Dr. Azim Khan, Academic Director
Dr. Khan has been working as an academic director with SIT Study Abroad since January 2008. Dr. Khan is an academic by training, with a zeal for social activism. He earned a PhD from Aligarh Muslim University in the area of health and human rights. His thesis focused on sex-selective abortions and effectiveness of prenatal diagnostic techniques (regulation and prevention of misuse) legislation in India. He earned an MA in human rights from the University of London, an LLM (Master of Laws) in 1997 from Aligarh Muslim University, and an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) with distinction in constitutional law from the University of Lucknow in 1994.
Dr. Khan received the prestigious Ford Foundation International Fellowship for Human Rights in 2003 for academic excellence, leadership, and commitment to community. He has worked with various colleges and universities in India and the US for almost 12 years, teaching human rights, public health, and development. Dr. Khan's previous experience in the human rights and public health fields includes working as a consultant and researcher with several NGOs and international organizations including UN OHCHR and UN CERD on a pro bono basis. He has previously been affiliated with SIT as a facilitator of the World Learning and Ford Foundation's Leadership for Social Justice (LSJ) Program in Washington, DC. In 2007, he was awarded a Scholar of Peace fellowship by the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his peace initiatives in Gujarat. He has also briefly worked as a media and political analyst in the South Asia bureau of the US government.
Dr Khan has also been a host of a popular weekly show for ETV on contemporary social justice and human rights issues. He is a co-founder of several public health, education, and development organizations in India and is widely respected in civil society for his contributions as an academic and as a practitioner.
Dr Ashutosh Guleri
Dr Ashutosh Guleri is a Panchakarma expert with a distinguished practice of holistic and traditional treatments mentioned in Ayurveda for various chronic conditions as well as common ailments. With eight years of experience in Ayurveda medicine, Dr Guleri has successfully treated patients with various fatal lifestyle disorders like obesity, diabetes, mechanical injuries of the spine, and rheumatoid arthritis in India, United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, UAE, France, and other parts of the world.
Along with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery degree from Gomantak Ayurveda Mahavidyalya & Research Centre, Goa University, Dr. Ashutosh Guleri also has a postgraduate certificate in Panchakarma from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Karnataka.
Dr. Ashutosh Guleri has presented and published scientific papers in various conferences and media portals across India. He has also translated the book Ayurvedic Sharir Rachna (Ayurvedic Anatomy) from Marathi to Hindi. As an avid blogger and Ayurveda writer, Dr. Guleri expresses his passion for Ayurveda and alternative medicines for a healthy, aware, and spiritually enlightened society.
Born and brought up in the traditional, mid-Himalayan, spiritual town Rishikesh, Vivek Badoni has been imparting Yoga education to Indian and international students for the last 15 years.
He runs yoga meditation camps with the theme “Essence of India: A Soul Searching.” Vivek is a certified yoga teacher and holds a university degree. He studied yoga and philosophy in university as well as in the Ashrams in traditional Indian ways, under the guidance of self-realized saints of Himalayas.
He learned his earliest of lessons of life while playing in the pure sandy beaches of the holy Ganges and while walking narrow streets of the town, holding the hands of Himalayan saints. His in-depth knowledge in Vedantic Upanisadic culture of India serves as an enlightening experience for his students. He and his team of students work effortlessly to make learning easy and interesting.
Vivek carries the vibrancy of the Himalayas, the vigour and fluency of the Ganges, and the flavor and touch of India in his approach and outlook. His very simple and interactive style of teaching creates a positive platform for students to learn the art of living.
Abid Siraj, Academic Coordinator
Abid has been working in public health for several years, and he holds a master’s degree in social work, with a specialization in reproductive and child health. His diverse knowledge about public health in India, his vast network of connections, and his everlasting patience and smiling face are welcome additions to the SIT program for students and program contacts alike. Abid assists the academic director with lectures and excursions, and helps students develop their Independent Study Project research proposals.
Abid previously worked for a USAID-funded project on the role of local self-government in the promotion of reproductive and child health and was project coordinator of another USAID-funded project, the Community-Based Distribution Project of Family Planning Methods. He was part of a pioneering team that implemented a flagship public health program for the Government of India’s National Rural Health Mission in Rajasthan. Abid was also involved with one of UNICEF’s largest communications and social mobilization initiatives, the Intensive Immunization of Pulse Polio, which took place in Uttar Pradesh. He has also been a visiting faculty member for SIT Study Abroad programs.
Dr. Rajeev Bijalwan
Dr. Rajeev Bijalwan is a public health professional from the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in India. He has extensive experience working with health programs and on public health issues. He is very knowledgeable about traditional medicine and global public health issues and challenges. His specialization is in the area of health policy, planning, and program management.
Dr. Bijalwan has an undergraduate degree in Ayurveda and a master's degree in international health management and development from the University of Birmingham, UK. Since September 2008, he has been vice president of the Global Education and Health Forum. He has worked on multiple research studies, some of which have been published. His primary interests lie in the areas of traditional healthcare, public health, institutional development, and health policy planning. He has been invited to various forums and to serve on various committees as an expert.
Dr. Bijalwan has assisted the state government in the planning of various interventions under the National Rural Health Mission and is supporting the state in developing future interventions under the Urban Health Mission. At present, he is working as a public health consultant with the Himalayan Institute of Hospital Trust, a graduate medical college and hospital at Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
Ms. Archna Merh, Senior Language Faculty and Student Affairs Coordinator
Archna Merh has been teaching with SIT Study Abroad programs in India since the fall of 2008, most recently with the India: Sustainable Development and Social Change program based in Jaipur. She holds a master’s degree in English literature and a bachelor's in education from Rajasthan University. She has taught for various American study abroad programs for more than 12 years. She is also affiliated with On-Site Language Services Inc., an international program based in the US. Ms. Merh has in-depth knowledge of Indian cultures and traditions. She is fluent in Hindi, Gujarati, and English. She actively assists her students with cross-cultural learning in class and during excursions. With her extroverted nature, Ms. Merh is a great resource and source of support for students. Her favorite pastimes include dancing, reading, and traveling.
Ms. Bhavna Singh, Co-Director of Language Studies
Bhavna has been working with SIT Study Abroad since spring 2004 as senior Hindi faculty. Bhavna and Goutam Merh together form the critical lead team that inspires students to speak and dream in Hindi starting in the earliest days of the program. Her stunning elocution inspires students, and her strong commitment to each student never goes unnoticed. She holds a BA degree from Lucknow University and recently completed a postgraduate diploma in rural development, with a specialization in public health in India.
Bhavna previously conducted weeklong Hindi language workshops for Japanese and Canadian students. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Rajasthani, Avadhi, and Nepalese. Outside of teaching hours, she is an excellent athlete and Kathak dancer.
Goutam Merh, Co-Director of Language Studies
Goutam earned a master’s degree from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, in 1989. He has been teaching Hindi for more than 10 years for various American study abroad programs in India. He also has worked with Antioch University’s Buddhist Studies program in Bodh Gaya, India, and for On-Site Language Service’s International Language Learning program. Before joining the Health and Human Rights program, Goutam worked with the India: Sustainable Development and Social Change program, SIT’s Study Abroad program located in Jaipur, where he was senior Hindi faculty and excursion coordinator for two years. He has a keen sense of humor that keeps the classrooms lively, and he is extraordinarily helpful to students during excursions and field studies.
Goutam, who is fluent in Hindi, Bangala, Gujarati, Bhojpuri, Brij, and English, is an expert on Indian culture and development issues.