Bittu Sahagal is the Editor of Sanctuary Asia magazine, India's largest circulating wildlife journal. His columns on environment/development issues appear in a number of English and language publications in India. Having grown up in Calcutta, where he graduated, he has produced 30 documentaries on the tiger and wildlife. He is closely involved with several national and international initiatives to fight climate change and is an active member on a range of government and non-government organization boards and committees.
His essential premise is that by protecting and restoring ecosystems, India could create over 50 million jobs and livelihoods for people who would not only be self-sufficient but also be recognised the world over as green warriors who are working to protect the planet against the worst impacts of climate change.
Some of his affiliation and appointments include Member, National Board for Wildlife, Government of India; Co-chairman, Maharashtra Nature Park (State Government of Maharashtra) and Trustee, The Wild Foundation, U.S.A, (Non-Government).
Girish Karnad is a playwright, film-maker and actor. After graduating from Karnatak University, Dharwad in Mathematics (1958), he joined Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and did his M.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (1963).
His early plays played a seminal role in leading Indian drama away from its Ibsenite obsession with the middle-class living room as the platform for analysing social ills, towards an exploration of myth, legend, folklore and history, and the reintroduction of music, poetry, mime and dance of traditional and classical Indian theatre into the vocabulary of modern urban stage. He was also active in the ‘parallel’ cinema movement of the ‘70s and ‘80s, which sought to create a concerned alternative to the commercial cinema, as actor, director and script-writer. He has been a participant in arts education and administration.
Among his several achievements, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1992 by the President of India and has received the Kalidas Samman as well as the Bharatiya Jnanapith, the country’s highest literary award (1999). He has also been awarded the DLitt by the Universities of Karnatak, Dharwad (1994), Vidyasagar University, Midnapur(2010) and Ravenshaw University, Bhubaneshwar (2011).
On the internationally front, the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, has conferred on him the degree of the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa (2011). He was also nominated as the World Theatre Ambassador by the International Theatre Institue of UNESCO, Paris.
Dr. Indu Shahani, Founding Dean of the Indian School of Management & Entrepreneurship, was a Member of University Grants Commission and was appointed Sheriff of Mumbai for 2008 and 2009; an honorary post and link between the citizens and the Government, providing an opportunity to make a difference within the communities of Mumbai. In that time, she launched the 1298 Women's Helpline against domestic violence and harassment with the help of leading NGOs.
Dr. Shahani has over three decades of teaching experience at the college and university level, where she has played the lead role in nurturing managers with a heart, through student-empowered teaching-learning model.
Acknowledged worldwide as a visionary thought leader for her significant contribution to education and value-based leadership, Dr. Shahani has received many awards including ‘Women of the Decade Achievers Award’ by ASSOCHAM Ladies League Mumbai; ‘Excellence in Education Award’ at the FLO Great Women Achiever Awards and ‘Achiever of Excellence – Women Achievers 2012’ by Bombay Management Association.
Multi-talented and self-driven, Pheroza J. Godrej is a much-respected, senior member of the art fraternity with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, a Masters in English and French, a Masters in Ancient Indian Culture and a Diploma in Aesthetics. She is a Board Member of the Department of Ancient Indian Culture of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
A strong advocate of India’s rich art history, she has been the Honorary Secretary of the Museum Society of Bombay since 1971; she is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Culture Fund, Ministry of Culture, Government of India; Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai. She is a trustee of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for The Arts, New Delhi.
In 2005, she was selected by The American Biographical Institute as the ‘Woman of the Year’ for outstanding community and professional achievement. She is a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce, U.K.
Mr. S. Padmanabhan completed his M.Sc. (Physics) degree from Delhi University and Bachelors of General Law from Mumbai University. He has a diploma in Development Economics from the Cambridge University, U.K. and a Diploma in Management Accounting from Bajaj Institute of Management, Mumbai.
