Bi-coastal Penn conference assesses innovation in India



Bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan, India is the largest democracy in the world with 1.2 billion people.

As the world’s largest democracy and second most populous country, India is a burgeoning economic power. Yet the country’s historic macroeconomic instability, contentious political climate, and overtaxed infrastructure all point to the urgent need for innovation.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, building on more than 125 years of engagement in teaching and research focused on South Asia, Penn will host a major interdisciplinary conference that will examine innovation in India.

“India as a Pioneer of Innovation: Constraints and Opportunities,” a three-day, bi-coastal conference, brings together experts from the Wharton School, the School of Arts & Sciences, Penn Law School, and PennDesign, along with scholars from Harvard University, the University of Toronto, the University of Oxford, and other academic institutions, and global business and government leaders.  

The conference runs from Nov. 14-15 at Penn Law School, and ends with a half-day session on Monday, Nov. 18, at Wharton San Francisco.

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

Provost Vincent Price says the University is uniquely well-positioned to develop an innovative, comprehensive, and sustainable India strategy.

Penn Law School

Penn Law School

The conference runs from Nov. 14-15 at Penn Law School, and ends with a half-day session on Monday, Nov. 18, at Wharton San Francisco.

“Our outstanding Penn faculty has a long history of active research in India,” he says. “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." Penn is home to America's first Department of South Asian Studies and the University’s South Asia Center was one of the earliest federally recognized National Resource Centers for the study of the region.

Keynote speakers at the conference are Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, India’s second largest bank 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; and Arvind Subramanian, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and at the Center for Global Development.

The conference is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Details and the conference agenda are available at the Penn Global website.

Originally published on November 14, 2013