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Media Lab Asia names Bimal Sareen as CEO and managing director

NEW DELHI, India, and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Board of Directors of Media Lab Asia today announced the appointment of Bimal Sareen, 40, as its CEO and managing director.

Sareen, also named a member of the board of directors of this start-up venture, was previously with Compaq Computer Corporation (now Hewlett Packard NYSE:HPQ) as the director of business and corporate development for Asia-Pacific and Greater China regions. He is also the regional president of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.

Pramod Mahajan, the chairman of Media Lab Asia and the Indian government's union minister of Communications and Information Technology and Parliamentary Affairs, said, "We are very pleased to have Bimal lead Media Lab Asia. This is an important venture for us that advances our goal of delivering the benefits of information and communications technology to the masses of India, the rest of Asia, indeed the entire Media Lab network. I would like to express our full confidence and support to him."

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Nicholas Negroponte, the vice-chairman of Media Lab Asia and the co-founder and chairman of the MIT Media Lab, commented, "Bimal's appointment is a milestone for Media Lab Asia. We are excited about his appointment as the leader of this venture, especially with his blend of international and Asian experience in both technology and business."

Sareen, educated in the United States, has extensive experience in the U.S. and Asia in international business, technology, marketing, investments, and mergers and acquisitions. In addition to India and the U.S., he has conducted business in Australia, Greater China, Israel, Japan and South Korea.

Sareen said, "I am very excited. This is a unique and challenging opportunity to foster innovation, and deliver the value of information, communication and media technologies to the masses traditionally under-served by their benefits. This large segment of the world's population, widely ignored by most corporations and countries, will gain increasing prominence."

Rajeeva Ratna Shah, the Indian government's secretary of information technology in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, said, "This appointment is an important step for us at the Government of India. With Bimal, we finally have our choice of a seasoned industry professional with extensive international business and technology experience to lead this important venture. He has our complete support."

"We had a range of excellent candidates but finally narrowed our choice to Bimal. He had the right combination of management and technical skills we required," said Alex (Sandy) Pentland, director of Media Lab Asia and Toshiba professor at MIT.

Sareen has been active in other industry bodies in the U.S. prior to his move to Asia in 1997. While working with Digital Equipment Corporation, he was a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Interactive Multimedia Council, and was co-chairman, marketing, for the International Committee at the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council. At the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Sareen has also held terms as vice president and chairman of the finance, information technology, and infrastructure committees.

Sareen has an M.B.A. and an M.S. (Computer Engineering) from Boston University and a B.S. (Electrical Engineering) from Rutgers University. He was granted a U.S. patent in the field of high speed computer design during his tenure at Digital Equipment Corporation. Sareen is married and has two children.


The Government of India and MIT signed an agreement on June 24, 2001, establishing Media Lab Asia in India. A research and collaboration agreement was signed on September 20, 2001. The first year of Media Lab Asia was planned as a preparatory period, giving time to bring the best researchers and management to find the best organizational partners and adapt the Media Lab model to the Asian context, with the objective of inventing technology that reaches the people.

Media Lab Asia has been set up as a not-for-profit company with seed funding from the Government of India. It has been appointed by the United Nations as its academic and industrial body for the region in the newly created UN ICT Task Force. Media Lab Asia has its administrative headquarters in Mumbai and presently has research labs on the campuses of the Indian Institutes of Technology of Bombay, Madras, Delhi, Kanpur and Kharagpur. Media Lab Asia also deploys its technologies in participating grass-roots, community programs.

The role of Media Lab Asia is to facilitate the invention, refinement, and dissemination of innovations that benefit the greatest number possible of the world's under-served populations. The research is focused on four broad themes:

Digital Village: Realizing the vision of a sustainable village through culturally appropriate use of new technologies. Digital technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology can either erase traditional culture or enhance it and make it sustainable. The goal is to create a digital ecology that maintains traditional values and community while opening economic and expressive opportunities.

Tomorrow's Tools: Wealthy urban societies envision a world of pervasive digital intelligence, but the same technologies can have even more impact in rural societies by transforming traditional handicrafts, agriculture, education and health care.

Bits for Everyone: Bringing digitally enabled services to everyone on earth. From synthetic aperture satellite links constructed from dozens of cell phones, to bicycle computers and new wireless networks delivering bits to the door of people's homes, new, cost-effective methods of connecting every person on earth are being explored.

World Computer: Low-cost computing for the masses, kids, the illiterate, for communities, for everyone, is an important area of focus. Lack of language, electrical power, literacy and personal wealth are some of the problems that prevent participation in the digital revolution. Computers and system software that transcend these barriers to bring digital services to everyone are being created.


True to the vision of its founders, Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome B. Wiesner, today's Media Laboratory continues to focus on the study, invention, and creative use of digital technologies to enhance the ways that people think, express, and communicate ideas, and explore new scientific frontiers.

Known around the world as a center for cutting-edge research, the MIT Media Lab, through its blurring of the traditional boundaries between the disciplines, and by nurturing relationships between academia and industry, is at the forefront of the new technologies that will, sooner rather than later, be a part of our daily lives.

The success of this agenda is now leading to a growing focus on how electronic information overlaps with the everyday physical world. The Laboratory pioneered collaboration between academia and industry, and provides a unique environment to explore basic research and applications, without regard to traditional divisions among disciplines.

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