The India Center Foundation, Inc.
The India Center is a national, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to the study of the Indian subcontinent, the promotion of its cultural life, and the unique relationship between India and the United States. Based in New York City, The India Center hosts dialogues and exhibitions, mounts programs, educates audiences, and fosters debate focused on India’s future as well as its rich and varied past. It is also a home for the ever-evolving stories of Indian Americans in the form of a comprehensive oral history archive. The India Center is a platform for both established and emerging experts and artists exploring the evolution of the world’s largest and most complex democracy.
The India Center is supported primarily by patrons, foundations and the public. It is not affiliated with either the U.S. or Indian government.
Founding Director, Board President
Raoul is a communications advisor to major corporations and nonprofit organizations globally. He began his career in finance, spending much of that period with Morgan Stanley, including more than two years in the firm’s Mumbai office. He has also worked in start-up technology firms, and on several, prominent U.S. political campaigns. He is active with several New York City civic and cultural affairs organizations. He holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and lives in New York City with his family.
Priya Giri Desai
Founding Director, Board Secretary
Priya started her career as a writer and editor, and has worked at Time Inc. and Houghton Mifflin, and written articles for the Boston Globe, Popular Science, and San Francisco Chronicle, amongst others. Priya was nominated for an Emmy for her work on a critically acclaimed children’s series for PBS. She has worked on numerous independent documentary films and is currently completing a Sundance-supported film called Lovesick about marriage in India’s HIV+ community. She graduated from Duke University and now lives in Boston with her family.
Board Vice President
Mohit is a Managing Director and Head of Global Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley where he has held capital markets and investment banking positions in Asia, Europe and the U.S. He has worked on over 500 financing transactions for issuers across industries and regions. Mohit graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Economics. He is on the Board of the New York City Children’s Holiday Party, Inc., which provides extracurricular activities for children living in New York homeless shelters. He is also actively involved with the Asia Society.
Founding Director, Board Treasurer
Raj, a lawyer by training, is a former Kansas State legislator from the Wichita area. Now a New York City resident, he co-founded Bodhala, a legal services technology company. He also served as a Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, an adjunct professor at Wichita State University, and a senior analyst at the Center for American Progress. He holds degrees from Duke University and Harvard Law School.
Board Vice President
Hans is a co-founder of Preferred Brands International, a food company that manufactures a range of natural, organic, specialty foods under the brand Tasty Bite. He co-founded ASG-Omni, a consulting firm and incubator that led to the creation of Tejas Networks, one of the leading optical networking companies in the world. Hans teaches courses in social entrepreneurship and business ethics at the NYU Stern School of Business. He is also on the board of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, and has a Bachelors of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ashok is a corporate communications and brand marketing executive, with expertise in media relations, crisis communications, event marketing, social media strategy and internal communications. He has held leadership positions at media, marketing and entertainment companies including Publicis Media, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Product (RED) and others. Ashok holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Theatre from the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Maryland, College Park. Trained as an actor and director, he moved to New York City to work in off and off-off Broadway theatre with arts organizations like the Lark Playwrights Theatre, Desipina Productions and others. Ashok resides in New York City and the Berkshires with his partner.
Tehzeeb was born in Mumbai. At the age of 12 she left for boarding school in England and then attended college in the United States at Vassar. Upon graduation, Tehzeeb returned to India to help run the family antiques business, and subsequently established her own antiques business in London selling to British, European, and particularly American clients, before ultimately ending up in New York. She has maintained a close connection with India throughout, and now spends several months a year in the country on business and family matters. She resides in New York City with her family.
For the better part of a century, India and the United States have enjoyed an important, if at times volatile relationship. Millions of India’s citizens have moved to the U.S. in search of economic or personal opportunity, and hundreds of thousands of Americans have visited India in search of cultural adventure, spiritual growth, or business pursuit. India has played a major role in America’s geopolitical and military relationships, sometimes as ally sometimes as adversary, as it has played a major role in America’s economic growth. Indian Americans lead large U.S. companies, run teaching hospitals and university departments, and are professionals and entrepreneurs. They also increasingly run for office, start dance companies, teach elementary school, and write novels. It is a community that has grown immensely in numbers and influence throughout our society.
Audiences in large metropolitan areas regularly are exposed to the arts from India: visual arts, film, dance, music. Large and small universities study India’s politics, religions and history, and prominent think tanks convene experts to discuss its political, social and economic issues. And for many in the Indian-American community, the study of India is an intimate, living subject of reflection and family values. And yet to date there has not been a single, standalone organization in this country dedicated to India and its effect on the lives of Americans.