Medha Kotwal, a faculty member at the Alliance for Global Education in Pune, India, will become director of the ACM India Program in December.
Kotwal, who specializes in social justice and social entrepreneurship, taught a gender course in the ACM Pune Program in 2013 and 2014. She has been conducting seminars and delivering lectures for Swedish Students of Social Work and Pedagogy for two decades under the SWINDA study abroad program in Pune.
“We are delighted that Medha Kotwal has agreed to lead our India Program starting in December. With her deep knowledge of the traditions and culture of India, her experience with study abroad programs, and her passion for inclusive diversity and equity, she is uniquely situated to provide a transformative off-campus study experience for ACM students,” said ACM Chief of Staff Betsy Hutula.
Kotwal received her doctorate in political science from the University of Pune. She became drawn to social activism as a graduate student and has been actively associated with the women’s movement in western India, participating in campaigns against violence, unjust laws, political rights, sexual harassment, and human rights.
Her commitment motivated her to found the Aalochana Centre for Documentation and Research on Women in Pune in 1989, one of the first women’s resource centers in the state of Maharashtra. Its seminal contribution was to provide substantial information on women-centric social, cultural and political issues in the regional language, Marathi.
As coordinator of the centre, Medha has conducted several programs for the empowerment of women, especially in rural areas. Motivated by their participation in these capacity-building training programs, scores of women have confidently stepped into positions of authority as heads of “gram panchayats,” or village councils. The Aalochana Centre has subsequently documented these experiences in short films and audio-visuals.