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Symposium 2015 schedule

Schedule | Logistics | Registration

Thursday, April 16, 2015


9:30 – 10 am       Breakfast and Registration

10 – 11 am          Workshop: Global Healthcare Innovations and Mobile Technology

1:45 – 3:45 pm      Workshop: Arts

4:00 – 4:30 pm      Mapping the Ephemeral City: Kumbh Mela 2013 Book and Exhibit Launch (Remarks by Remarks by Drew FaustPresident and Lincoln Professor of HistoryHarvard University)

4:30 – 5:30 pm      One Harvard: Working Across Disciplines

5:30 – 6:30 pm      Mapping the Ephemeral City Reception and Exhibit


Friday, April 17, 2015


10:15 – 12:15 pm   Workshop: Water and Poverty in Urban Slums

1:15 – 3:15 pm       Workshop: Mental Health and Disasters

Friday, April 17, 2015


10:00 – 10:30  am   Registration & Breakfast


10:30 – 12:30 pm

 Water and Poverty in Urban Slums


Shafiqul Islam, Director, Water Diplomacy Program, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor, Water Diplomacy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Sharmila Murthy, Assistant Professor of Law, Suffolk University; Visiting Scholar, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard Kennedy School
Ramnath Subbaraman, Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Research Advisor, Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR), Mumbai, India
Heather ArneySenior Manager of Information, Monitoring & Evaluation,
Liza Weinstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Northeastern University 

For a rapidly urbanizing South Asia with competing – and often conflicting – demands for water, which problems, when addressed, have the greatest potential to make an impact? Building on our 2014 SAI Symposium panel Water from SAARC to Slums, we will focus on the challenges of expanding water access in urban slums. Who bears the burden, at what cost, and at what scale?  For example, in Mumbai, 55% of the city’s 12 million people live in slums with poor water access, but women and children bear the disproportionate burden of water poverty.  The complexity of urban water access is influenced by a range of contextual and contingent factors including the legal exclusion of large populations from the city water supply, the role of informal water vendors (i.e., the “water mafia”), the challenges of aging and inadequate infrastructure, and the disconnect between cost, price, and value of water.  Drawing on case studies of urban water poverty from South Asia and other regions, we seek to engage the panelists — and the audience — in a conversation about how to diagnose, characterize, and intervene to address water poverty in urban slums.


12:30  – 1:00  pm   Lunch


1:00 – 3:00 pm

 Mental Health and Disasters


Workshop facilitators: Ruth Barron, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
John TorousResident Physician in the Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
Chair:Jennifer Leaning, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights.
Comments by:Janet Yassen LICSW and Shamaila Khan Ph.D

Given the high volume of trauma and the likelihood of increased exposure to major disasters in South Asia, senior decision makers and first responders need specific training. Due to their extremely high levels of stress, there is a tremendous amount of turnover among crucial emergency personnel. This creates a knowledge gap in proper response methods, which increases the risk of psychological trauma and mental health distress in emergency and disaster response situations.

Using examples from their work, panelists will discuss the acquisition of knowledge about the emotional impacts of overwhelming events, research on acute disasters around the world and how to address people’s mental and physical health in such situations. How can recent developments in mobile mental health tools help with rapid response in disaster situations? The workshop will look at research and practice from other parts of the world that could be effective and relevant in South Asia.


Thursday, April 16, 2015


9:30 – 10:00 am   Registration & Breakfast


10:00 – 12:00 pm 

 Mobile Technology to Access Healthcare Services: Case Studies from the Global South 


Tarun Khanna, Director of the South Asia Institute & Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
Nathan SigworthDirector, PharmaSecure
Jill Shah, Associate Consultant, Vera Solutions
Facilitator: Satchit BalsariFXB Center for Health and Human Rights; Cornell Weill Medical Center

Great strides have been made in the field of global health and medicine. Yet, common challenges in the developing world remain. Lack of access to basic health care in indigenous and rural communities, low expenditure on research and development, and rising instances of epidemics have become a pressing cause of concern. Mobile technology, with its wide reach and lower costs, maybe the panacea to these common global health challenges. This workshop will present innovative mobile technology solutions from South Asia to improve access to affordable health care, in a comparative context with solutions other regions in the global south. The speakers will also discuss transferability of knowledge and technology and what it would take for countries to implement these solutions at scale.


12:00 – 1:00 pm   Lunch


1:00 – 3:00 pm

  Role of South Asian Arts in Education


Workshop facilitators: Jinah Kim, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Megan Panzano, Design Critic in Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Doris Sommer, Ira Jewell Williams, Jr. Professor of Romance Languages and Literature, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Stephanie E. Rozman, Calderwood Curatorial Fellow, Harvard Art Museums
Chair: Mukti KhaireAssociate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

The process of artistic production has been conceptualized as comprising both the actual physical creation of the artwork itself and the cognitive production of belief among society in the aesthetic and economic value of the work. This process is usually carried out by a set of organizations, individuals, and entities that constitute a field of cultural production. The constituents of this field – artists, firms, educational institutions, museums, etc. – are all responsible for generating and institutionalizing the conventions of artistic evaluation and value that determine tastes and consumption among consumers, as well as society, more broadly. At the same time, art works either reflect prevailing social mores or attempt to subvert them through radical expressions of ideas. Therefore, the existence of an adequate field, or ecosystem of institutions and firms is essential to not just art markets and our understanding of art, but to the very notion of civil society. This panel will explore how civil society and art worlds interact and intersect in the South Asian social, political, and cultural context through an examination of the artworks and the institutional fields that have existed through history and need to exist in the current context.


3:00 – 4:00 pm   Break


4:00 – 4:30 pm

Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Megacity Book and Exhibition Launch


Welcome: Tarun Khanna , Director, South Asia Institute at Harvard University, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School

Comments by: Meera Gandhi, CEO and Founder of The Giving Back Foundation; SAI Advisory Council Member

Remarks by Drew FaustPresident and Lincoln Professor of HistoryHarvard University 


4:30 – 5:30 pm

 One Harvard: Working Across Disciplines


Panel members: Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, FAS, Member of the Faculty of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School
Tarun Khanna, Director of the South Asia Institute & Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Planning and Design and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Graduate School of Design
Jennifer Leaning, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health; Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights

The faculty leaders will discuss lessons learned from the Kumbh Mela project, an example of sophisticated cross school research, documented in the publication Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Megacity. On the broad sandy flats left after the rainy season by the receding waters of the meeting rivers, a temporary city is created for the 2013 Kumbh Mela. Over fifty Harvard professors, students, doctors, and researchers made the pilgrimage to the Mela site. Due to its size and complexity, the Kumbh Mela inspired interdisciplinary research in a number of complementary fields at Harvard – business, technology and communications, urban studies and design, religious and cultural studies and public health.


5:30 – 6:30 pm

 Reception and Exhibit


All are welcome