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Clinton: U.S. and India Committed to Higher Ed Partnerships

October 13, 2011 – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told participants in the first U.S.-India Higher Education Summit at Georgetown today that the “highest levels of our two governments are committed” to furthering educational partnerships.

“For those of you who are watching the great rise of India, I hope you share our excitement that this largest of all democracies, this wildly pluralistic nation, is on the path to providing greater benefits for their citizens within the context of freedom and opportunity,” Clinton said. “They know as we know from our own experience that democracy depends on education.”

More than 300 college and university leaders gathered at the summit, sponsored by the U.S. and Indian governments, to discuss strategies teaching, research and student- exchange partnerships between the two countries.

Driving Force

“Educational collaboration is a driving force in our strategic dialogue with the government of India,” Clinton explained. “Whether or not this takes hold will depend upon those of you outside government – professors, teachers, researchers business leaders. You will ultimately determine the success of these efforts.”  

Clinton challenged the participants to look at how universities can increase educational collaborations with India, work on more research and provide more student and faculty exchanges. 

“What institutional barriers can we and should we break down,” she asked, “and how do we build forward?”

Knowledge Creation

Kapil Sibal, Indian minister of human resources, also gave opening remarks.

“We in India, to sustain our economic growth, require a skilled workforce of 500 million people by 2022,” Sibal said. “... Students endowed with skillsets sought by industries globally will then serve the needs of industry.”

Shareen Joshi, a Georgetown visiting assistant professor who teaches courses in South Asian development, said Sabil “rightly pointed out [that] knowledge creation will drive economic growth in the future.”

Joshi said there is great potential for the U.S. to create more partnerships with India.

“We have already seen the results of such partnerships in the previous century,” she said. “The establishment of the Indian IITs [Indian Institute of Technology] and the Indian green revolution were made possible with American collaboration.”

Special Priority

Georgetown has made a significant commitment to engagement with India, including the recent creation of a new Chair of Indian Culture and Society at the university.

School of Foreign Service Dean Carol Lancaster called Clinton’s talk “inspiring” and praised her call for the summit participants to consider education “an international challenge and opportunity.”

“India, with its enormous size, rich culture, longstanding democracy, rapidly rising importance in the world and great educational needs, should be a special priority for the U.S.,” Lancaster said.

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