skip to content

The photo caption is incorrect. Asha Ghosh is the Assistant Director of Local Governance Programs for The Asia Foundation

People > alumni profiles > asha ghosh

Q. Why did you choose to come to DUSP?

Ghosh: After college I was working in energy consulting and I had an interest in the development of infrastructure to alleviate poverty. Through my work I realized that I needed a better understanding of policy making related to infrastructure in developing countries. I also knew that there was incredible growth in cities and that we need better tools to manage urban development. So, I decided to apply to the international development group at DUSP.

Q. Did you have any experience in the field of development that prepared you for what you learned at DUSP-IDG?

Ghosh: After college I spent a year at a government training academy in India as a research assistant. This experience gave me some background on issues on governance and development. I also worked in energy development in India for a short time, and this helped me to better understand some of the issues related to infrastructure development.

Q. What surprised you most about the program?

Ghosh: I really enjoyed the different perspectives and disciplines of the professors in DUSP. I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to take classes in ‘seeing the city’ or ‘urban politics’ or in ‘law and property rights’. It was the combination of classes that really provided me with the skills that I use on a regular basis in my work and in my understanding of development issues.

Q. How did your ideas change after your time at MIT?

Ghosh: It was through my classes at MIT that I realized that we can’t be limited by ‘technical’ solutions to urban planning and development. Working on urban issues requires innovative thinking and the ability to draw from a range of disciplines and collaborate with diverse interest groups. Since MIT, I have learned more about national politics and regional conflicts and I think it is important to be able to think about local issues in these broader contexts.

Q. What did you do during the summers at MIT?

Ghosh: While I was at MIT I spent a summer doing field research in Hyderabad, India. I was looking at how institutional reforms in the city the water board had changed access to services. I interviewed a whole range of government officials and ran a survey of 90 field managers in the water board. This was a really important practical experience. During one IAP I took classes at MIT and during the other I worked on my thesis.

Q. What are you doing now?

Ghosh: I am now with The Asia Foundation. I provide support to many of our 17 country offices in Asia on project development and proposal writing, research, and project implementation. My focus is on local (sub-national) governance, and our projects are designed around the current levels of decentralization in each country and on developing approaches to strengthening local government units.