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The India Conference at MIT Sloan
MIT has had a strong and flourishing relationship with India ever since the first Indian student attended MIT in 1880, only fifteen years after the university first opened its doors. Since then, MIT and India have forged a powerful and committed relationship, which has included collaboration between MIT students and faculty, and the students and faculty of India’s higher learning institutions. Together, these groups promote outcomes-focused research, new models of effective governance and sustainability, and supportive business models for a developing economy.
Most recently, in 2007, MIT President Susan Hockfield led an expedition to fortify MIT’s relationship with India, meeting some of India’s key government officials, business leaders and academics. From this trip, the MIT India Initiative was born and solidified, tying the university with India-based businesses and learning institutions, focusing on building a collaborative partnership and a new mission for cooperative global enterprise. Not only does the initiative reflect MIT’s resolve to play an active role in one of the fastest growing economies in the world; it also reflects India’s willingness and desire to make a place for itself in the collaborative international community.
As part of the MIT India Initiative, in 2011 the annual MIT India Conference was born through a joint initiative between MIT Schools of Science, Engineering, Architecture and Planning, and Humanities and Social Science, and Management. Sponsored annually by the MIT Sloan School of Management and held at the on-campus Media Lab, the MIT India Conference highlights new technologies, innovations, and emergent issues of health care, finance and governance within India. The dual mission of the conference is to celebrate MIT’s long-standing partnership with India, as well as to educate and excite students to build a vision for India that will spur the nation into the future through cutting-edge thought.
The following year featured the theme “Connecting the U.S. and India through Technology, Entrepreneurship and Education”. Keynote speakers for the event included high-profile people including: Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist for the World Bank; Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Spiritual Leader and Founder of the Isha Foundation; the Honorable Akash Paul, Director of the Caparo Group; and the Honorable Nadir Godrej, Managing Director of Godrej Industries. Through addressing controversial and prominent topics such as corruption, the value of the rupee, global debt, the future of agriculture in India, and incorporating online education for advancement, the conference shed insight onto the path India will take to continue emerging as a global power, creating a tradition in the annual India Conference that continues each year.