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News

Updates from the South Asia Centre


South Asia Centre hosts workshop on Indian State Elections

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On Thursday 13 December, the South Asia Centre hosted a workshop on the Indian State Elections in the Seligman Library at LSE. With an electoral breakdown of each state presented by LSE students using voter data, the workshop heard from James Chiriyankandath (School of Advanced Study), Louise Tillin (King’s College London) and James Manor (School of Advanced Study) about what the results could mean for when the country goes to the polls by May 2019.

Those in attendance also heard from Milan Vaishnav (Carnegie), Gilles Verniers (Ashoka) and Dr. S.Y. Quraishi (Former Chief Election Commissioner of India) via video link. The discussion was chaired by Mukulika Banerjee, (Director South Asia Centre, and Associate Professor in Anthropology at LSE)


 

LSE renames Towers after suffrage campaigners 

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On Friday 23 November, HRH The Countess of Wessex officially unveiled the renaming of three of LSE’s key buildings after central figures in the British suffrage movement.

Previously known as ‘The Towers’, the buildings on Clement’s Inn are now Pankhurst House, Fawcett House and Pethick-Lawrence House after the suffrage campaigners Emmeline Pankhurst, Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, who all have connections to the area. The South Asia Centre is now located not in ‘Tower Two’ but ‘Fawcett House’.

The three buildings are on the same site as the London headquarters of the Women Social and Political Union, founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and supported by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. The current LSE campus was also host to the suffragette meeting place the Tea Cup Inn; the St Clement Press, which published Votes for Women, and the London Opera House, where larger suffrage campaign meetings were held.


 

Announcement of Shortlist for DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

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On 14 November the South Asia Centre hosted the announcement of the shortlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Now in its 8th year, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is one of the most prestigious international literary awards specifically focused on South Asian fiction writing.

Prior to the announcement, held in the Shaw Library, a panel discussed the role of literary prizes in contemporary fiction as well as many of the debates surrounding translation of non-English texts. This panel included Surina Narula (Founder of the DSC Prize), Alexandra Pringle (Editor-in-Chief of Bloomsbury Publishing), Sathnam Sanghera (Author and Journalist) and Claire Armistead (Associate Editor, the Guardian).

The six shortlisted books were Jayant Kaikini: No Presents Please (translated by Tejaswini Niranjana), Kamila Shamsie: Home Fire, Manu Joseph: Miss Laila, Armed And Dangerous, Mohsin Hamid: Exit West, Neel Mukherjee: A State Of Freedom and Sujit Saraf: Harilal & Sons.


 

LSE students interview Dr. Ishrat Husain on Pakistan Economy  

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While attending a day-long conference at LSE organised by LSESU Pakistan Development Society, Dr Ishrat Husain, ex-Governor of Pakistan's Central Bank and currently Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, was interviewed by LSE Act.Cont.Think, a student-led podcast.

In a recorded discussion, Dr Husain answered questions on the relationship between Pakistan and IMF, the country's current balance of payments and economic imbalances throughout the country. 

The interview was conducted by Danyal Adnan, Msc Accounting and Finance, LSE. You can listen to the interview by clicking here


  South Asia Centre holds second edition of the Colombo Development Dialogues

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On Friday 31 August 2018, the South Asia Centre in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme in Sri Lanka, held the second edition of the Colombo Development Dialogues focused on Water Security and Climate Variability.

The panel brought together a range of individuals from the government, private sector, development agencies, and academia to provide expert interventions on various aspects of water security. The discussion was complemented by five invited Discussants, who provided additional perspectives and evaluations of the panellists’ comments to facilitate further questions and debate. As such, perspectives on institutional arrangements around water in Sri Lanka, the pricing of water and agricultural foods, the different implications of water security for women and men, the role of the private sector, and data-driven solutions for resilience were discussed and debated during the course of the event. Professor J A (Tony) Allan presented his concept of Virtual Water, locating its value especially for Sri Lanka.

Panellists included Professor J A (Tony) Allan, Dr Timotheues Gaasbeek, Dr Giriraj Amarnath, Dr P. B. Dharmasena, and Dr Soumya Balasubramanya. Invited Discussants included Mr Sydney Gajanayake, Ms Dilrukshi Handunnetti, Ms Shiranee Yasaratne, Ms Tharuka Dissanaike, Mr Jude Kasturi Arachchi. The event was moderated by Dr Nilanjan Sarkar, Deputy Director, South Asia Centre, LSE.

A working policy paper of the Dialogue will be available to download from the Centre’s page on Sri Lanka from 1 January 2019.

