Princeton University June 20 announced that Anu Ramaswami, an Indian American researcher of urban sustainability, has been named the inaugural director of the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India.
Ramaswami, an interdisciplinary environmental engineer who is recognized as a pioneer and leader on the topic of sustainable urban systems, has been named professor of India studies, civil and environmental engineering, and the Princeton Environmental Institute, in addition to the inaugural director of the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India.
She will assume her new duties at Princeton on Aug. 1, Princeton said in a news release.
Ramaswami has been the Charles M. Denny Jr. Chair of Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and professor of bioproducts and biosystems engineering at the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota since 2012.
The M.S. Chadha Center for Global India, established in 2018 and part of PIIRS, will bring together scholars and students from all disciplines to broadly explore contemporary India, including its economy, politics and culture under Ramaswami’s aegis, the university said.
Ramaswami will also build a broadly multidisciplinary anchor program within the center focused on urbanization, innovation and global India, it said.
“The way in which India grows and builds her future cities will not only impact human health and well-being within India’s cities, but also affect people and the environment at regional and planetary scales,” Ramaswami said in a statement.
“Connecting urban sustainability research — of my own group and others at Princeton — with new partnerships in India developed through the center can potentially transform India’s urbanization trajectory, helping build vibrant, inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities,” she added. “This all has incredible potential to benefit the some 880 million people who will be living in urban India by 2050, while also solving planetary challenges like climate change.”
Ramaswami continued: “The potential for such far-reaching impact is very exciting and compelling. Understanding and helping in the effort to shape this transformation sustainably will require sophisticated interdisciplinary, systems-oriented, and community- and policy-engaged efforts that the center will be well positioned to advance.”
University trustee Sumir Chadha of Princeton’s class of 1993, whose gift established the M.S. Chadha Center and for whose grandfather the center is named, noted: “We are excited that the new center will enhance both the study of India on the Princeton campus and the role of India as a nexus for addressing fundamental issues that encompass the entire globe.”
Additional generous support from other Princeton alumni has also greatly strengthened the university’s ability to study India and its increasing impact on the world.
These include a gift from Sanjay Swani, a member of Princeton’s class of 1987, and his wife, Preeti, to endow a professorship in India studies and establish a global seminar that will take a group of students to India in the summer, the release said.
“That the center is named in honor of a former director general of the Health Services of India makes a focus on developing sustainable, healthy, resilient and inclusive cities in India all the more fitting,” said Ramaswami.
Ramaswami is a member of the UN Environment’s International Resource Panel and the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education, and has been elected chair of the 2020 Gordon Research Conference on Industrial Ecology.
She received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai, and her Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.