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The Carolina Asia Center is pleased to announce our 2022 Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship recipients: Akankshya Jena and Parag Jyoti Saikia!

The Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship was established in 1998 by a group of Sangam members who sought to create a unique educational opportunity for fellow students. The Fellowship awards up to two students each year with up to $3,000 to execute a self-designed civic engagement project that benefits South Asian communities, here and abroad, whether through direct service or increasing awareness of South Asian culture and issues. The Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship is administered today through UNC Sangam, a South Asian awareness organization at UNC-Chapel Hill.

2022 Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship Recipient: Akankshya Jena Akankshya Jena is an undergraduate majoring in quantitative biology with minors in philosophy and music at UNC. This summer, Akankshya will be working at Unite for Sight, a global nonprofit organization providing eye care to locations in North America, Africa, and Asia. She is exploring ways to implement preventative eye care methods in rural Orissa, India. In a location where several common eye diseases can be prevented simply by recognizing the symptoms and getting early help, Akankshya hopes that spreading this knowledge can have beneficial long-term effects on local population. She is excited to have the support of the Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship throughout her project!

Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship Recipient Parag Jyoti SaikiaParag Jyoti Saikia is a doctoral candidate in the Anthropology department at UNC. His doctoral project explores the environmental, social and political impacts of an incomplete hydropower in the North-Eastern region India. In Summer 2022, he will explore how people live with a river in the shadows of an incomplete dam. In collaboration with his community partner, he aims to build awareness about how dams impact peoples’ lives beyond displacement. He is a first-generation doctoral student and a native of the area he studies.


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