To view the video of the dialogue on Facebook, click here


 

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South Asia Centre hosts WW1 commemorative event in honour of more than one million soldiers from undivided India

On Friday 9 November, the South Asia Centre hosted a commemorative event to pay tribute to the role of more than one million soldiers from undivided India that served in the First World War.

In this centennial year of the Great War, the event also witnessed the launch of the unique Red ‘Khadi’ Poppy made from handspun Indian cotton. At the end of the event, the panel and audience observed a minute's silence. 

Speakers included Field Marshal Sir John Chapple GCB, CBE (Retd.), Lord Gadhia, Major Sartaj Singh Gogna, Ms Shrabani Basu and Dr Mukulika Banerjee.

Click here to listen to a podcast of the event.


 

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Second student-run Pakistan conference takes place at LSE, supported by the South Asia Centre

On Saturday 3 November, the LSESU Pakistan Development Society hosted a day-long Future of Pakistan Conference that brought together leading figures from the worlds of politics, academia and business to discuss a number of key issues facing the country.

The conference opened with remarks from the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK before the audience heard from speakers and panelists that covered the Civilian-Military Nexus, Women’s Empowerment, the Investment Agenda: Future of Pakistan, and the Legal and Moral Dimensions to Combating Terrorism.

Speakers included: Hina Rabbani Khar, General Naeem Lodhi, Hassan Miraj, Hina Butt, Ishrat Hussain, Sahibzada Amir Jahangir, Ahmed Chinoy, Zeeshaan Shah, Junaid Iqbal, Arif Aneef, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Amber Darr.


 

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PhD and Postdoctoral Drinks Reception

At the end of October, the South Asia Centre held a drinks reception for PhD and Postdoctoral students whose work focuses on different countries across South Asia. The reception presented research students based at LSE with the chance to share their experiences from their projects with their peers.

Along with the South Asia Centre team, research students met Claire Milne, a Visiting Senior Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications, whose work on telecommunications includes a focus on Bhutan, and Assistant Professor Dr Rajesh Venugopal from the Department of International Development.


 

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2017/18 Annual Report

The South Asia Centre’s third year saw a number of new beginnings and a consolidation of its strengths and reputation in the UK and in South Asia. The SAC held its first day-long Bangladesh Summit at LSE in June, and the first-ever Centre event in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Throughout the year, the SAC ran a large number of high-profile events, including with many prominent academics, authors, policy-makers and politicians. A particular highlight was the visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minster of Pakistan Mr Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at the personal invitation of the Centre, as well an unprecedented discussion between the two ex-Intelligence chiefs of Pakistan and India held in a packed hall in front of the world’s media.

Read about all our activities this year in our latest Annual Report.

 


 

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Nandita Das in Conversation

On 12 October 2018, Writer and Film Director Nandita Das spoke about her new film 'Manto' (2018) at LSE's South Asia Centre where she was in conversation with the Centre's Director Mukulika Banerjee and Sangeeta Datta, Director of Baithak UK.

During the talk, Ms. Das interacted with the audience in what was an engaging debate about how the film related to both India's past and the contemporary political landscape.

This event was organised in collaboration with LSESU South Asia Society and Baithak UK.


 

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Director's BBC Interview

Listen to SAC Director Dr Mukulika Banerjee speak on BBC on the knotty issue of Non-resident Indians voting from abroad, here

 

 


 

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2016/17 Annual Report

Published in its second year, 2017, the South Asia Centre has continued to develop links between South Asia and all aspects of LSE. The SAC has also been running a rich programme of activities around the 70th anniversaries of Indian and Pakistani independence, including the Colony as Empire speaker series, and conferences in India and Pakistan.

Read about all our activities this year in our latest Annual Report.


 

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South Asia Centre holds first ever LSE Pakistan Summit in Karachi

In April 2017, the South Asia Centre curated 'Pakistan at 70', a two-day event presented by the Aman Foundation. The Summit was held at the Institute of Business Administration City Campus in Karachi and comprised panels on philanthropy and institution building, art and modernity, the Constitution, and development and its dividends. In additon Senator Sherry Rehman inaugurated Day 2 and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi gave the closing remarks. 

Click here for the summit report, session videos, interviews and more.


 

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South Asia Centre successfully concludes the second LSE India Summit in Delhi

'India at 70', presented by Apollo Tyres Ltd, took place at the India Habitat Centre at the end of March. The three day event featured four panel discussions on contemporary issues, from corporate social responsibility and water security, to foreign policy and the Constitution.

