October 06, 2005

SIUC hosting Indian social leader

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Sandeep Pandey, a social leader from India, will discuss concerns and challenges facing developing countries and their impact worldwide at a lecture Sunday, Oct. 9, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Pandey’s lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. The lecture is open to the public, and admission is free.

While pursuing a doctorate in control theory at the University of California-Berkeley, Pandey co-founded the organization Asha – a word meaning hope. The organization focuses on educational support for poor children by requesting donations from Indians living abroad. There is an Asha registered student organization at SIUC with nearly 50 student members.

During the lecture, Pandey will discuss why the lack of basic education and literacy in developing countries should be of concern to the United States, said Manoj K. Mohanty, an associate professor in mining and mineral resources engineering who also serves as faculty advisor to the student organization on campus.

Pandey will also discuss challenges that developing countries have in providing basic education to their citizens, and how people and agencies can assist in working on these challenges.

Mohanty emphasizes that education and assisting developing countries is a concern not only for some developed countries, such as the United States, but should be a collective worldwide effort.

“It needs a combined effort, not one person can do it,” he said.

In 2002, Pandey received Asia’s prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in the emergent leadership category for his work. He is currently visiting several chapters in the United States. There are now 36 chapters in the United States, including one at SIUC. The organization has distributed nearly $1 million for programs in India.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

The SIUC chapter of Asha for Education, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, and the social action committee of the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship Church are sponsoring Pandey’s lecture.