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Executive Director


Meena Sonea is the Executive Director of Aspire Institute (AI), co-founded by Professors Tarun Khanna and Karim Lakhani from the Harvard Business School. Aspire Institute provides fully-funded academic and leadership development opportunities to low-income, first-in-family to college students worldwide. Aspire Institute replaces Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program founded in 2017 at the South Asia Institute, Harvard University.

Before joining Aspire Institute, Meena was the Executive Director of the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University, 2010- 2021. She worked with faculty and students across all professional schools at Harvard, Harvard College, and peer academic institutions to catalyze partnerships to develop new scholarship on issues critical to South Asia. She worked with representatives of several Institutes in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan to engage think tanks, governments, NGOs to expand South Asian studies at Harvard. Meena helped set up an overseas office in Delhi and outposts in Lahore, Kathmandu, and Dhaka.

Meena has a Masters in Architecture from Rice University, Masters in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, and an Undergraduate degree from St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, India.

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