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The Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. 

About SAI | View the South Asia Institute video

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 18, 2016 from 12:00pm - 02:00pm  /  Room 124, Gund Hall

The Scope of Spatial Data and Technology for Building Resilience of Vulnerable Groups: A Case of 2015 Nepal Earthquake and Informal Settlements in Kathmandu

Cosponsored Event

Informal settlements are the common features of urban growth in most developing countries and are typically the product of an urgent need for shelter by the urban poor. Rapid urbanization, inefficient land administration and inadequate capability to cope with the housing needs of people in urban areas have contributed to the development of informal settlements or slums. The problem related to informal settlements is a very serious urban issue for developing countries. Informal settlers are more exposed and vulnerable to natural hazards that the general population and they are more likely to be affected and displaced by disasters. They tends to receive less housing assistance in their aftermath and are one of the vulnerable groups after disasters as they do not have legal land ownership documents and they are invisible on the records of city authorities. The humanitarian response and the reconstruction program led by central government or concerned authority tends to overlook informal settlers. The spatial data and technology can play a significant role for building resilience of vulnerable urban groups such as informal settlers. This presentation explores the role of spatial data infrastructure (SDI) and technology for disaster risk reduction and community resilience. A case of Nepal Earthquake 2015 has been taken as a case study.

Dev Raj Paudyal is a Lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia. He has a M. Sc. Degree in Geoinformation Management (GIM2) from ITC, the Netherlands and a Doctor of Philosophy from University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia. He has more than 15 years of professional experience and approximately 40 research publications. Dev is currently the individual member representative and director at Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association (GSDIA) Board, Past President of International Geospatial Society (IGA), Co-chair of International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Technical Commission WGIV/4, member of Mixed Methods International Research Association and registered Graduate Surveyor at Surveyors Board of Queensland (SBQ), Australia. Dev’s research interests lie in the areas of cadastral, land and geographic information systems, land administration, spatial data infrastructures, disaster management, urban planning including informal settlements, building resilience of vulnerable groups after disaster and natural resource management.

Cosponsored with the Harvard Graduate School of Design MDes Risk and Resilience Lecture

Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 12:00pm

Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 02:00pm

48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Fri, February 19, 2016 at 12:15 pm  /  CGIS South, S153

Freedom and Fear in Myanmar

Modern Asia Seminar and Arts at SAI Seminar

Ian Holliday,Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), The University of Hong Kong

‘Altered State: Painting Myanmar in a time of transition,’ an exhibit of paintings will be on display Thursday, February 4 – Monday, February 22, 2016 in the Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge MA

Sponsored by the Asia Center and the South Asia Institute 

Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Fri, Feb 19, 2016

CGIS South, S153
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Fri, February 19, 2016 from 07:30am - 08:30am

Field Notes: Best Practices for Documentation of Handicrafts in the Field

Livelihood Creation Project Webinar

Dr. Vandana Bhandari, Professor and Dean (Academics) at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi

Indian handicrafts are a vast and important, but rapidly-disappearing aspect of Indian society and culture. While a range of handicraft organizations have been at the forefront of introducing consumers to traditional handicraft techniques and skills in the form of innovative and beautiful products, the sustainability of the supply of these products is threatened by the rate at which artisans seek alternative livelihoods. Documentation of craft techniques and practices is a crucial tool in a programmatic agenda to preserve that which is not just cultural heritage, but, in a world where handmade is equal to luxury, a competitive advantage.

Dr. Bhandari will share her expertise and experiences gleaned from years in the field, spent documenting cultural and economically significant crafts in danger of succumbing to modernization and socio-economic changes in the nation. Dr. Bhandari will provide practical insights on the benefits of documentation, as well as documentation best practices for organizations working in the handicraft sector.

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm IST / 7:30 am to 8:30 am EST

Please click here to register.

Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 07:30am

Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 08:30am

Mon, February 22, 2016 at 06:30pm to
Tue, February 23, 2016 at 02:30pm  /  CGIS South, S010

Re-thinking Local: A Cross-regional Dialogue about Strategies for Local Practice in Cities

Cosponsored Event

“Re-thinking Local” will examine how architects are developing new models of locally-based design practice given the changing realities of urbanization around the world, with a particular focus on South and Southeast Asia.

These two public events feature Vo Trong Nghia, the most prolific contemporary architect in Vietnam, and Marina Tabassum, the leading female architect in Bangladesh – both speaking at Harvard for the first time.

In addition, Nghia and Tabassum will be joined in a round-table discussion by Michael Murphy, Executive Director of MASS Design Group, and Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

This public discussion program will thematically explore how architects are responding to new patterns of urbanization, creating models for construction and fabrication that support sustainable development, and catalyzing local institutions to promote dialogue about the role of design in improving cities. Together, the work of these architects gives new meaning to the model of practicing locally.

Click here for participant bios.

Roundtable discussion with Vo Trong Nghia, Marina Tabassum, and Michael Murphy, moderated by Rahul Mehrotra
Monday, February 22, 2016, 6:30 pm
Tsai Auditorium, CGIS South S010, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Lunchtime Lecture with Vo Trong Nghia
Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 1:00 pm
Portico 124, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 48 Quincy Street

Please contact  Michael Haggerty, Harvard University Graduate School of Design,, with questions.

Cosponsored with the Boston Society of Architects Foundation, Harvard Asia Center, and Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative.

Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 06:30pm

Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 02:30pm

CGIS South, S010

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA


Studying the Kumbh Mela from many perspectives

On Jan. 18, the SAI launched the book and exhibition Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Megacity in Mumbai at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in partnership with the Asia Society India Centre and the Harvard Club of Mumbai.