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May	
  30,	
  2015	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
Recommendation	
  for	
  Mr.	
  Subhashish	
  Acharya	
  
	
  
	
  
My	
  name	
  is	
  Harpreet	
  Singh	
  and	
  I	
  have	
  served	
  as	
  a	
  member	
  of	
  the	
  faculty	
  in	
  the	
  Department	
  of	
  South	
  
Asian	
  Studies	
  at	
  Harvard	
  University.	
  I	
  received	
  my	
  PhD	
  in	
  comparative	
  religion	
  from	
  the	
  Committee	
  on	
  
the	
  Study	
  of	
  Religion	
  at	
  Harvard	
  in	
  2012.	
  I	
  also	
  co-­‐founded	
  Academic	
  Room,	
  a	
  platform	
  where	
  academics	
  
and	
  subject	
  matter	
  experts	
  from	
  over	
  200	
  countries	
  interact	
  and	
  share	
  scholarly	
  content.	
  I	
  previously	
  
held	
  various	
  senior	
  management	
  positions	
  for	
  companies	
  like	
  Citigroup	
  and	
  other	
  financial	
  institutions.	
  I	
  
left	
  my	
  corporate	
  career	
  to	
  become	
  an	
  academic	
  and	
  a	
  social	
   entrepreneur.	
  I	
  serve	
  on	
  the	
  Board	
  of	
  
Trustees	
  of	
  several	
  non-­‐profit	
  organizations	
  and	
  on	
  the	
  advisory	
  board	
  of	
  Institute	
  for	
  Asian	
  American	
  
Studies.	
  I	
  received	
  my	
  Master	
  of	
  Theological	
  Studies	
  degree	
  from	
  Harvard	
  Divinity	
  School	
  and	
  received	
  
training	
   in	
   Persian,	
   Arabic,	
   Sanskrit,	
   Brajbhasha,	
   Urdu,	
   French	
   and	
   German.	
   I	
   obtained	
   a	
   Bachelor	
   of	
  
Science	
  in	
  Computer	
  and	
  Systems	
  Engineering	
  from	
  Rensselaer	
  Polytechnic	
  Institute.	
  In	
  2003,	
  along	
  with	
  
Desmond	
  Tutu,	
  I	
  was	
  honored	
  with	
  the	
  James	
  Parks	
  Morton	
  Interfaith	
  Tribute	
  by	
  the	
  Interfaith	
  Center	
  of	
  
New	
  York	
  for	
  my	
  work	
  to	
  help	
  heal	
  local,	
  marginalised,	
  segregated	
  and	
  minority	
  communities	
  on	
  the	
  
grassroots	
  level.	
  	
  
	
  
I	
  am	
  writing	
  this	
  letter	
  in	
  support	
  of	
  Mr	
  Subhashish	
  Acharya,	
  who	
  has	
  created	
  enormous	
  value	
  globally	
  in	
  
training	
  and	
  mentoring	
  of	
  unemployed	
  blind	
  and	
  disabled	
  professionals,	
  while	
  creating	
  a	
  path	
  for	
  them	
  
to	
   pursue	
   professional	
   employment.	
   This	
   is	
   a	
   paradigmatic	
   “free	
   of	
   charge”	
   global	
   training	
   and	
  
mentoring	
  platform	
  that	
  can	
  serve	
  as	
  a	
  promising	
  solution	
  to	
  the	
  high	
  unemployment	
  rates	
  faced	
  by	
  
blind	
  and	
  disabled	
  professionals.	
  
	
  
Today,	
  there	
  are	
  over	
  seven	
  million	
  blind	
  people	
  in	
  the	
  United	
  States	
  and	
  250	
  million	
  people	
  globally.	
  
Seventy	
   to	
   eighty	
   percent	
   of	
   blind	
   professionals	
   are	
   educated,	
   yet	
   they	
   are	
   unemployed.	
   Millions	
   of	
  
people	
  with	
  visual	
  impairments	
  live	
  below	
  the	
  poverty	
  line	
  and	
  several	
  millions	
  are	
  not	
  even	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  
2
workforce.	
  Commenting	
  on	
  the	
  incredibly	
  high	
  unemployment	
  rate	
  for	
  the	
  blind,	
  Senator	
  Tom	
  Harkin	
  
calls	
  the	
  situation	
  a	
  “National	
  Crisis.”	
  
