By Arun Kumar
Washington: The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has launched a $1 million multi-year campaign to support an India Chair in Democracy and Civil Society, the first of its kind in the US.
The India Chair in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, will lead the discussion about democracy by bringing experts on Indian art, culture, history, politics, economics, business relations and related areas to campus and the surrounding community, VCU said.
“The horizon is limitless for what we can do together,” Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao said at an inaugural dinner for the launch of the fund-raising campaign in the state capital of Richmond this week.
She cited a number of ongoing successes as proof, including VCU’s international partnerships with the India University of Technology and the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine and Research.
Planning students from VCU and the Centre for Environmental and Planning Technology University in India also collaborated last year on a major conservation and development project.
India has become increasingly important economically to Virginia, becoming its 15th largest trading partner in 2010, said Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, who last November led a large state trade mission to India.
Noting that partnerships such as the India Chair are important for promoting economic growth and strengthening international relationships, he said: “That’s why this vision for this chair is so important because it represents the highest traditions of the best ideals of both our nations.”
VCU President Michael Rao described the creation of India Chair as an incredible source of pride for the university saying, “This is a chair that very much aligns with VCU.”
Holders of the chair will visit VCU for short-term visits or longer stays of up to a year. The chair will host an array of speakers and events.