In addition, there was a special exhibition curated by the Partition Museum, a conversation on the LSE’s longstanding relationship with India featuring Professors Michael Cox and Ramachandra Guha, and a workshop on quantitative methods for the social sciences. 

Click here for the Summit report, multimedia and more.


 

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Experts react to 2017 Legislative Election results announced across India

On 11 March results were announced for five legislative elections held in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. Mukulika Banerjee, Surajit Bhalla, Meghnad Desai and Maitreesh Ghatak, who were were at LSE for the fourth LSESU India Forum, gathered to discuss key trends and features emerging from the results. Read more on the South Asia @ LSE blog.


 

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100 Foot Journey Club event with Indian Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley

On 25 February 2017, the Hon'ble Minister of Finance Mr Arun Jaitley spoke at LSE on India's current economic and financial climate, and engaged in a Q&A with LSE students and staff.

The event was jointly hosted by the High Commission of India to the UK, the South Asia Centre, and the LSE Financial Markets Group. It formed a part of the LSE-HCI 100 Foot Journey Club series.

Listen to the podcast of the event.


 

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Prof Amartya Sen launches new edition of Collective Choice and Social Welfare at the South Asia Centre

On January 2017 Professor Amartya Sen was in conversation with Professor Kevin Roberts about the re-issue of his 1970 monograph Collective Choice and Social Welfare, which was widely celebrated for its path breaking role in integrating economics and ethics, and for its influence in opening up new areas of research in social choice. The new edition features new arguments and results, alternating between mathematical and non-mathematical chapters to discuss choice, welfare, inequality, poverty and rights.  

View the event Storify here or listen to the podcast.


 

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Indian student politicians visit LSE

On November 2016, the South Asia Centre hosted a group of Indian 'next gen' politicians who were visiting the UK as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office study trip. During their visit, the visitors interacted with LSE students and participated in a lively debate around demonetisation in India.


 

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The Dr Tristram Hunt, MP presented 'Cities of Empire' in the first lecture of new Colony as Empire series

In late November The Hon Dr Tristram Hunt MP visited the South Asia Centre to speak on his book Ten Cities that Made an Empire  which explores the expansion of the British Empire through the lens of the major cities. Particular attention was given to the three Indian cities that featured in the book: Calcutta, Bombay and New Delhi.

Listen to the event podcast. Read the South Asia @ LSE blog interview with Dr Hunt.


 

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Prof Ashwini Deshpande presents a new paper on caste, class and socio-economic mobility in India 

On November 2016, the South Asia Centre hosted a workshop for LSE faculty and researchers where Ashwini Deshpande, Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, presented her new research on how social mobility impacts educational and professional outcomes.

Read the South Asia @ LSE blog interview with Professor Deshpande.


 

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First student-run Pakistan conference takes place at LSE, supported by the South Asia Centre

On November 2016, the LSESU Pakistan Development Society hosted a day-long Future of Pakistan Conference to bring together members of the government, experts, and students with a keen interest in discussing strategies and policy recommendations for the country.

Speakers included Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Dr S Akbar Zaidi, Dr Umar Siaf, Dr Mavish Shami, Dr Adnan Kan and many more. The organisers will compile a report summarising the conclusions of the conference, which will be published on their website in due course.


 

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Urbanisation Trends in South Asia: Arif Hasan on the Case of Karachi

In the past twenty years major urban related changes have taken place in Karachi which are similar to those of other South Asian mega cities. At an event co-hosted by the South Asia Centre and LSE Cities, Arif Hasan, a practicing Pakistani architect-planner, writer, teacher and activist working in Karachi, discussed the nature and scale of migration; the social and physical change in informal settlements; changes in academia, civil society and government thinking, structure and legislation; and the "burden" of past development. The event was chaired by Philipp Rode.

Listen to the event podcast or read the South Asia @ LSE blog interview with Arif Hasan.


 

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Former Prime Minister of Nepal speaks at the South Asia Centre, LSE

On 14 November Dr Baburam Bhattarai, former Prime Minister of Nepal, and Dr Dan Hirslund (LSE) were in conversation about a range of issues confronting contemporary Nepal. They touched on issues from corruption to reconstruction efforts following the 2015 earthquakes and the role of the Nepali youth in politics today. The event was chaired by Professor Michael Hutt (SOAS).

Listen to the event podcast or read the South Asia @ LSE blog interview with Dr Bhattarai.