	
  
Mr	
   Subhashish	
   Acharya	
   is	
   considered	
   to	
   be	
   one	
   of	
   the	
   pioneers	
   in	
   the	
   field	
   of	
   training,	
   assisting,	
  
mentoring,	
  and	
  creating	
  employment	
  for	
  blind	
  professionals	
  nationally	
  and	
  internationally.	
  Mr	
  Acharya	
  
achieves	
   this	
   through	
   advocacy,	
   creating	
   impact,	
   and	
   helping	
   blind	
   professionals	
   learn,	
   gain	
   work	
  
experience,	
  and	
  make	
  an	
  income.	
  	
  Mr	
  Acharya’s	
  organization	
  has	
  the	
  potential	
  to	
  bring	
  unemployed	
  
blind	
  and	
  disabled	
  workers	
  back	
  to	
  the	
  workforce.	
  
	
  
Mr	
  Acharya	
  has	
  created	
  a	
  new	
  model	
  of	
  training,	
  using	
  which	
  he	
  has	
  personally	
  trained	
  over	
  a	
  hundred	
  
blind	
  and	
  disabled	
  people	
  in	
  eight	
  countries.	
  	
  60%	
  of	
  the	
  people	
  he	
  has	
  mentored	
  have	
  been	
  able	
  to	
  find	
  
part-­‐time	
   work	
   and	
   been	
   engaged	
   in	
   working	
   with	
   several	
   businesses.	
   His	
   training,	
   mentorship	
   and	
  
leadership	
   has	
   delivered	
   profound	
   results.	
   This	
   is	
   the	
   world’s	
   first	
   global,	
   entirely	
   volunteer	
   based,	
  
workforce	
   development	
   training	
   for	
   blind	
   and	
   disabled	
   professionals,	
   which	
   is	
   virtual	
   and	
   solving	
  
mobility	
  challenges	
  that	
  all	
  people	
  with	
  a	
  disability	
  face.	
  	
  
	
  
Mr	
  Acharya	
  brings	
  seventeen	
  years	
  of	
  industry,	
  corporate	
  and	
  business	
  experience	
  and	
  has	
  taught	
  blind	
  
professionals	
  how	
  to	
  work	
  with	
  contemporary	
  businesses.	
  There	
  is	
  hardly	
  anyone	
  in	
  the	
  field	
  of	
  training	
  
for	
  the	
  blind	
  with	
  Mr	
  Acharya’s	
  corporate	
  experience,	
  which	
  makes	
  him	
  unique.	
  Mr	
  Acharya	
  also	
  brings	
  
business	
   connections	
   from	
   his	
   large	
   network	
   to	
   advocate	
   project-­‐based,	
   part-­‐time	
   and	
   full	
   time	
  
employment	
   for	
   blind	
   professionals.	
   I	
   applaud	
   Mr	
   Acharya’s	
   dedication	
   to	
   the	
   purpose	
   of	
   creating	
  
employment	
  at	
  scale	
  for	
  this	
  population.	
  	
  Mr	
  Acharya	
  has	
  invested	
  thousands	
  of	
  hours	
  in	
  the	
  last	
  two	
  
years	
   teaching	
   blind	
   professionals	
   on	
   the	
   phone	
   about	
   business	
   research,	
   sales	
   training,	
   customer	
  
service,	
  project	
  management	
  and	
  appointment	
  setting,	
  which	
  are	
  needed	
  by	
  emerging	
  businesses	
  today.	
  
Many	
  of	
  these	
  jobs	
  are	
  not	
  automated	
  and	
  needs	
  human	
  intervention	
  for	
  a	
  short	
  period	
  of	
  time.	
  Under	
  
business	
  research,	
  searching	
  the	
  internet	
  via	
  Google	
  commands	
  like	
  “site”,	
  “inurl”	
  etc	
  are	
  key	
  elements	
  
that	
  helps	
  accelerate	
  searching	
  the	
  web	
  for	
  example.	
  Learning	
  these	
  commands	
  that	
  most	
  people	
  don’t	
  
know	
   enables	
   the	
   blind	
   to	
   look	
   at	
   information	
   very	
   quickly	
   which	
   creates	
   distinct	
   business	
   value.	
  
