The School of Public Service offers back-to-back
study abroad programs just before
the December holidays to India — a colorful,
beautiful, massive and diverse country that
provides opportunities for first-hand learning
opportunities in the areas of poverty, urban
policy, women’s empowerment, sustainability
and climate change.
On Dec. 12-17, SPS teams up with the
Watershed Organization Trust, an award-winning
nonprofit operating in six Indian
states, for a six-day program in India’s west-central
state of Maharashtra.
On Dec. 18-23, the DePaul Institute of Science and Technology hosts a six-day
program in the southern state of Kerala.
The trips build on relationships that SPS
has established in India since 2004, the year
of its first program there.
As the world’s largest and most diverse
democracy, India “provides rich opportunities
for students to learn about international
public service management, leadership and
policy challenges and opportunities around
sustainable development in rural and urban
areas,” said Ron Fernandes, director of the
Kerala program and assistant director of SPS.
The Maharashtra program gives students
hands-on experiences with successful
sustainable development programs and gives
them the opportunity to stay and interact with
the beneficiaries of these programs.
The program demonstrates the way in
which the Watershed Organization Trust
(WOTR) works to address poverty, through
self-help capacities of people and groups to
regenerate the eco-spaces in which they live.
WOTR, winner of 2009 Kyoto World
Water Prize, emphasizes sustainable
development and climate change adaptation
programs and is among India’s largest
nonprofit organizations in these areas.
The program includes visits to WOTR’s
headquarters in Pune; WOTR’s training center
in Darewadi village, site of its first watershed
development project; and an Indian village,
where students will spend four days as guests
in the homes of residents. The trip includes
interactions with local development and
social service organizations.
Students from past programs mention the
warm hospitality they received from their
village hosts and the rich opportunities
to learn from successful and cutting-edge
For more information on the 2016
Maharashtra program, contact program
director Ramya Ramanath.
The Kerala program enables students to
learn about rural and urban policy initiatives,
especially related to women’s empowerment
through microcredit and microenterprise
programs, plus through participation in
grassroots political institutions.
The program includes an international
conference that the DePaul Institute of
Science and Technology (DIST) will host on
“The Triple Bottom Line for Sustainability:
The Roles of Government, Corporate and the
Students will participate
and present at this conference as part of the
Students in the Kerala program have
valued the close friendships they formed with
DIST graduate students and through cultural
For more information on the 2016 Kerala
program, contact program director Fernandes.
“India is predicted to become the largest
country in the world in terms of population,
surpassing China, by 2023,” Fernandes said.
“Understanding India is key to accomplishing
the agenda for sustainable development and
the landmark Climate Change Agreement.”