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THE REPUBLIC OF LETTERS

A virtual conference for the best minds in learning to reboot
and redesign higher education in India

June 24-26, 2020 | 4:00 pm-7:30 pm | Open to all

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of India’s higher education sector. The situation is unlikely to go back to what it was. As the leader of your institution, how are you preparing for tomorrow?

In the 17th century, a group of scholars from Europe and the Americas came together to facilitate the dissemination of ideas. Known as The Republic of Letters, the group worked long-distance to stimulate critical thinking in all areas of learning.

In 2020, Ashoka University and Harappa Education are creating a virtual Republic of Letters for higher education leaders who see the pandemic as an opportunity to reshape how we teach and learn.

It includes top global experts, Vice-Chancellors, Directors and Principals of India’s most premier educational institutions, as well as policy-makers and thinkers.

Join us as we come together to redefine the future of India’s higher education system.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Dr Deborah
Prentice

Provost
Princeton University

Dr Pardis
Mahdavi

Dean of Social Sciences
Director of School for Social Transformation
Arizona State University

Ben
Nelson

Founder & CEO
Minerva Project

Prof Srikant
Datar

Senior Associate Dean of University Affairs
Harvard Business School

Prof Bharat
Anand

Vice-Provost for Advances in Learning
Harvard University

Dr Rick
Levin

Former President, Yale University
Former CEO, Coursera

Prof Anil
Sahasrabudhe

Chairman
All India Council for Technical Education

Dr Subra
Suresh

President
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Prof DP
Singh

Chairman
University Grants Commission

SESSION CHAIRPERSONS

Nandita
Abraham

President
Pearl Academy

DR PRASHANT
BHALLA

Treasurer, EPSI
President, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions

Prof Jamshed
Bharucha

Vice-Chancellor, Sai University
Former Provost, Tufts University

Prof Souvik
Bhattacharyya

Vice-Chancellor
BITS Pilani

Dr H
Chaturvedi

Alternate President, EPSI
Director, BIMTECH

Dr Rupamanjari
Ghosh

Vice-Chancellor
Shiv Nadar University

Prof Sudhir
Jain

Director
IIT Gandhinagar

Dr Pankaj
Jalote

Founding Director
Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi

Atul
Khosla

Co-Founder & Pro Vice-Chancellor
Shoolini University

Prof Rishikesha
Krishnan

Director-designate
IIM Bangalore

Prof C
Raj Kumar

Vice-Chancellor
OP Jindal Global University

Dr Pankaj
Mittal

Secretary General
Association of Indian Universities

Dr Faizan
Mustafa

Vice-Chancellor
NALSAR, Hyderabad

Dr Bijayalaxmi
Nanda

Acting Principal
Miranda House

Dr Bhushan
Patwardhan

Vice-Chairman
University Grants Commission

Dr Furqan
Qamar

Former Vice-Chancellor
Rajasthan University & Central University of Himachal Pradesh

Dr Sunder
Ramaswamy

Vice-Chancellor
Krea University

Dr Sandeep
Sancheti

Vice-Chancellor
SRM Institute of Science and Technology

Prof Dheeraj
Sanghi

Director
Punjab Engineering College

Prof Malabika
Sarkar

Vice-Chancellor
Ashoka University

Prof Anju
Seth

Director
IIM Calcutta

Shreyasi
Singh

Founder and CEO
Harappa Education

Prof Rajendra
Srivastava

Dean
Indian School of Business

Dr Sekar
Viswanathan

Vice-President
Vellore Institute of Technology, Chennai

Dr Vidya
Yeravdekar

Pro Chancellor
Symbiosis International University

CONFERENCE TRACKS

Track 01

Transitioning to Digital

Given that online learning is here to stay, how can we ensure that we continue to help students learn and grow, despite the challenges of technology? This track will focus on how digital technologies can enhance learning in ways that the physical classroom cannot.

It will include discussions on issues ranging from reconstructing curriculum and amplifying faculty potential to optimizing technology infrastructure and bridging the digital divide.

Track 02

The Resilient Institution

Running an institution in the midst of a pandemic presents challenges across the board. How do you secure health and safety in classrooms and hostels in the era of social distancing? How do you tackle requests for fee reductions? How do you prudently plan finances for the future? How do you place the Class of 2021 at a time when jobs will be scarce?

The current crisis is an opportunity to make your institution stronger and more resilient. This track will address the main administrative and governance-related questions that are plaguing all our higher education leaders.

