Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaaar – Role of Active Citizenship in a Democracy

Rohini Nilekani’s keynote address at Volcon – India’s flagship national conference on volunteering. This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s keynote address at Volcon – India’s flagship national conference on volunteering. * Like so many of us, I grew up on stories of volunteerism in my family because my paternal grandfather, Babasaheb Soman (Sadashiv […]

Closing speech: Build Together 2022

Namaste, everyone. And wow, it has been an exhilarating one and a half days. Of presentations, conversations, the igniting of ideas , the sharing of experiences and the airing of our hopes and our fears. That too in a place called IF?BE. Which reminds us that IF we can converge in our ideals and our […]

Schemes to Systems: Samaaj led Welfare Delivery Models

Rohini’s keynote at Indus Action’s Schemes to Systems conference. Philanthropist, Rohini Nilekani stresses on how the voice of Samaaj should be amplified and understood, while reducing the administrative gaps. Thank you to Indus action and all the people gathered here. A special namaskar to the two senior politicians here – Dr Palanivel Thiagarajan ji and […]

Closing Event at Contagion – Science Gallery Bengaluru

Phase one of Science Gallery Bengaluru’s exhibition-season CONTAGION phase came to a close Sunday 13 June, 2021, with closing remarks by Rohini Nilekani. The COVID-19 pandemic has sent alarm bells ringing throughout the world. While we have witnessed great socio-political and economic turbulence since the start of this pandemic, we’ve also seen a renewal of […]

Rohini’s Comments at The Annual Desh Apnayen Awards Ceremony

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s address at the ACTIZENS awards ceremony hosted by the Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation. In her speech as Chief Guest, Rohini Nilekani discusses how we can harness India’s latent potential to shape extraordinary citizens who will make India the world’s greatest democracy. You and your friends, and all […]

Comments at SVP, Kolkata 3rd Anniversary Meet

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s comments at SVP’s 3rd Anniversary Meet in Kolkata. My Journey to Structured Philanthropy I have been on my philanthropic journey for about three decades now. When I look back at it now, I think the real journey started much before, with my ancestors, because it is what […]

Rohini Nilekani’s Keynote at DH Changemakers

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s keynote talk at DH Changemakers, an annual feature by Deccan Herald to honour people who make a difference in Karnataka. What do we mean when we talk about change? We all know that change is the only constant in our lives. Change keeps happening, but I think […]

An Introduction to Uncommon Ground

Introducing Uncommon Ground – a Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies and CAMP Arbitration and Mediation Practice initiative – that looks to develop the individual and organisational capacity for deploying dialogue as the primary method for resolving conflict. Using a multi-disciplinary framework, including principles of dispute resolution through mediation with its emphasis on self-determination and collaboration, we are […]

Romancing the Black Panther – Rohini Nilekani with Usha KR

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani in conversation with Usha KR about conservation, our connection with the environment, and her fascination with the black panther of Kabini. This was held as part of BIC’s Bangalore Literature Festival, 2020.    Picture this – we are all in Kabini, waiting for Blacky, the panther of […]

Keynote address at the Belongg Library Network Launch Event

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s Keynote Address at the Belongg Library Network Launch Event. Belongg Library’s vision for inclusion and diversity is very welcome and timely. We need to find spaces and tools for people to be able to explore beyond their narrow horizons. People must be allowed the luxury of moving […]

How Citizens and Communities Shape our Cities

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s keynote address at eGovernments Foundation’s Connect For Impact Webinar on how citizens and communities can shape our cities.  Recently, I have been travelling from Bengaluru to Kabini a lot in these last few months, and every time I return from the forest to this megacity, Bengaluru, […]

Rohini Nilekani’s Opening Comments at eSpire 2020

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s opening address at eSpire 2020, a virtual conference organised by EduMentum on August 7th and 8th. The conference marked the successful completion of their incubation program for 23 organisations across 15 states since 2017. In the past few months, they have witnessed the strength and commitment of […]

Rohini Nilekani reads aloud Annual Haircut Day – ONCE AGAIN!

Watch Rohini Nilekani read aloud from her new storybook starring Sringeri Srinivas – Annual Haircut Day – ONCE AGAIN! illustrated by Angeline and Upesh Pradhan and guest edited by Mala Kumar. Read the sixth book in the Sringeri Srinivas series on Pratham Books StoryWeaver here!

Rohini’s Comments at SVP, Bangalore All Partners Meet

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s comments at the SVP, Bangalore All Partner’s meet. This pandemic has taught us a lot about ourselves, our communities, and our governments. We’ve learnt about the positives and the negatives of our public systems, and our activistic fears are being revived. But our empathy has also been […]

Rohini Nilekani: On my journey as a philanthropist

This is an edited version of a speech delivered by Rohini Nilekani to a closed door gathering of Asian philanthropists. Most of us in this room are on a journey of discovery as philanthropists. We recognize that we have been lucky, we are fortunate to have wealth way beyond our needs. We want to use […]

Closing Keynote | Strategic Non-Profit Management India | 2019

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s closing keynote address delivered to the 2019 class of the Strategic Non-Profit Management – India offered developed in conjunction with the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and offered in association with the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University. I think we are at a fairly […]

How Samaaj Impacts the way in Which Sarkaar and Bazaar Work

This is an edited version of a talk Rohini Nilekani gave at the offices of the eGovernments Foundation on how samaaj impacts the way in which sarkaar and bazaar work, and the role of samaaj in eGov’s mission. The Continuum of Samaaj, Sarkaar, and Bazaar Since the past 25 years, I’ve been deeply involved in […]

