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U.S. Strategic Engagement With India
People-to-people Conference
People-to-people Conference
President Obma's India visit November 6-9, 2010
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The U.S. Department of State

In Cooperation with

The Indian American Leadership Council
American India Foundation


U.S.-India People-to-People Conference

“Building the Foundation
for a
Strong Partnership”

October 28, 2010
Loy Henderson Auditorium


U.S.-India People to People Conference

Welcome to the U.S.-India People to People Conference.  In advance of President Obama’s visit to India, this event seeks to highlight the crucial role of Indian-Americans in the ever-strengthening U.S.-India relationship. 

President Obama has called India an “indispensable” partner for the 21st century.  Indeed, many of today’s defining global challenges will only be met through closer cooperation between India and the United States. While government cooperation is essential, it is the multitude of people-to-people connections that will continue to define and further deepen the U.S.-India partnership.  Through linkages among entrepreneurs, students, scientists, professors, business leaders, and others, the U.S. and India can work together to help find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

This conference is thus designed not only to honor the incredibly important contributions Indian-Americans have made, but also to identify novel ways in which the community’s vast talents can be applied in the areas of global health, renewable energy, education, and economic empowerment.

By listening, learning and engaging with each other and leading thinkers and practitioners, attendees can find resources and partners to support existing initiatives, or launch entirely new ones.  We view today as only the beginning of our conversation.  We will therefore be following up with all of you after this conference.  Just as President Obama’s India visit will mark another seminal milestone in our relations with India, so too should this conference serve as an important step in our partnership with the Indian-American community.

Thank you for your participation. We look forward to working with you.
“India is a leader in Asia and around the world. It’s a rising power and a responsible global power.
That’s why I firmly believe that the relationship between the United States and India will be a
defining partnership in the 21st century.”
- President Barack Obama


11:30 – 12:30



12:30 – 12:45

Robert D. Hormats
Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Ron Somers
President, U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC)

Dr. Kamala Edwards
President, Indian American Leadership Council (IALC)

A special video message from
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton


12:45 – 1:30

Dr. Andrew Light
Senior Fellow and Coordinator, International Climate Policy, Center for American Progress

Kedar Munipella
Director, Solar Sales for Americas at Applied Materials, Inc.

Jacob Scherr
Director, Global Strategy and Advocacy, Natural Resources Defense Council

John Stephenson
Associate Partner, Dalberg Global Development Advisors

Moderated by Tom Cutler, Director of European and Asia Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy

Building the Foundation for a Strong Partnership


1:30 – 2:00

Dr. Rajiv Shah
Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Introduced by Geoffrey R. Pyatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary,
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State


2:00 – 2:30


2:30 – 3:15

Dr. Aman Bhandari
Policy Analyst, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House

Dr. Anurag Mairal
Associate Director, Stanford-India Biodesign

Sameer Mithal
Executive Vice President, Business Development, WaterHealth International

Moderated by Dr. Rushna Ravji, Senior Health Officer, USAID


3:15 – 4:00

Iqbal Dhaliwal
Global Head of Policy, MIT Poverty Action Lab

Jessica Kehayes
Director of Education, Asia Society

Dr. Sanjay Rai
Vice President and Provost, Germantown Campus, Montgomery College

Dr. Sanjay Sinho
CEO, American India Foundation (AIF)

Moderated by Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary,
Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State


4:00 – 4:45

Pradeep Ramamurthy
Senior Director of Global Engagement, National Security Council

Dr. Harbir Singh
Dean for Global Initiatives and Co-Director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Arvind Subramanian
Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics and
Center for Global Development

Moderated by Ron Somers, President, U.S.-India Business Council


4:45 – 5:00

Ambassador Meera Shankar
Embassy of India
Introduced by Judith A. McHale, Under Secretary of State,
Bureau of Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State


Dr. Aman Bhandari is a Policy Analyst for the Chief Technology Officer at the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.  Dr. Bhandari received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in the division of Health Policy and Management, and a Master’s in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota.  At Berkeley, he was a United Nations Management of Technology Fellow where he put together a team to research innovations in global health.  Previously, Mr. Bhandari worked at Genentech, the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies, the Stanford Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and served as a director of the Knowledge and Social Responsibility Program for the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Tom Cutler is Acting Director of the Office of European and Asian Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.  He is responsible for making recommendations to senior leadership on energy policy, energy markets, clean energy cooperation, and energy trade and investment issues relating to Asia and Europe.  Mr. Cutler has managed energy policy dialogues with Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, China, Japan, and Korea as well as the EU.  From 1988 to 1991, he was a guest lecturer on military jet fuels at the College of Energy Studies in Oxford.  His book, The Military Demand for Oil, was published in 1989.  Mr. Cutler has a B.A. in Government from Lawrence University and a M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University.

