Family Honors Ambassador Bhasin With Scholarship in His Name

The scholarship will be available to undergraduate students majoring in political science with an interest in international relations.

The family and friends of Ambassador Harsh Bhasin have created an endowed scholarship in his name at Stony Brook University to honor his legacy and help students looking to pursue a career in diplomacy or foreign service.

Ambassador Bhasin spent over 30 years in the Indian Foreign Service, serving as a career diplomat in eight countries. After his retirement, he found a new home at Stony Brook University, where he taught for almost 20 years. In addition to his work as a faculty member in the political science department, he served as chair of the Department of Asian and Asian-American Studies and supported the establishment of the Center for India Studies. Bhasin also led student groups on study abroad programs in China, sharing his knowledge and expertise in international relations with several generations of students.

“The Bhasin scholarship is a fitting tribute to Ambassador Bhasin, who was a dedicated and popular instructor at Stony Brook University,” said Leonie Huddy, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Political Science. “His courses on international relations and the modern politics of China and India were always in high demand. I received many glowing letters from alumni who were grateful to Ambassador Bhasin for his rigor, guidance and career assistance. He inspired many students to work in diplomacy and foreign service and to help make the world a better place. I can’t think of a better way to honor his legacy than with a scholarship for future generations of Seawolves to follow in his footsteps. We are deeply grateful to the Bhasin family for their support.”

Many remember Bhasin for his insightful courses on contemporary India and China, as well as his mentorship as they explored careers in foreign service. He taught thousands of students about the power of diplomacy in conflict resolution, the wonders of South and East Asia and the complexities of the geopolitics of India, China and the United States. In 2022, he was honored with the College of Arts and Sciences Godfrey Excellence in Teaching Award in the area of social sciences. The annual award is student-nominated for professors who have had an impact on them both inside and outside of the classroom.

“As a professional diplomat, Ambassador Bhasin understood people, but he also understood the importance of empowering individuals to be their best selves,” said Emily Carll ’20, a former student. “His students saw him as more than a professor. He was a cheerleader, believing in them when they didn’t believe in themselves; a coach, challenging them to push their limits; and a friend, celebrating their accomplishments with chocolates or listening over a cup of chai.”

Ambassador Bhasin’s wife, Kumkum, who arranged many of those cups of chai, class events and Zoom parties during the pandemic, said, “This scholarship will allow students to forever feel Harsh’s passion for international relations and his love for his students. Our family is so grateful to all the generous donors who have helped us make this possible.”

The Harsh Bhasin Political Science Endowed Scholarship will support undergraduate students in the Department of Political Science interested in international relations. Ambassador Bhasin was a man who dedicated his life to his love of diplomacy and international relations, so it seems only fitting that his legacy will live on in helping students who aspire to work in those fields.

“Through this scholarship, I know Ambassador Bhasin will continue to be there for students, opening doors for them to change the world,” said Carll.

-Christine McGrath

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