Since its inception in 2003, the South Asia Initiative (SAI) continues the long tradition of collaboration between Harvard and South Asia’s nations. Learning from South Asia and contributing to its development have become vital given the salience of the region in contemporary times. Under the leadership of Tarun Khanna, faculty director of SAI and Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, SAI has forged links and synergies across Harvard’s Schools and within South Asia, creating a nexus for interdisciplinary scholarship with shared aspirations to build the leading center of expertise on South Asia.This year, SAI has hosted a robust seminar series focusing on themes of social enterprise, urbanization, water, Pakistan, and climate change. Additionally, the Future of South Asia symposium engaged Harvard faculty, area experts, and government officials in discussions of energy and environment, architecture, health, governance, and water issues. SAI’s Mumbai, India, office plays a crucial role in supporting Harvard faculty and students in research, teaching, and field experience. This summer, aided by SAI, 24 undergraduates, 28 graduate students, and three faculty members have been funded to travel to all corners of South Asia to conduct research, perform fieldwork, participate in internships, and pursue South Asian language study.For more information about SAI.
1Marissa Suchyta ’14 (left) and graduate student Alana Van Dervort study salamander regeneration in a lab at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. 4Graduate students Kevin Ma and Pakpong Chirarattananon perform a pre-flight lab inspection of the RoboBee (framed by an orchid) at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory. 19Broad Institute automation engineer Christian Soule (left) and research associate Hoang Danh perform high-throughput screening and compound management investigating cancer, infectious diseases, pesticide, and bacteria. 14Graduate student Daniel Bediako (left) and Zamyla Chan ’14 cut a silicone sample in the Nocera Lab. 16Staff engineer-mechanical Stacey Fitzgibbons (from left), and electrical staff engineers Amanda Wozniak and Crystal Knodel test a medical device developed at the Wyss Institute for treating infant apnea. On the table is a plastic infant used for calibrating the equipment. 18Senior staff scientist Daniel Levner manipulates a robot used for research while working on the organs-on-chips project at the Wyss Institute. 5Slava Arabagi works on soft sensor fabrication at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory. 10Ranjana Sahai, research associate in materials science and mechanical engineering, assembles robotic insect wings inside the Harvard Microrobotics Lab. 8Michael Tolley works with an origami-inspired gripper folded from a single plastic sheet in the Harvard Microrobotics Lab. 9Views of mural artwork dappled with natural light in the modern spaces of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab. 3Florian Block (from left, in reflection), a research associate in computer science, Chia Shen, a senior research fellow in computer science, and Xi Chen, a visiting scholar in computer science, use an interactive software called FloTree, which offers Harvard Museum of Natural History visitors the opportunity to use their hands as barriers to separate virtual populations of organisms. 12Zamyla Chan ’14 (from left), postdoctoral fellow in chemistry and chemical biology Christopher Gagliardi, and chemistry and chemical biology research assistant Robert Halbach work in Harvard’s Nocera Lab. Many experiments run in this lab require the rigors of oxygen and water at the level of “parts per billion,” or at even lower ratios. To perform them, students must have expertise in manipulating compounds and solutions under high-vacuum manifolds. 11Harvard Microrobotics Lab Manager Michael Smith works on a Denton sputtering chamber for disposition of thin metal onto various surfaces and materials. 13Graduate student Andrew Ullman performs research in the Nocera Lab. 2Belinda von Niederhaeusern, a former fellow in stem cell and regenerative biology, works in the Sherman Fairchild Building, which is LEED Platinum certified. Through the Harvard Green Labs Initiative, Harvard is committed to reducing energy and conserving resources in laboratories. 15Visiting graduate student Anne Louise Kodal works in the laboratory of Will Shih, associate professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at the Wyss Institute. The Shih Lab explores design principles for self-assembling molecular machines. 6Postdoctoral researcher Mike Wehner reflected in a molding of soft robot materials made in the Harvard Microrobotics Lab. 7Michael Tolley (right), postdoctoral fellow in materials science and mechanical engineering in the Wyss Institute, seen here with lab manager Michael Smith, holds a large-scale model of the Harvard Monolithic Bee — a robot insect that is actually the size of a quarter. 17Senior staff scientist Daniel Levner displays research materials and illustrations for the organs-on-chips project at the Wyss Institute. The thrill of discovery just isn’t the same when you’re alone. That’s one of the myriad reasons why collaboration is central to research at Harvard. Here, students, fellows, and researchers are common presences in Harvard’s laboratories, where they work together to make discoveries, further their studies, and co-author papers with professors. The labs are also groundbreaking environments in which robotic insects take flight and the study of energy conversion in the Nocera Lab makes inexpensive, clean energy. “Eureka!” just doesn’t have the same ring without someone else there to share the celebration. 20Cassandra Elie and Kevin Joseph, both process development associates, perform whole genome sample sequencing inside the Broad Institute.
Leaders of the news media industry gathered at the “Free Speech through a New Lens: Film, Digital Media and Social Change” panel held at Wallis Annenberg Hall on Monday.The Washington Post editor Martin Baron (center right) spoke at the panel along with three other media news industry leaders on Monday about free speech in digital media. Emily Smith | Daily TrojanPanelists included David Linde, chief executive officer of Participant Media; Shabnam Mogharabi, chief executive officer of SoulPancake; Martin Baron, editor of The Washington Post; and Josh Singer, the screenwriter of Spotlight and The Post. Frederick M. Lawrence, an expert in free expression and hate-crime law, moderated the event. The conversation focused mainly on the role of news media in democracy, as well as what the First Amendment means in a digital context. Baron said that most other forms of news outlets, such as television and radio news, get their stories from newspaper reporting. “You find that the stories that we do become the genesis for public conversation more than stories done by anybody else,” Baron said. According to Baron, the goal of newspapers is to provide a forum for public conversations and to elevate that conversation.Baron acknowledged that the nature of the press has expanded to include media companies and digital platforms.SoulPancake, a site that creates “uplifting content” such as Kid President, a motivational video series, is one of these new media companies. Mogharabi spoke about the role of the SoulPancake when it comes to censoring user-generated content. “We tend toward the side of not censoring,” Mogharabi said. “We try to guide it but we definitely do not actively censor unless we’re seeing foul language or threatening language. We don’t want to prevent people from exploring that clash of ideas, even if we disagree with them.”Singer agreed that free expression is important in the public sphere. He emphasized the importance of the press — especially the local press — in today’s world. According to Singer, if there is no strong local reporting, corruption may go unnoticed.“The press is so important to keeping our leaders honest,” Singer said. “There is a reason that the fourth estate exists and that is to keep another check on power.”Lawrence said that a system with neither repression of speech nor censorship may be the best. To him, speech should not be repressed, but there is a moral obligation to respond and counter.“Doing journalism is an exercise of the rights provided us in the First Amendment,” Baron said.According to Baron, the First Amendment is not just a set of guiding principles, but a call to action. He said that the principles journalists practice are what have kept him in this profession for over 40 years. “As journalists, we’re trying to tell the truth, actually,” Baron said. “That’s the purpose. We’re trying to be the expression of the First Amendment in the modern day.” Citing former president James Madison, Baron said the purpose of the First Amendment is to hold the government accountable by means of an independent entity outside the three branches of government. That entity is the free press, he said.“So that’s what we’re trying to achieve — to try to tell the truth about what’s happening in our government and our broader society and around the world,” Baron said. “I think that most people in our profession are deeply dedicated to that.”