- The program will now be known as AIF Banyan Impact Fellowship
- The application portal will remain open until April 30. To apply or to know more, visit https://aif.org/fellowship/
NEW DELHI, 24 APRIL 2021: As American India Foundation (AIF) marks its 20th anniversary, co-founder and AIF Board co-chair, Lata Krishnan, a philanthropist, a technology entrepreneur and a startup investor and her husband Ajay Shah, announced the largest gift to AIF in its history, a $5 million gift to the Fellowship program in a fireside chat with Mastercard Executive Chairman, Ajay Banga.
AIF welcomes its first applicants to the Banyan Impact Fellowship. The application portal will remain open until April 30. To apply or to know more, visit https://aif.org/fellowship/
At the cusp of the program’s third decade, AIF is seizing the moment to rebrand the program to reflect the organizational mission, vision, and values moving into the next decade of action. Over the last 10 years, the world has changed dramatically, and the importance of strong US-India civil ties has grown ever more important. Additionally, the world is facing global challenges at an unprecedented level that require further investment in this work. With the largest gift in AIF’s history to help sustain this program, this program will build upon the past 20 years and lead for the next 20 as a true catalyst for change.
The next phase of the program focuses on accelerating impact and supercharging ideas to solutions. Lata Krishnan said, “Through service we have made investments in American Indian diplomacy by shaping the next generations of leaders to be more inclusive and socially minded advocates who will collaborate to solve the most pressing issues in India. We are impacting individual lives and building bridges, this is what motivates me year after year with AIF.”
Announcing the new name, the AIF Banyan Impact Fellowship, Lata added, “the ‘banyan tree’ is a symbol of strength, resilience, and interconnectedness – a powerful metaphor for mobilizing a collective force towards sustainable impact,”. Ajay Shah said, “We are building young leaders who will be able to sustain development throughout their entire careers. The relationships and bridge-building go well beyond the one year fellows stay on the ground.”
Nishant Pandey, AIF CEO said, “The Fellowship is the longest running program of AIF and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year too. From our 20 years of running this strategic programme in the US-India corridor, we believe the program is at a crucial stage where it can expand, grow and flourish as a separate entity within the AIF umbrella. This seed grant of $5 million from Lata and Ajay helps us pursue this exciting vision. This is the biggest gift in the history of AIF and we are immensely grateful and thrilled.”
Ajay Banga said, ““Our hope is for the US and India to form a much tighter partnership so that their people understand each other better and can contribute to solving real problems in each other’s countries. Through this fellowship, we are creating a force multiplier.”
About AIF Banyan Impact Fellowship
For 20 years the American India Foundation (AIF) has been sending a cohort of dedicated young people on the journey of a lifetime. A journey that makes as profound an impact on the people they work with and learn from, as it does on themselves. In these decades, an exchange has been happening between the people of the world’s largest democracies in order to foster civic engagement and forward positive change on all who take part in it.
What started in 2001 as the AIF Service Corps for young Americans to work in India on disaster relief and long-term rehabilitation grew in its impact and footprint. In 2009 the program was renamed the AIF William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India in recognition of the former president’s role in creating AIF. As the program grew, it also took another large step in 2011 to include cohorts from both the US and India working in tandem to create a binational force for good. The tenets that helped form AIF, the deep ties between these nations, are what underpin the fellowship: US-India civic diplomacy to create a “living bridge” and a lasting partnership for positive change.
As AIF welcomes its first applicants to the Banyan Impact Fellowship, we invite you to follow this journey into our third decade and witness this life affirming work. The application portal will remain open until April 30. To apply or to know more, visit https://aif.org/fellowship/