India’s Minister of Human Resource and Development Smriti Irani, stoked controversy and considerable social media buzz in India this week by claiming that she holds a certificate from Yale.
Irani’s claim follows contradictory statements about her education in election filings in 2004 and 2014, which in turn caused questions about her qualifications for her position. At an event on Saturday, Irani said she has “a degree from Yale University as well which I can bring out and show how Yale celebrated my leadership capacities.”
Irani, this week, told Indian media outlets that her words had been “misconstrued.” Irani’s first statement was clarified by a spokesperson of her ministry, who said that she received a certificate after completing a Yale six-day leadership program in New Haven last June.
The program, called the “India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program,” brings several members of India’s parliament to Yale to discuss an array of global issues. It is run through Yale’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.
Issues addressed in previous programs have included the United Nations, the Arab Spring, global economic governance and the future of Europe. Participants in the program interact with faculty from Yale’s political science and economics departments, as well as Yale Law School, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the School of Public Health, the School of Architecture and the Center for the Study of Globalization.
This year was the program’s eighth.