Strengthening Global Partnerships and Honoring Distinguished Alumni: IU Delegation Visits OP Jindal Global University

IU OP Jindal Global University Joint Conference
Globalization, Professional Education, and Knowledge Development in the 21st Century
Claridges Hotel
New Delhi, India
September 2, 2011

Introduction

Minister Maily; Chancellor Jindal; Vice Chancellor Kumar; Dr. Jadhav; faculty, students, and distinguished guests: Thank you for your generous hospitality. It is a great pleasure to be here for the first Indiana University/OP Jindal Global University International Conference.

Last fall, United States President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of India’s Parliament. In his remarks, President Obama said, “[I]t is my firm belief that the relationship between the United States and India—bound by our shared interests and values—will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”1

Today, as we gather for this conference, I am certain that all of us would agree about the importance of the partnership between our two countries. One of the key areas of such partnership is higher education. In fact, as many of you know, the first summit on higher education between Indian and American leaders is scheduled to take place this coming October, a direct outgrowth of the meeting between Prime Minister Singh and President Obama. Indiana University will be represented at this summit by Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret.

In his remarks, President Obama mentioned collaboration in areas like information technology, life and health sciences, clean and affordable energy, global economic prosperity, and democratic rule. Higher education is at the heart of such collaboration, and this conference on globalization, professional education, and knowledge development in the 21st century provides a timely and strong addition to the great traditions of education that both of our countries share.

Global Epiphany

There is no better evidence of the need for collaborative and global professional education than the recent economic crises that have reverberated throughout the world, but I was reminded of further evidence by our delegation’s visit to the Cisco R&D Center in Bangalore earlier this week. About a decade ago, I led a group on a visit to the headquarters of Cisco Systems for a presentation of what was then a still confidential unreleased product: the CRS-1 router. 

After the presentation, we were led into a lobby which had a large world map on the wall. The map had various pins on it, and we were told that it had a pin for the hometown of each of the roughly 200 engineers who had worked on this product. The U.S. had around ten pins and the same for Europe. There were a few around Japan and more around China, and a scattering around other places like Australia. But there was a great dense clump of pins—probably 75 to 80 percent—in and around India. It was really quite remarkable.

This is a story about information technology, but it is also a story about the globalization of industry and the vital need for professionals in all areas to be able to communicate with one another, to share best practices, to help one another find solutions to our shared problems, and to be prepared for our shared global future.

A Vision for Internationalization at IU

Indiana University’s global story began, in earnest, with our legendary 11th president Herman B Wells. Many universities have a foundational figure like Herman Wells. For O.P. Jindal University, perhaps there are two such foundational figures—the remarkably successful Om Prakash Jindal after whom the university was named, and his son, Chancellor Naveen Jindal, whose strong oversight of this university and global vision have helped build partnerships with institutions around the world. 

Back in the 1930s, Herman Wells too had a global vision, which, at the time, was extraordinary. Wells sought to deliver the world to IU students, many of whom—at least in the middle of the 20th century—had yet to experience all that Indiana had to offer, let alone India

Wells’ deep appreciation for the global community led him to initiate IU’s concerted efforts to become an international force in higher education. Over many years, he succeeded in attracting world-class international faculty, particularly in the liberal arts and humanities, developing new international alliances with governments and institutions, establishing area studies programs, and dramatically expanding IU’s foreign language curricula. Indiana University now offers around 80 world languages—perhaps the largest number in the United States—and is home to ten federally-funded Title VI Area Studies Centers, including six National Resource Centers, again the equal largest number, I believe, in the United States. We are home to the Dhar India Studies Program, which is one of only two such programs in the United States solely focused on India Studies, both ancient and modern. 

Over the past three or four years, we have consistently set records for the number of students from IU who study abroad and for the number of international students we welcome to campus. Approximately 25% of our students study abroad, with a contingent studying in India every year. And we welcome approximately 800 students from India to our campuses, which places India in the top three countries sending students to IU. 

We are striving to build on this international presence by enhancing international partnerships to create opportunities for our faculty and students. Ours is a multilayered approach to international collaboration with linkages at the student, faculty, and institutional levels, all of which place faculty and students at the center, along with a goal of educational and research excellence. That is a goal I know that we all share. 

Indiana University and OP Jindal University: A Global Partnership

As the world’s largest democracy, India presents enormous opportunities for professional school students—in areas like law, public affairs, and business—to prepare for leadership roles in today’s global economy. We are proud to be partnering with Indian institutions of higher education, and especially today OP Jindal Global University, to create such opportunities.

Vice Chancellor Raj Kumar, who has played such an important role in the formation and administration of this university, has written eloquently about the need for reform of India’s legal education system and the impact of globalization. We are very pleased that Dean Lauren Robel, Professor Jay Krishnan, and others from the IU Maurer School of Law have worked collaboratively with Jindal Law School and the Jindal Global Law Review right from the start.

With one of the few schools of public affairs in India, OP Jindal is a key partner for our School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and we are pleased that we will be formalizing that partnership tomorrow. 

We are also pleased to have the opportunity to work with JGU on emerging issues in philanthropy through the IU Center on Philanthropy, and we are exploring our opportunities for partnership in business.

