Designer Sells Handbags to Help Syrian Children

One year after launching her eponymous label, Minza Khan decided to design a handbag depicting the broken Syrian landscape and named it Children in Crisis. This year the 24-year-old designer will donate all proceeds from the sale of the Children in Crisis bags to UNICEF, according to a company news release. Khan launched her online store with 12 unique designs, including one to aid the Syrian crisis. The Syrian bag depicts Syrian landmarks, some of which date back to the 11th century. “Many of the pieces in our line are inspired by eastern architecture,” Khan said. “Syria has some of the oldest churches and mosques in the world and it’s painful to see the destruction of these irreplaceable sites. Unfortunately, it is even more painful to see the destruction of human lives, especially those of children. We hope to raise awareness and fund a better future. We work for a more hopeful version of our world,” she added. To preserve the character of each design, Khan produces limited quantities of each style. The brand’s signature elements include mirror-work, pearls, crystals, velvet lining, and the ancient technique of metallic thread embroidery known as zardozi. “I focus on small details and I truly believe that each bag is a piece of art,” she said. Minza handbags are currently available online and provide free shipping on domestic orders.

SAALT Young Leaders Institute Seeks Applications

South Asian Americans Leading Together announced it is looking for members for its Young Leaders Institute. YLI is an opportunity for undergraduate students and young adults to build leadership skills, connect with activists and mentors and explore social change strategies around issues that affect South Asian and immigrant communities in the U.S. The Institute is designed to cultivate skills to deepen knowledge and awareness, strengthen and nurture relationships with diverse communities, and empower young leaders to be agents of change, SAALT said. The theme of the upcoming institute is "Combating Islamophobia." Combating Islamophobia requires work within and outside our communities to ensure that we address our own biases and internalized oppression while also fighting systems and policies that diminish, criminalize and discriminate against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, SAALT said. Young Leaders Institute participants will attend an intensive training in the Washington, D.C., area in mid-July. SAALT said it is seeking 15-20 outstanding, diverse young leaders. Applications are due June 16. More information can be found at

Indian Companies Win at ISHOW

Indian companies BrailleMe by Surabhi Srivastava, SWACHH by Bhavin Gawali and Saans by Nitesh Jangir were named the winners of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' 2017 ASME Innovation Showcase in India. The competition is for hardware-led social innovation and was held in Bangalore. Prototypes were presented by the finalists with BrailleMe, SWACHH and Saans being named the winners. This year, ASME received more than 150 submissions vying for the $500,000 in cash and in-kind prizes that the organization has offered to help bring these socially innovative hardware-led solutions to market. The 2017 ASME ISHOW featured a range of devices that promise to make a transformational economic, environmental and social impact in underserved communities around the world. Winners will share $500,000 in seed grants, technical assistance, design and engineering reviews and access to ISHOW’s partnership network.

Joint Venture to Build 6 New Plants

Air Products announced that INOX Air Products Ltd., its joint venture in India, will build six new air separation units which will serve the growing onsite and merchant liquid industrial gases market in India. The six plants are scheduled to come on-stream during the course of 2018 and 2019. "The investment in this capacity will bring much needed product into the Indian market. As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, we continue to invest in these projects to ensure that we are in the best position to support the continued growth of the India economy in general, and the manufacturing industry in particular," said Siddarth Jain, director of INOX-Air Products. The plants will have a combined capacity of over 1,200 metric tons per day of liquid product and will serve a variety of regional markets and industry segments across India such as iron and steel making, glass manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

Indiana U. Partners with India's FLAME U.

A new Indiana University Bloomington Kelley School of Business partnership with FLAME University in Pune will launch reciprocal study abroad programs for students on both campuses. The partnership will provide a base for Kelley undergraduates interested in short-term study abroad in a city that is known as a hub for information technology and manufacturing. "It has been wonderful to see FLAME University move from concept to a thriving center for inquiry and research," said IU Bloomington provost and executive VP Lauren Robel. The new agreement fosters short-term exchange programs and study abroad in India and Bloomington. It also includes collaborative research, curriculum development, joint programs, faculty exchange and executive education. In addition to the Kelley agreement, IU and FLAME signed a general partnership agreement. IU's relationship with FLAME began when vice chancellor Devi Singh invited Ash Soni, executive associate dean for academic programs at the Kelley School, to visit the campus. Soni said FLAME is trying to combine the best of India with the best in the U.S. The partnership is expected to officially kick off in early 2018.

Lantern Pharma Raises $3.7M

Lantern Pharma Inc. announced the closure of its Series A equity financing of $3.7 million for the biotech company and its clinical-stage cancer treatments. The company will use the funds from the financing to continue development of its two lead drug candidates and further the advancement of its big data and Artificial Intelligence platform. “At Lantern we are developing targeted biomarker panels that can precisely sub-type patients based on the ability to be responsive to a treatment. Then by incorporating that into the selection and testing process, we can save years and tens of millions of dollars, thereby making treatments more personalized and accessible. We believe this will lead to better outcomes, efficient and faster drug development,” said Dr. Arun Asaithambi, co-founder and CEO of Lantern Pharma.

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