India showcase panel

Sydney Ideas in India: Re-imagining the future – together

Exploring Australia-India connections

Three of the University of Sydney’s leading researchers from Business, Urban Studies and Chemistry share their work, and what both Australia and India can learn from each other.

Australia and India have much to learn from each other, because while our economies are quite different, we face similar problems, particularly around energy and the future direction of our cities.

Professor John Shields from the Business School suggests a need to rethink the nature of leadership and asks, what can we learn from Mahatma Gandhi in this regard?

Dr Tooran Alizadeh, whose research around smart cities is based in India, asks what is that we want from our cities, in an age of rapidly evolving technology?

Dr Girish Lakhwani will draw on his research in energy to explore the parallels and complementary differences between the Indian and Australian experience.

This conversation was held in Mumbai on Monday 18 November and New Delhi on 22 November. 

The speakers

John is Academic Director International at the University of Sydney Business School. John holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History (1977) from the Australian National University, a PhD in Economic History from the University of Sydney (1990) and is Professor of Human Resource Management and Organisational Studies in the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies within the Business School. He is an experienced educator in the human resource management field, with particular expertise in performance management and reward management.

Tooran is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Urban Design at the University of Sydney School of Architecture Design and Planning. Tooran completed a Master of Architecture (2002) and Master of Urban Design and Planning (2005) at Shahid Beheshti University. She holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Policy from the University of Sydney (2010) and is a recipient of the prestigious Research Accelerator Fellowship (SOAR). Tooran utilises cross-disciplinary knowledge and methodologies to gain new vital perspectives into the ever-growing complexities of cities in the age of advanced technological challenges and opportunities.

Girish is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Chemistry, University of Sydney. Girish completed his integrated Masters in Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur in 2005. He received his PhD from the Eindhoven University of Technology (2009) and subsequently conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin (2009-11) and the University of Cambridge (2011-14). He is a chief investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science and his research is focused on developing and using advanced spectroscopic methods to study optical and electronic properties of novel nanoscale semiconductor materials for solar energy harvesting, polarisation switching and polariton lasing.

Duncan is a political philosopher with research and teaching interests in contemporary political theory, the history of political thought and moral philosophy. He is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sydney. Prior to this, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (2010-2015) and Head of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (2007-2009). He continues to teach in the Department of Philosophy. He has also held appointments at the University of Toronto and the University of York (UK).

Duncan was a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow and Visiting Fellow in Ethics and Public Affairs at the Center for Human Values, Princeton University (2002-03), as well as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU (1993-96). He was elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2009.

As Vice-Principal (External Relations), Tania leads our work to improve coordination of the University’s external engagement activities. In addition to overseeing the University’s engagement with industry and community, Tania has direct responsibility for the University’s Marketing and Communications, Museums and Cultural Engagement, Government Relations, Media, Events, Admissions and Global Student Recruitment and Mobility.

Prior to joining the University of Sydney, Tania was the Director of Marketing and Communications at Queen Mary University of London where she had overall responsibility for external relations and reputation development. Tania has previously worked in the corporate and government sectors and began her career with Unisys, including a period working in Asia, before moving to work for government agencies and, since 2007, within the higher education sector.

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