Ambassador Announces New Chair, Praises Georgetown-India Relations
September 28, 2011 – An agreement between Georgetown and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations will create a new Chair of Indian Culture and Society at the university, Nirupama Menon Rao, ambassador of India to the United States, announced in a lecture last night.
The agreement allows for an Indian scholar to teach and conduct research at the university, and is part of a commitment Georgetown has made to strengthen ties with the country.
“Here at Georgetown, we have begun to deepen our engagement with leading organizations, educational institutions and government ministries in India,” said President John J. DeGioia, “[all of which] share a commitment to excellence and to work and service for the betterment of our world.”
A New Roadmap
A bi-national, government-sponsored Indian-U.S. higher education summit is scheduled to take place at Georgetown on Oct. 13. This is the first time the university has hosted such an event.
“It is our hope that the summit will provide a unique platform for the academic community and officials from both countries to share their experience and knowledge and chart a new roadmap for advancing our partnership in the field of education,” Rao said. “The spirit of inquiry, creativity and the tradition of imparting knowledge have been the hallmarks of our two societies.”
Rao spoke on the importance of global cooperation in education and foreign policy during her lecture.
“We have a saying in Sanskrit – ‘the wealth that education offers is the greatest wealth of all,’ ” she said, “and I think that is essentially what we are trying to do when we seek to strengthen ties in this field between India and the United States.”
She said Georgetown has had an “extensive relationship with India and has been one of the leaders in forging the partnerships with Indian institutions of higher education and learning.”
Educational cooperation is a prototype for India’s foreign policy goals, she said, with the global economic crisis and terrorist threats demonstrating “the indivisibility of security and prosperity of countries, whether big or small, developed or developing.”
Located in what Rao called the “complex neighborhood” of South Asia, which has undergone political and economic fragmentation, she said India is committed to establishing good relations and cooperation with its neighbors.
A peaceful, stable South Asia will in turn create more opportunities for growth and greater engagement with the rest of the world, the ambassador explained.
“We wish to create an environment with our neighbors that enables us to work together and fill our common objectives of economic development and to provide better and happier lives to our citizens,” Rao said.