Track 03

Leading from the Front
(By invitation only)

The pandemic has challenged leaders of institutions like never before. We have led from the front and learned a lot. This is an opportunity for us to share what has worked and what hasn’t, and to discuss what it will take to navigate and beat the looming uncertainty.

As leaders, we stand at a moment in time where we are fighting a crisis that gives us a rare opportunity to redefine our future. We need to make the most of it.

This track is by invitation only and will be conducted in an interactive online meeting format.

Conference AGENDA

Wednesday, June 24

TOPIC

The Digital University

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR SUBRA SURESH

President, Nanyang Technological University

TOPIC

Pedagogy: Past, Present and Future

4.35 pm to 5.05 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

PROF MALABIKA SARKAR

Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University

PANELISTS

PROF SOMAK RAYCHAUDHURY

Director, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Pune

PROF SURANJAN DAS

Vice-Chancellor, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

TOPIC

Ensuring Student Engagement Online

5.10 pm to 5.40 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

PROF ANJU SETH

Director, IIM Calcutta

PANELISTS

ASHOK MITTAL

Chancellor, Lovely Professional University

DR ROSHAN LAL RAINA

Vice-Chancellor, JK Lakshmipat University

TOPIC

Enhancing Student Learning Online

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

PROF SRIKANT DATAR

Senior Associate Dean of University Affairs, Harvard Business School

TOPIC

Towards Student Centricity: Are NEP and NACB the Answer?

6.20 pm to 6.50 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR SANDEEP SANCHETI

Vice-Chancellor, SRM Institute of Science & Technology

PANELISTS

PROF RAJITA KULKARNI

President, Sri Sri University

DR RAJAN SAXENA

Former Vice-Chancellor, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies

TOPIC

Higher Education in a Moment of Social Transformation

7.00 pm to 7.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR PARDIS MAHDAVI

Dean, Social Sciences and Director, School for Social Transformation, Arizona State University

Thursday, June 25

TOPIC

Technical Education Reimagined

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR ANIL SAHASRABUDHE

Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education

TOPIC

Rethinking the Role of Research in Teaching

4.35 pm to 5.05 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR PANKAJ JALOTE

Founding Director, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi

PANELISTS

DR PRABHU AGGARWAL

President-Designate (Vice-Chancellor), NIIT University

PROF M BALAKRISHNAN

Vice-Chancellor, Satya Bharti Institute of Technology

TOPIC

Reconfiguring the New Normal

5.10 pm to 5.40 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR SUNDER RAMASWAMY

Vice-Chancellor, Krea University

PANELISTS

DR RANJAN BANERJEE

Dean, SP Jain Institute of Management & Research

SHASHANK VIRA

Managing Partner, The Hearth Advisors

TOPIC

Retooling Harvard

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

PROF BHARAT ANAND

Vice-Provost for Advances in Learning, Harvard University

TOPIC

Bridging the Gap: Can Online be the Big Equalizer?

6.20 pm to 6.50 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

PROF DHEERAJ SANGHI

Director, Punjab Engineering College

PANELISTS

PROF AJIT CHATURVEDI

Director, IIT Roorkee

PROF PJ NARAYANAN

Director, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad

TOPIC

Reimagining the University

7.00 pm to 7.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

BEN NELSON

CEO, Minerva Project

Friday, June 26

TOPIC

Reinventing Indian Universities

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

PROF DP SINGH

Chairman, University Grants Commission

SESSION TOPIC

Connect the Dots: Keeping Professional Education Relevant

4.35 pm to 5.40 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

NANDITA ABRAHAM

President, Pearl Academy

PANELISTS

DR THOMAS GARVEY

Board Member, World Design Organization

Associate Professor, School of Industrial Design, Carleton University

PROF JOHN THACKARA

Senior Fellow, Royal College of Art

Adjunct Professor, School of Visual Arts

GITANJALI JB

Founding CEO, Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh

DR GEETHA NARAYANAN

Founder Director, Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology

TOPIC

After COVID-19: The Future of Online Education

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR RICK LEVIN

Former CEO, Coursera

Former President, Yale University

TOPIC

Will Regulations, Accreditation and Rankings Keep Up?