Iqbal Dhaliwal is the global head of policy for Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).  Before coming to J-PAL, Iqbal was a Director in the Economic Analysis practice of a consulting firm in Boston.  Prior to that, Iqbal was a member of the Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.) where he worked on many public policy issues during stints as a Deputy Secretary in a state government, Director of a state-wide welfare department, and Managing Director (CEO) of a publicly owned company.  Iqbal has a B.A. in Economics from University of Delhi, an M.A. in Economics from Delhi School of Economics and an M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Dr. Kamala Edwards is President of the Indian American Leadership Council (IALC) as well as a Commissioner for the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.  She served as Chair of the Maryland Governor’s Advisory Council for New Americans, and was a member of Governor Martin O’Malley’s transition steering committee.  Dr. Edwards came to the United States as a visiting professor to teach English and returned in 1979 to serve as President of Asia’s oldest women’s college, Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow, U.P. Dr. Edwards currently is a Professor of English at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland.

Robert D. Hormats was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs on September 23, 2009.  He was formerly vice chairman of Goldman Sachs (International). He joined Goldman Sachs in 1982.  Mr. Hormats served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs from 1981 to 1982, Ambassador and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative from 1979 to 1981, and Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State from 1977 to 1979. He served as a senior staff member for International Economic Affairs on the National Security Council from 1969 to 1977, where he was senior economic advisor to Dr. Henry Kissinger, General Brent Scowcroft and Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski.  Mr. Hormats was a recipient of the French Legion of Honor in 1982 and the Arthur Fleming Award in 1974.  He earned a B.A. with a concentration in economics and political science from Tufts University in 1965, and a M.A. in 1966 and a Ph.D. in International Economics in 1970 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Jessica Kehayes is the Director of Education at Asia Society and a chief architect of the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning.  In this role, Ms. Kehayes promotes the study of global knowledge, skills and world languages in K-12 education and building connections between U.S. and Asian education leaders.  Prior to joining Asia Society, Ms. Kehayes was a program manager in the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the New York City Department of Education.  She was a Fulbright Scholar in Sunchon, South Korea, holds a BA from the College of William & Mary and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University. 

Dr. Andrew Light is a Senior Fellow at American Progress specializing in climate, energy, and science policy.  He coordinates American Progress’s participation in the Global Climate Network, focusing on international climate change policy and the future of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  He is also director of the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University.  Dr. Light is a frequent advisor to various agencies on the ethical dimensions of environmental and technology policy, and is currently working on questions of fairness and equity in national and international regimes for climate regulation and the social impacts of new energy technologies.

Dr. Anurag Mairal is the Associate Director of Program Development at the Stanford-India Biodesign program at Stanford University.  In addition, he is a Senior Advisor for the Singapore Stanford Biodesign program.  He is a Co-founder and Executive Vice President of Orbees Medical, a consulting firm serving medical device industry in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.  He serves on the boards of several for-profit and non-profit organizations and is a Charter Member at EPPIC.  Dr. Mairal received a Bachelor of Engineering from NIT Raipur; a Master of Technology from IIT Bombay; and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Dr. Mairal was also a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Twente, Netherlands, and at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Dr. Mairal has an MBA from the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley.

Judith A. McHale is Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, at the U.S. Department of State.  In the 1980s, Ms. McHale served as General Counsel for MTV Networks, overseeing legal affairs for MTV, Nickelodeon and VH-1. Ms. McHale later became President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Communications, where she was a leader in building Discovery Communications, the parent company of the Discovery Channel, into a far-reaching and renowned global media enterprise.  In 2006, after nearly 20 years at Discovery, Ms. McHale started a new phase of her career in partnership with the Global Environment Fund and worked to launch the GEF/Africa Growth Fund, an investment vehicle intending to focus on supplying expansion capital to small and medium-sized enterprises that provide consumer goods and services in emerging African markets. Ms. McHale graduated from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and Fordham University School of Law, New York. 

