Student Group Broadens Program to Mumbai

HPAIR will host its first conference in India—400 students expected

The Harvard Project for Asia and International Relations (HPAIR) will branch out to South Asia for the first time in its 15-year history by holding a business conference in Mumbai, India.

“HPAIR has concentrated on East Asia so far, and if it wishes to be a truly Asian conference it can hardly afford to ignore South Asia, and particularly India,” said Siddhartha Sinha ’07, co-director of the Harvard College Asia Business Forum (HCABF), HPAIR’s newer business arm.

He said that having the forum in India would allow delegates to understand the unique challenges that Indian businesses face and consider how India’s growing economy and affluence will play out on the international stage.

The forum in Mumbai will feature six different panels—entrepreneurship, brand building, pharmaceuticals, outsourcing, foreign direct investment, elite education and the competition for talent—and will also feature four case studies and a recruiting fair. Around 400 students are expected to attend, organizers say.

This year’s HCABF will be held in conjunction with students from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and the Indian Institutes of Technology in Bombay and Delhi.

In addition to the business forum, HPAIR will also be holding its annual academic conference in Singapore this year.

Founded in 1991, HPAIR has held conferences in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Korea, and the Philippines, but has remained within East and Southeast Asia. Each conference features discussion and debate on important issues facing business and international relations in the region.

“We try to create a forum where students and famous speakers can interact,” said Ken Umeki ’06, executive co-chair of HPAIR.

He said he hopes that students will especially cherish their experience living and interacting with delegates from other countries.

HPAIR works with a combined budget of up to $500,000 for the two conferences, with a staff of 20 to 30 organizing programs for students, professors and speakers from over 50 countries.

Notable past speakers include Nobel laureate and former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung, former Economist editor Bill Emmott, President of Singapore S. R. Nathan, and former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir bin Mohamad.

—Staff writer Joyce Y. Zhang can be reached at