Education

Lakshmi Mittal Donates $25 Million to Harvard

The South Asia Institute, which will receive the $25 million endowment fund, has been named Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute.

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Lakshmi Mittal and his family announced a $25 million gift to the Harvard University’s South Asia Institute to support activities at the institute, and help the faculty, students and collaborators carry on their work. The institute, which has been working on the study of the South Asian region for more than a decade, will now be called the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute.

More than 250 faculty members are associated with the institute for 143 different courses in various disciplines at Harvard and peer institutions. The institute focuses on countries in South Asia like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and the diaspora populations from these countries. The current faculty director, Tarun Khanna, is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School.

“We are so grateful for the Mittal family’s support and what it will enable us to learn and share — across the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities — and the many people and institutions it will allow us to engage,” said Khanna. “The world stands to benefit for generations from the work that these resources will generate.”

“International centers like the South Asia Institute at Harvard University serve as a vital conduit between the University and the world we study,” said Harvard president Drew Faust. “The generous support from the Mittal family is a testament to both the important work being done by this community of scholars and students and the continuing impact it will have in the region.”

In his statement, Mittal, the chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, talked about the dynamic and influential role played by South Asia in the development of the world since the very first civilizations. “Ensuring that we fully understand its history and unique dynamics is a critical enabler in helping to shape a successful future,” he said.

The institute funds more than 50 students who participate in research, internships, and immersive language study, among other things. In 2013, a group of students from Harvard visited the northern city of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh to study the Kumbh Mela.

This is not the first time that the Mittal family has come to support educational institutions. They have also donated to St Xavier’s University in Kolkata, Lakshmi Mittal’s alma mater, apart from running their own academic institutions.

The current endowment fund for Harvard’s South Asian Institute is meant to “direct more resources to the challenges” faced by the economies of these countries.

“As someone who was born in India, the long-term prosperity of India and its neighboring countries matters a great deal to me and my family,” Mittal added. “Harvard is one of the world’s greatest learning institutions, with a unique ability to facilitate dialogue and drive thinking and progress.”

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