Niswarth Cancelled for Summer of 2015

After ten consecutive summers of immersing students in Indian culture, the Niswarth program will take a hiatus in 2015. Rajesh Mundra, Director of Niswarth, made the decision to cancel the trip for a year in order to reflect on the experiences of previous years in India. No specific incident prompted the suspension of the program for the upcoming summer, according to Mundra. “I want to take some time to document what we have learned. I want to reconnect with Niswarth [alumni], interview Niswarth partners, reflect on what has gone well and our challenges and connect different themes,” Mundra said in an email to The Phillipian. Catherine Tousignant, Instructor in English and a faculty member who has been part of Niswarth for the past four years, said, “It is extremely challenging to work the full-time jobs we have here, and plan next year’s program, and take a breather to reflect on the design of the program. Planning needs to start literally the day we get back. There’s not enough time to kind of think about the program and reflect on its design, if they’re going in six months.” Niswarth is a summer program that takes students to Mumbai for three weeks during the summer to engage in projects that deal with urban development and education in India. According to its mission statement, Niswarth focuses on digging into the complexity of pressing issues within various communities from multiple perspectives. Thea Rossman ’15, who went on the trip for two consecutive years, expressed that the most valuable part of her Niswarth experience was learning to look at issues from multiple perspectives. “One day we would be meeting people in a government school, the next, at the most expensive private school in Mumbai, and, that evening, in a skyscraper at a huge educational consulting firm. I think it’s sad that the opportunity I was lucky enough to have won’t be available for many of this year’s Uppers,” Rossman said.