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Amrita is a Sociologist focusing primarily on transnational migration and mobility. Presently, she is a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Siegen, Germany. As the Principal Investigator of the project, she tries to identify the transnational practices, motivations of immigration, and trends and prospects of the Indian immigrants in Germany and explores the much contested relation between pandemic and international mobility. The project proposes to argue that the fast expanding Indian diaspora in Germany increasingly impacts the social landscape there in ways hitherto unfamiliar to the German society.
With a grant from the Hanns Seidel Stiftung, Amrita earned a doctoral degree in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Later, she taught at the School of Undergraduate Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi. In 2019, she joined the Institute of Geography, University of Cologne with her own project and taught sociology to the students of geography. In 2020, she moderated the web-talk series titled “Corona Conversations: Mobility in a (post)COVID-19 Future” supported by the DAAD and hosted by the Global South Studies Centre, University of Cologne. Currently, she is working on her monograph on the experiences of social exclusion and inclusion for the Indian high-skilled migrants in Germany.
Biswajit Banerjee is Visiting Professor of Economics, Krea University. He is also tenured
Professor of Economics at Ashoka University since January 2018. He has previously taught at the University of Oxford (1977‒1982), Haverford College (2009‒2014), the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (2010‒2011), and Economics University of Bratislava (2018‒2019).
Professor Banerjee is also affiliated with the National Bank of Slovakia as Expert Advisor to the Governor since October 2019, and is Adjunct Senior Fellow at Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi since May 2019. He was previously Chief Economist at the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic (2017‒2019) and Chief Economist at the Bank of Slovenia (2014‒2017). Professor Banerjee is a former senior staff member of the International Monetary Fund (1982‒2008).
Professor Banerjee is a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt since October 2019, a position that he also occupied previously during 2014‒2017. He is a member of the India Experts’ Network, International Relations Committee of the European Central Bank since August 2021. Professor Banerjee was a Slovak delegate to the Economic Policy Committee of the OECD during 2017‒2019. He was a member of the National Selection Committee of 2021-2022 Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships.
Professor Banerjee’s research interests include empirical macroeconomics and monetary
economics, international economics, labour and demographic economics, and industrial
economics. He has published widely in these fields in academic journals, authored one book and co-edited three books.
Professor Banerjee read for the Bachelors and Masters degrees in Economics at the University of Delhi (St. Stephen’s College and the Delhi School of Economics, respectively), and went on to obtain the B. Phil and D. Phil degrees from the University of Oxford. He was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship in 1972.
PhD, University of Mysore
Chithra Madhavan completed her MA and MPhil from the Department of Indian History, University of Madras and her PhD, from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore. She is the recipient of two post-doctoral fellowships from the Department of Culture, Government of India and from the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. She is the author of eight books – History and Culture of Tamil Nadu (in two volumes), Vishnu Temples of South India (in four volumes), Sanskrit Education and Literature in Ancient and Medieval Tamil Nadu – An Epigraphical Study and Temples of Kanchipuram. She has written the text for a coffee-table book Snapshots of a bygone era- A Century of Images which contains about a 100 photographs of monuments of India. Chithra has co-edited a book South India Heritage-An Introduction containing approximately 500 articles on various aspects of the heritage and culture of South India. She has compiled two books- one on sculptures for Kalakshetra Foundation and another on the Srirangam temple.Chithra has contributed about a hundred articles on temple architecture and allied subjects to the multi-volume Encylcopedia of Hinduism. She is a guest lecturer at Kalakshetra, Asian College of Journalism and DakshinaChitra. She frequently delivers lectures on temple architecture at various places in Chennai and other cities in India and leads heritage walks to various historical and archaeological sites in India.
Dr. Hilal Ahmed works on political Islam, Muslim politics of representation, and politics of symbols in South Asia. His first book Muslim Political Discourse in Postcolonial India: Monuments, Memory, Contestation (Routledge 2014) explores these thematic concerns to evolve an interdisciplinary approach to study Muslim politics.
His recent works, Siyasi Muslims: A story of Political Islam in India (Penguin-Random House, New Delhi, 2019) and Democratic Accommodations: Minorities in contemporary India (With Peter R deSouza, and Sanjeer Alam, Bloomsbury, 2019) further elaborate these themes and make a modest attempt to explain the discursively constituted nature of contemporary Muslim political discourse in India.
