When I Met Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen
It’s rare in life that you get to meet a thought leader and humanitarian who has not only shaped the way the world thinks about issues including economics, poverty and justice but one who has also personally influenced your intellectual growth.
I grew up in developing countries all my life. From places like Nigeria and Zimbabwe to Vietnam, I’ve seen the effects of poverty and studied the politics behind it. My father’s job — building small-medium enterprises in developing countries — took me to some of those places. And my grandfather spent his life dedicated to soil and water conservation at the U.N. and the Indian government.
The work of Nobel-prize winning economist Amartya Sen appeared in much of my schooling and discussions with family. Even the comparative measure of social and economic development across nations, the U.N. Human Development Index, was influenced by him.
When I went to India to report on violence against women last year, I referred to Dr. Sen’s seminal 1990 research on Asia’s ‘100 million missing women.’ He coined the term ‘missing’ and was the first to sound the alarm about the consequences of killing baby girls. More than two decades later, Asia finds itself in the same crisis Dr. Sen warned the world about — and the issue is still underreported. It was honor for Dr. Sen to read my story and say it was “very well-written.”
As a multimedia journalist and producer at Asia Society, I got an exclusive interview with the intellectual force about his new project — to revive Nalanda, an ancient university, through a Pan-Asian initiative.
My interview was picked up by The Hindu, Times of India, Yahoo News and mentioned by Dr. Sen in his speech at Asia Society.
The following is what Mr. Sen wrote of my work: “Shreeya Sinha interviewed me, for her web site, on Nalanda University – the ancient university which is being re-established through joint efforts of India, China, Japan, Singapore and other Asian countries. I was very impressed about the quality of her journalistic talents. I am sure she will flourish in this profession.”
‘Vision for a new Nalanda’ – The Hindu
‘Amartya comes to Gopa’s defence’ – Times of India