Join us for the 2016 Darsh T. Wasan Lecture on Wednesday, November 2 at 3:30 p.m. in Perlstein Hall Auditorium. Sam Pitroda (EE ’66), Illinois Institute of Technology alumnus, will deliver this year’s lecture. A reception will follow at 4:30 p.m. in The McCormick Tribune Campus Center (MTCC) McCloska Ballroom. Business attire is recommended. Complimentary parking will be available in lot A4 located directly north of The MTCC on State Street.
Pitroda is an internationally respected development thinker, policy maker, telecom inventor and entrepreneur, who has spent more than 50 years in information and communication technology, global, and national development.
Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide, focusing on access to technology as the key to social change. During his tenure as Advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Pitroda headed six technology missions and was the founding chairman of India’s Telecom Commission.
He came to the USA in 1964 to study at Illinois Institute of Technology. After graduating with an M.S. in electrical engineering in 1966, he worked at GTE. In 1974, he founded Wescom Switching Inc. Later, he founded MTI Electronics in Milwaukee, Martek, Ionics, and Emnet in Chicago and returned to India, where he is credited with laying the foundation of India’s Technology and Telecom revolution in the 1980s.
In the 1990s, he founded WorldTel in London with the International Telecom Union (ITU) to help finance privatization of telecom in emerging markets; invented the mobile wallet in 1996, and set up C-SAM Inc., which was acquired by MasterCard in 2013.
From 2005 to 2009 Pitroda chaired India’s National Knowledge Commission. He then served as Advisor to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with the rank of a cabinet minister.
At present, he is founder, investor, and chairman of six startups and several not-for-profit foundations including Transdisciplinary University, People for Global Transformation, Global Knowledge Initiative, and India FoodBanking Network. He is also a founding member of the UN Broadband Commission and Chairman of the m-powering initiative at the ITU. Pitroda holds more than100 patents. He is a member of the Indian National Academy of Engineering and a foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering. Awards include honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S. and abroad. His autobiography Dreaming Big was published by Penguin in 2015.
If you are unable to attend the lecture, you can view a live steam here.