Chair: Jerold Kayden, Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design
South Asia is one of the most disaster prone regions of the world. It is also a region undergoing deep economic and political transition. As a result of global changes in the way humanitarian aid is viewed, as well as local imperatives, the principals and processes shaping the delivery of humanitarian aid in the region have been undergoing significant changes. What remains constant is the dire needs of the worst affected communities, though the way they themselves are viewed is also changing. Professionals engaged in this sector need to chart their course carefully, without losing sight of the little things that matter.
Chair: VG Narayanan, Thomas D. Casserly, Jr. Professor of Business Administration; Chair, MBA Elective Curriculum, Harvard Business School
Merrill Fernando is the founder and chairperson of Sri Lanka’s largest and most global tea brand, Dilmah.
Fernando joined the tea industry in Sri Lanka in the 1950s. Early in his journey, he observed that Sri Lankan tea, a finished product that was hand picked, produced according to a traditional and artistic process in Sri Lanka, was treated as a raw material and shipped at nominal value to Europe where value addition, branding and packing took place. As a result, producers of Sri Lankan tea received a tiny fraction of the profits from the sale of their tea, while large corporations benefited disproportionately.
Fernando has dedicated his career to addressing this inequity. His story is a remarkable one for it illustrates the exploitation that often characterizes products and commodities that are dominated by big corporations. It also demonstrates the power of fair and just trade in lifting less developed countries out of poverty.
Fernando’s love for tea led him to innovate in very important areas. He established the Dilmah brand in 1988 which became the first producer owned tea brand. Dilmah was not just another brand of tea; but it was a brand that was founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity in tea. Dilmah was also part of a philosophy that went beyond commerce in seeing business as a matter of human service. Fernando also pioneered the concept of single origin tea and packaging tea garden fresh, at source. These initiatives pitched Fernando directly against corporations many times the size of his tiny and fledgling business, and it also brought him into conflict with his peers and the Sri Lankan government who did not share his belief that tea could be picked and shipped direct from origin by growers themselves.
In this talk, Merrill Fernando will share his journey in the tea industry and discuss how he built a global brand.
Charles Shao, Founder and Executive Chairman of Huaxia Dairy Farm Ltd
Discussant: Ateya Khorakiwala, PhD Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director of Harvard South Asia Institute; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
Charles Shao is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Huaxia Dairy Farm Ltd. Huaxia operates three dairy farms in Hebei, Beijing and Jiangsu. It is the subject of an upcoming Harvard Business School Case Study.
In this talk, Shao will be speaking about issues related to food safety in China, and the role of business and entrepreneurship in addressing safety issues. Ateya Khorakiwala, whose PhD focuses on food-supply systems in India, will compare these issues to the India context.
Cosponsored by the Fairbanks Center for Chinese Studies
Omar Ishrak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Medtronic
Discussant: Conor Walsh,Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Chair: Tarun Khanna, Director, Harvard South Asia Institute,Jorge Paulo LemannProfessor, Harvard Business School
Over the last several decades, medical technology advancements have steadily improved the standard of care for patients in many areas of the world. At the same time, a huge disparity in access to high quality, cost-effective healthcare continues to exist for billions of people. The need in South Asia is particularly acute, with access to care limited to less than 10% of an estimated population of nearly 2 billion people. Innovation must address significant barriers, including a lack of patient awareness, infrastructure and training for healthcare professionals. Medtronic has started a unique program in India using a new business model to target a specific disease, define the full care continuum and build an ecosystem approach to address populations with little to no access to care. Addressing this huge challenge – and opportunity – requires a coordinated effort across multiple stakeholders to deliver innovation to improve outcomes, expand access and increase affordability of healthcare in South Asia.
Tarun Khanna, Director of the Harvard South Asia Institute, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
Professor Khanna will speak about his research on emerging economies, and the ways in which entrepreneurial action can effectively tackle major socioeconomic problems in South Asia in the sectors of education, health, financial inclusion, and urbanization.
Cosponsored by BRAC University. This event is open to the public.
Dr. Ranganayakulu Bodavala, Founder and Managing Director, Thrive Energy Technologies
Marc Mitchell, Lecturer on Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population
Dr. S V Subramanian, Professor of Population Health and Geography, Harvard School of Public Health
Ranganayakulu Bodavala (Ranga) has 16 years of experience as a consultant in public health systems in World Bank funded health projects in India, JICA funded projects in Uzbekistan, Malawi, and UNICEF in Afghanistan. Hailing from an agricultural family and from a village in India, Ranga is interested in simple technologies that make the life of women and child better, safe and productive. The technologies could be in water treatment, pumping, communication and home lighting. Ranga has an MBA and Ph.D in information systems and was a Takemi Fellow in Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, from 1999-2000.
Raja Mohan is a nonresident senior associate in Carnegie’s South Asia Program, where his research focuses on international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues. He is also a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, a columnist on foreign affairs for the Indian Express, and an adjunct professor of South Asian studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is currently a member of India’s National Security Advisory Board.
Donghyun Park,Principal Economist, Economics and Research Department, Asian Development Bank
Chair, Tarun Khanna, Director of Harvard South Asia Institute; Jorge Lemann Paulo Professor, Harvard Business School
Dr. Donghyun Park is currently a Principal Economist at the Economics and Research Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which he joined in April 2007. Prior to joining ADB, he was a tenured associate professor of economics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Dr. Park has a Ph.D. in economics from UCLA, and his main research fields are international finance and trade. His research, which has been published extensively in journals and books, focuses on policy-oriented topics relevant for Asia’s long-term development, including Asian sovereign wealth funds and Asian pension reform. Dr. Park plays a leading role in the production of Asian Development Outlook, ADB’s flagship annual publication.
Asia Center, Modern Asia Seminar, co-sponsored with the South Asia Institute