U.S. Ambassador Richard R. Verma on Technology, Innovation, and Societal Change and the U.S. – India partnership

U.S. Ambassador Richard R. Verma spoke on ‘Technology, Innovation, and Societal Change’ in remarks at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) on November 4.  As India’s high tech hub, Bengaluru is home to some of the most innovative solutions addressing community, public health, and commercial needs.  In addition to his remarks at IIMB, Ambassador Verma saw firsthand the impact United States-India public and private partnerships can have in meeting these challenges through visits on November 3 and 4 to local partners and U.S. companies leading the way in innovative uses for technology.  The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s pioneering midday meal program has been highlighted by the Harvard Business School. The USAID-supported WaterHealth Center uses the newest technologies to provide access to clean water.  And the 3M India Innovation Center is a premiere U.S. technology R&D hub.

Ambassador Verma highlighted the importance of U.S.-India collaborations in preparing the two countries – and the world – for the challenges of the 21st century in an address to over 250 business leaders, technology innovators, students, and faculty at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore on November 4.   “I have spoken before about the relationship between our two countries as an alliance for global prosperity, but I ask you to imagine the possibilities if this alliance were to unleash the combined creativity of our young thinkers for the good of humankind,” Ambassador Verma stated.  He continued, “The United States and India could together make no greater gift to humanity than propelling a clean energy revolution that delivers critical economic and environmental benefits to the people of India, the United States, and the world.”

During his visit to IIMB, Ambassador Verma also met with the members of Team Pentechan, a group of five middle school students from Bengaluru, who won the June 2015 Technovation Challenge in San Francisco for their innovative waste management app Sellixo.  “These students epitomize the people-to-people connections that foster innovation, particularly among youth, to solve social challenges,” said Ambassador Verma.

Ambassador Verma saw how technology can have a direct impact on the neediest members of society through visits to The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) and the Lingarajpura WaterHealth Center.  TAPF’s innovative kitchens have been designed and engineered to produce high quality, low cost meals with minimum human labor for their midday meal program in government schools. The WaterHealth Center at Lingarajpuram is a next-generation water “micro-utility” delivering a sustainable service that purifies local water resources through technology from research at U.C. Berkeley. This USAID-supported partnership will cover 25 underserved communities in Bengaluru, enabling delivery of affordable clean water to more than 32,000 households.  Ambassador Verma also inaugurated a hostel for the Suvarnamukhi Samsrkriti Dhama Education Center that will provide free boarding, lodging, and educational materials for resident students from grades 5-12 as they pursue higher education and professional training.

Bengaluru hosts more U.S. companies than any other city in India, including a significant number of global research and development centers such as the 3M Innovation Center which welcomed Ambassador Verma on November 3. Leveraging its global innovation expertise, 3M India develops home-grown solutions to address the unique needs of a diverse Indian customer base. 3M’s 46 technology platforms work together to develop innovative solutions for a variety of industries, such as automotive, communications, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, mining, oil & gas, and safety & transportation.

Ambassador Verma’s remarks