Furthering the University’s international agenda in Asia, Yale President Richard Levin outlined specific plans Thursday for a January trip to India where he, as well as other administrators and faculty, will meet with Indian government officials, alumni and university leaders.
The trip will showcase Yale’s various influences and potential partnerships in India, said University Secretary Linda Lorimer, who will accompany Levin on the trip. During his travels, Yale will forge a partnership with Jawarhalal Nehru University in Delhi, which will become the eighth partner in Yale’s Fox International fellowship program, a graduate-student exchange program, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs George Joseph said. Levin’s schedule also includes a luncheon with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a panel featuring Indian Finance Secretary Rakesh Mohan ’71 and South Asian Studies Council chairman T. N. Srinivasan, Joseph said.
“India is a very exciting and dynamic country these days and I’m interested in becoming better acquainted with it,” Levin said. “India has the second largest population in the world and we get many excellent students from India.”
There are 125 Indian students currently enrolled at the University and about 190 Yale alumni across India, Joseph said.
Yale Club of India Secretary Pradeep Varma GRD ’95 said he is excited to have the University interact with its Indian alumni. Varma said he thinks alumni in India and University leaders will find their relationship mutually beneficial. Principals at two of Delhi’s top secondary schools will also meet with Levin to discuss Yale College admissions, he said.
“We’re all Yalies and we’re keen to see our alma mater do as well as it can,” Varma said. “There’s really a warm feeling for whatever time we spend at Yale and what it gave to us.”
Lorimer said she thinks the trip will reinforce and create new connections to India in many different ways.
“The trip will be an opportunity to showcase Yale in its various manifestations — alumni, faculty, president and government leaders,” Lorimer said.
Levin, who noted that the University intends to visit a different country each year, said he is especially interested in learning more about India’s rapid economic growth. Yale’s delegation will visit Mumbai, India’s financial center, and Chennai, an old intellectual center where Yale benefactor Elihu Yale served as clerk of the British East India Tea Company in the late 1600s.
The visit will also emphasize the University’s ongoing AIDS and HIV research initiatives in India, Joseph said. Recently the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health received grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William J. Clinton Foundation for AIDS research in India.
Epidemiology and Public Health chairman Michael Merson, who periodically travels to India to oversee the project, said Levin’s visit will reinforce Yale’s commitment to its research in the country.
“President Levin’s visit is very important to us, obviously,” Merson said. “He will meet our collaborators and we will show them the commitment of Yale to these projects.”
Srinivasan compared Levin’s trip to India to last year’s visit to China, and said he thinks both countries are appropriate focuses for the University’s attention.
“After all, in the contemporary world, India and China are the two leading economies,” Srinivasan said. “It’s about time Yale’s presence was enhanced in both these economies and societies.”
Joseph said School of Management professor Shyam Sunder and the Yale Club of India will take the lead in organizing the trip.