Ashoka Reflections_JANUARY 2024

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A S H O K A U N I V E R S I T Y ' S M O N T H L Y N E W S L E T T E R

J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 4

Ashoka University is India’s premier interdisciplinary research and

teaching university located in the National Capital Region, New

Delhi. It is built on the finest global best practices of institution and






thinkers, and academicians with expertise in varied fields have come

together to create the university. It brings the best contemporary

values and practices in higher education, in the tradition of the

world’s leading universities, to India. With a strong emphasis on

multi-disciplinary learning, development of skills and leadership

attributes for the 21st century, Ashoka is preparing students to be

critical thinkers and ethical leaders in an increasingly diverse world.


Ashoka University







Table of



January 2024

Feature Story

In Focus

Latest Happenings

In Other News

In the Media

Ashoka Reflections | Page 03

Feature Story

Ashoka University

receives single largest

donation ever of INR 250

Crores from the Harish

and Bina Shah


Ashoka Reflections | Page 04

The unrestricted grant from the Harish & Bina Shah Foundation

will be deployed to fund the university’s growth plans

Ashoka Reflections | Page 05

In a significant boost to Ashoka University’s plans to build India’s foremost institution of higher learning, the

Harish & Bina Shah Foundation (HBSF) has made a donation of INR 250 crores, the single largest such

contribution received by the university in its 10-year history. The unrestricted grant is especially focused on

driving teaching and research excellence in the humanities disciplines (typically including languages,

literature, history and philosophy) and supporting interdisciplinary research initiatives in the social and

natural sciences at Ashoka. The grant will be deployed in tranches over a period of five years to accelerate the

university’s growth.

HBSF is a private charitable foundation based in Mumbai. It was founded in 2002 by industry veterans Harish

and Bina Shah, of Signet Excipients Pvt. Ltd., a pharmaceutical raw materials business. With this contribution,

HBSF looks to invest in India’s future both at a student and institutional level.

“As Ashoka University embarks upon its next phase of growth towards being a global research-focused

university, we at the Harish & Bina Shah Foundation are honoured to support one of the most important

institutions shaping Indian higher education. As a foundation, one of our goals is to promote world-class

education and research through Indian-origin institutions, and in Ashoka University we find an ideal partner.

Investing in home-grown institutions is fundamental to our nation’s growth and social development as it

provides great opportunities for quality higher education, retention of top talent locally, and bringing

international academic expertise to India – among many other benefits. We look forward to building a

meaningful and long-lasting association with the University and its partners.”, said Harish Shah, Director,

Harish & Bina Shah Foundation.

Ashoka University has rapidly grown into one of the most sought-after institutions in India. It is currently in its

‘build-up’ phase on track to grow its student body to 5000 students by 2027. It also started further extension

of its campus in September 2021. The donation by HBSF, the single largest in the university’s history, will

contribute significantly towards Ashoka’s mission of excellence across humanities, social sciences and natural

sciences, with a focus on interdisciplinary learning and research. It will be especially directed to strengthen the

undergraduate and graduate programmes across humanities, while promoting global collaborations and

supporting interdisciplinary research initiatives in areas that intersect with the social and natural sciences at

Ashoka, such as development economics, artificial intelligence, technology for society and healthcare among


“This generous contribution by HBSF will help Ashoka to enhance its capabilities to nurture the immense

talent of India’s students by providing quality higher education, especially in the humanities disciplines.

Moreover, the fact that the grant is unrestricted represents a benchmark and a coming of age in Indian

philanthropy. It underlines the major nation-building role that sustained philanthropic support must play if we

wish to build Indian institutions of excellence that are at par with their leading global peers.”, said Pramath

Raj Sinha, Co-founder and Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Ashoka University.

“Today, we are at a very exciting phase at Ashoka, where we are venturing into some unique areas of

interdisciplinary research where humanities play a major role. We are also entering into collaborations for

education and research with noted global institutions, and simultaneously scaling our capacity to serve more

students. Given our world-class infrastructure and high quality of faculty and students, Ashoka is uniquely

positioned to produce outstanding scholarship in India. The grant by HBSF will contribute towards building a

global institution of excellence in and for India and we are very excited about the possibilities it creates for

Ashoka”, said Professor Somak Raychaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University.

