What is Wharton lecture series? Past speakers at conference

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New Delhi, March 4: The Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) is a prestigious India-centric annual conference organised by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, US. The conference is hosted by students of the University.

The 17th edition of Wharton India Economic Forum is scheduled on March 22-23. Penn Museum, Philadelphia will host the conference. The theme this year is "Changing Seas--Steering for Growth".

It was started 16 years back. From its inception, WIEF is hailed as one of the largest and most prestigious India-focused business conferences and provides a platform for thought leaders to discuss the opportunities present to India and the challenges that need to be addressed.

Some of the well-known speakers this year are Montek Singh Ahluwalia (Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India), Dilip Cherian (Consulting Partner, Perfect Relations), Milind Deora (Minister of State IT and Communications), Javed Akhtar (lyricist and poet) and Shabana Azmi (actor and activist).

The conference is in news as organising team of WIEF dropped Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's name as the keynote speaker at the event. A statement from the group that had invited him said, "Our team felt that the potential polarizing reactions from sub-segments of the alumni base, student body, and our supporters, might put Mr. Modi in a compromising position, which we would like to avoid at all costs, especially in the spirit of our conference's purpose."

List of Prominent speakers at Past Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) conferences

Government & Policy

Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, 11th President of India
P. Chidambaram, Home Affairs Minister and former Finance Minister of India
Henry Paulson, 74th United States Treasury Secretary and former CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs
Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of India
Shashi Tharoor, Member of Indian Parliament and former Under Secretary General of the United Nations
Praful Patel, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India
Sachin Pilot, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India
Naveen Jindal, Member of Indian Parliament
Kalpana Kochhar, Country Head India, International Monetary Fund


Anil Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and MD, Reliance Industries
Sunil Mittal, Founder, Chairman and Group CEO, Bharti Enterprises
N. R. Narayana Murthy, Non-Executive Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys
Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India and former CEO, Infosys
Kushal Pal Singh, Chairman and CEO, DLF
Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Group
Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman & Managing Director, Biocon Limited


Jim Rogers, Financial Investor and Author
Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC
Chanda Kochhar, CEO & MD, ICICI Bank Limited
George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Institute
Vikram Akula, CEO and Founder, SKS Microfinance

Media & Entertainment

Abhishek Bachchan, Actor, Bollywood
Anil Kapoor, Actor, Bollywood
Vidya Balan, Actress, Bollywood
Karan Johar, Indian Film Director, Producer, and TV celebrity
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Indian Filmmaker and Screenwriter
Rohan Sippy, Indian Film Director
Shankar Mahadevan, Indian Music Composer and Singer
Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL)


Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian Cricketer
Vijay Amritraj, former Indian Tennis Player and Sports Commentator
Geet Sethi, Professional Billiards Player


Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company

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