A Symbol of Partnership

A tangible symbol of the strong ties between our two universities is the Indiana University Political Science Research Library that will now find its home on the OP Jindal Global University campus. The collection of over 12,000 books, journals, and reference materials was started over forty years ago on the IU Bloomington campus and was built through gifts and donations by faculty members in the department. It has served as an invaluable resource to generations of faculty members and students, who have turned to the collection for classic readings in political science, and we at Indiana University are delighted to have presented this to you as a gift to build upon as you develop your own library. It is a gift that will more firmly connect our universities, our faculty, our students, and our graduates.

Honoring Dr. Narendra Jadhav

I would like to conclude my remarks by recognizing one of Indiana University’s most distinguished graduates. In his memoir, Untouchables, Dr. Narendra Jadhav wrote movingly about the important role his father played in his life. About ambition, his father once told him, “All I have to say to you is this . . . Reach the top in whatever you do . . . [B]e so good at it that the world will salute you. . . . Never be content with less.”2

Let me say, Dr. Jadhav, that the world salutes you. You are the best at what you do.

With his father as an inspiration, Dr. Jadhav has led an extraordinary life, has had an extraordinary career, and has, himself, become an inspiration not only to the people around him but to millions of Dalits—or untouchables—for whom he has opened a door of opportunity and hope. In this, he follows in the footsteps of the great Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, one of India’s constitutional framers who was a great leader as well and an inspiration to Dalits and non-Dalits alike.

As a youth, Dr. Jadhav never spoke in school, but he was at the top of his class, and with his father’s prodding, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in statistics and master’s degree in economics at the University of Bombay, now the University of Mumbai. Then, I am delighted to say, he came to Indiana University where he earned his doctoral degree in economics. While at IU, he received awards as the top international student and an award for excellence in economic theory. Even twenty-five years later, his professors at IU still remember him as an energetic, engaging, confident, and outstanding student.

After returning to India, degree in hand, Dr. Jadhav continued his research, much to his mother’s consternation. When she chastised him for this, his father replied that getting an academic degree is like getting a driving license. “You get a license, and you keep on driving . . . you don’t just sit on it.”3  And Dr. Jadhav has been driving ever since.

He served the Reserve Bank of India for thirty-one years, retiring in 2008 from the position of Principal Advisor and Chief Economist. He has worked for the International Monetary Fund as advisor to the executive director for India and Consultant to the Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF. He has also served as Chief Economic Counsellor for Afghanistan and Advisor to the Government of Ethiopia.

But he has not limited himself just to the world of economics. From 2006 to 2009, he served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Pune, the largest traditional university in the world with 650,000 students. And he is currently serving as a member of the national Planning Commission, the nation’s top policy-oriented think tank chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, and he is a member of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council.

A prolific author, Dr. Jadhav has written approximately 100 research papers and 14 books on economic and social issues, and his memoir, which I mentioned earlier, has been translated into at least 17 different languages. He has been recognized for his contributions by a wide variety of organizations, including: The Jivak Welfare Society, The Marwandi Foundation, The Shiromani Institute, The Kesari Art and Culture Foundation, The Indian International Society, and many, many others.

It was my great pleasure to meet Dr. Jadhav when he visited Indiana University in 2007. During that visit, he said that “[t]his is the university that gave me the basic grounding to be a professional and also a good human being. I owe so much to this university.”4 

Today, I am here to say that Indiana University—and people around the world—owe you a great deal as well. You have made enormous contributions to changing how the people of India think and behave, and in so doing, you have truly changed the world for countless people. In this, you have extended the great traditions of excellence that have been a hallmark of Indiana University for nearly two centuries, and we are proud to call you an alumnus.

Bestowing The Benton Medal

Dr. Jadhav, would you please join me at the podium?

Dr. Jadhav, it is a great pleasure to be able to celebrate your achievements this evening.

You have dedicated yourself to improving the lives of others, creating opportunity, and providing leadership in a number of different areas of national and international importance.

To recognize distinction such as yours, Indiana University established the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion. It is the highest honor the president of Indiana University has the sole authority to bestow on a person external to the university, and it has been given to university leaders and friends around the world. This bronze medal features part of a mural by Thomas Hart Benton, one of America’s most renowned muralists. Painted in the 1930s, it is located in the IU Auditorium on our Bloomington, Indiana campus. The reverse side has the seal of the university. It symbolizes the aspirations and ideals that are the foundation of the search for knowledge.

So by the authority vested in me by the Trustees of Indiana University and in recognition of your distinguished contributions to economic policy, to higher education, and to the people of India, Dr. Narendra Jadhav, I present you with the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion.

Would you please help me congratulate Dr. Jadhav?

Source Notes

  1. Obama, Barack H. Address to the Indian Parliament, New Delhi, India. 8 November 2010. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article874394.ece
  2. Untouchables:  My Family’s Triumphant Escape from India’s Caste System.  Berkeley:  U of California P, 2007.  Page 237.
  3. Ibid., page 237.
  4. “Narendra Jadhav, Indian Economist and Noted Author, Visits Indiana University.”  Indiana University News Room Website.  28 June 2007.  <http://newsinfo.iu.edu>.