India, U.S. have Education on top of Agenda

The Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship Program will be expanded through a 45 per cent increase in funding by each government to support increased exchanges of students and scholars in priority fields, bringing total support for these scholarships to $ 6.7 million U.S. dollars in 2010, said Andrew T. Simkin, Consul General, U.S. Consulate, Chennai.

After inaugurating the ‘America Days’ program at The American College here on Tuesday, the Consul General in his speech said that the U.S. President Barack Obama has said that the relationship with India “is a defining one and we share so many things in common, we are the world’s two greatest democracies and we both are nations which share varied cultures, common interests within its geography.”

Emphasis on Education

Mr. Simkin said that education and development is one among the five areas which was prioritised over others in the strategic dialogue between the two nations.

Both Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have put education on top of their national agendas and, during the latter’s visit to the U.S. in November 2009, it was stressed that through cooperation in education and development, many global challenges like food security, public health, climate change, workforce development and women’s empowerment could be achieved.

Tradition
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He pointed out that the U.S. and India enjoyed a long tradition of cultural exchanges and since 1950, the bilateral U.S. – India Education Foundation established by the two has awarded 8,200 Fulbright, Fulbright-Nehru and other scholarships to U.S. and Indian students on almost all disciplines and fields of human endeavour.

The newly established Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative will provide $ 10 million in combined funding to increase university linkages and support junior faculty development between the two.

Speaking earlier, T. Chinnaraj Joseph Jaikumar, Principal and Secretary, The American College, emphasised the fact that the college was a public institution which had continually attached itself to the promotion of a harmonious global cultural scenario.

Da Saint Rossy, Consul for Public Affairs, in his felicitation address, said that the college started with a religious affiliation, redefined itself with the changing needs of the people, and has internalised the given space and has seen the secular transmission of knowledge.

Corrina Ybarra Arnold, Cultural Affairs Officer, proposed a vote of thanks. Premila Paul, Dean, International Exchange and Study Abroad, welcomed the gathering and Paul Jayakar, Additional Dean, International Exchange and Study Abroad, introduced the guests.

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