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South Asia Regionalism: Workshops on Shared Challenges and the Way Forward

SAI’s annual symposium will take the form of workshops to highlight SAI’s ongoing multi-year interfaculty research projects.

April 24 & 25, 2014

Charles Hotel, Kennedy Room, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA 02138


Mahindra Lecture: Sir Fazle Hasan AbedFounder and Chairperson of BRAC

April 24, 2014 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Reception to follow

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed is the Founder & Chairperson of BRAC. BRAC’s primary objectives emerged as alleviation of poverty and empowerment of the poor. Under his leadership, in the span of only four decades, BRAC grew to become the largest development organisation in the world in terms of the scale and diversity of its interventions.


Symposium Workshops: 

Mobile Technology
April 24, 8:30 am – 11:00 am
How can mobile technology be used to enable economic and social mobility for those most in need? Discussions will examine how mobile technology can be used to promote access to improved services such as healthcare, banking, and education.

Disasters and Mental Health
April 24, 11:15 am – 1:45 pm
What are the best practices in urban disaster planning and response, and how can trauma care be implemented effectively in dense urban settings? Goals are to outline a plan for a needs assessment in urban areas, explore innovative undertakings to promote access to mental healthcare, and discuss the need for training of health workers.

The Contemporary South Asian City
April 24, 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
To what extent do local and global innovations in environmental sustainability, building materials and other technologies stand to redefine patterns of development? How have cities in the region remained mindful of the past through conservation and other means in the face of relentless growth? And what are the unique characteristics that define and differentiate the contemporary South Asian city in juxtaposition with other regions in Asia and beyond?


From SAARC to Slums: Urban Water Challenges in South Asia
April 25, 8:30 am – 11:00 am
This workshop will seek to harness the intellectual strength of experts working on issues related to water in South Asia, in order to establish a sustained platform for the ongoing study of complex and inter-related issues around water use and management. By doing so, linkages will be created between existing streams of research to create synergy and maximize impact on issues related to water, including energy, agriculture, food security, and climate change.

Religion and Secularism
April 25, 11:15 am – 1:15 pm
What are the forces contributing to the rise and consolidation of religious nationalism in contemporary South Asia?  How might incidents of communal violence be connected to secular legal frameworks and the politics of caste and tribe?  Why do communal conflicts often entail violence against women?  This panel will explore these questions through close, ethnographic examinations of communal violence in Gujarat (2002) and Orissa (2008).

Informal Workers, Enterprises, and Cities: Addressing Informality in South Asia
April 25, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Should South Asia pioneer an inclusive approach to informality that encourages economic diversity and combines formal-informal, traditional-modern economies in innovative ways? This session will explore current and future work of Harvard faculty, students and other leading


Click here to see the full schedule and to register.