Arish Mudra Rakshasa '19 invited to be student delegate at NYT's Athens Democracy Forum
September 11, 2018
Arish Mudra Rakshasa ’19 has been selected by the Global Liberal Arts Alliance to attend the sixth annual New York Times Athens Democracy Forum on full scholarship.
Mudra Rakshasa, a Biochemistry and Neuroscience double major, is the second Earlhamite in as many years to attend the event in the Greek capital. This year’s event runs from Sept. 16-18, features talks by global leaders, debates, exhibitions and cultural events, and takes place in renowned venues including the Zappeion, Acropolis Museum and Stoa of Attalos.
“I pursued this opportunity because the last few years of my life have given me an interesting perspective on democracy,” Mudra Rakshasa says. “I was born and raised in India, a nation that prides itself on being the ‘world’s largest democracy’ and, after high school, I moved to the United States which is widely celebrated as the ‘land of freedom.’ Moving from one great pinnacle of democracy to another helped me see the successes of democratic institutions that transcend national borders, but also led me to an acute awareness of the failings of these institutions in recent years.
“Attending the forum as a student delegate is my next step on the path to becoming a global leader,” he says.
With funding from Earlham’s Center for Social Justice, the American College of Greece, and The New York Times, Rakshasa will enjoy an expenses-paid trip to the Forum as a student delegate and live in the Athens neighborhood of Aghia Paraskevi for nearly a week.
Among the dozens of speakers slated to speak at the event, Mudra Rakshasa is most eager to meet author Yascha Mounk, a lecturer at Harvard University, and professor Thulisile Madonsela, the law trust chair in social justice and a law professor at Stellenbosch University.
An aspiring scientist, Mudra Rakshasa plans to use the Forum as a networking opportunity to launch a campaign to end HIV/AIDS, a goal he solidified through a variety of curricular and co-curricular experiences at Earlham.
In his sophomore year at Earlham, he taught a college-level course on HIV/AIDS and participated in biomedical and global health research alongside faculty in the areas of virology, behavioral neuroscience and computational biophysics. He also was president of Earlham Student Government in 2017.
“These experiences helped me see that I could bring together science and leadership in the fight against HIV,” Mudra Rakshasa says. “Scientists do not need to be limited to their labs. They can, and should, take their research out into the real world where it may help solve real-world problems. That's the kind of scientist I want to be, and that's what my time at Earlham has trained me to become.”
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Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and email@example.com.