Rutgers and Indian Council For Cultural Relations to Advance Higher Education Through Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative

Formal Signing Of Memorandum of Understanding To Initiate Academic Partnership

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please bring your photo identification in order to gain admittance into the Consulate General of India’s building. Press and photographers will be give admittance at 4:30 p.m. Contact Amber Hopkin-Jenkins, Rutgers Office of Media Relations, 732-932-7084, ext. 601. On June 19, reporters can also contact Renée Walker or Andrew Elwell.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University and the Consulate General of India, New York on behalf of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will come together on June 19 to commence the “ICCR Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies,” which will bring a distinguished visiting professor to Rutgers from India.

Dnyaneshwar Mulay, consul general of India and Dr. RichardL. Edwards, executive vice president for academic affairs and interim chancellor at Rutgers University,will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to initiate this academic partnership. The chair and visiting professor will teach courses, deliver public lectures, and engage directly with staff and students at Rutgers. Invited guests to the signing includeDr. Devyani Khobragade, Deputy Consul General, and Rochelle Hendricks, Secretary of Higher Education, New Jersey.

“This partnership offers an exciting opportunity to unify many of the university’s efforts with Indian institutions and raise our visibility,” says Dr. RichardL. Edwards. “As one of the university’s five focus countries for strategic international engagement, strengthening our relationships in India will help us to promote collaborative research and global citizenship throughout the Rutgers community.”

The event will also celebrate Rutgers’ participation, along with the Tata Institute for Social Sciences, in President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. The initiative was announced in 2009 by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to encourage mutual understanding, facilitate educational reform, foster economic development and engage civil society through academic cooperation with Indian institutions of higher education. Rutgers was one of five out of more than 100 applicant institutions to receive an approximately $250,000 grant.

The 2011 landmark U.S.-India Higher Education (HE) Summit held in Washington, DC identified a set of key priorities for each country. For India, the most pressing need is to reform its skill development system with scalable solutions that can rapidly enhance educational opportunities for 550 million Indians age 25-and-under. For the U.S., the goals are to expand the number of American students and faculty with experience in India – the world’s largest democracy and one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing economies – and to help meet India’s educational needs by expanding programs for the world’s largest pool of high potential, English-speaking students. Both nations are struggling to create enough good jobs for their growing number of graduates.

The funds from the Obama-Singh Initiative will support a range of other exciting programs and partnerships with top Indian and U.S. institutions, including increasing study abroad opportunities for American students through new programs, international service learning, internships, and dual degree opportunities as well as developing programs that foster a new generation of leaders for India’s rapidly growing higher education capacity.

“At the root of it, we believe – both the United States and India – that extending the benefits of higher education to as many people as possible is not only the right thing to do, but it is the smart thing as well, to help better equip our people to compete in today’s global economy,” said Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the announcement of the awards during the U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue in Washington, D.C.

The MOU signing coincides with a study tour of Rutgers for representatives from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences as part of the collaboration for international scholar exchange through the Obama-Singh Initiative Grant. Participants will take part in three days of activities to further develop efforts through the initiative. The MOU signing will be preceded by a panel discussion on reforming India’s education and training systems.


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