Nitin Desai

Mr. Nitin Desai, a graduate of LSE, taught economics at two UK Universities, worked briefly in the private sector, had a long stint as a government official in India and then joined the UN in 1990 from where he retired in 2003. In India he was in the Planning Commission (1973-88) and later in the Ministry of Finance as the Chief Economic Adviser (1988-90). In the UN, where he was Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, his major work was the organization of a series of global summits, notably the Rio Earth Summit (1992), the Copenhagen Social Development Summit (1995), the Monterrey Finance and Development Summit (2002) and the Johannesburg Sustainable Development Summit (2002).

After his retirement he has been involved in a variety of public policy activities nationally and internationally. He continued to assist the UN until December 2010 as Special Adviser on Internet Governance to the UN Secretary General and the chair of the multi stake holder group that organises the annual Internet Governance Forum. He writes a monthly column for Business Standard.

For more information see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitin_Desai

Aditi Desai

ADITI DESAI (NEE GUPTA), studied Sociology from Delhi University and went on to do resident fieldwork for her PH.D among Muslim families of Old Delhi. She lived with a branch of the famous Hakim Ajmal Khan's family in Ballimaran, Delhi-6. Deeply interested in people, society and culture, Aditi learnt classical music, did amateur theatre, engaged in socio-political activism, and hobnobbed with Sadhus in the first quarter of her life. After marriage to Nitin Desai, an economist, she had 2 sons, Kartikeya and Nandan. Committed to being a good mother, she worked with women's, children's and environment NGOs. Later in Geneva and New York she consulted for UNV, UNRISD and UNFPA, John's Hopkins University and published a major report and a book. Since her teens she was interested in textiles, particularly Kashmir shawls. Pursuing this passion, which she has nurtured for 40 years, Aditi has emerged as a major scholar and collector of shawls. She is currently trying to create a centre for her world class shawl collection and for reviving the art of rafugari or textile restoration which is fast disappearing for lack of appreciation and remuneration. She is writing several books including one on social history of Kashmir, it's craftsmen and shawls.

Kartik Desai

KARTIK DESAI, leads Asha Impact, an impact investing and policy advocacy organisation operating a multi-family office for Indian business leaders and philanthropists to invest in social enterprises and work with the government on development finance and inclusive business models. He has led investments into and serves on the boards of start-ups across housing, financial services, waste, education, healthcare, agriculture and technology for development. Kartik is a board member of the Impact Investors Council, steering committee member ANDE India, member of the Prime Minister's ‘Champions of Change’ of young CEOs, member of the Parliamentarians and Innovators for India Covid-91 response initiative. Prior to setting up Asha in 2014, Kartik has a decade of experience in venture capital, entrepreneurship, investment banking and international development in India and the US. He helped set up two pioneering impact investment funds, Lok Capital II, focused on financial inclusion in India, and Aavishkaar Frontier Fund, setting up its operations in South Asia, in between founding What's up Bharat, a physical hub for inclusion, QNA, an open-data platform for polling and citizen engagement and being a judge on The Real Deal NDTV, the world's first reality TV show on impact investing. Prior to joining the impact investment industry in 2007, Kartik worked for three years with DSP Merrill Lynch in its investment banking and private equity teams in Mumbai and also consulted for the United Nations Development Program and Rockefeller Foundation while studying in New York. Kartik has a Bachelors degree in Finance from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a Masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University (SIPA).