Sameer Mithal is Executive Vice President for Business Development at WaterHealth International.  Prior to joining WaterHealth International, Sameer Mithal was a Senior Principal with IBB Consulting Group.  Mr. Mithal has also been a Founder and Managing Partner of a technology development company and VP of Business Development/ Operations for a media focused startup company.  Mr. Mithal holds an MBA in Finance and Strategy from The Wharton School, an MS in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Engineering from the Western Australian Institute of Technology.

Kedar Munipella is Director, Solar Sales for Americas at Applied Materials, Inc., the global leader in Nanomanufacturing Technology solutions for the semiconductor, flat panel display and photovoltaic solar industries.  Mr. Munipella is responsible for expanding Applied Materials’ market share in this rapidly growing region and enhancing customer relationships.  Prior to this, he was responsible for SunFab Thin Film Solar business management with a focus on India, Middle East and Africa.  In this role, he established Applied’s first Thin Film business in India and the Middle East and helped develop the infrastructure to support customers. Mr. Munipella received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering degree from India and his master’s in computer engineering from Syracuse University.

Geoffrey R. Pyatt is a Senior Foreign Service officer whose 22-year State Department career has focused on Asia and Latin America.  Mr. Pyatt became Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the South and Central Asia Affairs Bureau May 2010.  Prior to that, from August 2007, he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency and International Organizations in Vienna.  From 2002-2007 Mr. Pyatt served at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, first as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs and beginning in June 2006 as Deputy Chief of Mission.  Prior to his India assignment, he served at the American Consulate General in Hong Kong, managing the trade and export control dialogue with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked with The Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank that brings together leading citizens of the Americas.  Mr. Pyatt holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Yale and B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Sanjay Rai is Vice President and Provost of the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College.  He was the instructional dean of Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus, from 2004 to 2009.  He serves on the Montgomery County Commission for Women.  Dr. Rai has also served on the Governor’s Taskforce on Aerospace Workers.  Prior to coming to Montgomery College in 2004, Rai was chair of the Department of Mathematics at Jacksonville University, Florida.  His most recent book, Pathways to Real Analysis, was published in April 2009.  Dr. Rai has a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Allahabad, India, an M.S. in mathematics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Pradeep Ramamurthy is the senior director for Global Engagement at the National Security Council.  Prior to his current assignment, he was a director on the Homeland Security Council staff, and was the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s first intelligence fellow for homeland security and counterterrorism.  He was the PBD briefer to the attorney general and FBI director from 2006 to 2007 and served as the special assistant to the FBI National Security Branch’s first deputy director.  Mr. Ramamurthy is a past editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs and is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Dr. Rushna Ravji is a physician with specialization in public health from the School of Public Health, Harvard University, with special focus on Maternal and Child Health, Population Dynamics, and Health Administration.  She has more than 18 years of experience in a wide range of health areas.   She is a member of several public health organizations such as the Global Health Council, CORE, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, and International Action Working Group.  She was elected Member-at-Large of CORE Board of Directors, and Co-Chair, CORE HIV/AIDS Working Group, and has served in advisory capacities on various committees and forums.

S. Jacob Scherr is Director of Global Strategy and Advocacy for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  During his 34-year career with NRDC, Mr. Scherr has served as Director of NRDC’s International Program, Director of the NRDC BioGems Initiative, and a Senior Attorney.  In 2008, he directed a feasibility study for a NRDC program in India.  The result was the launch in June 2009 of a NRDC initiative to address climate change and energy issues in India.  Mr. Scherr is a member of the boards of the Center for Global Development and the Herbert Scoville, Jr. Peace Fellowship.  He is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and received his JD from the University of Maryland Law School. 

Dr. Rajiv Shah was sworn in as the 16th Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on December 31, 2009.  Previously, Dr. Shah served as Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and as Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Shah served as director of Agricultural Development in the Global Development Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  In his seven years with the Gates Foundation, Shah served as the Foundation’s director of Strategic Opportunities and as deputy director of policy and finance for the Global Health Program.  Shah earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and his Master of Science in health economics at the Wharton School of Business. He has attended the London School of Economics, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and in 2007 was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. 

