The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire globe, requiring quick action from governments and the populace to stem the flow of transmission. With many in quarantine or lockdown, the pandemic has changed the daily way of life for many around the world. This week, we spoke with members of the Mittal Institute team in India, Nepal, and Pakistan to get a firsthand look into the situation on the ground in South Asia, from recent governmental guidance and regulations to the response of the population and how it will impact society.
Category : Community
Led by Caroline Buckee (Center for Communicable Disease, Harvard T.H. Chan), Satchit Balsari (HMS and HSPH), and Andrew Schroeder (Direct Relief), the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network aims to “provide daily updates to decision-makers at the state and local levels on how well social distancing interventions are working.” The team is made up of a network of infectious disease epidemiologists located at universities around the world.
Last week, Muhammad Musa, Executive Director of BRAC International, visited the Mittal Institute to speak with Tarun Khanna, Director of the Mittal Institute and Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School. Together, they uncovered the effort it takes for BRAC to continue expanding on its role as the world’s largest NGO.
Due to recent developments relating to COVID-19, Harvard University has strongly discouraged the gathering of 25 people or more for on-campus events through April 30th until further notice in the hope that this social distancing measure will limit the opportunity for illness to spread. Unfortunately, the Mittal Institute will need to cancel its events for March and April until instructed otherwise by University Administration. Our top priority remains the health, safety, and wellbeing of our community.
From its cultural zenith in the days of Akbar, Lahore has remained a major center of knowledge and creativity in South Asia. As a free-spirited city that was home to the Mayo School — among other great institutions of knowledge — Lahore fed the imaginations of artists, poets, and writers, from B.C. Sanyal, Amrita Shergil, and Chughtai, to Faiz, Manto, and Khushwant Singh. But in the decades following Ayub’s martial law, as the space for arts and humanities diminished in Pakistan’s public discourse, so too did Lahore’s claim of being a vibrant cultural capital.
Each year, the Mittal Institute holds the Seed for Change competition, welcoming student projects that impact societal, economic, and environmental issues in India and Pakistan. Our latest digital report on the program is out now, highlighting the work of the winning teams. Click here to read it!
We recently sat down with Alex Beaudette, Sapna Shah, and Ankur Goel: three members of Professor Conor Walsh’s research team who are working on the research and development of the Soft Robotics Toolkit. This project has grown out of research conducted at Harvard University, University College Dublin, and Trinity College Dublin to become a comprehensive resource that will teach students how to design, fabricate, model, and test their own soft robotic devices — eventually making its way to Indian classrooms. This month, the team was in Delhi to conduct workshops with a group of educators and students, testing the kit with its main audience to inform continued development of its parts and instructions.
This September, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University partnered with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum in Mumbai to hold a workshop exploring how museums could potentially create an expanded culture of civic life that represents and nurtures the diverse and plural sensibilities of those with whom they share space.
In India, subaltern groups must resort to the universalizing vocabulary of citizenship in order to stake claims for redistribution and recognition. But on what basis do they do this — especially under severe coercion? This week, Alf Nilsen, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pretoria, uncovered the answers to this question by investigating movement patterns in the Bhil heartland of western India, where Adivasi communities have organized and mobilized against the tyranny of the local state.
Around the world, numerous nations have witnessed a resurgence of strongman politics — and with it, many governments are beginning to bypass democratic norms and embrace more populist ideals. We spoke with Rachel Brulé, Assistant Professor of Global Development Policy at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, to learn more about what nationalist leadership means for India, and its potential effects on political representation throughout the nation.
The following transcript contains the remarks given by Ira A. Jackson, Visiting Lecturer on Sociology at Harvard University, at the conclusion of the Mittal Institute’s Bangladesh Rising Conference on September 16, 2019.
Fall Class: Contemporary Developing Countries — Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Social & Economic Problems (GENED1011)
Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Social & Economic Problems will be available to Harvard College, FAS, GSAS, HBS, HGSE, HKS, and HLS students. This course provides a framework (and multiple lenses) through which to think about the salient economic and social problems of the developing world.