Dr. Hilal Ahmed is also currently working on a book project on the politics of Muslim political representation in postcolonial India. He is also editing a Hindi Reader of Sudipta Kaviraj’s writings.
Dr. Hilal Ahmed is the Associate Editor, South Asian Studies, journal of the British Association of South Asian Studies.
He was a Visiting Associate Professor at Ashoka University (2018) Visiting Fellow, at Victoria University Wellington, (2013-14), Visiting Asia Fellow, University of Dhaka, (2011) and Visiting Professor at University of Pune (2011).
He has designed and conducted courses on Research as Practice (2017, 2018), Politics of Political Representation (2016), Research Methods and Identities: Issues and Debates in Postcolonial India (2015), History, Memory and Identity (2009) for the CSDS Teaching Programme, Researching the Contemporary.
He also taught a course Political Sociology at the Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. Ahmed has worked as a lecturer of political science at University of Delhi.
Dr. Hilal Ahmed writes for academic journals, newspapers, and websites in English and Hindi. He has produced two documentaries, Encountering the Political Jama Masjid (English, 2006) and Qutub: Ek Adhura Afsana (Qutub: an unfinished story, Hindi with English subtitles, 2016).
Dr. Hilal Ahmed has also conceptualized and developed an academic mobile app SHARC-DILLI an app on the Partitioned City of Delhi, (with Deborah Sutton, Lancaster University). It is an outcome of a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), UK.
Dr. Hilal Ahmed did his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (2007).
He was awarded the Institute of Advanced Studies-Nantes (IAS-Nantes, France) Fellowship, 2018-19, the Rajya Sabha Fellowship (2015-2016), the Asia Fellow Award (2008/2010), the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies Fellowship (2009), the Ford Foundation-IFP Fellowship (2002), the ATRI-Charities Aid Foundation Fellowship (2001), and UGC Senior Research Fellowship (1999) and the UGC Junior Research Fellowship (1997).
A film Beacons of Hope (English, 2008) documents Ahmed’s life story
PhD, Vanderbilt University
Viswanathan’s research interests have spanned the areas of molecular conformations and weak non-covalent interactions, particularly the hydrogen bonding interactions, which pervades through all of chemistry, physics and biology. Matrix isolation spectroscopy, a method where isolated molecules are trapped in a cryogenic solid inert gas matrix, was the experimental technique used for these studies. The trapped molecules were then probed using infrared spectroscopy. The experimental results were corroborated using ab initio quantum chemical computations. These studies resulted in a detailed understanding of the structure and energetics of hydrogen bonded complexes. Recent studies of his group on conformations of amino acids, an important class of biomolecules, revealed a very interesting and restrictive structural preference that these molecules adopt, with respect to their backbone, comprising of the COOH and NH2 moieties. In addition, his research group has also been interested in lanthanide fluorescence, specifically to develop methods for the enhancement of fluorescence in an attempt to develop sensitive analytical methods. Enhancement of fluorescence by a factor of over 10,000 was achieved by choosing appropriate ligands as energy transfer agents. He has also been interested in the use of mass spectroscopy for analytical applications.
He subscribes to the adage that research and teaching must coexist since there is a definite synergy between the two. At IISER, Mohali, he enjoyed teaching courses at all levels – from introductory to the advanced, with each level presenting its own challenges. He has also coordinated a number of summer science programmes for school and university students. It is also his conviction that courses in universities must not be restricted to just learning; there must be a small component where students get to teach during their final years.
While it is important for students to study well, he believes it is also important for them not just to study well, but have multiple interests apart from their major area of study, for a wholesome growth. He has practiced this philosophy himself. Apart from teaching and research, he is interested in sports and music. He is an avid player of cricket, tennis and table-tennis and enjoys music.
Representative publications and books;
Dr. Manju Menon conducts academic research and practice in the fields of development, resource politics and environmental law and policy. She co-designs and supports action research projects that aim to understand the use of laws to protect the environmental commons and community livelihoods. Her projects adopt interdisciplinary methods and approaches from the fields of political ecology, policy studies, critical pedagogy and social work. These projects for collaborative practice based learning involve activists, students, law practitioners and administrative institutions.
