Dr. Vishakha N. Desai currently serves as Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to President Lee C. Bollinger of Columbia University; Department Chair of the Committee on Global Thought, and is Senior Research Scholar in Global Studies at its School of International and Public Affairs. Prior to joining Columbia University, Dr. Desai held a variety of positions at the Asia Society From 1990 to 2012, initially as the Director of the Asia Society Museum and for the last eight years as President and CEO.
A noted scholar of South Asian Art and history, Dr. Desai is well known for her leadership in presenting contemporary Asian art to American audiences and in developing innovative approaches to the relationship between culture and foreign policy in India, China and other Asian countries.
"Contrary to popular perceptions on youth in the COVID-19 era, young people—global and digital natives—are deeply concerned about the world. They are eager to engage in shaping the future. In the U.S. and abroad, young people are leading widespread protests against racism and police brutality. The disproportionate effects of the pandemic on marginalized communities throughout the U.S. are added context for young peoples’ outcry against institutionalized and government sanctioned racism. Global youth won’t go back to the old normal. As we begin imagining a post-COVID world, we must recognize that young people have a stake in rebuilding a better world."
Following the Committee on Global Thought's dictum of learning from the world, the Youth in a Changing World project uses a unique approach that combines trans-border collaboration and dialogue. The project works with Columbia’s nine Global Centers, local universities, and youth organizations to plan and implement multimodal workshops in the languages and settings youth.
It is evident from the conversations we held so far that young people everywhere acutely feel the need for a platform to express themselves and have themselves heard. And, as digital and global natives, they are able to think simultaneously in personal, local, and global terms.
Politics of Visual Arts is developed in consultation with Committee on Global Thought's faculty at Columbia-members representing diverse disciplines and further refined in a set of workshops with colleagues from the greater New York City area. Partnerships with organizations such as Bridge Figures and the Andy Warhol Foundation have further enhanced the project.
One of the main reasons to study this phenomenon in a global context is that many of the issues articulated here are not exclusively American, they have resonance in many parts of the world. Often the same issues appear in multiple locations, reflecting transnational trends. For example, animal rights activists protesting at the Guggenheim Museum gave rise to similar protests in Europe. At the same time, some issues may have specific relevance in one place and not in others. The discussions and workshops in the Columbia Global Centers help refine the issues and provide a more nuanced understanding of the politics of visual arts around the world.
Columbia University, especially through special initiatives of President Bollinger such as the Committee on Global Thought and Columbia World Projects has the capacity to make arts and culture integral parts of efforts to address issues affecting the world.
The Committee on Global Thought is a collaborative initiative at Columbia University committed to developing new ways of thinking across disciplines and borders that are essential to navigate the rapidly changing world.
AFS Intercultural Programs (or AFS, originally the American Field Service) is an international youth exchange organization. It consists of over 50 independent, not-for-profit organizations, each with its own network of volunteers, professionally staffed offices, volunteer board of directors and website.
The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is a planned art museum, to be located in Saadiyat Island cultural district in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Upon completion, it is planned to be the largest of the Guggenheim museums. Architect Frank Gehry designed the building.
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties.
Teach For All is a global network of 58 independent, locally led and funded partner organizations whose stated shared mission is to "expand educational opportunity around the world by increasing and accelerating the impact of social enterprises that are cultivating the leadership necessary for change."
Mahindra & Mahindra Limited is an Indian multinational vehicle manufacturing corporation headquartered in Mumbai, India. It is one of the largest vehicle manufacturers by production in India and the largest manufacturer of tractors in the world.
Krea University is a liberal arts and sciences private university located in Sricity, Andhra Pradesh, India. It was established in 2018 with the mission of developing a view of the future through rigorous and interdisciplinary research and education that continuously feeds the design of Interwoven Learning.
The Asia Society is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating the world about Asia. It has several centers in the United States (Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York) and around the world (Hong Kong, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Melbourne, and Zurich).
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