Professor S. Balaram is an internationally reputed Designer and author with over four decades of teaching experience. He is Founder of D J Academy of Design, Coimbatore and Emeritus Professor of CE University, Ahmedabad, India. He had held top positions at the National Institute of Design, including chairman Education and Governor. He founded the Craft Development Institute in Kashmir for Government of India. Many of his designs were produced and acclaimed. He has four patents to his credit. His numerous awards include Ron Mace international award for Universal Design, Helen Keller award for outstanding contribution for people with disabilities UNIDO-ICSID award for Design for Development and an honorary Fellowship of Society of Industrial Designers of India for life time contribution.
An education entrepreneur, Hrridaysh Deshpande has been responsible for the establishment, overall strategy, implementation and running a variety of educational institutes. He is currently a member of the Governing Body and Director of Ajeenkya DY Patil University.
Hrridaysh is consultant advisor to the India Design Council, under whose aegis he spearheads the India Design Mark program in cooperation with Good Design Award, Japan. He has served on the jury of the Good Design Awards, Japan in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. He has also been jury member for the world’s largest student design competition – Taiwan International Student Design Competition in 2015 and 2017.
Author of India Design Reports published in 2009, 2011 and 2014, Hrridaysh has been curating the CII NID Design Summit since 2010. In the year 2011, he helped CII initiate the CII Design Excellence Awards and the CII Industrial Innovation Awards in 2014.
President of Pearl Academy, Nandita Abraham has over 25 years of experience across corporates and academia in the US, Hong Kong and India. Since joining Pearl Academy in 2001 as a faculty member, she has held various positions including Head of the Corporate Relations & Marketing departments (Mumbai campus) and Executive Vice President. Nandita recently spearheaded the path breaking Pearl Academy – Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) collaboration, which sets a new benchmark for industry-academia partnership.
Nandita is on the Executive Committee, IFFTI – International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes, and the FICCI Higher Education Committee. She has been a member of the CII National Committee of Design, a member of the Research, Education and Industry Committees at IFFTI, and has presented her research on pedagogy, employability and international collaboration in several countries. She has been invited to give lectures at University of Delaware, US; London College of Fashion, UK; and Philadelphia University, US.