The India Distinguished Visitor Program


The India Distinguished Visitor Program at the South Asia Center of the University of Washington invites distinguished public figures - writers, public intellectuals, journalists, social workers, or activists - to visit Seattle to raise awareness of India related issues in the Pacific Northwest and to bring members of the community closer to the university.

Since 2006, India Distinguished Visitors have included the noted author, playwright, and business leader Mr. Gurcharan Das, and renowned film maker, activist, and Member of Parliament Mr. Shyam Benegal. They were enthusiastically received by UW faculty and students and the local community and they enriched our lives by their presence, ideas, and intellect.


Most recently, in April 2009, the South Asia Center hosted the Honorable Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, 11th President of India. President Kalam made presentations to UW and community audiences of well over 2000. The South Asia Center worked with Microsoft, Boeing, UW, TiE, and the India Association of Western Washington to ensure that as the India Distinguished Visitor President Abdul Kalam reached a wide audience. He addressed and personally interacted with numerous people, from community leaders to students, faculty to business executives, national politicians to senior citizens. The terrific response to his visit demonstrates the interest in India related issues in the wider community, and the power of the India Distinguished Visitor Program to address that need. To sustain such an annual program takes considerable resources. The South Asia Center’s goal is to raise the resources necessary to create an endowment which will make this a permanent feature of Seattle intellectual and public life. Thanks to the generous support of local individuals, companies and organizations, the first three India Distinguished Visitors programs were tremendous successes. Please consider making a gift to support this important program.


Support the India Distinguished Visitor Program.


Past visitors:


2009 - Honourable APJ Abdul Kalam - Former President of India, scholar, activist. The South Asia Center is proud to have hosted the Honourable APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, as the 2009 India Distinguished Visitor to the University of Washington.

The visit of Dr. Kalam, with presentations to audiences totaling over 200 attendees at Microsoft Corporation, Boeing Corporation, the University of Washington (with multiple presentations including a full house of approximately 800 at the largest event), TiE, and at Images of India, the joint South Asia Center-India Association of Western Washington program, demonstrate the interest in India related issues in the wider community, and the power of the India Distinguished Visitor Program to address that need.


President Kalam with UW Students


2008 - Shyam Benegal - distinguished film maker, social activist and member of India's upper house of Parliament.

Shyam Benegal at the South Asia Center, UW

2005: Gurcharan Das - Gurcharan Das, former CEO of Procter & Gamble India, is a renowned columnist, novelist, playwright, and management consultant. He is the author of numerous books, including the international bestseller, India Unbound.

Gurcharan Das



South Asia Center
University of Washington
303 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-4800 phone
(206) 685-0668 fax

Anand Yang, Director

Keith Snodgrass, Associate Director

Molly Wilskie-Kala, Program Coordinator

Nick Gottschall, Graduate Student Assistant

Robyn Davis, FLAS Coordinator

Sunila Kale, Graduate Program Coordinator