By Mike Leonard
Office to open this month in New Delhi area, improving ties to students, partners
Indiana University‘s long-standing relationship with India will include a permanent physical presence as well with the opening of the university’s first international gateway office in an affluent New Delhi suburb later this month.
IU will occupy one floor of a modern, yet traditionally influenced building on the Gurgaon campus of the American Institute of Indian Studies, a nongovernmental organization operated by a consortium of U.S. colleges and universities that includes IU.
IU President Michael A. McRobbie described the office as “a portal that will function in both directions, facilitating excellent access to opportunities in the country for IU faculty and students while at the same time allowing our India-based students, alumni and partners to connect directly with the university.
“This office — which will be the first of many such international gateways — will enable us to accelerate academic activities and partnerships in this increasingly important area of the world,” McRobbie said in a prepared statement.
A Feb. 27 kickoff reception marking the official opening of the center will by attended by representatives including David Zaret, vice president for international affairs at IU, and Lauren Robel, executive vice president and provost of the Bloomington campus.
Robel said on Monday that opening the center makes sense both for the Bloomington campus, which includes about 700 students from India, and the university system, which educates about 1,000 Indian students.
“Of the nine schools on the Bloomington campus, six have pre-existing programs with India,” she said. “We’ve got a ton of alums in India as well, and those alumni want to support Indiana University. Having a place that raises the IU flag in India will make them proud and give them a focal point for their support of the university. This will just expand our opportunities tremendously.”
The Bloomington provost had first-hand experience with the India-Indiana connection while she was dean of the Maurer School of Law. “We’d have students from the law school serve as interns at law firms and NGOs in the summertime and we’d have to be able to meet with those students during their internships to make sure they were getting a good educational experience. This gives us — and various other programs — a place to meet.”
Robel said a broader and deeper presence in India can only serve to enhance the opportunities for IU students. “The ability to interact with people from one of the fastest-growing economies in the world will be invaluable,” she said. “Any responsible university today would have to be thinking about how to make those opportunities available.”
The American Institute of Indian Studies is celebrating its 50th year of advancing scholarship in India. In addition to law, IU maintains programs in India through academic units including the Kelley School of Business, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences and School of Optometry. Nine Indian universities or programs have relationships with IU.