Breadth of American Center Programs and Resources on Display at Weekend Mela

The American Center, located just off Connaught Place in the heart of New Delhi, is welcoming visitors this Saturday, May 25, for an open house that will showcase the range of programs and services it offers. The goal of the event is to present for both new and longtime visitors how the Center enlightens, enriches, and spurs innovation.

“Many people think of the American Center as primarily a library, but it has really expanded into something much more than that,” said Sarah Ziebell, the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Public Engagement Specialist. “The American Center that people fell in love with years ago very much remains, but with an added focus on innovation and technology, among other things, it now offers more resources and programming that benefit an even larger segment of the local community. We’re excited to showcase it and think there is something for everyone here.”

In line with a greater emphasis on promoting innovation, the American Center, with its programming partner, MakersBox, on Saturday will feature an exposition on “makerspaces” – collaborative work spaces that use both high tech and no-tech tools and items to encourage creativity, team-based problem solving, and critical thinking. The Center is also aiming to provide more hands-on learning opportunities, highlighted by this weekend’s “Internet of Things Hackathon,” which will challenge 20 young programmers to experiment with the next-generation technologies of smart homes in order to build solutions to common problems.

Visitors will also have the chance to see Nexus, a program emblematic of the American Center’s drive towards more practical training. The two-year old Nexus Start-up Hub is an entrepreneurship incubator that has provided free-of-cost training and development to 72 Indian and South Asian start-ups, which have gone on to raise $4.4 million in outside funding and close over 25 deals with prominent U.S. and Indian companies.

“It’s a 10-week program that covers the basics of what a startup needs to know in order to be sustainable,” said Nexus Director Erik Azulay. “We cover marketing, procuring financing, intellectual property, and everything in between.”

The American Center’s expansion is an addition to its traditional offerings. The library – a mainstay since the Center’s inception in 1951 – continues to offer a wide selection of books, periodicals, and films, as well as access to countless online resources. Cultural programs, from photo exhibits to “Friday Flicks” movie screenings, are a weekly fixture on the calendar of events. The Center’s expanded presentation spaces frequently host U.S. diplomats and other experts for talks on a range of topics. Up this weekend: a discussion with a consular officer on applying for a student visa.

The American Center Mela will run Saturday from 10:00-5:30 p.m. and is free to the public. For more information on events and programs, please contact the Center at +91 11 2347-2000 or on Facebook at American Center New Delhi.