Catching up with...Prateek Arora

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Prateek Arora, assistant professor of economics, was born in India.

It’s a place “where spirituality permeates the air. My mother introduced me to yoga at a young age,” he said. “The practice of yoga and meditation remains integral to maintaining my physical and mental well-being.”

Prateek Arora

Prateek Arora, assistant professor of economics, was one of 10 acts selected to perform in the World Dance Alliance conference in St. John’s, Canada.

He also loves to read, run, bike and watch plays, musicals and movies. And dance. Dance is special to Arora.

A shy and introverted child, “I got into dancing in college and dance gave me an avenue for self-expression. I started with jazz and contemporary and then moved to an Indian classical dance form, Kathak, which involves a lot of footwork (like tap dance) and pirouettes (like flamenco or ballet).”

“Through dance, I have been able to travel the world, participating in festivals and conferences in Australia, Japan, France, Canada and elsewhere,” he added. “Once, travelling ticketless from Charles de Gaulle airport to Angers (France) for a performance (story for another day), I was able to use my dancing skills to get the penalty waived.”

Arora lives in a small and cozy house in Glenville and feels blessed to have the support of good friends who are more like family. He joined Union in 2022, which marked the continuation of a journey sparked by a high school fascination with economics – a field that resonated with him as the epitome of common sense.

Arora holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to his doctoral pursuits, a stint in the industry revealed the limitations of conventional 9-to-5 jobs, as they lacked both the “mental stimulation I craved and the flexibility I sought. I have always been passionate about teaching and my love for teaching and research steered me to a career in academia.”

Arora’s research delves into international macroeconomics, focusing on the intricate dynamics of the U.S. dollar’s influence on global trade and borrowing/lending activities. He is fascinated to see how the decisions of the U.S. Federal Reserve, which cater to the domestic conditions within the United States, create negative externalities for emerging market economies. It is equally interesting to him to witness the global race for currency hegemony unfolding these days. On one hand, countries such as China and Russia are trying to push their currencies to compete globally and on the other hand, Argentina, marred by fiscal dominance, is (almost) ready to give up its currency and adopt dollarization.

Catching up with...

Each week a faculty or staff member is profiled. Answering a series of short questions, the profiles are intended to be light, informative and conversational.

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At Union, Arora feels privileged to teach courses spanning macroeconomics, international finance and monetary economics. Additionally, he has the honor of teaching the Union Financial Network’s finance boot camp in New York City during winter break, which adds another dimension to his academic engagement.

FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING: NYT Crossword, Wordle and Connections

GO-TO BREAKFAST: Cold pressed celery juice and overnight oats with fruits.

WHAT’S THE LAST GREAT BOOK YOU READ? Fiction: “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult; Non-Fiction: “Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: Two actually: 1. Everyone has their baggage of their own problems, and each person perceives their challenges are the most significant. Whenever you feel the burden of your problems is getting overwhelming, think about the person who is less privileged than you and facing more formidable obstacles. Your worries will start to dissipate. 2. No one likes to be surrounded by sad people. Spread joy and kindness.

FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT: Firenze (Florence) in Tuscany, Italy. The allure of Florence lies in its exquisite blend of art, history and culture, creating a timeless and enchanting atmosphere. It boasts an unparalleled wealth of artistic treasures, from iconic masterpieces by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci to the breathtaking architecture of the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery. Whether strolling along the Arno River, marveling at the intricate details of the Ponte Vecchio, or absorbing the ambiance of the Piazza della Signoria, it is a feast for the senses. Wandering through the cobbled streets of Florence is like stepping into a living museum, where every corner reveals a piece of history or a work of art.

WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING RIGHT NOW: My viewing lineup features a captivating trio: “The Innocence Files,” “The Crown” and “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” Depending on my mood, I navigate between the riveting and often heart-wrenching stories of individuals wrongfully convicted due to the flaws within the criminal justice system in “The Innocence Files;” the masterfully woven tales of historical events with meticulous attention to detail and stunning production design in “The Crown;” and the lighthearted narrative of a coming-of-age drama in “The Summer I Turned Pretty.”

ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD: Some handyman skills. It would save me a lot of money.

THREE DINNER PARTY GUESTS (living or deceased): Gandhi, a transformative leader and advocate for nonviolent resistance; Jane Austen, a storyteller whose wit and intricate characters transcend cultures; and Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who unraveled some mysteries of the universe, black holes and the nature of time. A common theme among them is resilience.

FIRST CONCERT: Having grown up in a low-income household in India, the experience of attending musical concerts eluded me throughout my formative years. The vibrant and dynamic “concert culture” remained a realm I hadn’t been introduced to, and as a result, I have yet to partake in one.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU: While I typically steer clear of being the focal point in social settings and often experience butterflies in my stomach when faced with public speaking or being the center of attention, there are two notable exceptions where the fear seems to dissipate entirely: standing in front of a classroom and taking the stage for a performance. Surprisingly, these are the arenas where I find a sense of comfort and confidence that transcends my usual aversion to being in the spotlight. I’ve had the opportunity to perform on stage on four out of the seven continents worldwide. It’s a thrilling journey that has taken me to diverse corners of the globe, each performance adding a unique chapter to my story. Yet, my aspiration reaches even greater heights. I dream of gracing the stages of all seven continents, an ambitious goal.