The Takshashila Institution awards the Gomtibai Govindji Prize to Varun K Ramachandra and Nandita Lakshmanan for distinction in the study of public policy. The Gomtibai Govindji Prize has been instituted by her family to recognise the overall best performing student in Takshashila’s Graduate Certificate in Public Policy programme. The prize comprises of a cash award and a citation. Both Varun and Nandita are from the eighth batch of the GCPP that was conducted in 2014.
Varun K Ramachandra
Varun, a native of Mysore, studied at the National Institute of Engineering, King’s College London and Takshashila Institution. He aspires to be an academic in the area at the intersection of economics & public-policy and this was his primary motivation to take up GCPP. Varun recently joined the Takshashila Institution as an analyst. Varun has always been a mathematics and science (especially biology) enthusiast. Varun worked in a mobile advertising firm and a management consulting firm. After completing his course, Varun recently joined Takshashila as a policy analyst.
According to Varun,
I was always interested in politics and history from an ‘information-gathering’ perspective; the GCPP helped me view these topics in a structured manner. The elective that I had chosen – “Geopolitics of India’s boundaries” – particularly interested me for it had a mix of history, statecraft and politics. The capstone policy exercise gave me a flavour of research and writing experience at the same time.
Nandita is Founder, Chairperson of The PRactice, as Public Relations Firm with offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Nandita has been a public relations practitioner for over two decades, during which she has focused on expanding the ‘perceived’ definition of public relations from media relations to engaging and influencing stakeholders, an imperative for enduring businesses. Nandita was recently awarded the 2014 Individual Achievement SABRE Awards in recognition of her sterling contribution to the evolution of India’s public relations industry.
According to Nandita,
For a communication practitioner advising clients on building sustainable relationships with its stakeholders, a context to public policy and its nuances is critical. The business environment is closely linked to the social and political landscape. The structure of GCPP is excellent in that it allows professionals like me to apply the learning almost immediately, as it validates and negates the thinking and approach to challenges and opportunities confronted in both tactical and strategic aspects of communication/business management. The course broadened my thinking, attitude to issues, and most importantly challenged me to refresh and rethink.
The Graduate Certificate in Public Policy is Takshashila’s flagship educational programme. The 12-week course is networked and largely online, and meant for working professionals and full time students to take from around the world. The course is offered three times a year and the tenth batch of the course is set to begin in February 2015.