Second Georgetown ‘India Ideas Conference’ on April 21


WASHINGTON, DC: A number of India experts, current and former diplomats, and thought leaders will address the second Georgetown University “India Ideas Conference,” which will be held here on April 21.

Launched last year, the mission of the conference is to bring together “scholars, practitioners, diplomats, and public- and private-sector thought leaders” for brainstorming on the innovation that is taking place in India and challenges it faces.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Empowering India.”

“The India Ideas Conference seeks to create a collaborative, solution-oriented platform to foster discussion of India’s challenges and opportunities in this new era of social and economic change,” Irfan Nooruddin, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Indian Politics and director of Georgetown’s India Initiative, told The American Bazaar.

Prominent speakers include Howard Schaffer, a Georgetown professor and former US ambassador to Bangladesh; Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia at the Department of State; Richard Verma, former US ambassador to India and vice chairman of The Asia Group;  Nisha Biswal, President of the US-India Business Council and former assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs; Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO of US-India Strategic and Political Forum; Rick Rossow, Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Gautam Adhikari, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress; and Sagarika Ghose, Consulting Editor at The Times of India.

The Idea Conference is not the only India-related events the university is hosting this month.

The India Initiative will host Art of Living Foundation founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on April 22, for a meditation and talk. The moderator of the event is Shaun Casey, director of Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace.

Georgetown is one of a number of elite US universities that host annual India-related conferences. Other schools that organize such India events include Wharton,  which hosts Wharton India Economic Forum, Harvard University and Columbia University.

Here is the schedule and full agenda of the Georgetown India Idea Conference, as listed on the Georgetown website:

10:30 a.m. | Check-in

11:00 – 11:15 a.m. | Opening Remarks
Riggs Library
Irfan Nooruddin, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Indian Politics; Director, Georgetown University India Initiative

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Opening Keynote
Sponsored by McLarty Associates in memory of Ambassador Howard Schaffer
Riggs Library
Ambassador Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, U.S. Department of State
Ambassador Richard Verma, Vice Chairman, The Asia Group

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. | Lunch

1:00 – 1:50 p.m. | Breakout Session: India’s Investment in Trade
Riggs Library
Nisha Biswal, President, U.S.-India Business Council
Vinay Singh, Director of Global Infrastructure, KPMG
Dilip Sundaram, President of Corporate Affairs, Mahindra Group
Moderator: Rick Rossow, Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies

1:00 – 1:50 p.m. | Breakout Session: The Power of the Diaspora: Shaping U.S.-India Ties
Sponsored by Indiaspora
Bioethics Library
Maya Ajmera, President and CEO, Society for Science & the Public
Balan Ayyar, Founder and CEO,
Suchit Bachalli, CEO, Unilog
Moderator: Sanjeev Joshipura, Executive Director, Indiaspora

2:00 – 2:50 p.m. | Breakout Session: Women in Leadership
Sponsored by Georgetown University Women in Leadership
Riggs Library
Ranji Nagaswami, CEO, Hirtle, Callaghan, and Co.
Amita Poole, CEO, IIPL USA
Moderator: Ridhika Batra, Director USA, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

2:00 – 2:50 p.m. | Breakout Session: India’s Economic Outlook
Bioethics Library
Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO, USISPF
Bhavani Parameswar, Executive Director, King Maker Marketing
Anoop Singh, Asia and Pacific Department Director, International Monetary Fund
Moderator: Anit Mukherjee, Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. | Coffee break

3:30 – 4:20 p.m. | Breakout Session: Freedom of Expression in Media and the Arts
Riggs Library
Gautam Adhikari, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Sagarika Ghose, Consulting Editor, Times of India
Radhika Vaz, Comedian and Writer

3:30 – 4:20 p.m. | Breakout Session: Skill India
Sponsored by the Georgetown University South Asian Society
Bioethics Library
Raj Gilda, Co-Founder, Lend-A-Hand India
Adrian Mutton, CEO, Sannam S4
Moderator: Nandini Mullaji, Business Analyst, McKinsey & Company

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. | Closing Keynote: India at 70
Riggs Library
Shiv Khemka, Executive Chairman, The Global Education and Leadership Foundation

6:00 p.m. | Closing Remarks and Reception
Bioethics Library


Richard Verma joins Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service as Centennial Fellow (March 28, 2017)

Georgetown India Initiative to host Tata Group’s Sunil Sinha on January 24 (January 16, 2017)


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