She has authored several book chapters, academic papers and articles in the English and Hindi media. She co-authored Development of Environmental Laws in India (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and co-edited Business Interests and the Environmental Crisis (Sage Publications, 2016). She has published key reports on the state of India’s Environment Impact Assessment and environmental compliance, coastal regulation and land use change.
She holds a PhD from the University of Technology Sydney and a Master’s degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research. She is a member of the UTS Climate Justice Research Center and of Kalpavriksh, an environmental research group.
MPhil, Delhi University
Mukund Padmanabhan was the Editor of The Hindu between March 2016 and the end of February 2019. Earlier, he was the Editor of The Hindu Businessline from 2016 onwards. Mukund is an M-Phil in Philosophy and worked briefly as a lecturer in University of Delhi before switching to journalism. He is interested in and has written about politics, legal affairs, and literature. Before joining The Hindu group in 1997, he had worked with Sunday Magazine in Kolkata and the Indian Express in Chennai.
He was an adjunct faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, where he taught credits on media law and advanced writing to post-graduate students. He curated two festivals of theatre and music — The Hindu Theatre Fest, and The Hindu November Fest — on behalf his newspaper group, events which have been conducted in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and other South Indian cities since 2005. He also curated an annual thought conclave on behalf of the newspaper called The Huddle, which is held in Bengaluru
PhD, Cambridge University
Pranab Bardhan is Professor of Graduate School in the Department of Economics, University of California at Berkeley. He was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata and Cambridge University, England. He had been at the faculty of MIT, Indian Statistical Institute and Delhi School of Economics before joining Berkeley. He has been Visiting Professor/Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and London School of Economics. He held the Distinguished Fulbright Siena Chair at the University of Siena, Italy in 2008-9. He was the BP Centennial Professor at London School of Economics for 2010 and 2011.
He has done theoretical and field studies research on rural institutions in poor countries, on political economy of development policies, and on international trade. He is the author of 14 books and editor of 13 other books, and author of more than 150 journal articles, including in leading Economics journals (like American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Econometrica, Journal of Political Economy, Review of Economic Studies, Economic Journal, American Economic Journal, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Oxford Economic Papers, etc.)
A part of his work is in the interdisciplinary area of economics, political science, and social anthropology. He was Chief Editor of the Journal of Development Economics for 1985-2003. He was the co-chair of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Network on the Effects of Inequality on Economic Performance for 1996-2007.
A more detailed description of his bio-data may be found in his website: https://eml.berkeley.edu/~webfac/bardhan/bardhan.htm
MSc, London School of Economics
Prayaag Akbar is the author of a critically-acclaimed work of fiction, Leila. His novel, published early in 2017, won the Crossword Jury Prize and the Tata Lit Live! First Book Award and was shortlisted for the Hindu Prize for Best Fiction and the Shakti Bhatt Award. It was developed into a series by Netflix, directed by Deepa Mehta. In July 2018, a new edition was released in the United Kingdom and a number of other territories.
Prayaag has worked as a journalist in a number of leading Indian publications. He was a consulting editor with Mint, a leading Indian financial newspaper, and before that was the deputy editor of the news website Scroll, where he was an early member of the team.
Dr. Shanti Pappu, is the founder/secretary, Sharma Centre for Heritage Education (SCHE), India and a former Professor of Prehistory at the Deccan College, Pune, India. She founded the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education in 1999, and along with Dr. Kumar Akhilesh has been conducting research programs, training courses and public outreach programs for children and teachers in archaeology and associated sciences. For over 20 years, her team has been investigating aspects of early prehistoric occupation of South Asia, through multidisciplinary efforts, involving excavations at the site of Attirampakkam and Sendrayanpalayam, and studies across parts of northern and southern Tamil Nadu. These projects include establishing and coordinating teams of scientists from India, and abroad, facilitating collaborative networks to address questions related to India’s prehistoric past, through intertwined approaches in archaeology, geomorphology, palaeoenvironments, geochronology, remote sensing, and ethnoarchaeology. She has published research papers in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature and Science, a book, and is currently editing a three-volume series on the prehistoric archaeology of Tamil Nadu. She is also interested in the history of prehistoric research in India, and is currently investigating the life and work of 19th century prehistorians in India.
