Strengthening Indiana University's Longstanding Connections with India

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Grand Opening of the IU India Office
IU India Office
American Institute of Indian Studies
22, Sector-32, Institutional Area
Gurgaon-122 001 Haryana
India
October 30, 2014

Welcome and Introduction

Thank you, David (Zaret). 

It is a great pleasure to be back in India and to celebrate the grand opening of the Indiana University India Office—a facility that will greatly enhance the already strong relationship between our two countries.

Acknowledgements

On behalf of Indiana University, I want to thank you all for being here today.

It is a great pleasure to have this opportunity to reconnect with a number of old acquaintances and meet new colleagues and friends.

I want to extend my sincere thanks to Michael Pelletier, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of the United States in India, for being with us and for the kind remarks he made earlier.

I also want to thank Professor C. Raj Kumar, vice chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University, for being here and for the remarks he delivered earlier. We greatly look forward to continuing and expanding our well-established partnership with O.P. Jindal Global University.

I also extend thanks to the Honorable Member of Parliament Deepender Hooda for joining us today and for his remarks. MP Hooda was an outstanding student in IU’s Kelley School of Business, where he earned an MBA. After gaining work experience in the U.S. he returned to India to contribute to the country’s emerging needs by energetically engaging in the political process. Indiana University is proud of his accomplishments and proud to count him among our alumni.

I also want to express thanks on behalf of Indiana University to Purnima Mehta, the director general of the American Institute of Indian Studies, for the unfailing support that she and her colleagues have given to helping us establish the IU India Office. We are delighted that this office is housed here on the institute’s Gurgaon campus, and that IU and the institute have developed an excellent working relationship.

I had the great pleasure of meeting and hearing a wonderful performance by the internationally renowned Indian classical musician Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in Bloomington last fall when he served as the first Artist in Residence in IU’s new School of Global and International Studies. I know that all of us look forward to also hearing his son, Ayaan Ali Khan, play the sarod for us later in the program.

Indiana University and India

There are many deep connections between Indiana University and this dynamic country, of which we are very proud. 

The first Indian student to graduate from IU was Konigapogu Joseph Devadanam, who earned an undergraduate degree in psychology in 1930. 

In August 1948, IU’s legendary 11th president, Herman B Wells, joined about 200 people from the Bloomington campus and the community, along with IU’s Indian students, to celebrate the first year of the independence of India.

Since that time, IU has established the Dhar India Studies Program, one of only a few such programs in the United States solely focused on India Studies. You have already met the director of this world-class program, Professor Michael Dodson, who also serves as the academic director of the IU India Office. Faculty members of the Dhar India Studies Program are engaged in research and teaching on a wide range of aspects of India’s history and culture, including contemporary politics, law, literature, business, and much more. Our faculty also provide in-depth language instruction to undergraduate and graduate students in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Sanskrit.

The India Studies program is now part of our new School of Global and International Studies, which, incidentally, teaches over 70 foreign languages—more than any other university in the United States.

More recently, in addition to O.P. Jindal Global University, IU has formed strong partnerships with some of the leading educational institutions in India, including the University of Hyderabad, Symbiosis International University, the Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, IIM Shillong, and the Elite School of Optometry. These partnerships and exchanges—as is the case with all our engagement in India—are rooted in a spirit of equal cooperation, and they bring benefits to IU and the United States as well as to India and our partner institutions here.

India also ranks in the top ten countries where IU students study abroad.

One example of IU’s study abroad programs in India can be found in our highly ranked Kelley School of Business, which brings a group of honors students to India each year to meet with government and business officials and to learn about the country's vast cultural heritage. Incidentally, these students meet right here in IU’s new India Gateway Office.

Through its Global Business and Social Enterprise (GLOBASE) initiative, the Kelley School also brings MBA students to Himachal Pradesh, where they work with the nonprofit Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development, assisting with the organization’s efforts with microfinance, assisting handicraft producers, and encouraging natural, organic farming.

At Indiana University, we believe that study and service abroad are important parts of a 21st Century education meant to prepare our students to live and work in a flat world. We are very proud that our Bloomington campus ranks fifth in the United States—among more than 1,200 universities—in terms of the number of students who study abroad.

The Bloomington campus also ranks 10th in the U.S. in terms of the number of international students enrolled.

We had more than 8,000 international students at IU last year. More than 1,000 of those students were from India, and they are a vital part of the life of Indiana University. There are also about 4,300 IU alumni affiliated with India, and, of course, we have welcomed hundreds of Indian scholars, dignitaries, and students who have visited our campuses.

The Indiana University Gateway in India

Given all of these deep connections between India and Indiana University, it was fitting that we establish the IU India Office, which will help us serve our Indian students, our many Indian alumni, and our American students studying in India more effectively.

The IU India Office, first and foremost, however, is symbolic of Indiana University’s desire to work in a spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation with Indian universities, business, and other institutions, as well as India’s social and cultural leaders. IU’s presence in India is indicative of our desire to learn about India on its own terms, and to begin an exchange that will benefit both India and Indiana and strengthen the connections between India and the United States. 

The IU India Office was the first office to open as part of Indiana University’s Global Gateway Network. IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel was here early last year, when the office first opened. It has since undergone renovation, and today we celebrate the formal dedication of the newly remodeled office.

Earlier this year, we dedicated IU’s second Gateway Office in Beijing, China, and we are exploring the possibilities of opening offices in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and South East Asia.

The fact that the India Office is IU’s first Gateway Office is an indication of India’s importance as a country in the 21st century and evidence of Indiana University’s belief that it is absolutely essential in this day and age that the education of all of our students includes an international component.

The office now serves as an excellent home base for IU activities in India. It will support scholarly research and teaching, conferences and workshops, study abroad programs, distance learning initiatives, executive and corporate training, alumni events, and much, much more.

Just this morning, the office hosted a workshop on “The Safeguarding of India’s Documentary and Cultural Heritage,” which was facilitated by IU Professor of Central Eurasian Studies, Ron Sela. The workshop was a wonderful example of how the IU India Office can bring together IU faculty and colleagues in India for productive and mutually beneficial discussion and collaboration.

The IU India Office will give IU faculty and students greater access to opportunities in India, and at the same time, it will allow our India-based students, alumni, and university partners to connect directly with IU.

Formal Opening

We now come to the central part of today’s event, the formal opening and dedication of the IU India Office.

Friends and colleagues: by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Trustees of Indiana University, I am honored to formally declare open the Indiana University India Gateway Office.

May all who come here to learn, to teach, to conduct research, and to work together, do so in the spirit of international cooperation and understanding that the IU India Office represents.

As I unveil the plaque that commemorates the establishment of the IU India Office, I invite you to join me in celebrating the office with a round of applause.

Conclusion

I want to express my thanks again to all those who have worked so hard to help establish the IU Global Gateway Office which we have formally opened and dedicated today.

And our most grateful thanks to all of our distinguished guests and speakers who have made this such a memorable occasion.

And I want to commend Shalini Choubey, the office coordinator of the IU India Office, Alexander Batten, IU’s director of International Gateway Offices, and Margaret Key, chief of staff of the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, for their enormous efforts in helping to make today’s event a success.

India is a vital part of Indiana University’s great tradition of international education and engagement, and we are delighted to now have this wonderful office in the heart of India.

“Dhanyavad” and Shukriya”.