 

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Prof Rajeev Gowda discusses flawed political finance laws and corruption in India

The issue of how to finance politics is one that plagues democracies everywhere. In the case of India it is particularly acute, as the current laws – despite good intentions – serve to encourage corruption in the system.  During a recent visit to London, Professor Rajeev Gowda spoke on this issue at LSE and began a discussion on possible remedies to reduce candidate and party dependence on black money.

Listen to the event podcast or read the South Asia @ LSE blog interview with Professor Gowda.


 

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Martin Woollacott in conversation with Salil Tripathi

On November 2016 Salil Tripathi was in conversation with Martin Woollacott, on his book The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and Its Unquiet Legacy (2014).

The two journalists had a wide ranging discussion about Bangladesh since its inception, touching on the how the war began, how the polical parties still draw on the conflict as a source of legitimacy and how the country is coping with the fallout from the war crimes. They also explored how the challenges facing Bangladesh have evolved, touching on climate change, extremism and the economy.

Read the LSE review of the book.


 

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India's Democracy: Electoral Vibrancy, Liberal Deficits

On November 2016 Professor Ashutosh Varshney and Ashis Ray spoke at the South Asia Centre on India’s democratic and electoral record. They provided an analysis of state elections in India since 2014 and assessed the BJP national government’s record half way into their term. 

Listen to the event podcast or read the South Asia @ LSE blog interview with Professor Varshney.


 

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Pakistan High Commission hosts dinner for LSE students and alumni

On October 2016, the High Commission of Pakistan in London generously hosted a dinner for current LSE students and alumni who are based in the UK. The event was coordinated by the LSESU Pakistan Society and members of the Pakistan Development Society, and South Asia Centre were also in attendance. 

At the event, the High Commission announced some of the events they will be organising in 2017 to mark 70 years of independence. The LSESU Pakistan Development Society also announced the launch of tickets for their Future of Pakistan Conference, which takes place on November. 


 

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Indian Parliamentarians visit LSE

On 21 October 2016 South Asia Centre hosted a group of Indian Parliamentarians who were visiting the UK as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office study trip. During their visit to LSE the group had talks on the British and Indian economies in comparative perspective from Dr Swati Dhingra and the legal issues around Brexit from lawyer and LSE alumna Sarah George. They also had a chance to meet current LSE students and visit the statue of Social Reformer and LSE alumnus Dr BR Ambedkar. 


 

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PhD welcome reception and Masterclass

In October 2016, the South Asia Centre held two events for PhD students: a welcome drinks reception and a Masterclass on Rethinking Quantitative Data. The reception offered doctoral researchers the opportunity to meet those from other years and disciplines working on the region. The workshop led by Dr Laura Zimmermann, SAC Visiting Fellow, explored the availability and diversity of data and how they can be used to greater effect by both quantitative and qualitative researchers. 


 

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2015/16 Annual Report

In its first year the South Asia Centre forged greater and more substantial links between South Asia and all aspects of LSE and stepped up the School's engagement with the region.

Read about all our activities - from LSE public events and the first ever India LSE Summit to our collaborations with students, alumni, faculty, regional experts and organsitions and the High Commissions, in our Annual Report 2015/16.


 

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SAC Deputy Director Meets Alumni in Nepal

On 6 August 2016 Dr Nilanjan Sarkar, Deputy Director of the South Asia Centre, met with the Nepali alumni association in Kathmandu to discuss the South Asia Centre's plans and activities - particularly in relation to Nepal - and find out more about the careers that alumni had pursued since leaving LSE.


 

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Farewell reception for Deputy High Commisioner of India to the UK Dr Virander Paul

The South Asia Centre, in partnership with the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK, hosted a farewell reception for Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK Dr Virander Paul. 

Dr Paul has been a strong advocate for the South Asia Centre supporting joint enterprises between the Indian Government and the South Asia Centre. This has included developing a Practioner in Residence Scheme, and a residential programme delivered at the LSE focusing on social inequality, injustice and empowerment affecting contemporary Britain. 50 research scholars and 8 government officers from across India took part in the programme, which was part of the 125th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Dr B R Ambedkar.

More photos are available on our Facebook page

The event was supported by Rami Ranger CBE.


 

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SAC Visit to Bangladesh

Dr Nilanjan Sarkar, Deputy Director of the South Asia Centre, visited Bangladesh from 18-21 June 2016, to meet prominent business leaders and alumni. He led an LSE delegation which included Professor David Lewis (Head of the Department of Social Policy & Member of the SAC Faculty Advisory Group), and prominent alumni Dr Mushtaque Chowdhury (Vice President, BRAC and member of the SAC Advisory Board) and Professor Imran Rahman (Vice Chancellor, University of the Liberal Arts Bangladesh). The meetings had the twin purpose of raising funds for the Centre, and to discuss the possibility of an LSE Bangladesh Summit.

