Dr. Vishakha N. Desai

Updated
10 Mar 2020

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Dr. Vishakha N. Desai.

Dr. Vishakha N. Desai is senior advisor for global affairs to the president of Columbia University, where she is also vice chair of the university’s Committee on Global Thought and a senior research scholar in global studies at its School of International and Public Affairs. From 1990 to 2012, Desai held a variety of positions at Asia Society, first as the director of the Asia Society Museum and then as president and CEO for her final eight years there. In 2012, in recognition of Dr. Desai’s leadership in the museum field, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the National Museums and Library Services Board. Her professional career also includes positions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Dr. Desai received an MA and a PhD in Asian art history from the University of Michigan and a BA in political science from the University of Bombay (now University of Mumbai), as well as five honorary degrees from various universities. Dr. Desai served as chair of the 2019 Center panel for Exhibitions & Public Interpretation.