Insights From India: Day 1

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton’s dispatches from India

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton is in India with a group of Washington University in St. Louis leaders and members of the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environmental Partnership (MAGEEP) this week to first talk about global energy and environmental solutions and then meet with the university’s International Advisory Council for Asia.

Today’s post: Mumbai and the opening of the MAGEEP-sponsored Fourth International Symposium on Energy and Environment: ACCESS (Abundant Clean Cost-effective Energy Systems for Sustainability).

This is the first of the chancellor’s Insights From India.

Insights from India: Day 2
Insights from India: Day 3
Insights from India: Day 4

Dec. 10, 2012

Mumbai, India, is a fascinating city on India’s western coast. Washington University’s reach was evident at our alumni event on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Oberoi Hotel, engaging alumni, prospective students and their parents, and friends of the university.

Alumni from engineering, social work and architecture participated, and many came dressed in beautiful, traditional Indian attire. Some of the alumni were classmates who had not seen each other since their days in St. Louis. It was rewarding to see the beginnings of a stronger network of alumni and friends in Mumbai!

The opening session of the Fourth International Symposium on Energy and Environment: ACCESS from the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai.

Later Sunday afternoon, we opened our international meeting of McDonnell Academy partners from around the world. Faculty, students and academic and corporate leaders numbering more than 200 gathered for the opening session.

The leaders of our site co-hosts, S. Parasuraman, PhD, of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and Devang Khakhar, PhD, of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, welcomed the symposium participants. I introduced a book by Gautam Yadama, PhD, associate professor of social work at the Brown School, Portraits of the Energy Impoverished: Fires, Fuel, and the Fate of 3 Billion, with photographs documenting the plight of the approximately 3 billion people who do not have easy access to energy. This beautiful book set the tone for our symposium.

The Mumbai skyline and a stretch of the Arabian Sea coastline.

Our day concluded with a reception outdoors on a balmy beautiful evening with Indian wine and food. The evening event was magical, with many people participating from all over the world to talk informally about meeting the world’s energy needs in a sustainable and affordable way.