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SAI Event Faculty : Tarun Khanna

Tue, November 27, 2018 from 06:00pm - 08:30pm  /  India International Centre  /  Kamala Devi Complex

Meritocracy: Perspectives from China Past and Present

Frank Wen-hsiung Wu Memorial Professor of Chinese History and Director, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School and Director, The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University

How should societies identify and promote merit?  Enabling all people to fulfill their full potential and ensuring that competent and capable leaders are selected to govern are central challenges for any society. Failure to meet these challenges can have enormous costs, for individuals and for societies as a whole.  The richness of China’s historical experience and its distinctive current practices offer useful tools for reflection and comparative analysis.  Does the case of China offer any lessons – positive or negative – for India to consider?


Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 06:00pm

Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 08:30pm

India International Centre

#40, Max Mueller Marg, Lodhi Estate
Delhi, India

Kamala Devi Complex

Tue, October 2, 2018 from 06:00pm - 07:30pm  /  Barker Center 110

Book Talk | Trust: Creating the Foundation for Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School on his new book, Trust: Creating the Foundation for Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries in conversation with Caroline Elkins, Professor of History and African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Free and open to the public; seating is limited.


About Trust

Entrepreneurial ventures often fail in the developing world because of the lack of something taken for granted in the developed world: trust. Over centuries, the developed world has built customs and institutions such as enforceable contracts, an impartial legal system, and credible regulatory bodies—and even unofficial but respected sources of information such as Yelp and Consumer Reports—that have created a high level of what scholar and entrepreneur Tarun Khanna calls “ambient trust.”

This is not the case in the developing world. But Khanna shows that rather than become casualties of mistrust, smart entrepreneurs can adopt the mindset that, like it or not, it’s up to them to weave their own independent web of trust—with their employees, their partners, their clients, their customers, and society as a whole. This can be challenging, and it requires innovative approaches in places where the level of societal mistrust is so high that an official certification of quality simply arouses suspicion—and lowers sales! Using vivid examples from Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and elsewhere, Khanna’s stories show how entrepreneurs can build on existing customs and practices instead of trying to push against them. He highlights the role new technologies can play (but cautions that these are not panaceas) and explains how entrepreneurs can find dependable partners in national and local governments to create impact at scale.

As far back as the 18th century, Adam Smith recognized trust as what Khanna calls “the hidden engine of economic progress.” “Frankness and openness conciliate confidence,” Smith wrote. “We trust the man who seems willing to trust us.” That kind of confidence is critical to entrepreneurial success, but in the developing world, entrepreneurs have to establish it through their own efforts. As Khanna puts it, “The entrepreneur must not just create, she must create the conditions to create.”

Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 06:00pm

Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 07:30pm

COST: Free

Mon, August 27, 2018 from 05:30pm - 07:30pm  /  Bengaluru  /  Microsoft Research

Fireside Chat with Tarun Khanna & Manish Sabharwal

Join the Harvard Business School India Research Centre and the HBS Club of India for a Fireside Chat with Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, HBS, and Manish Sabharwal, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, TeamLease for a conversation about Prof. Khanna’s recent book, Trust: Creating the Foundations for Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries.



5:30-6:00 PM Registration, Tea & Networking

6:00-7:00 PM Fireside Chat

7:00-7:30 PM Q & A


Please RSVP here



Microsoft Research
9, Vigyan, Lavelle Road, Ashok Nagar
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001

Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 05:30pm

Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 07:30pm

Fri, April 20, 2018 from 12:15pm - 02:00pm  /  CGIS South, S050

Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar: Forced Migration in South Asia: Past and Present

Satchit Balsari, FXB Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Faculty, Emergency Medicine, HMS/BIDM
Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, SAI

Moderator: Yee Htun, Clinical Instructor, Harvard Law School 

SAI Director Tarun Khanna and FXB Fellow Satchit Balsari will run a discussion that focuses on the effects of forced migration, the 1947 Partition of British India, and how moving large groups of people across borders affected countries such as present-day India and Pakistan. This seminar also ties in research from SAI’s ongoing research related to the Partition.