Teaching	
   social	
   media,	
   especially	
   Linkedin,	
   has	
   been	
   important	
   in	
   helping	
   these	
   professionals	
   gain	
  
relevant	
  skills.	
  Teaching	
  them	
  about	
  sales	
  has	
  also	
  opened	
  a	
  new	
  horizon,	
  and	
  many	
  blind	
  professionals	
  
are	
  also	
  working	
  as	
  professional	
  recruiters.	
  	
  
	
  
The	
  statistics	
  below	
  help	
  us	
  see	
  the	
  impact	
  of	
  this	
  bootstrapped	
  effort	
  led	
  by	
  a	
  single	
  individual:	
  
	
  
• Trained	
  over	
  100	
  blind	
  and	
  disabled,	
  70%	
  of	
  which	
  are	
  located	
  in	
  the	
  United	
  States	
  
• People	
  in	
  other	
  countries	
  trained	
  are	
  from	
  the	
  UK,	
  Canada,	
  Australia,	
  Ghana,	
  Slovenia,	
  
India	
  and	
  Argentina	
  	
  
• 60%	
  of	
  the	
  professionals	
  are	
  making	
  an	
  income	
  after	
  mentoring	
  
• 45	
  professionals	
  are	
  engaged	
  with	
  businesses	
  in	
  7	
  countries	
  
• 20	
  professional	
  have	
  been	
  employed	
  part-­‐time	
  after	
  mentoring	
  and	
  6	
  have	
  been	
  
employed	
  full-­‐time	
  
3
• Over	
  45	
  businesses	
  from	
  Video	
  game,	
  Big	
  Data,	
  eLearning,	
  Business	
  Networking,	
  IT	
  
Companies	
  etc	
  have	
  created	
  the	
  chance	
  of	
  blind	
  professionals	
  to	
  work	
  with	
  them	
  on	
  
paid	
  projects.	
  
	
  
Mr	
   Acharya’s	
   work	
   is	
   already	
   getting	
   a	
   great	
   deal	
   of	
   attention.	
   For	
   instance,	
   his	
   work	
   has	
   been	
  
highlighted	
  in	
  prominent	
  periodicals	
  such	
  as	
  The	
  Chicago	
  Tribune,	
  Australian	
  Magazine,	
  and	
  Canberra	
  
Entrepreneur.	
  He	
  has	
  also	
  been	
  recommended	
  to	
  play	
  a	
  role	
  with	
  state	
  agencies	
  like	
  the	
  Massachusetts	
  
Commission	
  for	
  the	
  Blind	
  and	
  federal	
  agencies	
  dealing	
  with	
  disability.	
  Mr	
  Acharya	
  was	
  also	
  appointed	
  by	
  
Deval	
  Patrick,	
  the	
  former	
  Governor	
  of	
  Massachusetts,	
  to	
  the	
  Rehab	
  Council	
  of	
  the	
  Mass	
  Commission	
  for	
  
the	
  Blind	
  as	
  an	
  advisor	
  on	
  Industry	
  relations	
  and	
  Labor.	
  	
  The	
  Council	
  was	
  originally	
  setup	
  by	
  Helen	
  Keller.	
  
	
  
Mr	
   Acharya’s	
   extraordinary	
   ability	
   to	
   advocate	
   on	
   behalf	
   of	
   and	
   train	
   the	
   blind	
   and	
   the	
   disabled	
   to	
  
become	
   self-­‐sufficient	
   and	
   return	
   to	
   the	
   workforce	
   has	
   a	
   huge	
   significance	
   for	
   our	
   country	
   and	
   the	
  
society	
  at	
  large.	
  Mr	
  Acharya’s	
  passion,	
  determination,	
  and	
  his	
  ability	
  of	
  extraordinary	
  nature	
  to	
  create	
  
social	
  capital	
  is	
  impressive.	
  If	
  he	
  is	
  supported	
  with	
  the	
  right	
  resources,	
  his	
  work	
  can	
  scale	
  to	
  improve	
  the	
  
destiny	
  of	
  millions	
  of	
  disabled	
  professionals	
  who	
  live	
  in	
  despair	
  and	
  without	
  equal	
  opportunity.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  
sure	
  his	
  work	
  is	
  going	
  to	
  pay	
  great	
  dividends	
  for	
  the	
  blind	
  and	
  our	
  society	
  that	
  has	
  so	
  far	
  neglected	
  to	
  
take	
  care	
  of	
  them.	
  
