Multidisciplinary Examination of Innovation in India Is Focus of Penn Bi-Coastal Conference

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Media Contact:Ron Ozio | | 215-898-8658November 11, 2013

Burgeoning India is facing historic macroeconomic instability, and 2014 is shaping up to be a contentious election year there. Add a rapidly growing population and an overtaxed infrastructure, and it’s clear India is a case study in the urgent need for innovation.

At a two-city conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, worldwide experts from multiple disciplines will come together for “India as a Pioneer of Innovation: Constraints & Opportunities,” a forward-thinking look at the world’s largest democracy.

“If innovative solutions can be developed to address issues of health care, infrastructure, education and urbanization in the very challenging environment of India,” said Ezekiel Emanuel, Penn’s vice provost for global initiatives, “then solutions can be developed anywhere. The conference will look at the innovation landscape from many angles.“

The conference will be held Thursday and Friday, Nov. 14-15, on the Penn campus in Philadelphia and then move to Penn’s Wharton San Francisco campus on Monday, Nov. 18.

The gathering reflects Penn’s long-standing interest in India as an economic world power as well as Penn’s 130-year history of South Asian research.

“India as a Pioneer of Innovation” represents broad collaboration between Penn’s Wharton School, School of Arts and Sciences, Law School and School of Design. Panelists will also come from the Government of India, think tanks, academia, foundations and private industry.

“Our outstanding Penn faculty has a long history of active research in India,” Provost Vincent Price said. “The Center for the Advanced Study of India pioneered the study of contemporary India more than 20 years ago, and we are proud that it continues to provide cutting-edge interdisciplinary research to address some of the most critical issues facing this vital part of the world.”

Keynote speakers at the conference will be:

  • Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, India’s second largest by assets.
  • Sam Pitroda, adviser to the prime minister of India, founder and chairman of C-SAM Inc. and chairman of the National Innovation Council.
  • Kanwal Rekhi, managing director of Inventus Capital Partners and the first Indian-American founder and CEO to list a venture-backed company on NASDAQ.
  • Arvind Subramanian, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and at the Center for Global Development.

Penn is a historical and contemporary leader on the study of India and an ideal venue to host this important event. For more than 130 years South Asia has been a research focus at the University. Penn is home to the first South Asian studies department in the United States and Penn’s South Asia Center was one of the earliest federally recognized National Resource Centers for the study of South Asia. Today, Penn’s Center for the Advanced Study of India is the only American research center dedicated to the study of contemporary India.

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