Co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center.

Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 12:15pm

Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 02:00pm

CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Wed, April 11, 2018 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S030

Why Was Partition Not Reversed? How Pakistan Created A Viable Economy

Gustav Papanek, President of the Boston Institute for Developing Economies; Professor of Economics Emeritus, Boston University
Chair: Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, SAI

Partition left Pakistan almost bereft of manufacturing – importing most consumer goods, including matches, soap, cloth and yarn, and virtually all machinery. Gustav Papanek will discuss how Pakistan, in 15 short years, developed the industrial entrepreneurs who turned the country from one without industry into a significant exporter of manufactured goods.


Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 04:00pm

Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 05:30pm

CGIS South, S030
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02138

Wed, October 11, 2017 from 05:00pm - 06:30pm  /  Loeb House

2018 Annual Mahindra Lecture: India’s Tax Reforms

Arun Jaitley, India’s Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, will deliver the 2017/18 SAI Mahindra Lecture.

This major annual event is in honor of the late Harish C. Mahindra, a distinguished alumnus of Harvard College and a visionary leader of business and industry in India.

The lecture will take place on October 11, 2017 at Loeb House (17 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA). It will begin at 5:00 PM and is preceded by a reception at 4:30 PM.

Space is limited. You must register here in order to attend.


Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 05:00pm

Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 06:30pm

Loeb House

Loeb House, 17 Quincy Street in Cambridge, MA 02138

Tue, October 10, 2017 from 12:30pm - 02:00pm  /  William James Hall B1

Devi Shetty Seminar: Affordable Healthcare: Together We Can Do It

Dr. Shetty’s innovation in driving down cardiac surgery costs at his Narayana Health Hospital chain has often been compared to Henry Ford’s automobile assembly lines. At 14,000 surgeries last year, Narayana Health has given thousands access to life saving procedures that were previously out of reach. Dr. Shetty’s low-cost model has inspired accessible healthcare around the world.

Discussant: Vikram Patel
Co-founder and Member of Managing Committee, Sangath, Goa, India; Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow; Harvard Medical School; Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Public Health Foundation of India; London School- of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK

Vikram Patel is a professor of global health and social medicine and psychiatrist whose work over the past two decades has focused on reducing the treatment gap for mental disorders in low resource countries.

Chair: Tarun Khanna
Director of Harvard South Asia Institute;
Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School




Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 12:30pm

Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 02:00pm

Thu, September 28, 2017 at 12:00pm  /  Harvard Law School  /  WCC 2036 Milstein East A/B

Book Talk: The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization

The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector and its Impact on Lawyers and Society

A Harvard Law School Library Book Talk


David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School

Vikramaditya S. Khanna, William W. Cook Professor of Law, University of Michigan School of Law School


Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, South Asia Institute, Harvard University

Co-sponsored with the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession and the Harvard University South Asia Institute.

Light lunch will be served.
If you or an event participant requires disability-related accommodations, please contact Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office, WCC 3039, at, or 617-495-1880 in advance of the event.

Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 12:00pm

Thu, Sep 28, 2017

Harvard Law School

1585 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

WCC 2036 Milstein East A/B

Mon, September 25, 2017 from 05:30pm - 06:45pm  /  Emerson Hall, Harvard Yard

“Aadhaar, India’s Biometric, Unified Payment Interface and the India Stack: Technology at Scale for Development” with Nandan Nilekani

A talk by Nandan Nilekani, Former Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI); Non-Executive Chairman of Infosys

Discussant: Tarun Khanna, Director, South Asian Institute; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School

Nandan Nilekani is the former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which implemented the Aadhaar project, India’s biometric ID that uses a 12-digit unique identification number. The seminar will discuss the idea of making Aadhar card mandatory in India and its implications on the lives of 1.2 billion people.

Free and open to the public. This talk is part of the SAI Social Enterprise Series | SW47: Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Social and Economic Problems in the Developing World

Co-sponsored by the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 05:30pm

Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 06:45pm

Emerson Hall, Harvard Yard

Room 305, 25 Quincy Street, Cambridge