The Mittal Institute’s New Delhi office, located in the heart of the city, has been a constant hub of activity in the region. This summer brought a flurry of visitors and events to the space. Below are some highlights of summer 2023.
Hybrid Session: Mega Events + the Urban Poor
The urban poor frequently have their homes and places of employment demolished or relocated in the lead-up to mega events. In the light of recent evictions, demolitions, and relocations in metropolitan Delhi, the Mittal Institute hosted a hybrid session on “Evictions, Demolitions and Relocations in the Run-Up to Mega Events: Impacts on the Lives and Livelihoods of the Urban Poor” on July 10, 2023. Moderated by Marty Alter Chen, Co-Founder and Board Member, WIEGO and Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the session brought to the room perspectives from activists, NGOs and trusts working towards the cause, and a resident of one of such relocated household. The discussions brought out some key messages, including the insecurity of informal housing and livelihoods, the tightening regulations and increasing evictions of the urban poor, the resilience of the working poor, and the role of communities and supporting NGOs at times of such relocations.
Panel: The Emerging Political Scenarios
The Mittal Institute Delhi office hosted a panel discussion on “The Emerging Political Scenarios” on August 4, 2023 in New Delhi with an option for audience to join online. The session was moderated by Ashutosh Varshney, Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Brown University. The panel represented by members from Indian academia and civil society organizations discussed the current trends of democratic elections, presence of a substantial and united opposition, and emerging narratives available to dominant political parties in India for steering the upcoming general elections. The seminar culminated with an extensive Q&A session with the members of the audience comprising of university students, academicians, media reporters, think tank representatives, social activists, and authors.
Discussion: Emerging Contours of the NRF
On August 18, 2023, the Mittal Office in New Delhi hosted a conversation on the Emerging Contours of the National Research Foundation (NRF) for India along with the Foundation for Advancing Science and Technology – India (FAST-India). NRF is envisioned to strengthen research ecosystem in the country by providing high-level strategic direction for scientific research and supporting collaborations among the industry, academia, government departments, and research institutions. The session was moderated by the Faculty Director of the Mittal Institute and Harvard Business School Professor, Tarun Khanna. The webinar featured a distinguished panel of experts from academia, thinktank, industry, and scientific administration. Deeply engaged audience members, around 150 in count, conversed and raised questions on varied topics relevant to the research ecosystem of the country and relevance of NRF.
Student and Alumni Reception
The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University organized a grand reception for Harvard’s incoming and returning students and alumni in New Delhi on August 9, 2023. Prof. Tarun Khanna, Faculty Director of the Mittal Institute and Hitesh Hathi, the Executive Director introduced the audience to Institute’s mission and vision and recent major convenings and initiatives led by the office to strengthen Harvard’s engagements with South Asia. Harvard alumnus, author, management guru, and public intellectual Gurucharan Das also spoke at the event, giving insights to the incoming students on how to think of their Harvard education.
Other New Delhi Visitors
Francis Clooney, Professor, Harvard Divinity School: July 2023.
Naveena Neerada Dasa, Associate Vice President, ISKCON Bangalore and The Akshaya Patra Foundation: August 2023.
Harvard interns pursing minor in global health: July 2023.
Gautam Nair, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Akarsh Raghunath, a current PhD student working with Professor Jinah Kim on his dissertation and spending time in Delhi/India for his field work, visit the New Delhi office: September 2023.