Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management is planning to invite India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver the keynote address. Potentially it is the first among the top-ranked American business schools to do so after the Wharton Business School’s India Economic Forum unceremoniously cancelled the then Gujarat chief minister’s keynote address last year.
“The process is under way to invite the prime minister this year or the first half of 2015. Ultimately, it will depend on the mutual convenience of the Prime Minister and the MIT president. So, a firm date is hard to forecast right now,” said S P Kothari, deputy dean, Sloan School of Management.
A few other leading US universities have indicated that they may not be averse to inviting Prime Minister Modi for future conferences and events. “Yale frequently and regularly hosts visits and speeches by heads of state, public figures, thought leaders, and others. We have no official policy on who may or may not be invited to campus,” said George Joseph, director for international relations and leadership programmes at Yale University.
“Like people around the world, we at Yale were awed by the exercise of 815 million voters participating in the general elections and we wish the Indian government and the Indian people the very best in meeting the enormous potential that India possesses.”
Buoyed by Modi’s elevation as India’s Prime Minister, organisers of last year’s India Economic Forum at Wharton expect the institution to issue an apology and perhaps extend another invite to Modi. The forum had last year invited Modi to deliver the keynote address via video conference, before cancelling the invitation in the face of protests over his alleged role in 2002 riots in Gujarat. The forum had also invited Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal at the same time last year. The Adani Group had cancelled its sponsorship of the event following the controversy.