Mount Holyoke Alumnae Symposium in Asia

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Please note: The program for the weekend has now been finalized. You may view it here.


Preliminary Weekend Program

Friday, January 11, 2019
Location: Taj Jai Mahal Palace

2 p.m. onwards: Symposium Check-In at the Taj Jai Mahal Palace Hotel
Participants to receive their registration packet with programs, nametags and gift bags.
Reception Area /Mount Holyoke Desk

4:30–6 p.m.: High Tea and Ice-Breaker Activity
India immersion ice-breaker activity where you will learn to tie a saree in both traditional and unusual ways, learn a few dance moves and get to know all the other participants.
Outside Giardino Restaurant (Swimming Pool Area)

6:30–7:00 p.m.: Lamp Lighting by Sonya Stephens, president of Mount Holyoke College, Barbara Baumann ’77, chair of Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees and Maria Mossaides ’73, president of the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College.

● Welcome by the Organizing Committee
● Dance Performance by Kaatyaayani Pandey ’18

Durbar Hall

7:00–7.45 p.m.: Cocktails
Snacks will be served.
Durbar Hall Patio

7:45–8:15 p.m.: Opening Keynote Address by Chetna Sinha, founder and chair, Mann Deshi Mahila Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation. 
Durbar Hall

8:15–10:00 p.m.: Welcome Dinner with an Address by Mount Holyoke College President Sonya Stephens
Durbar Hall

10:00-10:30 p.m.: Bonfire Chat with President Sonya Stephens, Barbara Baumann ’77, chair of Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees, and Maria Mossaides ’73, president of the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College.
Lotus Pond Area

10:30 p.m. onwards: M&Cs
For those who would like to stay up and enjoy each other’s company in the traditional MHC way. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019
Location: Taj Jai Mahal Palace

7–9 a.m.: Breakfast
Marble Arch

7–9 a.m.: Late registrations.
MHC Desk/Reception Area

9:20 a.m.: Opening remarks by the Symposium Organizing Committee.
Durbar Hall

9:30–10:00 a.m.: Keynote Address by Aruna Roy, founder-member of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and the National Campaign for the People’s Right to Information.
Aruna will speak about her journey, the importance of people’s right to information in today’s India and the role of women in this.
Durbar Hall

10:00–11:15 a.m.: At What Cost: The Balance between Progress and Prosperity
India will be the fastest-growing economy in 2019 according to the World Bank. This panel will balance India’s economic development against the inequalities of its society.
Panelists: Malini V. Shankar MA’82, officer of the Indian Administrative Service and director general in the Ministry of Shipping; Aruna Roy, founder-member of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and the National Campaign for the People’s Right to Information; Shubika Bilkha ’06, advisor, entrepreneur, author, executive coach, and partner, Edpower-U.
Moderator: Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva ’96, founder, MD, and CEO of India Alternatives.
Durbar Hall

11:15–11:30 a.m.: Group Photo

11:30 a.m.–Noon: Tea Break
Durbar Hall Patio

Noon–1 p.m.: How Bollywood Influences India
Panelists: Tina Nagpaul ’93, filmmaker; Gayatri Rangachari Shah ’94, author and journalist.
Moderator: Ajay Sinha, professor of the art history, Asian studies and film studies programs at Mount Holyoke College.
Durbar Hall

1–2:15 p.m.: Lunch and a Conversation with Liz Lierman, Director of Mount Holyoke College’s Career Development Center
Durbar Hall Patio

2:30–3.30 p.m.: Between Populism and Tolerance—What is India’s Way Forward?
Today, India stands at a tipping point, see-sawing between the populism that is sweeping through the world and its inherent inclusiveness. This panel offers a birds-eye view of how India relates to the world.
Panelists: Chhavi Rajawat, sarpanch of Soda village; Sushmita Dev, politician and a member of the Indian National Congress; Barkha Dutt, TV journalist, anchor and columnist.
Moderator: Mahua Moitra ’98, elected member of the legislative assembly of West Bengal.
Durbar Hall

3:30–4:30 p.m.:
Indian Design and Aesthetics: From the Ancient to the Contemporary
What is India’s design aesthetic and language? How do Indians use and decorate objects? How does design percolate through habits, rituals and homes? Can Indian design be separated from its crafts? A free-wheeling discussion.
Panelists: Parmesh Shahani, head of Godrej India Culture Lab; Siddharth Kasliwal, jeweler; Himanshu Verma, arts curator.
Moderator: Shoba Narayan ’88, author and columnist.
Durbar Hall

4:30–5 p.m.: Interactive Tea Break with Pop-Up Stalls with Art and Objects
An opportunity to interact with panelists, visit the pop-up stalls, and do a little bit of shopping.
Durbar Hall Patio/Chessboard Area

5–6:30 p.m.: Pop-up stalls remain available.
Durbar Hall Patio/Chessboard Area

7:15–8:15 p.m.: Cocktails
Snacks will be served.
Swimming Pool Area

8:15 p.m.–10 p.m.: Gala Dinner with an Address by Alumnae Association President Maria Mossaides ’73
During dinner there will also be music and dance performances by local Rajasthani Folk Artists.
Swimming Pool Area

10 p.m. onwards: M&Cs and MHC Storytelling Salon
Personal snippets from your time at MHC and today.
Moderators: Tina Nagpal ’93 and Vijaya Pastala ’89.
Marigold /Cinnamon

10 p.m.: Late-night outing to Bar Palladio (Narain Niwas)
For those who would like a change of scene.

Sunday, January 13, 2019
Location: Taj Jai Mahal Palace 

7–9 a.m.: Breakfast
Marble Arch

9:15–10:30 a.m.: Ayurveda, Yoga, & Turmeric: An Interactive Session
Two wellness practitioners discuss the Indian approach to health and wellness. They will lead a session of yoga and pranayama and answer all your questions. Mats will be provided.
Panelists: Vasuda Rai, beauty columnist and certified yoga teacher; Sujata Kelkar Shetty, life coach and wellness consultant.
Yoga Area (near Swimming Pool)

11:00 a.m.: Check out from hotel.

11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.: Champagne Brunch

  • Organizing Committee – Closing Remarks and a Vote of Thanks
  • Bazaar – Mehndi Artistes, Bangle Sellers, Local Knick Knacks
  • Group Photo – Goodbye Jaipur!!
  • Brunch

Durbar Hall Patio and Chessboard Area

Symposium is officially closed.

Sunday afternoon, January 13, 2019
Location: Devi Niketan

4–5.30 p.m.: High Tea Hosted by Admiral and Mrs. Madhavendra Singh, Parents of Piyusha Singh ’94 
For those who can stay.

Afternoon: Optional tours in and around Jaipur