Ashoka University is delighted to announce the selection of Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta as its second Vice Chancellor. He will assume his responsibilities as Vice Chancellor from July 1. Currently, the President and Chief Executive of Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in New Delhi, Dr.Mehta is one of India’s leading political scientists and an outstanding public intellectual. He has worked extensively on political theory, intellectual history, constitutional law, politics and society in India, and on international politics. Before he joined as the head of the CPR, Dr. Mehta had taught at Harvard University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the New York University School of Law.
Dr. Mehta took a first in PPE at Oxford University where he went to St John’s College. He went on to Princeton University from where he took a PhD in Politics. He is the author of The Burden of Democracy and the co-editor of The Oxford Companion to Indian Constitution, Shaping the Emerging World: India and the Multilateral Order, Non Alignment 2.0, The Oxford Companion to Politics in India, Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design. He is on the editorial board of several academic journals including the American Political Science Review, The Journal of Democracy, and India and Global Affairs. As a public intellectual, Dr. Mehta has written extensively in Indian Express (with which he is an editorial consultant), the Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Hindu and the International Herald Tribune.
Dr. Mehta has served on many Government of India bodies like the National Security Advisory Board and the National Knowledge Commission (from which he resigned on a matter of principle). He was also the member of a Supreme Court-appointed committee on elections in Indian universities.
Dr. Mehta is a recipient of several awards. He won the Malcolm S. Adisheshiah Award for Social Sciences in 2010, the prestigious Infosys Prize in 2011, and the Amartya Sen Award for Social Science, 2013. The Jury for the Infosys Prize, chaired by Amartya Sen gave the following citation: “Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta has established himself as one of India’s finest scholars and public minds, who has inspired a new generation of intellectual enquiry. He has contributed not only to political philosophy and social theory in general, but has also addressed urgent issues of Indian politics and public policy. Mehta has shown an exemplary willingness to broaden the sphere of public reason, and to challenge reigning orthodoxies, while remaining committed to institution building, as exemplified by his constructive leadership of the Centre for Policy Research.”
Dr. Mehta’s intellectual concerns are profoundly interdisciplinary and he is deeply committed to the idea of a wide-ranging liberal education. He is an outstanding teacher and scholar. After conducting an extensive global search, the selection committee – consisting of a few founders, faculty members and academic advisory board members – were of the unanimous opinion that Dr. Mehta is best suited to carry forward and enrich the vision that is already embodied in Ashoka University.
While celebrating Dr. Mehta’s appointment as Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University takes this opportunity, again, to express its thanks and appreciation to Prof. Rudrangshu Mukherjee for his exemplary service as Founding Vice Chancellor. As announced earlier, Prof. Mukherjee will be Ashoka’snext Chancellor with the completion of Prof. Andre Beteille’s three-year term. Prof. Mukherjee has played a crucial role as Ashoka’s first Vice Chancellor, and has led the achievement of a significant number of milestones since his appointment in 2014. As the University’s Founding Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mukherjee’s guidance has been instrumental in steering the University through its formative years. In particular, he led from the front in teaching a full course load along with his day-to-day responsibilities as Vice Chancellor. He will continue this tradition as Chancellor of Ashoka University.
Under Prof. Beteille and Prof. Mukherjee’s leadership, the University has had remarkable successes in its early years. The University has grown from a small pioneering institution to an established and highly reputed university. Going forward, under the combined leadership of Chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee and Vice Chancellor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Ashoka University aspires to provide its students the highest quality liberal arts education and achieve its goal of becoming India’s best university.