A recent panel discussion at the Mittal Institute, “Rethinking the Museum Experience During and Post-COVID-19″ — moderated by Jinah Kim, Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University — explores how art institutions can remain nimble enough to respond to uncertainties, such as COVID-19, adapting their approach to tackle similar situations in the future. How can art institutions engage their patrons as partners in the sustainability of museums?
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Veronica Vargas, PhD, is an economist who focuses on health economics, global health, and health policy. As a research affiliate with the Mittal Institute and visiting scholar at Harvard University for the past three years, she has explored the research and development (R&D) of novel vaccines and drugs in both South Asia and Latin America. More than ever, this expertise has become essential in the understanding of global needs for R&D in the face of a pandemic and additional neglected diseases around the world.
The Mittal Institute’s recent panel webinar, “Swaraj: Dadabhai Naoroji and the Birth of Indian Nationalism,” was moderated by Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard University, in discussion with Dinyar Patel, Assistant Professor at S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research.
We spoke with Hasna Jasimuddin Moudud, a Research Affiliate at the Mittal Institute and the author of numerous books, including “Where Women Rule: South Asia,” and “Mystic Poetry of Bangladesh.” For decades, she has journeyed the Silk Road to learn more about the connections and exchanges of goods, ideologies, and knowledge across centuries and continents, and shared with us some of her discoveries along the way.
Video: The Labor of Fashion, the Global COVID-19 Crisis, and the Politics of Resistance in Bangladesh
Through the lens of a contemporary case study, the panelists explore the geopolitics of how vaccines are developed, the funding and distribution methods that are critical to the effort, and the global alliances that facilitate this in the world today, focusing on the South Asia context. They discuss the mechanics and commerce of vaccine development and the critical role that science and business can play in combating pandemics such as COVID-19.
“There is nothing as epochal as the cataclysmic event that was visited upon the people of South Asia when decolonization occurred and the British withdrew during the dismantling of the British empire. That forced event — that trauma — continues to shape the lives of two billion of the world’s seven billion people today,” says Professor Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School and Director of the Mittal Institute. Despite the abundant historical and political scholarship on the Partition of British India in 1947, there are still gaps in our understanding of the event — and the Mittal Institute’s research team set out to change that.
The Mittal Institute recognizes that as a result of COVID-19, we have all had to make adjustments to our daily lives. We also know that students are doing their best under the circumstances to continue learning in new and creative ways. In light of this, we’re offering a one-time SFC Exploratory Grant to students who are currently working on ideas or a project that addresses intractable problems in India and Pakistan.
“The southern border of Nepal, along India, was created 150 years ago by external parties,” says Sagar Chhetri, a visual artist from Nepal and a former Visiting Artist Fellow at the Mittal Institute. When that border was created, communities were cut in two. “[In Nepal], the ruling caste tried to unite all the peoples of the country to create one single Nepali identity. But in the populous open border region, Nepalis and Indians share marital ties, cultures, languages, and histories. With the promise of federalism during the decade-long civil war in Nepal came stronger rhetoric and ideology based on ethnic identity,” he said.
The Mittal Institute’s recent panel webinar in collaboration with Harvard Business School India Research Center and Harvard Business Publishing, “Science, Business, and Vaccine Development to Combat the Pandemic,” was moderated by Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School and Director of the Mittal Institute.
Recently, the Mittal Institute held a webinar to delve into entrepreneurship in South Asia amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke with webinar panelist Rajeeb Samdani — Managing Director of Golden Harvest Group, Co-Founder and Trustee of the Samdani Art Foundation, and a member of the Mittal Institute’s Arts Advisory Council — to learn more about how the pandemic has impacted business in Bangladesh, as well as the nation’s many unique qualities that have quickly made it an economic powerhouse in the region.
The Mittal Institute’s recent panel webinar, “Educational Responses to COVID-19 in South Asia,” was moderated by Zainab Qureshi, LEAPS Director at Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD), Harvard Kennedy School. Together, the panelists discussed how COVID-19 has shut down traditional education programs throughout South Asia, from primary education to higher education. They highlighted the unique challenges the region is facing in the education sector, such as access to technology and the potential long-term effects of distance learning.
The Mittal Institute’s latest panel webinar, “Entrepreneurs and the COVID-19 Global Reset in South Asia,” was moderated by Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School and Director of the Mittal Institute. Together, the panelists delved into the impact of the COVID-19 maelstrom across South Asia on enterprises. They explored the extent to which entrepreneurs have been able to work with both the state and civil society to limit the damage and distress caused by the pandemic, but also to begin exploring new opportunities that a possible “global reset” has opened up to the developing world.