SAI is one of the partners of the student-run India Conference, which will take place on February 10-11, 2018. Three of the organizers spoke to SAI about their involvement with the conference and this year’s theme of “Disruptive Innovators.”
Anjali Mathur manages operations, Snigdha Kumar works on media and marketing, Namrata Saraogi works on seeking financial contributors and Prateek Kanwal oversees the management of panels.
What is the India Conference and how did you first become involved with it?
The India Conference brings together students of Indian origin from across different schools for two days in February to discuss policy and business issues in India and South Asia.
We joined the conference team because of the opportunity it provides to meet people from different schools and professions, and because it brings over 200 speakers from India to have conversations about the country that we love.
What is “Disruptive Innovations” and why it is important in 2018?
In the last few years, India has witnessed remarkable innovation across sectors. Aadhaar, the Unified Payment Interface, technology-based education and health delivery, and low-cost solar power are a few examples of this trend. In our daily lives, innovations are changing the way we consume news and entertainment, and have wide-ranging implications within the political and social spheres. This year, we not only want to celebrate innovations taking place in India, but also shine a spotlight on areas that will benefit from such disruption.
The India Conference will bring together major stakeholders in different industries for a weekend of enriching discussion and insights. We have managed to bring together a stellar line-up of speakers, including Kamal Haasan, Barkha Dutt, Amish Tripathi, Sabyasachi, Poonam Mahajan, Nidhi Razdan, Adil Zainulbhai, Divya Spandana, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Byju Raveendran, Punita Sinha, and many more.
What was your process for choosing the speakers?
It is a very decentralized process. Once we decided on the theme of the conference, we recruited a team who pitched their panel ideas. We then went through proposals for speakers who have worked in the sector and whom we thought would be able to enrich conversations.
Who are some of the speakers that you are most excited about and why?
We are excited about many speakers including:
• Bezwada Wilson, an Indian activist, who will bring varied perspectives on complex challenges confronting contemporary India and the costs of rapid urbanization.
• Barkha Dutt, who will be delivering a keynote about her journey as a woman in the media.
• Paro Anand and Amish Tripathi, who will talk about disruptions in literature.
How has the India Conference evolved over the years?
The India Conference has grown immensely since it began 15 years ago. It is one of the largest conferences about India in the US and has a legacy of bringing together government officials, business leaders, academics, artists, athletes, and philanthropists.
What impact do you hope this conference will have?
Through this two-day immersive program, we hope that students, professionals, and leaders across industries can continue to have discussions, generate ideas and find tangible solutions to help address some of the key issues the country is facing.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Learn more about the conference here.