Design Impact Vol. 3: South Asia – Design Agency and Climate Change

Graphic with a black background and green and white text, advertising the event

Event Description

Design Impact Vol. 3: South Asia – Design Agency and Climate Change examines the understanding of design and development as applied or framed in the South Asian context with a particular emphasis on equity and socio-economic development. The event is organized into two panels presenting diverse voices followed by a moderated discussion and an audience question and answer session.

The first panel, Global Orientations and Local Perspectives will unravel the depth of enquiry and the degree of success in balancing global orientations and local practices in multiple South Asian cities. The second panel, Climate Migration in South Asia will bring forth perspectives on climate migration in South Asia as a trigger to other forms of migration and the need for transformation and innovation in humanitarian response.

The event is free and open to the public.

This is the third installment in a broader series of virtual symposia being organized by the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council. The first two events, Transformations at the Intersection of Equity, Climate Change, and Health and Homelessness: Ethics/Policy/Action have attracted thousands of attendees from across the globe.

How to Join

Register for the event here.

Questions? Contact [email protected].

Additional details may be found at


Session 1: Global Orientations and Local Perspectives / 10:40 – 11:55 PM EST (Feb 24)

Theoretical underpinnings and practice in South Asia have been typically viewed as derivatives of the Global North. With increased scholarship on localized knowledge, and the need to engage with unique constraints, urban practices can no longer be merely defined in terms of appropriating global discourses. This panel examines pressing questions of geo-political agendas, unbridled urbanization, and thematic prerogatives in the design discourse through the lens of diverse stakeholders in the South Asian development landscape.

Two side-by-side headshots of the session 1 leaders.Session Curator: Seetha Raghupathy, CEO Seagull Studio, Architect and Urban Designer, based in Chennai, India
Session Moderator: Naksha Satish, Master of Architecture in Urban Design 2022, Harvard University, Architect and Urban Practitioner, based in Bangalore, India


Five side-by-side black-and-white headshots of the session 1 panelists.


  • Kenichi Yokoyama, Director General of Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) South Asia Department, based in the Philippines
  • Arif Hasan, Architect and Planner, based in Karachi, Pakistan
  • Khaleed Ashraf, Architect, Architectural Historian and Critic, based in Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Iromi Perera, Researcher and Activist, based in Sri Lanka
  • Krishnan Saranyan, Additional Chief Secretary, Finance; Managing Director of the New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Limited, based in Chennai, India

Session 2: Climate Migration in South Asia / 12:00 – 1:15 AM EST (Feb 25)

Climate change induced displacement is a grim reality for South Asia’s densely populated regions. The problem is one of both time and scale. It extends beyond the local to impact people globally, as migration is not just an internal challenge but also impacts cross-border relations. This panel presents experts from diverse fields who will talk about the transformation necessary in international governance, policy, finance, and design to mitigate challenges that may leave the most vulnerable, helpless.

Two side-by-side black-and-white headshots of the session 2 leaders.Session Curator and Moderator: Nupur Gurjar, Harvard University, MDE ’21, Designer, Architect, based in Cambridge, MA
Session Keynote: Ms. Licypriya Kangujam, 9-Year-Old Climate Activist and Founder, The Child Movement


Five side-by-side headshots of the session 2 panelists.


  • Abhas Jha, Practice Manager, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (South Asia Region), The World Bank
  • Runa Khan, Founder and Executive Director, Friendship NGO, Bangladesh
  • Kashif Majeed Salik, Associate Research fellow at Sustainable Development Policy Institute, based in Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Sudipta Kumar, Badapanda ActionAid, based in Afghanistan
  • Pasang Dolma Sherpa, CIPRED, based in Nepal


Event Organizers

Four black-and-white headshots of the event organizers, side-by-side.

  • Aditi Agarwal MDes ’20, Computational Designer, based in Atlanta, GA
  • Ambika Malhotra MAUD ’20, Architect and Urban Designer, based in Delhi, India
  • Rohit Manudhane MDes ’10, Architect and Lighting Expert, based in Mumbai, India
  • Alpa Nawre, MLAUD ’11, Landscape Architect, Architect and Urbanist, based in Gainesville, FL

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].