We’re a driving force for collaboration, engaging with our academic, industrial and government partners in India to influence policy and tackle global issues. 

Through our wide-reaching partnerships, we empower our academics, students and researchers to maximise the impact of their expertise and experience.

The India Institute Distinguished Lecture Series

Our lectures bring world-renowned and influential speakers to the University to talk about major social, cultural and policy issues facing India and the UK. A key annual event for the India Institute, the series was launched in October 2018 as we welcomed one of India’s most eminent political, diplomatic and business figures, Ambassador Dr S Jaishankar to deliver the India Institute’s inaugural Distinguished Lecture, ‘What India Means to the West.’

The Inaugural Distinguished Lecture - October 2018



Meet our influential figures and alumni:



Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL – Chancellor of the University of Birmingham

Lord Bilimoria CBE, DL is the founder of Cobra Beer and Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London and Senior Non-Executive Director of the Booker Group plc. In 2004, Lord Bilimoria was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business and entrepreneurship, and in 2006 was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords.

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Professor Robin Mason - Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) of the University of Birmingham

Professor Robin Mason has been named as one of the most influential figures in UK-India relations. Professor Mason, who is also the Director of the University of Birmingham India Institute, was named in the Top 100 as a ‘Regional Tiger’: one of a number of ‘India enthusiasts’ who ensure Indian businesses look beyond London when considering the UK as an investment destination.

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Dr Alwyn Didar Singh – Doctor of the University

Dr Alwyn Didar Singh is an author and former civil servant (Indian Administration Service (IAS) from 1976–2011) who served as Secretary to the Government of India (2009–11) and was Secretary General (2012–17) of India’s largest apex business chamber, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). He has been associated with Delhi Policy Group (DPG) as Senior Fellow since March 2018. He is a member of the Global Agenda Council on Migration of the World Economic Forum and is an international expert in e-commerce, trade and migration and has performed several studies in ICT strategy and e-commerce for international agencies, including the International Trade Centre, World Health Organization and South Centre, Geneva, as well as the Commonwealth Secretariat, London.

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Ajit Kumar Seth – Doctor of the University

Ajit Kumar Seth was in the 1974 Indian Administration Service (IAS) cohort and is a member of the Uttar Pradesh Cadre. He gained his BSc (Hons) and MSc in Chemistry from St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi and also an MPhil in Life Sciences from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. He subsequently obtained a Masters degree in Development Finance from the University of Birmingham. Ajit Kumar Seth has served in different capacities in the Government of India as well as in the United States and he was Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India for five years.

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