Ph.D. National University of Singapore (Dept. of Communications and New Media)
Srikumar’s interests lie in the nexus between art and computing. His got his masters through a research programme at (what was then) the digital media lab at Kent Ridge Digital Labs, NUS, where his work was on real-time interactive music composition tools. He subsequently worked on the core tech team at muvee Technologies, a startup founded largely by the research team at KRDL which makes automatic music video production tools for non-professionals. At muvee, he created “muSE” a programming language and system for creating music video editing styles. He then returned to his roots as a veena player in the Carnatic tradition and worked on computational modeling of gamakas of Carnatic music for his Ph.D. After returning to India around 2013, he created Patantara – a service for publishing high quality Carnatic music notation and learning aids that serves students and academics. He later served as director of technology at Pramati Technologies, leading “Imaginea Labs” developing capability in diverse tech areas such as data science and machine learning, augmented and virtual reality design and blockchain tech. Apart from music tech, his interests include programming language design, functional programming techniques, audio-visual computation and language centred software design.
He’s contributed to several patents while at muvee. Some of his publications are –
The Viability of the Web Browser as a Computer Music Platform
Nov 30, 2013, Computer Music Journal
A Two-component Representation for Modeling Gamakas of Carnatic Music
Jul 13, 2012, Proc. of the 2nd CompMusic Workshop (Istanbul, Turkey)
Modeling Speed Doubling in Carnatic Music
Aug 5, 2011, Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 2011, University of Huddersfield, UK
Dr. Sudip Roy has 19 years of experience in research and innovation. He has worked in the oil and gas, energy (Shell R&D), pharmaceutical sectors (Akamara Biomedicine), and semiconductor industry (Intel). He started his career as an academician and worked as a scientist at the CSIR- National Chemical Laboratory in Pune where he led and guided a group of Ph.D. students and worked on several industrial and government-funded projects in computational chemistry and materials science. He is a co-founder of a company (Prescience Insilico Pvt. Ltd.) working in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML)-based methodologies for highly selective drugs and materials design. Dr. Roy obtained his Ph.D. in chemical sciences from the University of Saarland in Germany followed by post-doctoral work at Technical University Darmstadt, Germany. He is a Chevening fellow 2019 and studied management of research, science, and innovation at the University of Oxford, UK
PhD, University of Illinois
Swarna Rajagopalan trained as a political scientist, works as an independent scholar, consultant and writer and founded and runs The Prajnya Trust. Her research interests relate to security, politics and gender. She writes regularly for both academic projects and general publications. She has taught politics and international relations at the University of Illinois, Michigan State University and Yale University, in addition to having taught at Sophia College, Mumbai and more recently, at the National Management School’s India campus for Broward University. Swarna’s consultancy work has included academic projects, from conceptualising and organising academic conferences to hosting and co-directing a summer study abroad programme for Michigan State in Chennai for two years. Prajnya works broadly towards gender equality and peace; her work at Prajnya combines all of these elements with training, advocacy, network and capacity-building in the social sector. In addition, Swarna is a founding member of the Women’s Regional Network, a network of women peace activists from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.
PhD, University of Florence
Vaishali Sharma has a PhD, in Structural Biology from Centre for Magnetic Resonance, University of Florence, Italy, which is one of the largest biophysics laboratories in Europe. Her studies were focused on proteins that are involved in iron metabolism and assimilation in humans. She studied the interaction of these macromolecules with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and their consequential molecular cascading events.
Vaishali worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the laboratory of Cellular dynamics, Max Plank Institute of Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany and studied the alpha synuclein (ASN) protein, whose accumulation leads to neurodegeneration leading to Parkinson’s disease in humans. This group is a leader in making novel microscopes for studying complicated biological phenomena live. Her research was focused on the interactions of ASN with multiple neuronal proteins involved in cellular trafficking. The molecular events governing packaging and transporting of cellular cargo in and out of cell in rat model system. During her second post-doctoral research at University of Medicine, Gottingen in the Dept of Neurodegeneration, she was part of team involved in testing of proposed potential compounds and their interaction with ASN within cells. Her interdisciplinary research exposure gathered her expertise in cutting edge microscopy, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and neurobiology.
