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The Mittal Institute’s Highlights of 2021

The Mittal Institute’s Highlights of 2021

This year was marked by change – on a global scale, the world is learning to mitigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; and on a University scale, the Mittal Institute bid a fond farewell to devoted staff, and welcomed new leadership (read more about our new Executive Director Hitesh Hathi). Our operations shifted to both virtual and in-person formats, and we continued hosting events, offering funding opportunities, and providing programming for students and faculty. This year also marked the inauguration of our Delhi office, further deepening our in-country footprint.

Student Group Spotlight: Harvard College Pakistani Students Association

Student Group Spotlight: Harvard College Pakistani Students Association

For the past decade, the Harvard College Pakistani Students Association (HCPSA) has shared the vibrant history and culture of Pakistan with the campus community. HCPSA is dedicated to creating inclusive, social spaces for Pakistanis and advancing meaningful discourse about prominent Pakistani issues, events, and politics. Each year, they host academic programming that celebrates Pakistani heritage; organize events like Cultural Night and moving screenings; and educates Harvard students about Pakistan’s culture. The Mittal Institute sat down with co-presidents Iqra Noor ‘23 and Hamaad Mehal ‘24 to learn more about mission of the HCPSA.

Winds of Change: Journey the Silk Road with Hasna Moudud, Mittal Institute Affiliate

Winds of Change: Journey the Silk Road with Hasna Moudud, Mittal Institute Affiliate

The Silk Road – an ancient network of international trade routes, home to diverse culture and traditions – has long been the subject of interest for LMSAI Affiliate Hasna Moudud. Over the past several years, she has journeyed on and researched the Silk Road’s connections to South Asia. In an upcoming Mittal Institute seminar, “Winds of Change: The Silk Road to South Asia,” on Wednesday, November 17 at 10:00am, Hasna will present findings from years of excursions and studies on the Southern Silk Road and the need to preserve this important part of the region’s heritage.

Data-driven Decision-making: A focus on the India Policy Insights Program

Data-driven Decision-making: A focus on the India Policy Insights Program

The Mittal Institute’s Delhi Office has long been focused on fostering collaborations – both in-country and beyond. They recently had a visit from S.V. Subramanian, a Professor of Population Health and Geography at Harvard University, and chair of the Faculty Advisory Group for the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University. He is also the Principal Investigator of the India Policy Insights program, based out of the Geographic Insights lab at Harvard. This interdisciplinary research lab uses fine-grained data to bring important insights and accountability to policy actions. Professor Subramanian is based at the LMSAI Delhi office while he works on the program, where he is building collaborations with stakeholders, including the government of India.

The Right to Health and Universal Health Coverage (Video)

The Right to Health and Universal Health Coverage (Video)

The Lancet Citizens’ Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System partnered with the Centre for Health Equity, Law and Policy to present a joint webinar on the interlinkages between right to health and universal health coverage. The panel discussed the right to health as a foundational framework for design and implementation of universal health coverage, emphasizing marginalized contexts, and social determinants of health. 

Many Mahābhāratas: The Work of Nell Shapiro Hawley

Many Mahābhāratas: The Work of Nell Shapiro Hawley

Nell Shapiro Hawley ‘11, a scholar of the Mahābhārata and its early iterations in Sanskrit poetry and drama, is the Preceptor in Sanskrit in the Harvard University Department of South Asian Studies and current Ph.D candidate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. She recently released a new book, Many Mahābhāratas (SUNY Press), which she co-edited with Sohini Sarah Pillai. The volume is an introduction to the spectacular and long-lived diversity of Mahābhārata literature in South Asia. The Mahābhārata, with roughly 1.8. million words, is the longest epic poem known. The Mittal Institute sat down with Nell to learn more about her research, and the importance of the book to the landscape of South Asian literature.

Student Spotlight: Can India’s Construction Waste be More Sustainably Trashed?

Student Spotlight: Can India’s Construction Waste be More Sustainably Trashed?

Aakrity Madhan, a Masters of Design Studies candidate in the Harvard Graduate School of Design, received an LMSAI student grant to carry out an in-country study of India’s construction and demolition waste. Her project, “Circularity in Construction and Demolition Waste Management,” explored the life-cycle of waste, and offered some suggestions to lesson its climate impact. She shares her findings in a reflection.

Introducing the Inaugural India Fellowship: New Opportunity for Postdoctoral Researchers to be Based at the Mittal Institute’s New Delhi Office

Introducing the Inaugural India Fellowship: New Opportunity for Postdoctoral Researchers to be Based at the Mittal Institute’s New Delhi Office

Last week, the Mittal Institute announced the launch of an inaugural India Fellowship. The Fellowship will commence on March 15, 2022, and aims to support research projects that focus on the advancement of public benefit in India. This unique Fellowship offers two (2) postdoctoral researchers in New Delhi the opportunity to work with Harvard Faculty remotely and have remote access to all Harvard libraries. It prioritizes scholars who have never received any opportunities or access to Harvard resources and those whom have primarily been educated at institutions in India. The Mittal Institute sat down with Sanjay Kumar, India Country Director at the Mittal Institute, to learn more about this exciting new opportunity.

Studying How People Form Beliefs: Explore the Research of Akshay Dixit, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate

Studying How People Form Beliefs: Explore the Research of Akshay Dixit, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate

Akshay Dixit, a Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate, is a Ph.D. student of Political Economy & Government at Harvard University. He is a James M. and Cathleen D. Stone PhD Scholar in Inequality and Wealth Concentration, and a recipient of the Amartya Sen Fellowship for Students from India. He is interested in studying how people form beliefs about fairness and inequality, and how that shapes their support for redistributive policies. In ongoing research with Rachel Brulé, he is examining the effect of climate change-induced weather shocks on women’s collective political engagement in Bangladesh. In the past, Akshay has done research on youth civic engagement and accountability in public services, as a Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, and prior to that at Save the Children. He spent two years in Bangladesh as a Research Associate at Innovations for Poverty Action. The Mittal Institute sat down with Akshay to learn more about his research and future aspirations.