The Aditya Vikram Birla Memorial Trust

The Aditya Vikram Birla Memorial Trust and the Aditya Birla Center for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, led by Mrs. Rajashree Birla, have been instrumental in supporting the Columbia Global Centers | South Asia.


The Aditya Birla Group is one of the largest and most respected business houses in India.  Their long-term commitment to sustainable development in India has driven a number of innovative initiatives in rural livelihoods and sustainable agriculture, infrastructure development, healthcare access, education, and village-level development. In recognition of her distinguished service, the Government of India honoured Mrs. Rajashree Birla with the Padma Bhushan award in 2011 for her exemplary contributions to the field of social work.  


The Kotak Family

Pallavi and Uday Kotak have generously supported the Columbia Global Centers | South Asia in Mumbai since its establishment in 2010.  Pallavi holds a degree from the School of International Affairs (SIPA, ‘84) and their eldest son Jay, graduated Columbia College in 2011.


Uday Kotak is the Vice Chairman and the Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank. The Kotak Mahindra group is a financial organization established in 1985 in India. Over the years, Kotak Mahindra group has grown into several areas like stock broking, investment banking, car finance, life insurance, mutual funds etc.  They are committed to supporting diverse social initiatives such as human settlements, educational initiatives, across the range of elementary to higher education, vocational education and livelihood programmes.


Uday has been awarded with the 2014 “EY World Entrepreneur of the Year” and “Most Valuable CEO” overall, 2010 by Business World. He is a member of the Board of Indian Council for Research on International Economic Affairs, Mahindra United World College of India and the Indian School of Business.


At the Global Center in Mumbai, the Kotak Family grant, in part, helps support the following projects: Space, Gender, and Social Difference; Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates (SEE-U); Conceptual and Institutional Framework for a Free Press in a Global Society; Governing Access to Essential Resources and the Global Humanities project.


Vikram Pandit

Vikram Pandit is currently the Executive Chairman of TGG Group.  TGG Group is a holding company for investment and advisory businesses.


Mr. Pandit was the chief executive officer of Citigroup from 2007 - 2012, the world’s global bank, with approximately 200 million customer accounts and activities in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions.


He joined Morgan Stanley in 1983 and ultimately rose to the post of president and chief operating officer of the company’s institutional securities and investment banking businesses.  Mr. Pandit left Morgan Stanley to become a founding member and chairman of the members committee of Old Lane, LP. When Old Lane was acquired by Citi in 2007, he became chairman and CEO of Citi Alternative Investments. He later led Citi’s Institutional Clients Group, and on December 11, 2007, was named Citi’s CEO. 


Mr. Pandit also serves on the boards of Columbia University, Columbia Business School and the Advisory Board of the Global Center/South Asia.  Born in India, Mr. Pandit moved to the United States at age 16. He enrolled in Columbia University, earning B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering (’76, ’77). Mr. Pandit received his Ph.D. in finance from Columbia in 1986.  A naturalized citizen, he lives in New York City with his wife and two children.


IKEA Foundation 

The Ikea Foundation is generously supporting the Model Districts Health Project, collaboration between The Earth Institute and the India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which seeks to improve public delivery of rural health services for mothers and children.  As a proof-of-concept project, the Model Districts aim to provide a roadmap for public health scale-up, and achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by 2015. In five Model Districts throughout the country, The Earth Institute will partner with state, district, and block officials to scale-up innovations and best practices that will focus on making key health services accessible, high-quality, equitable, and accountable.  The project will particularly focus on health systems infrastructure and capacity, high-performing frontline health workers, effective management and information systems, and required levels of public financing.  The Model Districts will serve as regional pilots for scale-up; research and lessons learned from the districts will directly inform policy and spending recommendations to state and national governments. The IKEA Foundation is supporting the research, strategic, and technical advising in all five Model Districts, which have a total population of 10 million.


Rubal Jain 

Mr. Jain is the director of corporate strategy at Safexpress Pvt. Ltd., one of the largest independent supply chain and logistics companies in India. Safexpress provides a range of services including door to door distribution, single source invoicing, e-logistics, and packaging solutions. The company has over 6 million square feet of warehousing capacity in 565 locations and delivers approximately 80 million packages each year.  


Mr. Jain received a BS in industrial engineering and operations research from the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 2004 and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2006. He has been an active supporter of the Columbia Global Center | South Asia since its inception. 


Sharad Sanghi EN'91 

Sharad Sanghi is the CEO of Netmagic an organization that he founded in July 1998. He is also considered a pioneer in the Indian cloud computing space. Sharad is an industry veteran with over twenty years of experience in developing Internet backbone infrastructure and providing Internet services. He is one of just a few Indians to have worked as an engineer on the first major backbone of the Internet: NSFNet in the US.


Sharad received his Master’s degree from Columbia Engineering after receiving his B. Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay. 


Sharad serves on the Advisory Board of the Mumbai Global Center and is married to a fellow Columbian, Nirali Sanghi BC'89 BU'92.



The UNICEF-India country office is supporting a series of four research  papers on key delivery and scale-up issues in rural India, including the performance of community health workers, better integration of nutrition into health programming, and rural access to skilled birth attendance and specialist healthcare services. 


The Earth Institute and the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad are collaborating to conduct field research and analysis in India, and the results are shared with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare during the International Advisory Panel meetings.