Vaishali enjoys Teaching and Learning. She has an aptitude to learn new languages, she speaks Italian, German, Bengali, Punjabi in two dialects, Hindi and Bhojpuri, with varying degree of proficiency. She is an enthusiast in Latin American dance forms and Photography.
MA, Harvard University
The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi is an innovative thinker, philosopher, educator and a polymath monk. He is the Director of the Ethics Initiative at the MIT Media Lab and the president & CEO of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Center is a collaborative and nonpartisan think tank, and its programmes emphasise responsibility and examine meaningfulness and moral purpose between individuals, organisations, and societies. Six Nobel Peace Laureates serve as its founding members and its programmes run in several countries and are expanding.
Venerable Tenzin’s unusual background encompasses entering a Buddhist monastery at the age of ten and receiving graduate education at Harvard University with degrees ranging from Philosophy to Physics to International Relations. He is a Tribeca Disruptive Fellow and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
Venerable Tenzin serves on the boards of a number of academic, humanitarian, and religious organisations. He is the recipient of several recognitions and awards, and received Harvard’s Distinguished Alumni Honors for his visionary contributions to humanity.
Venkat Panchagnula is a Scientist-entrepreneur aiming to create impact through innovation in life and analytical sciences, and technology integration. He is currently at MassTech Inc., a boutique analytical and life sciences instrumentation company based in Maryland USA managing Applications Research, Global Strategy, Partnerships and Business Operations. He is a co-founder and Director at MassTech LAS Pvt. Ltd., India (since 2021) and Barefeet Analytics Pvt. Ltd. (since 2014).
Venkat was as a Principal Scientist and Associate Professor at the CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune (2007-2020). At NCL, he oversaw an independent group with research interests in bioanalytical chemistry, clinical mass spectrometry (MS), metabolomics, and mass spectrometry imaging. He contributed to several collaborative research efforts in disease biology (diabetic nephropathy, gestational diabetes, childhood obesity, vitamin D deficiency and dental biofilms), systems biology, and food-authenticity analysis contexts. Venkat supervised five Ph.D. and numerous M.Sc./M.Tech. dissertation students. He is a co-author on ~30 scientific and technical publications, and an inventor on 3 international patents (granted). He worked at PerkinElmer (Boston, 2005-2006) and CSIRO Australia (2006-2007) prior to joining NCL. He also conceptualized, set up and served as the founding Scientific Director of the Center for Applications in Mass Spectrometry (CAMS, 2013-2016), a nationally acclaimed analytical service facility at the NCL Venture Center, Pune (‘not-for-profit’ fully owned by CSIR-NCL).
Venkat graduated with a B.Sc. (Math, Chem, Phys) from Osmania University (1996), M.Sc. (Chemistry) from University of Hyderabad (1998) and Ph.D. (Analytical, Surface & Physical Chemistry) from the University of Connecticut, Storrs CT (2005).
PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Vivek Bhandari is a historian with particular interests in issues of culture and power as these are manifest in the historical evolution of participatory politics, public culture, and democratic institutions more generally. After a decade as a faculty member at Hampshire College (where he also taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Mt. Holyoke College), Vivek served as Director, and Professor of Social Science at the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA). In his role as director of IRMA, he worked closely with India’s cooperative sector, and in 2008-9, co-authored India’s first comprehensive analysis of Panchayati Raj institutions, while also researching Maoist movements and contentious issues of land acquisition. He has also taught courses at the National Institute of Design (NID), and for the Young India Fellowship Program (associated with Ashoka University). He has published on the changing character of civil society, the public sphere, and print culture; and more recently, on issues of sustainability and development praxis.
Vivek’s teaching areas include social history, cultural studies, social movements, critical theory.
Vivek has a growing interest in issues of financial technology and rural livelihoods, and since 2017, has served as chairman and independent director of the Jio Payments Bank, a joint venture of the State Bank of India and Reliance Jio. Due to his work in the field of development studies over the past decade, he has served as chair of IFMR’s Internal Review Board. At Krea, he looks forward to teaching courses that address issues of culture and power in modern South Asia; and how issues of surveillance capitalism are impacting the emergence of new publics and counterpublics.
Vivek is an alumnus of St. Stephen’s College, and the University of Pennsylvania from where he received an M.A. in South Asian Studies and Ph.D. in history.