and centers beyond Harvard in order to build a stronger network that includes not just India but other countries of the sub-continent.

Following the Retreat, SAI continued the celebration of its 10th anniversary with a lecture by Nick Dirks, Chancellor of University of California, Berkeley, entitled ‘South Asian Studies: Pasts and Futures.’ Chancellor Dirks noted the history of area studies in the US, and the importance of South Asian Studies. Find a link to the video here.