Dr. Karan Singh was born heir-apparent to the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1949, at the age of eighteen he was appointed Regent, then elected Sadar-i-Riyasat and then Governor of the State. In 1967, he was inducted into the Union Cabinet and held the portfolios of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Health & Family Planning and Education & Culture. He was Ambassador to the United States and is the Indian Member of the UNESCO Executive Board.
He was awarded a Ph.D by the University of Delhi for his thesis on the Political Thought of Sri Aurobindo. He has been Chancellor of Jammu & Kashmir University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, President of the People’s Commission on Environment & Development; Chairman of the Temple of Understanding, a global interfaith organisation; Member of the Club of Rome, the Club of Budapest, and the Green Cross International. He was a four-time Member of the Lok Sabha and since 1996 is a Member of the Rajya Sabha, re-elected in Dec 2005. He is Chairman, Ethics Committee of the Upper House of Parliament; Chairman, Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation; Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University and President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, having a rank equal to that of the Central Cabinet Minister.
Dr. Karan Singh has written many books and has lectured on political science, philosophy, education, religion and culture, in India and abroad. He is recognised as one of India's outstanding thinkers and leaders.
Mr. Rajendra S. Pawar is Chairman and Co-founder of the NIIT Group, that encompasses two businesses—NIIT Technologies Limited, the software and services arm and NIIT Limited, the leading Global Talent Development Corporation. Mr. Pawar has played a leadership role in nurturing NIIT and building it into a leading Global Talent Development Corporation. By pioneering NIIT’s innovative franchising model, he enabled the company to unleash a wave of entrepreneurship across the globe, providing young people with the opportunity to create viable businesses centred on IT learning.
Mr. Pawar led NIIT’s foray into the software and services market, creating NIIT Technologies, a global IT Solutions organisation. NIIT Technologies serves clients across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Mr. Pawar is a member of Prime Minister’s National Council on Skill Development, a council chaired by the Prime Minister of India. He is a member of the Planning Commission’s Task Force on Skill Development and has also served on the Prime Minister’s National Task force, which aimed at making India an IT Superpower by 2008. Actively involved in India’s key Chambers of Commerce, Mr. Pawar has led several ICT industry initiatives. He has been a Founder Member of NASSCOM (the National Association of Software & Service Companies). He is currently a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum.
Mr. Pawar studied at the Scindia School, Gwalior and completed his B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT, Delhi in 1972. Known for promoting industry-academia alliances, he works closely with many of the country’s well-known educational institutions and is on the Board of Governors of IIT Delhi, the Indian School of Business, and the Scindia School.
Vijay K. Thadani is the Vice Chairman and MD of NIIT, Asia’s leading Global Talent Development Corporation. Mr. Thadani also serves on the Board of NIIT Technologies Limited, servicing customers in the USA, Europe, Japan, Asia Pacific, and India.
Mr. Thadani has led the Group’s globalisation efforts since 1991, taking the NIIT flag to over 40 countries. As the Chairman of NIIT USA, and based out of Atlanta (1999-2003), he mentored NIIT’s Strategic Alliance programme that resulted in successful acquisitions of leading technology.
Mr. Thadani is deeply involved in strengthening and consolidating NIIT’s presence in the Chinese market, where the company began operations in 1998. He was honoured with the position of ‘Economic Consultant’ to Chongqing, world’s largest city in the People’s Republic of China.
Mr. Thadani has headed many Industry Associations and Societies including the Indian IT industry association, MAIT. He has also chaired the Indian Government’s Committee on National Information Infrastructure Policy. Mr. Thadani has served as the Chairman of the IT Committee of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the USA.
A ‘distinguished alumnus’ of the premier IIT Delhi, Mr. Thadani has lectured at prestigious institutions including the University of Michigan Business School, the J L Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).
In a career spanning 38 years, Prof. Rao has held various faculty positions at BITS Pilani. His teaching interests include Organic Chemistry, Structure and Reactivity of Organic Compounds, Synthetic Organic Chemistry & Stereo Chemistry & Reaction Mechanisms. His research interest includes Drug Synthesis & Green Chemistry.
As an Administrator he has held positions including Acting Vice Chancellor & Director BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus; Deputy Director, Off-campus programme & Dean, Practice School Division amongst others.
Prof Rao’s notable contributions include strategizing and conception of BITS Pilani, Hyderabad campus. He is credited with building 18.45 lakh sq. ft. green field campus in 200 acres without any time over-run replicating all features of BITS Pilani with the help of faculty, staff, alumni & students.
As Dy. Director, Off-campus programme, he spearheaded business development to increase the number of collaborative programme as well as collaborating organisations. He is also credited with starting a Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership & Technology Business Incubators both at Pilani & Hyderabad Campuses.
As Dean, Practice School Division he significantly contributed to establishing PS-II programme at Infinion Technologies, Singapore, Munich, Germany; Children Hospital, Philadelphia; Nuware Technologies, New Jersey; Intellisystems, New Jersey; Seranova Software in Phoenix; INSEAD Business School, Fontainebleau, France; Cypress Semiconductors, San Jose, amongst others.
Prof. Parimal Mandke is currently the Vice President and Dean (Academics) at NIIT University. With formal qualifications of M.Sc (Bombay University), M.Sc Tech (BITS, Pilani) and Ph.D (BITS, Pilani), her experience spans over 40 years. In the first 15 years of her career, she was a Faculty member and Dean, Educational Consultancy at BITS, Pilani. During her stint at BITS, Pilani, she gave leadership to development of new innovative on-campus and Off-campus Programmes of studies. Noteworthy among them being the off-campus programme, M. S. (S&T), developed in collaboration with CSIR for working scientists of the CSIR system.