6.20 pm to 6.50 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

PROF C RAJ KUMAR

Vice-Chancellor, OP Jindal Global University

PANELISTS

DR VIRANDER CHAUHAN

Chairman, National Assessment and Accreditation Council

DR ASHWIN FERNANDES

Regional Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, QS Quacquarelli Symonds

CEO, QS-ERA India Pvt Ltd

TOPIC

The Future of Universities

7.00 pm to 7.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR DEBORAH PRENTICE

Provost, Princeton University

Wednesday, June 24

TOPIC

The Digital University

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR SUBRA SURESH

President, Nanyang Technological University

TOPIC

How Institutions are Responding: A Global Perspective

4.35 pm to 5.40 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR FURQAN QAMAR

Former Vice-Chancellor, Rajasthan University & Central University of Himachal Pradesh

PANELISTS

DR PETER J WELLS

Chief, Higher Education, UNESCO, Paris

DR JOANNA NEWMAN

CEO & Secretary General, Association of Commonwealth Universities, London

VIVIENNE STERN

Director, Universities UK International, London

FRANCISCO MARMOLEJO

Education Advisor, Qatar Foundation for Education

TOPIC

Enhancing Student Learning Online

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

PROF SRIKANT DATAR

Senior Associate Dean of University Affairs, Harvard Business School

TOPIC

Creating Health-Promoting Universities

6.20 pm to 6.50 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR PANKAJ MITTAL

Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities

PANELISTS

DR RAJIV YERAVDEKAR

Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Symbiosis International University

DR PAYDEN

Deputy Representative to India, World Health Organization

TOPIC

Higher Education in a Moment of Social Transformation

7.00 pm to 7.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR PARDIS MAHDAVI

Dean, Social Sciences and Director, School for Social Transformation, Arizona State University

Thursday, June 25

TOPIC

Technical Education Reimagined

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR ANIL SAHASRABUDHE

Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education

TOPIC

Reopening Campuses: How Should We Think About Safety Measures?

4.35 pm to 5.05 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR H CHATURVEDI

Alternate President, Education Promotion Society for India

Director, Birla Institute of Management Technology

PANELISTS

DR MADHU CHITKARA

Pro Chancellor, Chitkara University

DR AMIT BANERJEE

Pro Chancellor, Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan, Bhubaneswar

TOPIC

Where Work Meets Learning: Technical Qualifications for Working Professionals

5.10 pm to 5.40 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

PROF SOUVIK BHATTACHARYYA

Vice-Chancellor, BITS Pilani

PANELIST

SUBRAT MOHANTY

Group President, Manipal Education and Medical Group

MARKUS BELL

Global Head, Vocational Training, SAP SE

TOPIC

Retooling Harvard

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

PROF BHARAT ANAND

Vice-Provost for Advances in Learning, Harvard University

TOPIC

Managing the Complexities of Public Health, Education and Inequity

6.20 pm to 6.50 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR RUPAMANJARI GHOSH

Vice-Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University

PANELIST

PROF K SRINATH REDDY

President, Public Health Foundation of India

TOPIC

Reimagining the University

7.00 pm to 7.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

BEN NELSON

CEO, Minerva Project

Friday, June 26

TOPIC

Reinventing Indian Universities

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

PROF DP SINGH

Chairman, University Grants Commission

TOPIC

New Skills for a New Workplace

4.35 pm to 5.05 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

SHREYASI SINGH

Founder and CEO, Harappa Education

PANELISTS

PROF CHRISTOPHER DEDE

Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard Graduate School of Education

VINAY HEBBAR

Senior Vice-President and Head, International Markets, Harvard Business Publishing

TOPIC

Stronger Together: Collaborating Across Institutions, Specializations and Clusters

5.10 pm to 5.40 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

PROF RAJENDRA SRIVASTAVA

Dean, Indian School of Business

PANELISTS

PROF JANAT SHAH

Director, IIM Udaipur

PROF SARIT DAS

Director, IIT Ropar

TOPIC

After COVID-19: The Future of Online Education

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR RICK LEVIN

Former CEO, Coursera

Former President, Yale University

TOPIC

Gender and Diversity: Tackling Intersectional Vulnerabilities

6.20 pm to 6.50 pm PANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR BIJAYALAXMI NANDA

Acting Principal, Miranda House

PANELISTS

DR PADMAJA MISHRA

Vice-Chancellor, Rama Devi University

PROF ANITA GHAI

Professor, School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University

SPEAKER

DR DEBORAH PRENTICE

Provost, Princeton University

7.00 pm to 7.30 pm KEYNOTE

Wednesday, June 24

TOPIC

The Digital University

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR SUBRA SURESH

President, Nanyang Technological University

TOPIC

Leadership for Sustained Excellence

4.35 pm to 5.40 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

PROF RISHIKESHA KRISHNAN

Director-Designate, IIM Bangalore

PANELISTS

DR SUDHIR KRISHNASWAMY

Vice-Chancellor, NLSIU, Bangalore

DR DEVANG KHAKHAR

Former Director, IIT Bombay

TOPIC

Is GER the Right Parameter for Measuring Access in Developing Countries: What Else Can We Use?

