July 28, 2022

On July 10, Aspire alumni gathered at the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University at their office in New Delhi, India. Tarun Khanna, director of the Mittal Institute and co-founder of the Aspire Institute, joined alumni and Aspire supporters to discuss building a future of young leaders in India and beyond.

The young adults at the event were buzzing — sharing the enthusiasm to meet alumni of the program founded in 2017 at the Mittal Institute.

“I want other Indians to get a clear idea of how much they will gain from applying to the Aspire Leaders Program,” Jithendra P. shared. 

Other students shared Jithendra’s passion, like Sagar P., who expressed the benefits of the global community. 

“It’s the opportunity to learn from such a global crowd, including renowned faculty,” Sagar P. said. “I like getting to learn from various groups of people who represent such diverse fields.”

Furthermore, each alum has accomplished something they are proud of since completing the program. Some feel proud of how they have applied their improved communication skills. Others shared the confidence and inspiration they gained that guided them to take agency over their life decisions.

“We need to take ownership as alumni — we can join together on projects and turn our ideas into initiatives,” Shivay Shakti D. said.

The Mittal Institute’s India office serves as a connector and convener in the region. They bring experts from across South Asia to identify and share their knowledge on science, art, culture, economics, and more. 

The office forms new partnerships and projects between Harvard and other institutions through a steady stream of scholars brought from South Asia to the U.S. They train them before they return to the region to develop new and renewed partnerships with local academic, public, and private institutions.

The Aspire Leaders Program, formerly known as Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program (CELP) was launched by the Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard, in partnership with the Harvard Club of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) in 2017. The collaboration between the Aspire Institute and Mittal Institute continues today.

This event invited the India-based Aspire alumni into that network; introducing them to peers and potential mentors. 

Nine alumni from each year of the CELP and Aspire Leaders Program among other supporters gathered for this inaugural in-person alumni gathering. 

“I could see the amount of excitement,” said Khanna. “It was clear that a simple chai and samosas event reignited old networks and was greatly appreciated.”


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