The South Asia Studies Program provides a foundation for understanding the dynamics of this crucial region and offers students the opportunity to concentrate on a part of the world whose importance in international affairs is increasingly recognized by the policy and corporate community.
SAIS graduates are in great demand by employers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Economics knowledge, analytical abilities, regional expertise, diplomatic skills, language proficiency and the capacity to apply theory to real-world problems give our students a distinct professional advantage.
“South Asia is home to the world’s most populous democratic state, the largest concentration of Muslims and one of the fastest-growing economies. A hotbed of development issues—including ethnic variety, differences in economic growth, state-center tensions and a major push on infrastructure—the region is a crucial laboratory in which to form the intellectual skills necessary to make sense of modern politics and economic development. South Asia is of key strategic importance: The vast peninsula is situated at the crossroads of the Middle East and East Asia, and it dominates the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean. As world attention shifts to Asia, the states of South Asia will play a prominent role in shaping the affairs of this huge continent.”Walter Andersen, --South Asia Studies
The curriculum provides an insight into the central dilemmas of modern politics, economic development and social change present in the region. Interdisciplinary courses address South Asia’s growing economic and strategic importance as well as its political history, its complex social structures and the challenges of development.
To complement students’ course work, the South Asia Studies Program hosts biweekly luncheons on careers that would be relevant to students concentrating in South Asia. Here students have the opportunity to network with academics, policymakers, journalists, businesspeople and NGO representatives and to research career options.
It is the goal of the South Asia Studies Program to ensure that while studying at SAIS, students have the ability to visit the region and experience firsthand many of the themes discussed in the classroom. In recent years, the program has organized a study trip to India and Bangladesh to discuss economic development and energy policy (winter 2010), and a comparative trip to China and India to discuss economic development models (winter 2012).
Internship choice is critical to the student’s academic studies and career prospects. The program director and other faculty members work closely with students to identify and pursue opportunities appropriate to their interests within the region or relevant organizations in the United States.
South Asia Seminars
In addition to a biweekly career luncheon series, the program hosts a number of public seminars on various topics related to South Asia. Past speakers include the Maldivian and Bangladeshi foreign ministers, the current foreign secretary of Pakistan, ambassadors from the region and the U.S. assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asia.
South Asia Retreat
The South Asia Studies Program hosts a retreat for its students and faculty members at the beginning of each academic year. Students have the opportunity to become acquainted with each other and the program. The retreat includes a debate by policy experts on a topical issue, an administrative brief, leisure time, a classical musical presentation and a dinner with fellow local South Asianists.