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India Summer School for Future International Development Leaders

Knowledge is Key

“If you want to help those in poverty, you need to experience the hardships firsthand.”—Prof. Anirudh Krishna

Lake Palace on Lake Pichola, Udaipur, India. Photo by Deepak Gupta

The Summer School for Future International Development Leaders is a 6 to 9 week summer research, internship, and educational program that gives graduate students from inside and outside the Duke University community the opportunity to work with students and development professionals from universities and organizations throughout India.

Based in Udaipur, India, the program combines coursework, NGO consultancy placements, and field research to provide students with a richer understanding of field research methods, program appraisal, concepts and theories of development, as well NGO project management.

Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the Indian Institute of Management - Udaipur, sponsor this intensive, results-oriented program.

Read an article about the India Program here.

About the Program

During the six-week program (Saturday, June 16 - Saturday, July 28, 2018), students are selected will be part of a three-person team that includes a student from an Indian university and an early career staff member from a nongovernmental organization (NGO).  The program is open to graduate students, both Duke University students and non-Duke University students.

Each team will be assigned to a regional NGO (based on student preferences), and will produce for the host NGO a detailed project proposal, including a needs appraisal, an implementation plan, budget, and cost-benefit analysis, which the NGO may present to a potential funder. In addition to a project proposal, each team will also produce a management review of their NGO focusing on a particular aspect of their NGO’s operations or structure. 

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  • The City Palace of Udaipur

    City Palace

    The City Palace of Udaipur began construction in the 1500’s and serves as a beautiful, well-preserved example of Rajasthani architecture.

A considerable amount of time will also be spent living and working in rural villages in the Udaipur district.

Over the course of three field visits to their study village, and guided by the expertise of their NGO and faculty mentors, each team will be required to identify gaps in existing responses to community needs and develop plans for responding to them, culminating with the final project proposal.

An additional three - four-week internship with the host NGO may be arranged for students who need to meet a minimum internship requirement for their degree program.


Phil Hah completed the India Summer School program the summer after he graduated from Sanford with his MPP degree. Here's his story:

About the Faculty

Professor Anirudh Krishna co-leads the program with Professor Janat Shah, Director of IIMU. Krishna, a former official of the Indian Administrative Service in the state of Rajasthan, has made alleviating poverty and enhancing human development the focus of his scholarly work. Through his research in the area over the last decade, Krishna has developed relationships with numerous nonprofit community groups. Shah is an expert in green supply chains, operations and project management.

About the Region

Map of IndiaRajasthan, in the northwest of India, is the country’s largest state and home to 68 million people. The state boasts some of India's most beautiful cities, and is known for its arid climate and hospitable people.  Udaipur is a mid-sized city of approximately 550,000 people located in southern Rajasthan.  In 2011 the literacy rate in Rajasthan was 67 percent (80.5 percent for men, and 53 percent for women, below the national average. Its female literacy rate is the lowest in the country).

Over time Udaipur became a hub for NGO activity in India.  The organizations operating in the city are working hard to address the lack of resources and need faced by area-residents.  Development scholars and organizations look to the NGO work done in Udaipur to help address poverty issues throughout India and the world.

Udaipur, a popular tourist destination sometimes called the Venice of the East, is known for its scenic beauty, lakes and palaces. Numerous motion pictures have been shot in and around the city, which has an international airport. Summer temperatures range from the low 70s to 110 degrees (F). 


Student Experience


Bahari Harris at Taj Mahal“Solutions and interventions must be conceived at a grassroots level ... in order to be sustainable. I had to rely on the knowledge of our academic and field mentors, and on the cultural coaching from my teammates, and the generosity of the Indian villagers. Even out of their relatively minimal resources, they selflessly offered me whatever they had to give. It was humbling and heartening to be both a receiver and a giver.”—Bahari Harris, MPP '16