For Harvard students, India Conference is a crucible test of leadership skills

Students at Harvard are functioning hard to ensure the success of the India Conference, planned for February 11 and 12. A team of volunteers has so far advanced funds, written to speakers, secured validations, and put together panels and themes from which audiences can become “valuable takeaways.”

Speakers will include former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, former CAG Vinod Rai, fashion designer Manish Malhotra, filmmaker Deepa Mehta,  politician Shashi Tharoor,  Bollywood actors Viveik Oberoi,  R Madhavan and actor-politician Pawan Kalyan, the younger brother of Chiranjeevi.

The subject of this year’s conference is India – the Global Growth Engine, where everything from gender equality to demonetization to Kashmir will be conversed. Rahul Srinivasan, co-chair India Conference at Harvard and masters in public administration (MPA) candidate, 2017, at the John F Kennedy School of Government, is happy as it’s revolving out to be a “mega event with 1,000 people expected to join.”

What provision is Harvard extending to the students? Srinivasan says no funding derives from the institute as such events are “a crucible for students to progress their leadership skills. All of the challenges we face get converted to opportunities for us.”

And there’s no lack of helping hands. Srinivasan says he and about 80 volunteers from across campuses, including his institute, the Harvard Business School, and Harvard Medical School, Harvard Law School are helping put the event together.


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