State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Addressing South Asia’s Urgent Global Issues Through Sustainable Development

Founding Director Dr. Nirupam Bajpai speaking at the launch of the global center
Founding Director Dr. Nirupam Bajpai speaking at the launch of the global center

As the world’s leading academic center addressing the practical challenges of sustainable development, the Earth Institute is building a formal presence in South Asia through the Columbia Global Center/South Asia.  The center, established by Columbia University, joins centers already in place in Europe, the Middle-East, and East Asia.

Under the leadership of Founding Director Dr. Nirupam Bajpai, the center was launched in March 2010 to create a cross-disciplinary network of top scientists and thought leaders who can provide policy recommendations and address issues of pressing strategic concern across South Asia: poverty alleviation, energy, water, health and urbanization.

With more than 15 years of work in India advising the political leadership and other senior policy-makers, the Earth Institute is well placed to help scale up strategies and interventions that have demonstrated success.


Urban Design Lab Director Richard Plunz with students at the Mumbai Eastern Waterfront Urban Design Studio

The Columbia Global Center/South Asia
Columbia University has long maintained its global presence through an extensive array of international research by its faculty, study abroad programming and partnership programs with other universities. To further expand its knowledge and engagement in the world, the University is deepening its global perspective through the establishments of a network of global centers: The Columbia Global Centers.

The Columbia Global Center/South Asia, supported by donors Rubal Jain and the Aditya Birla Group, will provide a home for the Earth Institute in South Asia for our policy and health projects.  Focusing first on rural development, the center will share with other scientists, development economists, policy makers and community development practitioners, best practices and lessons learned from the Earth Institute’s Millennium Villages project and other initiatives.  Eventually, the center will expand its scientific base to cover the longer-term environmental challenges of climate change, water and energy.

Health worker with villagers in Bangladesh
Health worker with villagers in Bangladesh

Research Projects and Centers Currently in Place in South Asia
The research projects and centers currently in place in South Asia include: The Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development and the Center for Global Health and Economic Development, the Columbia Water Center, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, the Urban Design Lab’s Mumbai Eastern Waterfront studio project (jointly conducted with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation), the Center for Wildlife Studies in Bangalore, and research on the health effects and geochemistry of arsenic in groundwater of the Bengal basin.  For more information on these projects and centers, please click here.

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