Ambassador Meera Shankar has been a member of the Indian Foreign Service since July 1973.  She has held several important assignments during her career, including Director in the Prime Minister’s Office from 1985 to 1991, and Minister (Commerce) posted in Washington, D.C., from 1991 to 1995.  Thereafter, she headed the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in New Delhi overseeing India’s cultural diplomacy.  Subsequently, in the Ministry of External Affairs, she headed divisions dealing with the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and relations with Nepal and Bhutan.  After promotion to the rank of Additional Secretary in 2002, Ambassador Shankar held the responsibility for the United Nations and International Security.  Her last assignment was as Ambassador of India to Germany from 2005 to 2009.  She is married and has a daughter. 

Dr. Harbir Singh is Vice Dean for Global Initiatives at the Wharton School and the William and Phyllis Mack Professor of Management.  He is also Co-Director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Singh is the recipient of Distinguished Alumni Awards from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (2010) and from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.  In 2008, he was elected a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society, the primary professional group in his field.  Dr. Singh’s research on the role of cultural distance in explaining the choice of entry mode by multinationals won the JIBS Decade Award presented by the Journal of International Business Studies.  His recent co-authored book, The India Way, identifies elements of the management style of leading Indian firms that distinguish them from other organizations. 

Dr. Sanjay Sinho joined AIF in April 2008 as its Chief Executive Officer based out of New York.  Dr. Sinho has 21 years of experience in the field of primary health care.  Prior to joining AIF, he spent 13 years with CARE, one of the largest private voluntary organizations, working in more than 70 countries in the field of poverty eradication.  He held various positions in CARE, the most recent being the Director of Health programs for CARE USA based out of Atlanta.   Dr. Sinho is a pediatrician and a sociologist by training and has more than 14 years of experience in managing health programs across the globe, including CARE India.  He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s in pediatrics from Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, and his MA in sociology from Bhopal University.  

Ron Somers is president of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC).  Previously, Somers was Unocal Corporation’s chief executive in India, developing commercial opportunities in India’s emerging energy market.  Before that, he was managing director for India on behalf of Cogentrix Energy.  During Somers’ residency in India, he served on the board of directors of Hindustan Oil Exploration Company, India’s first private sector oil exploration company, as well as on the board of the U.S. India Educational Foundation, which oversees the country’s Fulbright and Humphrey scholarship programs.  He is currently on the International Leadership Council of the Monterey Institute of International Studies.  Somers holds an M.A. from the Bread Loaf School of English, where he studied at Lincoln College, Oxford University.

John Stephenson is an Associate Partner and the Director of Dalberg’s Washington, D.C., office.  He has consulted senior management teams of leading multilateral organizations and corporations, and international financial institutions on energy and environmental policy, monitoring and evaluation.  He has specific expertise in the energy and environment sectors.  Prior to joining Dalberg, Mr. Stephenson worked at the World Bank where he participated in the formulation of the Bank’s first Country Assistance Strategy for the Democratic Republic of Congo since that country emerged from civil war.  Mr. Stephenson holds a Master’s degree with distinction from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Government and East Asian Studies (Chinese) from Harvard University.

Ann Stock was sworn in June 23, 2010, as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, professional, and youth exchange programs.  Ms. Stock was Vice President of Institutional Affairs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from September 1997 to June 2010, where she oversaw the Center’s expanded efforts to increase its national and international profile.  From 1993-1997, Ms. Stock served as Deputy Assistant to President William J. Clinton and as Social Secretary at The White House.  Assistant Secretary Stock, a native of Indiana, holds a B.A. from Purdue University. 

Dr. Arvind Subramanian is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development with a joint appointment at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics and is also a senior research professor at Johns Hopkins University.  Previously, he was assistant director in the research department of the International Monetary Fund.  He obtained his undergraduate degree from St. Stephens College, Delhi, his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, India, and his M.Phil. and D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, UK.  His book, India’s Turn: Understanding the Economic Transformation was published in 2008 by Oxford University Press.  He is currently ranked among the top 4 percent of the world’s academic economists in terms of research and publications, according to the widely used REPEC rankings. 

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