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(Photo credit: Bhavin Nicholas Shah)

Shailendra Kumar is the Founder and President of Nalanda 2.0 (, co-founder of an initiative to build a AI-led multidisciplinary research university in India, and author of Building Golden India: How to unleash India's vast potential and transform its higher education system. Now.  (


In addition to receiving international acclaim from academic and business leaders, in 2017, a Nobel Laureate presented this book to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In July 2020, India’s New Education Policy (NEP 2020) was approved by the Cabinet. Many of the goals, ideas, and policy recommendations in NEP 2020 are in this book! ​

To start Nalanda 2.0, Shail brings an enduring passion for higher education and its impact on people development, economic growth, and research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He also brings 30+ years of relevant experiences as a university administrator, entrepreneur, corporate executive, student, alumni leader, parent, and an author.


Nalanda 2.0 is inspired and informed by Building Golden India, a book that Shail wrote and published in 2015. For this book, he dedicated two years of his time and resources and drew from his experiences. He also read thousands of pages of national and state level committee reports and numerous non-fiction books. Finally, he conducted over hundred interviews with a diverse group of stakeholders in India and across four continents.


Prior to writing the book, Shail was an administrator at two world-class multidisciplinary research universities: UC Berkeley (ranked #5 in Top 500 of Global Rankings, ARWU, 2017) and UC San Diego (ranked #15 in Top 500 of Global Rankings, ARWU, 2017). During this time, he worked with university leadership team, deans, faculty members, directors of several interdisciplinary research centers, and staff. He built and strengthened industry-university partnerships across diverse industries and geographies, established and managed cross-border university-university collaborations, initiated and executed new development strategies, and led teams to deliver funding to build and enhance excellence in education, research, and service to the society. He also played a pivotal role in launching an entrepreneurship initiative at UC Berkeley.


Earlier, he was co-founder and CEO of two start-ups, and executive in several Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley high technology companies. Alumni leader since 1991, he was President of the IIT Foundation and co-founder of the Pan IIT alumni movement in the US. Shail is a recipient of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur’s Distinguished Service Award
Son of an Indian Army officer, Shail grew up around India. As a student in Kendriya Vidyalaya, he and fellow students used to periodically sing songs about bringing back the glory days of India's Golden Age and Takshashila and Nalanda. This book is an offshoot of his upbringing and a desire to see a transformed India — a united nation with a healthy and peaceful society, a vibrant and sustainable economy, and a thriving environment.

Shail has an MBA from Indiana University and a B.Tech with honors in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur.  

Shail currently resides in the Silicon Valley with his wife and two children. A Vipassana and Yoga practitioner, he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family.

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