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Brandeis University Visit to India
February 1 - 11, 2010

Jehuda Reinharz, President
Harleen Singh, Helaine and Alvin Allen Assistant Prof. of Literature
Daniel Terris, Vice President for Global Affairs

In February 2010, the Brandeis delegation made a two-week visit to India to pursue comprehensive University connections and relationships. The visit, building upon two prior planning trips, helped create the basis for a long-term strategy of two-way regional engagement with India and South Asia. The trip included several types of core activities, including “anchor” events with alumni, parents, and VIPs; academic lectures and an international summit on climate change; and visits with government, NGO, business officials, and the Indian Jewish community.



Day 1: Monday, February 1, 2010

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and TERI University  Blog entry

We met with leaders and faculty members at TERI, a major India knowledge and research hub on sustainability and climate change headed by R.K. Pachauri. Brandeis is developing a partnership with TERI for a number of undergraduate and graduate-based initiatives, including a possible field-based study abroad program…(link to blog post)

Meeting with Vineeta Singh Rai '66  Blog entry

Alumnae Vineeta Rai ’66, a distinguished public servant in the Indian government, came to Brandeis as a Wien International Scholar, and remembers with fondness the vibrant international flavor on the Brandeis campus even during that era.  When Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi came to campus in 1965, Vineeta was one of those privileged to greet her.  (67 Wien Scholars have come to Brandeis from India, more than from any other country.) We chatted with Vineeta about Brandeis' presence in India today; she also helped connect us with government leaders...(link to blog post)

Dinner hosted by Soli J. Sorabjee GP '10  Blog entry

We were invited to dinner Monday night with Mr. Soli Sorabjee, former minister of justice, one of India’s great human rights champions, and grandfather of Aarti Mody ’10.  This year, Brandeis established a lectureship in Soli Sorabjee’s name, as part of the Brandeis-India Initiative. Historian Sugata Bose gave the first lecture in November, and Mr. Sorabjee himself will be coming to campus to give a lecture on April 14. The dinner is a wonderful opportunity to meet giants in India's legal and academic community...(link to blog post)

Day 2: Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Visit to the Taj Mahal

As Prof. Harleen Singh arrives, we take the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. This is President Reinharz's first trip to India, and a rare chance to visit cultural and historic sites on a busy trip.

Day 3: Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Early morning Delhi tour  Blog post

Prof. Singh takes us through some Delhi landmarks and rituals...(link to blog post)

Visit to the American Embassy School  Blog post

We're hosted at the American Embassy School, where many Brandeis students have graduated from in recent years. Clearly what resonates most with this group is the combination of Brandeis’s small size, in addition to students’ access to top-level research. Two students are particularly interested in theater (AES has a very active program), and we give them a rundown of the extensive opportunities both within the theater department and in student-run organizations...(link to blog post)

A Brandeis-Delhi Family Gathering  Blog post

In the evening, President Reinharz hosts an informal gathering of the Brandeis “family” in Delhi:  alumni, parents of current students, and even some parents of students who have graduated...(link to blog post)

Day 4: Thursday, February 4, 2010

Breakfast with Atul Punj P'12  Blog post

We meet Atul Punj P ‘12 for breakfast.  Mr. Punj is one of India’s leading industrialists, the chairman of the global construction firm PunjLloyd, and the father of Shiv Punj, member of the Brandeis class of 2012. At our breakfast,  Atul Punj makes a significant commitment to South Asian Studies at Brandeis, subject to approval of his company’s board later in 2010...(link to blog post)

Meeting with Arun Maira, India Planning Commission  Blog post

Arun Maira is a member of India’s Planning Commission, a senior government body with enormous influence on broad areas of policy within the Indian government.  He comes to the position from long experience in the world of business consultancy, including a longtime stint in the Boston area at Arthur D. Little. We talk with him about a possible joint program on India-Middle East affairs...(link to blog post)

Delhi's Baha'i Temple  Blog post

Later in the day, we squeeze in a visit to the remarkable Baha’i Temple in Delhi, one of just seven Baha’i temples scattered around the globe.  Our tour has been arranged through the family of Aarti Mody ’10, and we are given a thorough and informative introduction by Shatrughun Jiwnani, the managing director of the temple...(link to blog post)

Dinner hosted by Atul Punj P'12  Blog post

Atul Punj P’12 hosts a dinner at his home in New Delhi, where we meet Brandeis alumni, current parents, heads and counselors from Delhi schools to discuss Brandeis' profile in India...(link to blog post)

Minister Kapil Sibal  Blog post

Jehuda and Atul Punj take a few minutes away from the dinner at Mr. Punj’s home to meet with Kapil Sibal, the Minister of Human Resources and Development – in effect India’s education minister. They discuss some new possibilities for Brandeis to partner with Indian institutions...(link to blog post)

Days 5-7: Friday, February 5 - Sunday February 7, 2010

2010 Delhi Sustainable Development Summit

We're invited guests at the first major gathering of world leaders on climate change since the Copenhagen Conference.



Day 7: Sunday, February 7, 2010

New members of the Brandeis family  Blog post

Hemant and Yolanda Paranjape, parents of first-year student Tanay '13, host us for a welcome dinner in Mumbai. We also get a chance to meet Preeti Nalwa, mother of new student Tarini '13...(link to blog post)

Day 8: Monday, February 8, 2010

Site visits to NGOs run by Brandeis alumni and a dinner with NGO and academic leaders  Blog post

On our first full day in Mumbai, we visit the extraordinary work being done by two Brandeis alumni. Sundar Burra ’71 is the leader of SPARC, an organization devoted to working with citizens of the Dharavi slum, India's largest; Devika Mahadevan ’00 is the leader of Mumbai Mobile Creches, which works with the children of migrant workers who are working on Mumbai's constructions sites. In addition to touring these sites and meeting both staff and participants, we explore ways for Brandeis students to work meaningfully in NGOs in Mumbai as interns and volunteers...(link to blog post)

Day 9: Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Jewish community in Mumbai: Tragedy and resilience  Blog post

A day-long visit with Mumbai's Jewish community includes stops at the Magen Hassedim Synagogue and the Mumbai Chabad House, a site of the November 2008 terrorist attacks...(link to blog post)

Dinner at the Mody home  Blog post

Zia Mody P'10 hosts a wonderful dinner for us with families and friends of the university...(link to blog post)

Day 10: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Brandeis evening in Mumbai  Blog post

Our final day in Mumbai is one to celebrate the Brandeis commitment to social justice. It begins with a public lecture by Jehuda Reinharz hosted by the Asia Society and St. Xavier's College, in which Reinharz calls for "partnerships for knowledge and social justice." It ends with a reception for the Brandeis family at the Taj Tower Hotel..(link to blog post)

Images from the evening's events

Streaming Video

Jehuda Reinharz

"Higher Education in a Global Age"
Streaming video from the Asia Society
46 min.

Jehuda Reinharz

"We're not trying to create experts"
Streaming video from the Asia Society
2 min.

Reflections from President Reinharz  Blog post

Jehuda Reinharz reflects on his two weeks in India...(link to blog post)