• The first American-born member of India's first family (Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, etc.)
• The former guitarist of 1997's pop phenomenon and three-time Grammy nominee, Hanson
• A cultural diplomat on behalf of the US Department of State, delivering keynotes and creating cultural programs worldwide
• A partner with Shanti Bhavan, a boarding school for the poorest of the poor in India giving free education from age four through college
• The founder of Ravi Unites Schools, a global network of over 150 schools whose students participate in realtime audio-video interactions
His Story: A Lifelong Journey Unlike Any Other
The first American-born member of the family that created and governed the world's largest democracy for over 40 years, Ravi Hutheesing is the grand-nephew of Jawaharlal Nehru (India's first prime minister) and the cousin of prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. His father, having grown up in a complex and unstable family environment during their fight for India's independence, chose not to pursue politics and instead immigrated to the United States and landed a job on Wall Street. In contrast to his two older brothers who also became bankers, Ravi got lost as a child during his parents' bitter divorce and like his father, pivoted and forged a path of his own.
He fell in love with music at age 11 and by starting a band, building a recording studio, and teaching a handful of guitar students, Ravi established himself locally as an artist-entrepreneur before graduating high school. His worldwide visibility skyrocketed in 1997 when he became the guitarist for triple Grammy nominee, Hanson, whose massive millennial fan base catapulted them to the White House, Madison Square Garden, Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Saturday Night Live, and more. The following year, Simon & Schuster published his memoir, Dancin' with Hanson, and he has since authored over a hundred articles for major magazines. As the Internet rose and the recording industry declined, Ravi began to speak on entrepreneurship at music universities and conventions including Berklee College of Music in Boston, the National Association of Music Merchants in Los Angeles, MusikMesse in Moscow, and Music China in Shanghai.
Following the economic collapse in 2008, he pivoted again and achieved another dream by becoming an aviator. By tapping into his Hanson experience and observations about Millennials, "The Raviator" (his call sign) began giving keynotes on cross-generational collaboration to help reverse the shrinking pilot population. Discovering the strong connection that both millennials and pilots have with music, he created a niche by performing concerts at air shows, becoming the spokesman for products targeting young pilots, and co-designing a signature model folding guitarthat fits in the cockpit of any small plane.
Following an inner-ear infection that prevented him from flying solo, Ravi had to pivot again and pursued a global opportunity. After delivering a keynote in Moscow on behalf of the music industry in 2014, he was invited to serve as a cultural diplomat for the US Department of State and returned to Russia to give presentations on arts, entrepreneurship, and youth leadership. In 2016, he went to Indonesia—the world's largest Muslim population—and created songwriting and cultural entrepreneurship programs that bridged the most severe cultural and religious divides. Ravi created similar programs for the State Department the following year in Iraq and Lebanon which included students from Mosul liberated from ISIS just days earlier, and Syrians from the decimated city of Aleppo. Currently, he is organizing one in Chile.
In 2018, Ravi founded Ravi Unites Schools—a growing network of over a hundred K-12 schools worldwide whose students participate in peer-to-peer global real-time audio-video interactions hosted by Ravi. He believes that such exchanges promote world peace by enabling youth to bond organically rather than succumb to implicit biases formed by institutional agendas. The idea was born out of his ten-year partnership with Shanti Bhavan Children's Project—a highly successful boarding school in India for the poorest of the poor.
Bob Moje: Founding principal of VMDO Architects. For over 36 years, he has been involved with the planning and design of educational facilities for institutional clients. His personal mission is to create learning environments that enrich the lives of students and leave an indelible mark on school communities.
Mary Luehrsen: Executive Director of the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation and Sr. Executive of NAMM overseeing the organization’s federal level policy development and government relations efforts effecting access to music education and global commerce in the music industry.
Jeffery Sexton: 30 year career with US Dept. of State Foreign Service, holding public affairs and cultural diplomacy posts in India, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Australia, Korea, China, and Hong Kong after serving six years in the U.S. Army in Germany as a Soviet military analyst.
Mary Beth Pelosky: Expert in educational policy and leadership including fellowships with Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), US State Dept./ConSed Brazil Principal Exchange, and George Mason’s Confucius Institute (China); and a former public school principal, administrator, and teacher.