AIIS Director General Purnima Mehta named one of The Economist’s 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life

PurnimaThe American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) is pleased to announce that its Director-General, Purnima Mehta, has been distinguished by inclusion in The Economist’s list of Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life ( Other notables on the list include President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State and Senator Hilary Clinton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousufzai, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Queen Noor of Jordan.

Mrs. Mehta, who has served as AIIS Director-General for the past ten years, oversees all AIIS operations in India, including: the management of its intensive language programs, located at multiple sites in India; the two AIIS research centers–the Center for Art and Archaeology and the Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology; support of AIIS research and performing and creative arts fellows; and overall responsibility for the relationship of the Institute with the Government of India, the educational network in India and the U.S. Embassy.  Under the direction of Mrs. Mehta, the AIIS language programs have expanded exponentially in the previous decade, providing instruction in up to sixteen Indian languages to nearly 300 students each year. She has been pivotal in the AIIS effort to provide enhanced services to U.S. study abroad programs in India and to expand opportunities for a diverse range of students in the U.S. to engage in service learning projects with Indian NGOs.

“We are thrilled that Purnima Mehta has been recognized for her extraordinary endeavors, creating opportunities for a broad array of U.S.-based students, scholars, artists and members of the public to obtain a deep understanding of the diversity of India and its people” said Philip Lutgendorf, president of AIIS.

AIIS, an American Overseas Research Center, is a consortium of 81 universities and colleges whose mission is to further the knowledge of India in the United States by supporting American scholarship on India and to promote and advance mutual understanding between the citizens of the U. S. and of India.