Meera Gandhi at UWC
October 8, 2010
It was during my time at UWC that the world shrank
Meera Gandhi (Pearson College 1980-82) was recently honoured with the Metro-Fulbright Humanitarian Award for her fundraising work, her work with the United Nations to combat malnutrition and for helping women in South Asian nations. Owner of the landmark property that used to be the last home of First lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Meera has thrown herself into hosting events, fundraising and joining the boards of many non profit organisations. Meera is dedicated to the ideal of working towards making a difference, one day at a time. Meera recently stepped down as Goodwill Ambassador with IIMSAM at the United Nations.
Meera started the International Playschool of Mumbai and using the profits made cash and Gift in Kind donations to two non profit organisations based in Mumbai; the Mother Teresa orphanage in Byculla, and the Happy Home and school for the Blind. Meera has also worked as an investment banker and a fashion buyer for Macy's and Lord and Taylor in New York.
Meera holds an MBA from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Delhi.
“It was during my time at UWC that the world shrank. Afterwards it just seemed a much smaller place. At UWC I learnt so much. The Falkland crisis was unfolding and we were all privileged to receive blow by blow explanations from the British and Argentinean students. I had never before heard of the Gaza strip, much less about the tensions in that region. I learnt that we were truly all the same and that all humans needed love and respect.” explains Meera.
“UWC created in me a huge desire to serve and help any humans that could possibly need my help. I feel very fortunate to make my home in the townhouse that once belonged to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who was such an icon of human rights and goodwill. I believe that a Life in service of others is the only life worth living. I have an eclectic CV; I was an investment banker when I graduated from college with BNP and then Banque Indo suez and then after Business School switched to fashion and was a buyer for Macy's and Lord and Taylor in New York. However, the pleasure I get from my non profit work with St Michaels's orphanage in N Delhi, CRY, Pratham, Digital Partners etc is unparalleled. In addition to these other organisations I am committed to UWC and have assisted in many ways, from interviewing students for Mahindra UWC, I was the mistress of ceremonies when Queen Noor came to open the Mahindra UWC of India. I have also served on the board of Pearson College and supported the US National Committee prior to its merge with UWC-USA.
“My father was the one that introduced the idea of UWC to me. His colleague’s daughter had studied at UWC and had spoken highly of her incredible experiences. I have so many memories of my time at UWC. One of the most vivid is travelling on a small inflatable boat, speeding out to Race Rocks where we held our marine biology classes. I loved the wind in my face and the anticipation of finding all the marine life in the rocks and crevices and mapping them in my book. This was just the most amazing way to learn about marine life and the ecological hazards.
“I have many happy memories of sitting in the day room discussing the world and world politics to how things were done "back home", to being invited to the homes of many students in Rome, Turin. Brussels, Paris, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Germany etc. The people I met at UWC have a special place in my heart. My whole experience of learning at UWC was entirely different from any other mode of leaning I had encountered in my educational experience in India and I was entranced. I learnt how to analyse and question, how to dissect material and put it back together. In Indian schools we were taught well how to memorise facts and figures but never encouraged to ask questions. As a result I am now much more of a holistic thinker, I think globally and I enjoy working with people from anywhere in the world. I have developed a love of languages, I speak English, Hindi, have a knowledge of French, am studying Spanish at the Queen Sophia Spanish institute of NY and plan to learn Chinese and Arabic next”.