	
  
Sincerely,	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
Harpreet	
  Singh	
  
Harvard	
  University	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  

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Recommendation : Harvard University : Harpreet Singh Project Starfish

  • 1.       May  30,  2015           Recommendation  for  Mr.  Subhashish  Acharya       My  name  is  Harpreet  Singh  and  I  have  served  as  a  member  of  the  faculty  in  the  Department  of  South   Asian  Studies  at  Harvard  University.  I  received  my  PhD  in  comparative  religion  from  the  Committee  on   the  Study  of  Religion  at  Harvard  in  2012.  I  also  co-­‐founded  Academic  Room,  a  platform  where  academics   and  subject  matter  experts  from  over  200  countries  interact  and  share  scholarly  content.  I  previously   held  various  senior  management  positions  for  companies  like  Citigroup  and  other  financial  institutions.  I   left  my  corporate  career  to  become  an  academic  and  a  social   entrepreneur.  I  serve  on  the  Board  of   Trustees  of  several  non-­‐profit  organizations  and  on  the  advisory  board  of  Institute  for  Asian  American   Studies.  I  received  my  Master  of  Theological  Studies  degree  from  Harvard  Divinity  School  and  received   training   in   Persian,   Arabic,   Sanskrit,   Brajbhasha,   Urdu,   French   and   German.   I   obtained   a   Bachelor   of   Science  in  Computer  and  Systems  Engineering  from  Rensselaer  Polytechnic  Institute.  In  2003,  along  with   Desmond  Tutu,  I  was  honored  with  the  James  Parks  Morton  Interfaith  Tribute  by  the  Interfaith  Center  of   New  York  for  my  work  to  help  heal  local,  marginalised,  segregated  and  minority  communities  on  the   grassroots  level.       I  am  writing  this  letter  in  support  of  Mr  Subhashish  Acharya,  who  has  created  enormous  value  globally  in   training  and  mentoring  of  unemployed  blind  and  disabled  professionals,  while  creating  a  path  for  them   to   pursue   professional   employment.   This   is   a   paradigmatic   “free   of   charge”   global   training   and   mentoring  platform  that  can  serve  as  a  promising  solution  to  the  high  unemployment  rates  faced  by   blind  and  disabled  professionals.     Today,  there  are  over  seven  million  blind  people  in  the  United  States  and  250  million  people  globally.   Seventy   to   eighty   percent   of   blind   professionals   are   educated,   yet   they   are   unemployed.   Millions   of   people  with  visual  impairments  live  below  the  poverty  line  and  several  millions  are  not  even  part  of  the  
  • 2. 2 workforce.  Commenting  on  the  incredibly  high  unemployment  rate  for  the  blind,  Senator  Tom  Harkin   calls  the  situation  a  “National  Crisis.”     Mr   Subhashish   Acharya   is   considered   to   be   one   of   the   pioneers   in   the   field   of   training,   assisting,   mentoring,  and  creating  employment  for  blind  professionals  nationally  and  internationally.  Mr  Acharya   achieves   this   through   advocacy,   creating   impact,   and   helping   blind   professionals   learn,   gain   work   experience,  and  make  an  income.    Mr  Acharya’s  organization  has  the  potential  to  bring  unemployed   blind  and  disabled  workers  back  to  the  workforce.     Mr  Acharya  has  created  a  new  model  of  training,  using  which  he  has  personally  trained  over  a  hundred   blind  and  disabled  people  in  eight  countries.    60%  of  the  people  he  has  mentored  have  been  able  to  find   part-­‐time   work   and   been   engaged   in   working   with   several   businesses.   His   training,   mentorship   and   leadership   has   delivered   profound   results.   This   is   the   world’s   first   global,   entirely   volunteer   based,   workforce   development   training   for   blind   and   disabled   professionals,   which   is   virtual   and   solving   mobility  challenges  that  all  people  with  a  disability  face.       