During his tenure as an I.A.S. Officer, he held various positions in the Government of Maharashtra. He has also worked as Corporate Advisor to Bharat Forge Limited and later Deepak Fertilizers and Walchandnagar Industries Limited. During the last 20 years, he has been associated with Videocon Group and has extensive experience in industrial projects, finance and administration.
Mr. Padmanabhan is a Director at Premier Limited, Sudarshan Chemicals Industries Ltd., Desai Brothers Ltd., Rajkumar Forge Ltd., Force Motors Ltd., Sanghvi Movers Ltd. and Aquapharm Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. As a Director, he is also a member of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee of Force Motors Limited and Desai Brothers Ltd.
Born into a musically dedicated family, Shubha Mudgal has been trained by some of the finest musicians and musicologists in India. Trained by eminent scholar-musician-composer Pandit Ramashreya Jha ‘Ramrang’, she also received guidance from Pandit Vinaya Chandra Maudgalya and Pandit Vasant Thakar. She later learnt stylistic techniques from well-known maestros Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki and Pandit Kumar Gandharva. She has received training in thumri from Smt. Naina Devi and is thus a versatile and popular performer.
In addition to being an acclaimed performer, Shubha has also won recognition as a composer. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Padma Shri from the Government of India in the year 2000, and the Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music at the 34th Chicago International Film Festival, 1998.
Shubha Mudgal has recently been appointed Nana Shirgaokar Visiting Research Professor at Goa University.
Shyam Benegal’s career started with a job as a copywriter in advertising from where he graduated to become the Creative & Accounts Group Head before becoming a full time filmmaker. He has lectured at many institutions in India and abroad as well as participated in seminars on subjects dealing with Cinema, Television, Information Technology and different aspects of social and cultural change.
He has made 26 fiction features for the Cinema, several documentaries and TV series, notably a 53 hour TV series on the History of India entitled Bharat Ek Khoj and Samvidhaan the making of the Indian Constitution (10 hours) for the Rajya Sabha.
Practically all his films have won national awards and several of them have been awarded internationally. Shyam Benegal was a Homi Bhabha fellow (1970-72) during which time, he studied Children’s Television with CTW in New York and worked as Associate Producer with WGBH, Boston.
The Government of India has conferred on him two of its most prestigious awards – Padma Shri in 1976 and Padma Bhushan 1991. He is also the recipient of Indira Gandhi National Integration Award, 2004, and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement 2005. In 2007, he was conferred with a D.Litt (Honoris Causa) from the Jamia Millia University, New Delhi and also from University of Calcutta in 2011.
Shyam Benegal runs a film production company in Mumbai and was a Member of Parliament, (Rajya Sabha, from 2006 to 2012).
Dr. Vishakha N. Desai is Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs. She also serves as Senior Advisor for Global Programs to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
From 2004 through 2012, Dr. Desai served as President and CEO of the Asia Society, a global organization dedicated to strengthening partnerships between Asia and the U.S. Under her leadership the society expanded the scope and scale of its activities with the opening of new offices in India and Korea, a new center of U.S.-China Relations, internationally recognized education programs, and inauguration of two new architecturally distinguished facilities in Hong Kong and Houston.
In 2012, in recognition of Dr. Desai's leadership in the museum field, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. An internationally renowned scholar of Asian art, she has published and lectured extensively on the intersection of traditional and contemporary arts and policy in diverse countries of Asia. Dr. Desai is an Advisory Trustee of the Brookings Institution, and a Trustee of the Bertelsmann Foundation, AFS Intercultural Programs. She serves as a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Auroville Foundation, India, as well as on the Corporate Board of Mahindra & Mahindra, one of India's largest global corporations.
Dr. Desai holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bombay University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Art History from the University of Michigan, in addition to honorary degrees from Williams College, MA 2014, Centre College, 2008; Pace University, 2008; The College of Staten Island, NY 2006; and Susquehanna University, PA, 1996.