Welcome to the start of another busy, transformative year at the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University. The Mittal family’s generosity will enable us not only to continue our quest to research and understand the region and its relationship with the world, but will also allow our faculty, students and affiliates to push even further to produce new and useful knowledge. I have accepted the university’s offer to remain as Director for another three years and it is an honor to be here at such an exciting time.
Our Delhi office, an in-region headquarters, is truly up and running. There is great value in having such a strong local presence. From our partnership with Tata Trusts, which enables several Harvard innovators to work on projects in India, to the Department of Biotechnology-funded program in bioscience that strengthens the field by connecting leading US-based universities with Indian institutions. We are in the third year of our successful, illuminating Nepal Studies Program and we have created a partnership with Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and Bangladesh’s BRAC. Our Arts Program has expanded once again, as we welcome visiting artists from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Later this month, we will welcome dozens of first-generation college students from developing countries to our second annual Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program, another important collaboration, this time with Harvard’s Centers for African and Middle Eastern Studies and the HBS Club of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The inaugural edition was one of my personal highlights of 2017 and this year, the number of applicants more than doubled.
We are creating new programs and consolidating our work on existing projects. We are supporting new research and inquiry into the issues around mental health in South Asia; we are collaborating with Mumbai’s premier museum, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, to understand and explore arts conservation; we are working with Harvard’s Asia Center on a proposal for an earthquake museum in Nepal. Meanwhile, work continues on the Partition Project, created to coincide with last year’s 70th anniversary of the Partition of British India.
I invite you to attend our public seminars and connect with us both in person, on campus and in the region, and digitally. We are always open to new ideas and energetic contributions from the many people who are as fascinated as we are by this vitally important, dynamic region.
Director, Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute
Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School