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DECEMBER 2001 Contents
Wharton India Economic Forum
Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF), in its recent conference in Philadelphia, featured prominent business and political leaders, including Victor Menezes, Chairman & CEO, Citibank, N.A., and Lalit Mansingh, India's ambassador to the United States.
Anil Ambani, Managing Director ofReliance Industries Limited (Reliance), who won the first Wharton India Alumni Award instituted this year, also addressed the conference via videotape.
The 2001 Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) conference, entitled "Global Leadership: Vision 2020," focused on the opportunities and challenges faced by Indian businesspeople and politicians as they establish global leadership roles for themselves, their companies, and India. Since its inception in 1996, WIEF has become the leading U.S. forum for the discussion of business and economic issues that affect the Indian subcontinent and Indians in America.
Mr. Menezes appealed to the ability of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to contribute to India financially and otherwise. He saw India as a middle-income country with low poverty and universal literacy by 2020 - with a leadership role in the areas of arts, sciences, and business.
Mr. Menezes also presented a "must do" agenda that included
Mansingh emphasized the recent improvements in the global standing of
India especially its global presence in information technology.
Anil D. Ambani was selected the recipient of the first Wharton India Alumni Award. Mr. Ambani, an MBA graduate of The Wharton School (Class of 1983), was recognized for his contributions to the establishment of Reliance as a global leader in many of its business areas.
Mr. Ambani personally received the award from Patrick Harker, Dean of the Wharton School, on Tuesday, December 4, in Mumbai, India.
The Wharton Indian Alumni Award was instituted this year as a way for students to reach out to members of Wharton's outstanding alumni community, honour their achievements and contributions, and increase their awareness of the large and growing interest in India at Wharton.
The award recognizes any Penn alumnus or alumna with an Indian affiliation for his or her leadership, impact in a particular field, and his or her contributions to Wharton and India. The WIEF executive committee invited nominations for this year's award from the student body and alumni. The Committee, in consultation with Wharton faculty, selected the final recipient of the award.
"Receiving an honour from one's alma mater and community is always a very encouraging and beautiful experience," Mr. Ambani said in his taped message. "The Wharton School and the [University of Pennsylvania] community have greatly influenced my life and made significant contributions to my success."
"What I learned [at Wharton], has guided me well in my endeavour to help build a globally competitive and truly world class organization, Reliance, out of India," he said.
Mr. Ambani noted that the current knowledge, information, and communication revolutions present a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for India to "compete with the rest of the world on equal footing." Mr. Ambani also reflected on the evolving opinions about India and Indian leaders around the world. "Perceptions of the global community [about] India are changing inimportant and fundamental ways," he said. "Indian managers, technocrats, and entrepreneurs today evoke global recognition, trust, and, above all, great respect."
"The traditional stereotype of Indian companies as unreliable and poor quality is slowly giving way to a strong recognition of their global vision, quality, and unparalleled abilities," he said.
A variety of issues were discussed at WIFE, namely: Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, Media and Entertainment, Telecommunications, Technology/IT-enabled Services, Finance/Capital Markets, and Venture Capital. More than 40 leading South Asian professionals and government officials participated in the panels, including:
Udayan Bose, Chairman & CEO, Lazard (India)
Arjun Mathrani, Former CEO, ING Barings & Former CFO, Chase
Ravi Narain, MD & CEO, National Stock Exchange of India
Jairam Ramesh Secretary, Economic Affairs Dept., Congress Party & Deputy Chairman,Karnataka State Planning Board
Raman Roy, President & CEO, Spectramind
Phiroz Vandrevala, Former Chairman, NASSCOM; Executive Vice President, Tata Consultancy Services
WIEF's mission is to focus attention on the enormous potential for enhancement of economic and business relations between India and other countries of the world. WIEF is not only a vehicle for raising the profile of the subcontinent, but also offers a unique opportunity for participants to raise their profiles with key decision makers, establish critical business contacts, and recruit the best talent from the leading business schools. More information on WIEF is available at http://www.whartonindia.com.
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized around the world for its academic strengths across every major discipline and at every level of business education. Wharton was founded in 1881 as the world's first collegiate business school. Wharton has a full-time faculty of 198 and nearly 100 adjunct faculty, approximately 4,600 undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral students, more than 8,000 participants in its executive education programs annually, and an alumni network of more than 75,000 worldwide.
For more information on WIEF 2001, please contact Rohit Menezes at (215) 656-3148 or
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