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR BHUSHAN PATWARDHAN

Vice-Chairman, University Grants Commission

PANELISTS

DR PANKAJ MITTAL

Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities

SMT SHAILAJA CHANDRA

Former Secretary, Govt of India

Former Chief Secretary, Delhi

TOPIC

Prudent Planning: Sustainable Financing for Higher Education Institutions

6.20 pm to 6.50 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR PRASHANT BHALLA

Treasurer, Education Promotion Society for India

President, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions

PANELISTS

DR MANGESH KARAD

Executive President, MIT Art, Design & Technology University, Pune

SHANKAR VANAVARAYAR

Chairperson, Kumara Guru Group of Institutions, Coimbatore

TOPIC

Higher Education in a Moment of Social Transformation

7.00 pm to 7.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR PARDIS MAHDAVI

Dean, Social Sciences and Director, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University

Thursday, June 25

TOPIC

Technical Education Reimagined

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR ANIL SAHASRABUDHE

Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education

TOPIC

Navigating the Pandemic: The Professional Institution Perspective

4.35 pm to 5.05 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR FAIZAN MUSTAFA

Vice-Chancellor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad

PANELISTS

DR HIMADRI DAS

Director, International Management Institute, Delhi

NITISH JAIN

President, SP Jain School of Global Management

TOPIC

Cognitive Principles of Learning Online

5.10 pm to 5.40 pm PANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR JAMSHED BHARUCHA

Vice-Chancellor, Sai University

Former Provost, Tufts University

PANELISTS

ANAND SUDARSHAN

Founder and Director, Sylvant Advisors Pvt Ltd

SAHIL CHALANA

Founder, Collegedunia

TOPIC

Retooling Harvard

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

PROF BHARAT ANAND

Vice-Provost for Advances in Learning, Harvard University

TOPIC

Improving Access and Success: Reaching the Very Last Student

6.20 pm to 6.50 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

ATUL KHOSLA

Co-Founder and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Shoolini University

PANELISTS

SMT ANJU SHARMA

IAS, Principal Secretary, Higher & Technical Education, Govt of Gujarat

PROF HIMANSHU PANDYA

Former Vice-Chancellor, Gujarat University

TOPIC

Reimagining the University

7.00 pm to 7.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

BEN NELSON

CEO, Minerva Project

Friday, June 26

TOPIC

Reinventing Indian Universities

4.00 pm to 4.30 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

PROF DP SINGH

Chairman, University Grants Commission

TOPIC

Crisis as an Opportunity: Leading in the Pandemic

4.35 pm to 5.05 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

PROF SUDHIR JAIN

Founding Director, IIT Gandhinagar

PANELISTS

DR ANUNAYA CHAUBEY

Provost, Anant National University

PROF MANOJ GAUR

Director, IIT Jammu

TOPIC

Internationalization of Higher Education: The Way Forward

5.10 pm to 5.40 pm PANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR VIDYA YERAVDEKAR

Pro Chancellor, Symbiosis International University

PANELISTS

FIONA HUNTER

Associate Director, Centre for Higher Education Internationalization, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

ELSPETH JONES

Emerita Professor, Internationalization of Higher Education, Leeds Beckett University, UK

PROF JOS BEELEN

Professor, Global Learning, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

TOPIC

After COVID-19: The Future of Online Education

5.45 pm to 6.15 pmKEYNOTE

SPEAKER

DR RICK LEVIN

Former CEO, Coursera

Former President, Yale University

TOPIC

Re-Engineering Engineering Colleges

6.20 pm to 6.50 pmPANEL DISCUSSION

SESSION CHAIR

DR SEKAR VISWANATHAN

Vice-President, Vellore Institute of Technology, Chennai

PANELISTS

DR KRISHNASWAMI SRIHARI

Dean, School of Engineering & Applied Science, Binghamton University, USA

DR V RAJU

Provost, Engineering & Technology, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai

SPEAKER

DR DEBORAH PRENTICE

Provost, Princeton University

7.00 pm to 7.30 pm KEYNOTE

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