In Focus

Lodha Genius


In Focus

The Lodha Genius Programme

at Ashoka University: Energising

for Students and Teachers

Ashoka Reflections | Page 07

K VijayRaghavan

Chair-Science Advisory Council | Ashoka University

Former Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India

As mentors in the Lodha Genius Programme, we have been continuously

impressed by the commitment and dedication of the students, the

collaborative spirit of the faculty, and the unwavering support of the

Lodha Group and Ashoka University

Ashoka Reflections | Page 08

All of us working in the Lodha Genius Programme at Ashoka University are advocates for education—firm

believers in the power of mentorship. Yet, our journey has been nothing short of remarkable, as we have

learned as much as the students. It is a unique joint effort between Lodha Group and Ashoka University,

dedicated to nurturing the brightest minds of our nation and shaping them into the leaders of tomorrow.

In this piece, I would like to share our experience and insights into this extraordinary programme, which is not

only transforming the lives of young scholars but also contributing significantly to nation-building.

The Lodha Genius Programme has committed itself to providing quality education and empowering the

youth. This commitment aligns with Ashoka University's core values, which emphasise interdisciplinary

education, world-class faculty, and a dedication to making a meaningful societal impact.

The primary goal of the Lodha Genius Programme is to address the challenge of opening the windows of

opportunity to bright young students. It seeks to achieve this by identifying academically brilliant school

students and providing them with tailored, long-term support to unlock their full potential. This innovative

scholarship programme is the first of its kind and has the potential to revolutionise the way we nurture and

develop young talent.

The Lodha Genius Programme inaugural batch was a group of exceptional students who embarked on a

transformative four-week on-campus summer module at Ashoka University. From the moment we met these

young minds, we all could sense the extraordinary potential within each of them. It was a privilege to be part

of their educational journey and to witness their growth and development throughout the programme.

One of the most rewarding aspects of mentoring these students was witnessing their passion for learning to

communicate and teach each other. Along with providing them access to world-class education, the Lodha

Genius Programme encourages them to explore diverse fields of study. The interdisciplinary approach at

Ashoka University, combined with the freedom to pursue their interests, allowed these students to broaden

their horizons and think critically about complex issues.

As mentors, our roles extended beyond the academic realm. We had the opportunity to engage in meaningful

discussions with these young scholars, helping them navigate challenges and providing guidance on their

personal and professional development. We are still in touch with them. It was inspiring to see how receptive

they were to feedback and how eager they were to learn and grow.

One of the central components of the Lodha Genius Programme is the emphasis on holistic development. It

goes beyond academics and focuses on building essential life skills, leadership qualities, and a strong sense of

social responsibility. Through workshops, seminars, and extracurricular activities, students are encouraged to

develop a well-rounded personality, which is essential for future leaders.

The impact of this programme extends far beyond the individual students involved. It has the potential to

create a ripple effect, as these young scholars are equipped with knowledge and a sense of purpose. They

understand the importance of giving back to society and actively contributing to nation-building. This sense of

responsibility is a testament to the success of the Lodha Genius Programme in instilling values beyond

personal success.

Another remarkable aspect of this initiative is the sense of community it fosters. The students form a close-

knit group, supporting and inspiring each other. This sense of camaraderie creates a conducive learning

environment and encourages collaboration—a crucial skill in today's interconnected world.

Ashoka Reflections | Page 09

The Lodha Genius Programme also benefits from the expertise and guidance of Ashoka University's faculty

and teachers from all over India and the world. These field experts are passionate about mentoring the next

generation of leaders. Their dedication to teaching and willingness to go the extra mile in helping students

achieve their goals have been instrumental in the success of this programme.

As mentors in the Lodha Genius Programme, we have been continuously impressed by the students’

commitment and dedication, the collaborative spirit of the faculty, and the unwavering support of Lodha and

Ashoka University. This initiative is a shining example of what can be achieved when organisations come

together with a shared vision of shaping a better future for our nation.

In conclusion, our experience with the Lodha Genius Programme at Ashoka University has been truly fulfilling.

It has reaffirmed our collective belief in the transformative power of education and mentorship. By nurturing

the talents of these exceptional young scholars, we are not only securing their futures but also sowing the

seeds for a brighter, more prosperous India. The Lodha Genius Programme is not just an educational

initiative; it is a movement that has the potential to shape the destiny of our nation.

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