Mr  Acharya  brings  seventeen  years  of  industry,  corporate  and  business  experience  and  has  taught  blind   professionals  how  to  work  with  contemporary  businesses.  There  is  hardly  anyone  in  the  field  of  training   for  the  blind  with  Mr  Acharya’s  corporate  experience,  which  makes  him  unique.  Mr  Acharya  also  brings   business   connections   from   his   large   network   to   advocate   project-­‐based,   part-­‐time   and   full   time   employment   for   blind   professionals.   I   applaud   Mr   Acharya’s   dedication   to   the   purpose   of   creating   employment  at  scale  for  this  population.    Mr  Acharya  has  invested  thousands  of  hours  in  the  last  two   years   teaching   blind   professionals   on   the   phone   about   business   research,   sales   training,   customer   service,  project  management  and  appointment  setting,  which  are  needed  by  emerging  businesses  today.   Many  of  these  jobs  are  not  automated  and  needs  human  intervention  for  a  short  period  of  time.  Under   business  research,  searching  the  internet  via  Google  commands  like  “site”,  “inurl”  etc  are  key  elements   that  helps  accelerate  searching  the  web  for  example.  Learning  these  commands  that  most  people  don’t   know   enables   the   blind   to   look   at   information   very   quickly   which   creates   distinct   business   value.   Teaching   social   media,   especially   Linkedin,   has   been   important   in   helping   these   professionals   gain   relevant  skills.  Teaching  them  about  sales  has  also  opened  a  new  horizon,  and  many  blind  professionals   are  also  working  as  professional  recruiters.       The  statistics  below  help  us  see  the  impact  of  this  bootstrapped  effort  led  by  a  single  individual:     • Trained  over  100  blind  and  disabled,  70%  of  which  are  located  in  the  United  States   • People  in  other  countries  trained  are  from  the  UK,  Canada,  Australia,  Ghana,  Slovenia,   India  and  Argentina     • 60%  of  the  professionals  are  making  an  income  after  mentoring   • 45  professionals  are  engaged  with  businesses  in  7  countries   • 20  professional  have  been  employed  part-­‐time  after  mentoring  and  6  have  been   employed  full-­‐time  
  • 3. 3 • Over  45  businesses  from  Video  game,  Big  Data,  eLearning,  Business  Networking,  IT   Companies  etc  have  created  the  chance  of  blind  professionals  to  work  with  them  on   paid  projects.     Mr   Acharya’s   work   is   already   getting   a   great   deal   of   attention.   For   instance,   his   work   has   been   highlighted  in  prominent  periodicals  such  as  The  Chicago  Tribune,  Australian  Magazine,  and  Canberra   Entrepreneur.  He  has  also  been  recommended  to  play  a  role  with  state  agencies  like  the  Massachusetts   Commission  for  the  Blind  and  federal  agencies  dealing  with  disability.  Mr  Acharya  was  also  appointed  by   Deval  Patrick,  the  former  Governor  of  Massachusetts,  to  the  Rehab  Council  of  the  Mass  Commission  for   the  Blind  as  an  advisor  on  Industry  relations  and  Labor.    The  Council  was  originally  setup  by  Helen  Keller.     Mr   Acharya’s   extraordinary   ability   to   advocate   on   behalf   of   and   train   the   blind   and   the   disabled   to   become   self-­‐sufficient   and   return   to   the   workforce   has   a   huge   significance   for   our   country   and   the   society  at  large.  Mr  Acharya’s  passion,  determination,  and  his  ability  of  extraordinary  nature  to  create   social  capital  is  impressive.  If  he  is  supported  with  the  right  resources,  his  work  can  scale  to  improve  the   destiny  of  millions  of  disabled  professionals  who  live  in  despair  and  without  equal  opportunity.    I  am   sure  his  work  is  going  to  pay  great  dividends  for  the  blind  and  our  society  that  has  so  far  neglected  to   take  care  of  them.     Sincerely,         Harpreet  Singh   Harvard  University