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Students a part of India Initiative working in India.

India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts

The India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts was a studio-based course taught through a multidisciplinary lens in Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The class operated in partnership with the government of Maharashtra to design, prototype, and implement a solution to a development problem facing India. Each year, the course examined a different challenge. In 2016, the topic was droughts, which was particularly timely given indications that a severe drought was underway in Maharashtra.

The class was team taught in modules led by Professors Irfan Nooruddin and Mark Giordano, along with visiting lecturer Ann Pendleton-Jullian and teaching assistant Nandini Mullaji. In the fall 2016 semester of this studio, students explored the political and hydrological dimensions of drought. The spring 2017 semester focused on the policy, economic, and ethical dimensions of potential solutions, which students designed working in close collaboration with experts in the field, stakeholders, and the Maharashtra government. The design thinking component of the course exposed students to the nature and complexity of development problems and encouraged them to identify solutions that were cohesive and multidimensional by visually mapping solutions.

During the length of the course, students worked in groups, identifying specific aspects of the drought they focused on and attempted to solve. Selected students traveled to Mumbai, Maharashtra, in June 2017 to present policy recommendations to high-level officials in the Maharashtra government.

Irfan Nooruddin was the Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Indian Politics and the director of the Georgetown India Initiative.

Mark Giordano isthe director of the program in Science, Technology and International Affairs, the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environment and International Affairs, and associate professor of environment and energy in Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Ann Pendleton-Jullian is a visiting lecturer and a professor of architecture at Ohio State University's Knowlton School.

Nandini Mullaji is an alumna of Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service. She graduated in 2017 with a degree in Regional and Comparative Studies.