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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. 

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Upcoming Events

Wed, January 28, 2015 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S050

CANCELLED: The Politickle Pickle: A Conversation on Indo-US Relations

SAI Special Event

This event has been cancelled and will be rescheduled. Please check our website for updates.


Tanvi Madan, PhD Fellow, Foreign Policy Director, The India Project The Brookings Institution

Chair: Nicholas Burns, Sultan of Oman Professor of the Practice of International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

Reception to follow in CGIS Knafel Concourse, 1737 Cambridge Street.

This event is the culmination of ‘The Politickle Pickle: An Exhibition of Editorial Cartoons and Caricatures on India and the United States’ by Shreyas Navare, Fellow, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Editorial Cartoonist, Hindustan Times; Author, The Politickle Pickle: Vol. 1 & 2, on display in the CGIS Knafel Concourse, 1737 Cambridge Street from December 7, 2014 – January 29, 2015.

Cosponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the WCFIA Fellows Program. Supported by the Hindustan Times and the South Asian Art Council – Boston.

Opinion by Nicholas Burns ‘A US-India Comeback?’ in The Boston Globe

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 04:00pm

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 05:30pm

CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Sat, January 31, 2015  /  CGIS South Concourse

Coded Elegance

SAI Photo Exhibit

On Display in the CGIS South Concourse from Nov. 5, 2014 – Jan. 31, 2015. 

Open Mondays-Thursdays 7am – 9pm; Fridays 7am – 7pm

Capturing South Asia: Interview with Pablo Bartholomew

Coded Elegance, by Pablo Bartholomew, is a series of ethno-anthropological photographs of tribes and people of the hills and valleys of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Manipur, taken from 1989 to 2000.

Coded Elegance constitutes a mere fragment of Bartholomew’s extensive visual anthropological documentation of the various tribes and people residing in the low Himalayan hills and valleys of Northeast India — a people whose lives are marked by tradition and transition. The series, an off shoot of Marked with Beauty, his 2000 exhibition of rich, color photographs of the many Naga tribes, is influenced by his own collection of portraits of the Darjeeling hill tribes by Johnston and Hoffman, and Irving Penn’s body of work in Papua New Guinea.

It explores his journey and interaction with tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland — diverse communities with myriad different languages and dialects — as well as the people inhabiting the valleys in that region. The preservation of their traditional cultures articulated through their dress, rituals, and rites of passage, forms the overarching subject of Coded Elegance.

With generous support from the Donald T. Regan Lecture Fund, the Arts Initiative at SAI brings experienced and emerging artists to Harvard whose work focus is on social issues related to South Asia.  

Sat, Jan 31, 2015

Sat, Jan 31, 2015

CGIS South Concourse
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Mon, February 9, 2015 from 05:30pm - 08:00pm  /  CGIS South, S010

Ephemeral Urbanism Exhibition and Panel

SAI Arts Initiative Event

What is the role of the Ephemeral City in the broader discussion about urbanism globally? Professor Rahul Mehrotra, Chair of  the Department of Urban Planing and Design (GSD), will moderate a conversation across disciplines about ephemerality in the landscapes of South Asian and Latin American cities.

Exhibition Opening and Walkthrough at 5:30PM in the CGIS South Second Floor Lobby, followed by a panel discussion at 6:30PM CGIS S010.

Rahul Mehrotra (GSD), in collaboration with Jose Mayoral (GSD) and Felipe Vera (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, Chile) will guide the audience through the exhibition

This panel is part of the exhibition The Ephemeral City: Looking at Temporary Landscape of Religion in South Asia and Latin America.

Cosponsored with the  David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University


Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 05:30pm

Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 08:00pm

CGIS South, S010

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA

Tue, February 10, 2015 from 08:30am - 10:00am

Webinar: Planning and Preparedness

SAI Webinar

Payal Modi, MD, MPH, Fellow, Brigham & Women’s Hospital International Emergency Medicine Fellowship

Mass casualty responses work best when there is a well-rehearsed plan. This seminar will cover planning for a disaster, preparatory drills, and debriefing, drawing from the experience of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

This will be SAI’s third webinar in the series on Disaster Management and Emergency Response

8:30 AM in Cambridge, 6:30 PM in Pakistan, 7 PM in India, 7:30 PM in Sri Lanka, & Bangladesh

WATCH: One the day of the webinar, watch live on SAI’s website
INTERACT: Tweet your questions and join the conversation on Facebook

