Duncan: U.S.-India Higher Education Collaboration a Win-Win
October, 14, 2011 – Higher education partnerships between the U.S. and India “cannot be taken for granted,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in closing remarks at the U.S.-India Higher Education Summit at Georgetown last night.
“One reason this summit is so timely, so important is that these international cooperation and collaboration work cannot be taken for granted,” Duncan explained. “Unfortunately, in both the United States and India there are some who treat these international partnerships as somehow being a zero-sum game … instead of treating these partnerships as a win-win proposition for both nations.”
The remarks came after more than 300 college and university leaders gathered Oct. 13 at the summit, sponsored by the U.S. and Indian governments, to discuss strategies to enhance teaching, research and student-exchange partnerships between the two countries.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened the conference yesterday morning, stating that the “highest levels of our two governments are committed” to furthering such partnerships.
The summit comprised roundtable panels, plenary sessions and breakout groups.
Former Ambassador to India Richard Celeste delivered the keynote address during lunch, which was attended by guest of honor Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao.
Rao came to Georgetown in late September to announce an agreement between Georgetown and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to create a new Chair of Indian Culture and Society at the university.
Indian Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal told conference participants that he sees signs of hope and mutual benefit in educational partnerships for both countries, despite complexities and complications.
“It’s not easy to collaborate, it’s not easy to move forward, it’s not easy to get the scalability that we desire,” he said. “But at the same time I get the feeling there’s an honest effort being made at both ends to actually use this as an opportunity to move forward.”
Carol Lancaster, dean of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, ended the summit by thanking all the attendees and moderators for helping to create a “productive” and “provocative” conference.
“We look forward to the work that we all have before us to increase our engagement from the United States to India and India to the United States,” she said.