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Harvard India Conference – A Concert of New Ideas

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Attendees gather for the Harvard India Conference at the Kennedy School of Government.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — Two days, 90 speakers and over a thousand attendees at one of the largest student-led conferences about India in the U.S. For the last 15 years, every February, eminent personalities of India from political, entertainment, business and science milieus descend on the Harvard campus to share their stories, visions, challenges and missions to infect the young Indian diaspora in the US with an idea of a better India in the global context.

India Conference 2017 was aptly themed, ‘India – The Global Growth Engine.’ A United Nations report forecasted India to be growing at 7.7% in 2017 besides a global recession (just 2.2% in 2016). However, most speakers cautioned the audience from undue fervor as the country continues to reel in poverty—23.6% of the total population lives under $1.25 per day on purchasing power parity. Multitude of the panels like those discussing agriculture, entrepreneurship, urbanization and women’s rights, kept the focus firmly on the challenges with a smattering of success stories.

The euphoria of being Indian was then rested on the celebrity presence, especially well known Indian journalist Rajat Sharma, actor and activist R. Madhavan and politico and Telugu Pawan Kalyan. People from across the subcontinent travelled to listen to their idols. “Please excuse me, but I am going to scream when Pawan Sir arrives,” said a young man to the lady sitting beside him—he belonged to the same Indian state as Mr. Kalyan. Out of nowhere a fortress of security personnel ranging from Harvard University police, private security and bodyguards appeared to control the crowd frenzy.

Each speaker seeked to inspire the audience with their stories of converting life’s challenges to success. They implored the youth to participate in the growth story of India in every way they could.

Keynote addresses were delivered by politicians and diplomats. In the fully packed Burden Hall auditorium at Harvard Business School, politician and author, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, delivered an almost alphanumerical speech, quoting numbers from past and present and setting context for India in the ‘post-globalization world.’ As a paradox to all those socio-economic parameters he also stated, “Anything I say about India, the opposite is also is true. And these opposites coexist quite cheerfully.”

No growth story is complete without the discussion of women’s emancipation—a truism that is acutely felt in India after several high profile sexual assault cases have put pressure on the government by a rapidly modernizing society. The conference panels reflected the urgency of such issues via topics like ‘Leadership Challenges For Women In a VUCA World’ and ‘Interventions To Address Gender Based Violence In India.’ A particularly evocative moment was when Ravi Karkara, Senior Advisor to Deputy Executive Director, UN Women, had all men in the room stand up to take the ‘HeForShe’ pledge at a workshop. Kalki Subramaniam, an Indian transgender activist, artist and author spoke between several clapping interventions and a standing ovation at the ‘Inspire Series.’

Dr. Gururaj Deshpande, entrepreneur and philanthropist delivered the final keynote. He said, “There are three kinds of people in the world: first, who are oblivious to problems, second, who see a problem and complain, third, who find a problem and get excited about it. We need more of the third kind.”

After a full weekend conference there may be many such problem solvers thinking about their next big idea for India and the globe.

David Barclay contributed to this article. 

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Indiaspora releases 2021 government leaders list featuring over 200 members of Indian diaspora

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Indiaspora Releases 2021 Government Leaders List | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Nonprofit Indiaspora released their list recognizing more than 200 members of the Indian diaspora who are leaders in their countries’ governments. The leaders span the globe, with more than 60 holding Cabinet-level positions.

More than 32 million people of Indian origin live outside of India, the largest diaspora population in the world.

After entertaining pitches from a number of Indian states, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa declared Tesla will set up its Indian production in his state. An electric vehicle pioneer, analysts forecast India could generate 5% of Tesla’s revenue in the next 5 years.

The late Indian American scientist Narinder Singh Kapany, the father of fiber optics, received a posthumous Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest award. Singh died last year at the age of 94.

An Indian physicist’s revolutionary Black Hole research is turning 50 years old. C.V. Vishveshwara died in 2017, but his work lives on and continues to be honored. The Indian Association for General Relativity and Gravitation and The International Centre for Theoretical Sciences held an event in India to discuss the implications of Vishveshwara’s breakthrough. And now colleagues in his field around the world continue to be astounded at his research. Building off the work of Albert Einstein, Vishveshwara found that Black Holes had a structure, and if you banged on it, would vibrate like a bell. He first published this finding in the science journal “Nature.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Search continues for 12 yr old Arunay Pruthi lost at sea.

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One Month Since Arunay Pruthi’s Loss At Sea | Diya TV News

FREMONT, Calif. (Diya TV)  — It’s been a month since 12 year old Arunay Pruthi disappeared off the California coast. And while his family and their Fremont neighbors are devastated by his apparent loss, they continue to hold out hope they will find out what happened to the 7th grader. Pruthi was caught by dangerous surf at Cowell Ranch State Beach in Half Moon Bay and his father said he just drifted away. Despite hundreds of volunteers scouring the area, Pruthi hasn’t been seen since. There is a $50,000 reward for information leading to his discovery.

31 year old Ashwani Jain announced he’s running to become Maryland’s next governor. The Democrat recently ran unsuccessfully for Montgomery, Maryland City Council. He’s also a former Obama administration official.

Sean Desai made history, as he was named the Chicago Bears new defensive coordinator, making him the first Indian American ever to receive a coordinator job in the NFL. The 37 year old served as an assistant coach for several years before this promotion. Desai started his coaching career at Temple University, where he also received a doctorate in educational administration.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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UN: Avoid Pakistani airlines over fake pilot licence scandal

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UN: Avoid Pakistani Airlines Over Fake Pilot Scandal | Diya TV News

SANTA CLARA (Diya TV) — The United Nations is telling its staff and partner agencies to avoid flying on all Pakistani airlines as the country continues to deal with a fake pilot license scandal. The warning means UN staff in Pakistan will be unable to fly internationally or domestically with these airlines, creating a travel nightmare.

The National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers is increasing its stake in soccer club Leeds United to 37 percent. And Indian American Paraag Marathe has been tapped to become Vice Chairman of the English Premier League team. Marathe will lead day to day operations and be more involved in the decision making process. The executive is still the 49ers Vice President of Football Operations, essentially the right hand man to owner Jed York.

As more foreign companies turn their backs on the United States, China and India are taking advantage. Direct investment in the US by overseas companies plummeted 49 percent last year according to a recent study. China’s grew by four percent to $163 billion. In India, foreign direct investment skyrocketed 13 percent last year to $57 billion. Policies allowing more foreign companies like Ikea and Uniqlo to open stores and increasing the country’s manufacturing base are some of the reasons for this growth.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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