Payal Arora is a digital anthropologist and an author, speaker and professor. She holds the Chair in Technology, Values, and Global Media Cultures at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her expertise lies in user experience of & inclusive design for low-income communities worldwide and comes with more than two decades of fieldwork experience in such contexts.
She is the author of a number of award-winning books including the ‘Leisure Commons’ and more recently the “The Next Billion Users” with Harvard Press. Engadget (Top 5 in the ‘Technorati top 100’ and Times endorsed ‘best blogs on tech’) stated that her Harvard book is one of “the most interesting, thought provoking books on science and technology we can find.”
Forbes named her the “next billion champion” and “the right kind of person to reform tech.” Several international media outlets have covered her work including The BBC, Financial Times, The Economist, Quartz, Tech Crunch, The Boston Globe, F.A.Z, The Nation and CBC. She has consulted on tech innovation for diverse organizations such as UNESCO, KPMG, GE, and HP.
She has given more than 200 talks in 109 cities in 59 countries alongside figures like Jimmy Wales and Steve Wozniak and a TEDx talk on the future of the internet. She is the co-founder of FemLab.Co, a global future of work initiative. She sits on several boards such as Columbia University’s Earth Institute and World Women Global Council in New York.
She has held Fellow positions at GE, ZEMKI, ITSRio, and NYU and is a section editor for Global Perspectives, a University of California Press journal. She has a MA in International Policy from Harvard University and a PhD in Language, Literacy and Technology from Columbia University. She is Indian and American and currently lives in Amsterdam.
2005-2009 Columbia University in New York City PhD (International and Transcultural Studies:
Kellogg funded Doctorate)
2003-2004 Harvard University, Cambridge MA (International Policy: Deans List)
1996-1999 Mount Carmel College Bangalore BA (English Literature)