Titoo Ahluwalia holds the unique distinction of having headed the three largest market research companies in India – IMRB, of which he became Chief Executive at the age of 30; then MARG, which he set up in 1983, and subsequently ORG, which merged with MARG in 1996. He started his career as a social researcher at Research Services Ltd in London. In 2004, Titoo Ahluwalia took early retirement from his position as CEO of ACNielsen ORG-MARG, to pursue on a full-time basis his interest in issues concerning civil society. He is now Managing Trustee of Citizens for Peace and Trustee of four other voluntary organizations involved with work in many different areas such as communal harmony, urbanization education, rural development and accountability in public institutions. He is also Chairman of Conscious Food Pvt Ltd, India’s first organic food company.
Shyam Benegal is a critically acclaimed independent filmmaker, screenwriter and public intellectual of India. With his first four feature films Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976) and Bhumika (1977) he became the pioneer of new genre of films known as “Parallel Cinema” in India. His films often dealt with issues of gender equity, social justice, and political conflicts that were portrayed with great nuance by the powerhouse team of actors like Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri, all of whom were discovered for the screen by Shyam. Shyam Benegal has won many national and international awards, has had many retrospectives of his films across the world and has been invited as a Jury for many international film festivals. A prolific writer and a sought after speaker, Shyam Benegal is known as voice of reason for the marginalized. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991. On 8 August 2007, he was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2005. He has won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi seven times.
Nandita Das has acted in more than 40 feature films in 10 different languages. She made her directorial debut with Firaaq in 2008 and Between the Lines marks her debut as a playwright and theater director. She is an advocate for issues of social justice and human rights. She was the Chairperson of Children’s Film Society between 2009 and 2012. Nandita Das was the first Indian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Women’s Forum. She has also been conferred the ‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters’ by the French Government. She was at Yale as a World Fellow in 2014.
Since 1997 till June 2018 Professor Abhay Karandikar has worked in the Department of Electrical Engineering of IIT Bombay as a Professor. Earlier he also worked in Indian Space Research Organization, Ahmedabad (during 1988-89) and High Performance Computing Group of Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) (during 1994-97). He is serving as Professor-in-charge of IIT Bombay Research Park since September 2014. Professor Abhay Karandikar played a leadership role in setting Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI). He is also the Coordinating Professor of National Centre for Excellence in Technologies for Internal Security (NCETIS) which is approved by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Govt of India. Since June 2018, Professor Karandikar has joined IIT-Kanpur in the role of the Director.
Sheela Patel is the Founder Director of SPARC (Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres) – a non-profit society working in issues of equity and social justice in India and SPARC Samudhaya Nirman Sahayak (SSNS) – a set up to assist slum communities take on construction initiatives in cities. She has a Masters in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. She is a member of World Health Organization Task Force on the Social Determinants of Health, Chair of the Board of Shack Dweller’s International Board, Chair of the Policy Advisory Board of the Cities Alliance (World Bank) and has been a Member of the ICSSR Committee for IDPAD (Indo Dutch research projects). She is also a member of the Technical Advisory Board of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission of the Government of India.
More than two decades of his professional career include work in direct community mobilization, participatory research and training and capacity building in government training institutions before joining TISS as a full time faculty member in 1999. His research and publications are mostly in the thematic areas of Communalism, Conflicts and Peace Processes, Minority Rights, Social Innovation and People Centred Development and Social Enterprises. He is engaged in promoting Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. Being a member of European Research Network on Social Enterprises (EMES), Belgium, he functions as the Member of the Scientific Committee of Biennial Conference of EMES.