Prof. Ashok Kumar Sircar, is currently the Director of the School of Development, Azim Premji University, Bangalore. He has over 34 years of experience spanning corporate sector, development sector, and teaching and training. For more than one and half decade, he has been involved in the development sector in programme planning and execution, monitoring and evaluation, research and policy advocacy in domains of local governance, land rights, and livelihoods. At the University, apart from heading the School, Ashok is involved in delivering popular courses on Gender in Livelihoods, Political Economy of Land, Understanding Development and Change, Imagining Development: From vision to action, for post-graduate students, as well as in-service professionals.
Mekhala Krishnamurthy is a social anthropologist and Associate Professor in Ashoka University. Over the last fifteen years, her research, policy and professional engagements have involved work across a range of field sites and subjects, including women’s courts and dispute resolution, community health workers and public health systems, agriculture with a focus on agricultural markets, and water, livelihood security and land acquisition. In the process, her work places her at the intersections of and in partnerships between academia, public policy, government, the private sector, and grassroots civil society organisations. Mekhala graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University, received an M.Phil. in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from University College London. She is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania.
Suparna has worked extensively in the development sector for over 25 years. She started her career with MYRADA and moved on to lead and manage multiple projects – from being Founding Trustee of Adamya Chetana; Vice-President and Project lead at Centre for Leadership and Management in Public Services; Consultant for multiple projects with Department of Public Instruction, District Institute for Education and Training in Karnataka State; Consultant for rural development project for the Indian Institute of Science etc. Besides curriculum development and teaching, she also has extensive experience of design, development and implementation of projects and pieces of training with corporates and organizations like Tata Institute for Social Sciences, The Teacher Foundation, Azim Premji Foundation, UNICEF etc. In her vast experience in the development sector, she has also published and presented several papers on academic leadership, management and governance. Suparna’s strength lies in her ability to straddle the theory-practice space, to make a meaningful contribution to change on the ground.
Urvashi Butalia is an independent publisher and writer. Co-founder of India’s first feminist publishing house, Kali for Women, she now heads Zubaan, an imprint of Kali. She has had a long involvement in the women’s movement in India, and writes for newspapers, journals and books at home and abroad on a range of issues to do with women and gender. Among her best-known publications is the award-winning oral history of Partition: The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (winner of the Oral History Book Association award 2001 and the Nikkei Asia Award for Culture 2003). She is also visiting faculty at Ashoka University Sonepat. Butalia has received many awards for her work, among them the Padma Shri, which she was awarded in 2011.