Bangalore’s Shapeshifts: A Personal Journey

This is an edited version of a talk Rohini Nilekani gave as part of a curated series called ‘Speaking of the City,’ curated by Bangalore’s World-Famous Semi-Deluxe Writing Program at Shoonya. Rohini talks about the city’s role in her work as a philanthropist and social innovator.     An Accidental Bangalorean It’s been 35 years […]

Embracing Risk: Solving our Societal Challenges

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s keynote talk on Embracing Risk: Solving our Societal Challenges at Dasra Philanthropy Week 2019 in Mumbai. Rohini talks about how we can take greater risks, both individually and collectively, how we can embrace failure as an opportunity, and how we can mitigate the downsides.   We’ve come […]

Samaaj and Bazaar: Congruence over Divergence

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s keynote talk on Samaaj and Bazaar: Congruence over Divergence at Dasra Philanthropy Week 2019 in Mumbai. We often set up Civil Society (Samaaj) and Markets (Bazaar) as opposing binaries. In this talk, Rohini proposes that they have more in common and more to gain, collectively, in collaborating […]

‘Role of Societal Platforms in Education’ at #ItAllAddsUp

Rohini Nilekani’s talk on the role of societal platforms in education made at the Akshara Foundation’s event on Maths: #ItAllAddsUp. How can we distribute the ability to solve issues together and restore the agency of every person in the system, so that they can also become part of the solution?   I’ve been at the […]

Gender Equity: Working with Young Men and Boys | We The Women, Bangalore

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s conversation with Raghu Karnad at We the Women in Bangalore. She talks about why we must engage men as stakeholders and co-beneficiaries in gender equity.   Over the past 20 years of my philanthropic work, we’ve seen a fair amount of advancement with regards to women’s empowerment. […]

Impact and Failures | Opening Keynote at Impact Failure Conclave, 2018

Rohini’s opening keynote delivered at the Impact Failure Conclave 2018 This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s opening keynote delivered at the Impact Failure Conclave 2018. When we think about failure, the way it’s received by samaaj (society), bazaar (markets), and sarkaar (state) are quite different. In the social sector, we have realised how […]

Private Resources and the Public Interest: How can Philanthropy Enhance Social Good?

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s talk on how philanthropy can enhance social good given at CSDS, New Delhi. According to Credit Suisse, India’s richest 1% own 58% of the country’s wealth. Structural inequity is historically embedded in India, but it seems to be worsening. With this in mind, what is the public […]

Rohini Nilekani: Digital Dependencies

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s comments on the “Digital Dependencies” panel at Digital Impact Mumbai Conference presented by the Stanford PACS on Feb 7, 2018. The panel discussion on “Digital Dependencies” was conducted by Lucy Bernholz, Director, Digital Civil Society Lab, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. They discussed ways that […]

The Plight of the Young Indian Man | The Bridge Talks

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s talk on the peripheral status of men and boys in discussions on gender and the need for inclusive gender empowerment, at The Bridge Talks. I have worked in the nonprofit sector for the past 20 years, and through my philanthropy, I’ve been active in issues of education, […]

Water Conflicts Workshop

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s talk on Understanding and Resolving Water Conflicts, organised jointly by the Forum for Water Conflicts in India, TERI, and ATREE on October 5, 2016 One of the most important questions in the country and possibly around the world, is the management of conflicts around this key resource […]

Collaborative Giving and the Path Ahead for Indian Philanthropy

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s opening address on Collaborative Giving and the Path Ahead for Indian Philanthropy, on Philanthropy Day at DPW, 2016. This is a really exciting point in the history of Indian philanthropy, where almost anything seems possible. It’s also a point where we need to be thinking about collaboration […]

The Next Big Thing – Quadrum Presents QED

This is an edited version of Rohini and Nandan Nilekani’s talk, The Next Big Thing — Quadrum Presents QED.   As Nandan and I travel, we try to watch out for new trends around the world. Even now, the world is divided into countries like ours, where half the population is still in the 19th […]

Giving Away A Billion Books: Rohini Nilekani at TEDxGateway

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s talk, ‘Giving Away A Billion Books’, delivered at a TEDx Gateway event. Rohini Nilekani was the Founder-Chairperson of Pratham Books, a charitable trust which seeks to put “A book in every child’s hand.” When I was a child, I learned a skill that I believe has given […]

An Approach To Integrated Water Management

By Lisa Tsering, Staff Reporter. Dec 03, 2012. BERKELEY, Calif., United States Grounded and detail-driven, water activist Rohini Nilekani is committed to helping India solve its water crisis one village at a time. Nilekani, the founder and chair of Arghyam, an NGO based in Bangalore that works to improve water and sanitation in small towns across […]

Address at 10th Anniversary of Akshara Foundation

This is an edited version of Rohini Nilekani’s speech on equitable quality education for all children, organised as a part of Akshara’s 10th Anniversary celebrations. Rohini spoke about the breadth and depth available today in the field of education, and pledged for social inclusion, for an equitable dispensation for marginalised and underprivileged children.   One […]

Emerging Challenges for Civil Society in India

A keynote speech delivered at the 25th Anniversary of Rotary club in 2008 The Indian third sector – as the non-profit sector is sometimes called, is one of the largest and certainly the most diverse in the world. There are civil society organizations in virtually every area of human endeavour, including community bee-keeping! As for […]