‘India and the world will need a set of technology leaders, if we are going to make it out of the coming crisis’: Nobel Laureate Dr. Abhijit Banerjee

Tech Leaders Fellowship (TLF), a unique, one-year, intensive program in Technology and Leadership founded by some of India’s eminent technology entrepreneurs, hosted the convocation ceremony of its first cohort virtually. The convocation witnessed an eclectic group of 59 students receive their certificates in the presence of Guest of Honour, Nobel Laureate Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics, MIT and Founder of J-PAL.

“You are the human element in the technology story and the technology element in the human story – that goes into solving the problems (the world faces), ” Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, Nobel Laureate, told the Tech Leaders Fellowship Class of 2020 during his Keynote Address at the Convocation Ceremony. Emphasizing the importance of technology especially in these challenging times, Dr. Abhijit Banerjee said, “India and the world are going to need a set of technology leaders if we are going to make it out of the coming crisis. This (Covid 19) is not the big crisis.”

Identifying the three big challenges – climate & environmental crisis, water crisis and healthcare – Dr. Abhijit Banerjee said “we need to think about technologies (that can address these challenges), not as those who passively produce it but as leaders. Think of the social context – who needs it, at what cost, how do I get them to use it and how do I make sure the policy environment is conducive. These questions have to be answered together. They can’t be siloed and can’t be answered by those who do not have an understanding of the other pieces.”

Dr. Shankar Sastry, former Dean of Engineering, University of California Berkeley said, “Through our Tech Leaders Fellowship program, we have fostered innovators, problem solvers and leaders, who combine deep technical knowledge with the ability to truly apply it to the real-world and create impact. This batch of graduating TLF students have showcased their best abilities to come up with out of the box ideas to solve real-life issues and we wish our students the very best in their career.”

Congratulating the graduating batch, Mr. Vineet Gupta, Co-Chair, Tech leaders Fellowship and Founder & Trustee, Plaksha University, said, “This convocation of the first batch of Tech Leaders Fellowship (TLF) is a significant milestone in the fulfilment of a dream built on collective philanthropy. At Plaksha, we aim to create a new generation of engineers through a tech-first but multi-disciplinary approach to education, who solve critical challenges of our times.”

The unique ‘Tech Leaders Fellowship’ is a joint initiative of successful entrepreneurs and the academic community that will serve as a precursor to the upcoming Plaksha University. The program has been designed to create tech leaders who will lead organizations, build path-breaking ventures and help solve real world challenges for India and the world. The convocation ceremony of the first cohort was attended by some supporters of this initiative including CP Gurnani, CEO, Tech Mahindra; Neeraj Aggarwal, Chairman BCG Asia, Hitesh Oberoi, Co-Promoter, MD and CEO Info Edge Ltd, Manas Fuloria, CEO Nagarro, Mohit Thukral, Founder Vivtera, Ashish Gupta, Founder Benori Knowledge Solutions, Sumita Ambasta, Founder, Flowering Tree, Singapore Jayesh Parekh, Founder of Sony Entertainment Television;  Ritesh Malik, Founder & CEO, Innov8 Coworking and Dr. Arvind Raman, Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty, College of Engineering, Purdue University.

As part of the ceremony, exceptional performance in academics and extracurricular activities were recognized with individual awards. Graduating fellow Praveen Sridhar was awarded the Gold Medal for securing the highest CGPA throughout the Tech Leaders Fellowship as well as the Plaksha Founders’ Award for All-Round Excellence for exhibiting all-around achievement across academics, co-curricular activities, and projects, extra-curricular activities. Lakshay Sahni, another fellow from the inaugural TLF batch, was awarded the Silver Medal for getting the second-highest CGPA through the course of TLF. Bhairevi Aiyer was awarded ‘The Spirit of Plaksha Award’ that recognizes a fellow who goes beyond himself/herself in making a difference to the broader community.


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