Twitter@HarvardSAI, #SAIWebinar


Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 08:30am

Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 10:00am

Tue, February 17, 2015 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S250

Made in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka: The Labor Behind the Global Garments and Textiles Industries

SAI Book Talk

Sanchita Saxena, Director of the Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies, Berkeley; Executive Director, Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley

Fauzia Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, Miami University; SAI Research Affiliate

Chair: John A. Quelch, Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; Professor in Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health

By analyzing the garment sector through the lens of domestic coalitions, Made in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka: The Labor Behind the Global Garments and Textiles Industries presents new and innovative ways of conceptualizing the garment and textiles industries that include the possibility for change and resistance from a vantage point of cooperation among key groups, rather than only contention. The book utilizes the established policy networks framework, which has traditionally only been applied to the United States and European nations, but expertly adapts it to countries in the global South. Saxena’s domestic coalitions approach, which can be thought of as a precursor to a full policy network, differs from the policy network approach in crucial ways by highlighting the importance of other actors or facilitators in the network, recognizing that interactions among stakeholders are just as important as interactions between groups and the state, as well as the incentives associated with expanding the existing coalition.

Book sale to follow.


Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 04:00pm

Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 05:30pm

CGIS South, S250
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Wed, February 25, 2015 at 04:00pm

Burma Panel

SAI Global Health Event

More details coming soon.

Co-sponsored with the Asia Center

Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 04:00pm

Wed, Feb 25, 2015

Tue, March 3, 2015 from 12:00pm - 01:30pm  /  CGIS South, S050

Title TBD

Social Enterprise and Global Health Seminar

Omar Ishrak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Medtronic

Chairs: Tarun Khanna, Director, Harvard South Asia Institute, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School

Co-sponsored with the Asia Center

Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 12:00pm

Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 01:30pm

CGIS South, S050
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA


A US-India comeback?

In an op-ed for The Boston Globe, SAI Steering Committee member Nicholas Burns, HKS, explains how President Obama’s visit to India for Republic Day is an important symbolic gesture that may kickstart the revival both countries have been looking for.

    Kashmir’s women in wait

    “More than the political aspect, it is understanding how women cope with the phenomenon of disappearances that appealed to me as a filmmaker,” says director Nilosree Biswas in an interview with SAI on the unique culture of Kashmir.

      The City and South Asia

      In SAI’s second annual publication, The City and South Asia, experts from a variety of fields, at both Harvard and elsewhere, have come together to hold up a cross-disciplinary lens to urban centers in South Asia.

        Report on the Harvard US-India Initiative Conference

        “If yesterday’s events urged participants to immerse themselves in the world of ideas, today’s panelists gave us diverse and exceptional examples of how to apply these ideas in practice,” writes Zeenia Framroze, Harvard College ’15, about the conference.

          Creating a better India

          SAI recently talked to Namrata Narain, Harvard College ’15, one of the organizers of the Harvard US-India Initiative’s (HUII) Annual Conference, to learn more about how HUII is working to increase discussions on important issues by connecting young academic communities in India and the US.

            2014 Student Grant Report

            In 2014, SAI awarded 46 grants to students to do a variety internships and research projects in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Read first-hand experiences from students in SAI’s Grant Report.

              Tragedy in Pakistan

              “This is a day of deep reflection. War strategy against extremists, whether through drone strikes or carpet-bombing, must factor in the lives of children beyond collateral damage and prepare especially to protect the most vulnerable in society on both sides.”

                Ayesha Jalal: The Struggle for Pakistan

                In a SAI Book Talk on Dec. 3, renowned Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University, spoke about her new book and highlighted the need for a comprehensive historical interpretation of Pakistan’s narrative and encouraged members of the audience to view the history of the country through a geopolitical lens rather than a religious one.

                  SAI Fellowships

                  The South Asia Institute offers several opportunities for scholars and practitioners to continue their research at Harvard University in Cambridge. Deadline to apply: January 15, 2015 for Academic Year 2015-2016.

                    2015 Student Winter Grant Recipients

                    SAI has awarded 18 grants to support undergraduate and graduate student projects over the Winter Session in January, 2015. These include 6 undergraduates and 12 graduate students who will be traveling to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka for research and internships.

                      Shaping problem-solvers

                      A Harvard Gazette article looks at SAI Director Tarun Khanna’s Gen Ed course, which spans disciplines to address social, economic challenges in South Asia.