During the visit, Professor Lewis gave a public lecture, 'The Decline of Radical Development NGOs in Bangladesh', which was organised by the University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh. Read more about his lecture in The Daily Star


 

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South Asia Centre completes first year

The LSE South Asia Centre (SAC) celebrated its first anniversary on June 2016. It has been a busy year: the SAC has hosted more than fifteen events and supported LSESU societies to run their own talks and conferences. South Asia @ LSE, the Centre blog, has expanded its remit considerably and produces regular academic analysis of topical debates.

The SAC also hosted the first LSE India Summit in Goa, and in February Professor Craig Calhoun became the first LSE Director to visit Pakistan as he participated in an official SAC visit. They also organised a range of events to mark the 125th birth anniversary of leading social reformer and jurist Dr BR Ambedkar, an LSE alumnus.


 

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LSE Faculty Dr Gagan Sood has authored the following book, which was published by Cambridge University Press, India and the Islamic Heartlands: An Eighteenth-Century World of Circulation and Exchang (2016).

Based on the chance survival of a remarkable cache of documents, India and the Islamic Heartlands recaptures a vanished and forgotten world from the eighteenth century spanning much of today's Middle East and South Asia. Gagan Sood focuses on ordinary people - traders, pilgrims, bankers, clerics, brokers, scribes, among others - who were engaged in activities marked by large distances and long silences. By elucidating their everyday lives in a range of settings, from the family household to the polity at large, Sood pieces together the connective tissue of a world that lay beyond the sovereign purview. Recapturing this obscured and neglected world helps us better understand the region during a pivotal moment in its history, and offers new answers to old questions concerning early modern Eurasia and its transition to colonialism.


 

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India's new High Commissioner to the UK H.E. Mr Navtej Sarna welcomed at the LSE

High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Navtej Sarna visited the LSE on 9 March 2016. He was hosted by the Director and President, Prof. Craig Calhoun who shared with him the vision and plans of the newly formed South Asia Centre; he also interacted with academics associated with the Centre working on issues of importance to India.

At the High Commissioner's suggestion, it was agreed that given the close proximity of the LSE and the HCI, as the two institutions are literally across the road, they will strengthen their ties through a new '100 Foot Journey Club' (#100FJC) that will host regular events and discussions on topical issues and research about India.


 

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Professor Craig Calhoun has become the first serving LSE Director to visit Pakistan.

This was at the beginning of a week long trip around the country, including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, where Professor Calhoun, along with Dr Mukulika Banerjee and Dr Nilanjan Sarkar, Director and Deputy Director of the LSE South Asia Centre respectively, met with Government ministers, students, alumni, and gave presentations at Universities in each city. Read about his meeting with PM Nawaz Sharif here.

Also read a report on the trip.


 

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Reception for LSE Alumni from Pakistan in the UK

On 16th February 2016, the South Asia Centre held a reception for LSE Alumni from Pakistan in the UK where they met the LSE President & Director, Professor Craig Calhoun, and His Excellency Mr. S. Ibne Abbas, High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK. 

Dr Mukulika Banerjee also spoke about the South Asia Centre and its imminent trip to Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Thanks to all alumni who came, and for the support given by members of the LSESU Pakistan Society and LSESU Pakistan Development Society. It was great to meet you and hope to see you at South Asia Centre events in the near future.


 

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LSE India Summit 2016

‘We live in a world where UBER, the largest taxi company, does not own taxis; Airbnb, the largest accommodation company, does not own rooms; Alibaba, the biggest retailer in the world, does not have a shop. In this world, the language of GDP, balance sheets, per capita income no longer make sense. We need a total redesign of how we look at global finance.’

     ~ Sam Pitroda, pioneer of India’s IT revolution, speaking at the LSE India Summit in Goa  

The South Asia Centre hosted the first ever ‘LSE India Summit 2016’ at the Cidade de Goa on 28-30 January 2016.

Sponsored in full by Difficult Dialogues LLP, the Summit was immensely successful, with more than 300 people attended it over 3 days. Read more about the Summit. 


 

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The second delegation of Ambedkar Research Students had a successful visit, finishing with a reception hosted by the South Asia Centre on Friday 27 November 2015.

Whilst here, two of the students were interviewed by Rozelle Laha, from the Hindustan Times, which features in an article published in the Delhi edition on 2nd December. Read the article which was featured on page 19 of the Delhi edition.