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Harvard India Conference 2017

Shrunotra San

The 14th anniversary of the Harvard India Conference hosted by the Kennedy School and Business School saw another successful event this past weekend, attended by some of the brightest and most influential minds of the country. The theme this year was India - The Global Growth Engine, and it sparked discussion and debate on the key areas that are crucial to India's path to global leadership in the 21st century.

The Keynote presentations and panel discussions featured a very impressive lineup of speakers from various sectors and businesses in India. Mr. S.Y. Quraishi, India's former Chief Election Commissioner, spoke about what is stopping India, the largest democracy in the world, from becoming the greatest. Mr. Rajat Sharma, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India TV, discussed the freedom of speech and the press, and the challenges that the Indian media faces. Mr. Shashi Tharoor, a well-known Indian politician, spoke on India in the 'post globalization world' and Mr. Gururaj Deshpande, President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC, shared his thoughts on innovation and entrepreneurship in India as the only way to solve its problems and fulfill its role as a global growth engine.

Several panel discussions, including 'When Education is not Enough - Skilling the World's Largest Youth Force,' 'Stand Up Start Up - The Entrepreneurship Journey,' 'Navigating the Business: Government - Social Sector Intersection,' 'Kashmir - Breaking the Impasse,' and 'Women in Leadership - Leadership Challenges for Women in the VUCA World' generated ideas and conversations about the role different types of people in India play in helping it reach the next level. Speakers included Mr. Pawan Kalyan, Mr. Manish Malhotra, Mr. Vivek Oberoi, Ms. Anamika Khanna, Mr. Rajiv Luthra, Ms. Samina Vaziralli, Ms. Suchita Salwan, Ms. Sunanda Mane, Ms. Shveta Raina, and many other brilliant entrepreneurs, businesspeople, leaders, and influencers.

One of the greatest takeaways from the conference is that India needs to progress as a country, not as individual Indians. We need to mobilize the next generation of entrepreneurs, social workers, politicians, families, and leaders who will move India forward and take advantage of the hub of innovation that India is and the opportunities that India provides.


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