As Chief, Higher Education, NIIT, Prof. Parimal contributed to the design of innovative GNIIT/ANIIT/FNIIT programmes and industry-linked Professional Practice. She developed educational alliances with over a dozen Indian and international universities. She worked towards the establishment of the NIIT University since 2002 and when the University became operational in 2009, she held the Office of Dean, Academic Affairs and she continues to hold the same Office. She also functioned as the Registrar, NIIT University from 2012-2015.
Prof. Parimal has presented papers and co-authored books in the areas of S&T, R&D Management and Education. She has taught courses in Technology Management, R&D Management, Scientific Method, History of Indian Science & Technology and designed and taught innovative research-driven course like Contemporary Issues at NIIT University.
Her areas of expertise include university development, university partnerships and the academic discipline of S&T.
Prof. Sunil Khanna is currently the Vice President, Dean (Research) & Dean (Admissions) at NIIT University.
He started his career as a Graduate Research Associate in Waite Agricultural Research Institute, University of Adelaide, South Australia in 1983 and then moved to work as a Research Fellow with Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Division, University of Cincinnati, Ohio in January 1984. In September 1985, he joined TERI as Area Convener Fellow and worked at that position till March 1992 to be promoted as Dean, Biotechnology in April 1992 till January 1996. He moved to Tata Energy and Resources Institute, U.S.A as Vice President in Feb 1996 till June 1998. He came back to India in July 1998 and was associated with TERI as Principal Investigator for their research projects.
Prof. Sunil has held various positions with Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET) from October 2000 to July 2005-Dean, Resource Generation and Planning (2003 onwards), Executive Director, Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park (STEP), Coordinator, Center for Relevance and Excellence (CORE), Head and Professor, Department of Biotechnology and Environmental Sciences. He then joined NIIT University as Dean, Planning, and Professor of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics.
IIn terms of his educational background, Prof. Sunil is a Ph.D (Biochemistry), 1983 from Waite Agricultural Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia. He did his Masters in 1978 from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India. He completed his graduation in Botany [Hons] in 1976 from Delhi University.
Prof. Sunil is currently the President of the Association of Microbiologists of India (FAMI). He is a member of a number of societies in India and abroad, and has also worked as Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Journal of Microbiology from 1993 to1996. His publications include 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals/books, 75 papers in conference proceedings/meetings, 20 technical reports, 3 reviews in books, and 2 books. Prof. Sunil is a Fellow of the Association of Microbiologists of India (FAMI). Prof Sunil has also completed 22 research projects as principal investigator funded by Bilateral (UNDP, Ford foundation, IDRC Canada, NEDO Japan) and National institutions (MNRE, DST, ONGC and DBT).
Air Cdre Kamal Singh joined the corporate world in the year 2006, as Senior Vice-President, to lead the commercial functions of NIIT Ltd. after having worked in the Indian Air Force for over three decades. He has been a member of the Corporate Family Group of NIIT Group of companies and is presently the Advisor, Infra-Services and has been associated in the Master Planning as well as building of NIIT University campus at Neemrana.
He is an Electrical & Electronics engineer, with specialisation in Aeronautical Engineering and has served across several geographies and assignments. He pioneered the induction of first digital-radar in the country, led a training contingent for six months at erstwhile Soviet Union and later was assigned for half a decade at the Embassy of India Washington DC as a part of the Defence Attaché corp. This representational role at the Embassy, amongst other responsibilities, included providing nodal support to DRDO on Transfer of Technology for the India’s LCA programme.
His career in the IAF afforded him Director of Engineering position in Air HQs, followed by Air Officer Commanding of a MRO Depot engaged in overhaul of missiles and radar-systems, of army and air force. The innovations applied in the management of this key establishment were recognised by an award of Ati Vashisht Seva Medal to him by the President of India on 26 Jan 2004.
He was finally the Commandant of Air Force Technical College, (AFTC) Bangalore, the alma mater of aeronautical engineers, for the armed services as well to some DPSUs and to more than a dozen friendly countries. He particularly succeeded here by getting Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to avail of residential programmes at AFTC, got a PG recognition from VTU Belgaum to AFTC curricula, and led a collaboration with IIT Madras to launch another of IIT Madras campus in Bangalore, in strategic alliance with AFTC.
He is a progressive farmer, has been promoting wasteland development for over thirty years. The concept of doing unconventional farming on arid lands has been strengthened by him by adopting these in his ancestral village-region. He has helped land the UNDP IDA programmes in north-India. The success of these ‘tree-farms’ or ‘energy-farms’ raised new hopes for many and he, in the year 1983, was the first farmer in north India to avail of a commercial bank-loan for Energy-Farms.
He believes, practices and preaches holistic living which includes ‘wander-lust’ to learn and discover something by being amidst nature and wilderness. He is an avid supporter of yoga, golf and music and indulges in and recommends adventure sports.
An alumnus of Indian Military Academy, Major Gen Ashok Kumar Singh (Retired) was commissioned in the 4th Battalion, The Bihar Regiment in 1974 which he also had the privilege to command, the General Officer has held various Command, Staff & Instructional assignments in his career spanning 35 years.
The General Officer signed off his military career on a high as Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor of Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.
Having attended Higher Command Course from Army War College, M how and Army Staff Officers Course at Defense Services Staff College, Wellington, the General Officer was awarded M.Phil. (Defense Management) from Devi Ahilya University, Indore & M.Sc. (Defense & Strategic Studies) from Madras University, Chennai. He has also attended NBC Defense Advance Course from NBC Defense School, Caen (France) and Independent Directors programmeme from MDI, Gurgaon. He has been awarded twice with Chief of the Army Staff Commendation Card and an Army Commander’s Commendation Card.
The General Officer started his post retirement career with Reliance Infrastructure Limited and joins NIIT University from Moser Baer Power (MP) Limited where he was Head Support Services.