LEXINGTON, (July 21, 2011) — The University of Kentucky is one of 10 American colleges and universities chosen to foster higher education ties with India.
UK was selected by The Institute of International Education (IIE) to participate in the 2012 India initiative of the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP).
Over the next year, UK Asia Center Director Keiko Tanaka and Asia Center Steering Committee Member Srimati Basu, along with a university-appointed task force, will participate in a series of training activities arranged by IIE to help implement and sustain partnerships with Indian institutions, culminating with a study tour to India in early 2012 to meet with potential partner campuses.
"The countries that we call in shorthand the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – are major economic partners for the US," said Associate Provost for International Programs Susan Carvalho. "What happens there will have an increasing impact on our economy, nationally and within the state. For that reason, UK’s partnerships in India have strategic importance for the state and for our students."
An IIE review panel chose UK based on successful applications outlining the university's strong interest in building ties with institutions in India.
"This selection is right in line with UK's internationalization objectives and Asia Center strategic goals and existent programs and will only further the global opportunities for our students," said Basu, associate professor of gender and women's studies at UK.
"The presence of a strong, vibrant Indian community plays an important role in the Bluegrass Region," said Tanaka, associate professor of sociology. "The Asia Center is committed to building UK's capacity for India Studies through curriculum development which benefits students (K-12 and undergraduate and graduate), as well as programing such as the ArtsAsia Festival in the fall and Asia Center's Spring Speakers Series which attract participation from community."
UK has made a commitment to form a campus-wide task force to work on prospective partnerships, conduct an institution-wide inventory of activities pertaining to India and develop a strategic plan focused on partnership with India.
"Intercultural understanding with a country as large and complex as India is also a must for US citizens," said Carvalho. "For these reasons we are working with higher education leaders in both countries, to establish the best matches for UK research and coursework."
Partnership activities may include joint programs, student exchanges or faculty linkages for collaborative research and teaching. IIE’s goal in creating the IAPP program of webinars, workshops and site visits is to establish a toolkit of best practices for international partnerships in different parts of the world that would be widely disseminated and helpful to other campuses seeking to establish linkages.
"Higher education is an important area of the strategic partnership between the United States and India because of its impact on fostering collaboration on critical issues that we face today," said IIE President Allan E. Goodman. "This new phase of the International Academic Partnership Program and the strong group of campuses will strengthen the educational ties between our two nations and pave the way for students from both countries to gain important international perspective. We aim to support the Obama-Singh goal to advance the U.S.-India global partnership for the benefit of their countries, for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, and for the betterment of the world."
IIE’s Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education runs the IAPP program, which was established in 2009 with funding from the Department of Education to help increase the number of partnerships between institutions of higher education in the United States and India.
In academic year 2009-2010, India was the second leading place of origin for international students in the United States (after China) with 104,897 Indian students enrolled in U.S. higher education, according to "Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange," published by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Students from India accounted for more than 15 percent of the total international student population. Open Doors 2010 reported that India hosted 2,690 U.S. students in 2008-2009. This represented a decrease of 15 percent from the previous year, a drop which has been largely attributed to the economic downturn.
A forthcoming IIE report, “Increasing Study Abroad to India: A Guide for Institutions” reveals that many existing study abroad programs in India are at or near enrollment capacity, highlighting a growing need for both U.S. and Indian institutions to forge new bilateral partnerships in order to accommodate increasing U.S. interest in India as a study destination. The IIEPassport study abroad directory includes listings for the range of programs available to US students seeking short-term or academic year study in India.
UK is joined in its international efforts by Fort Hays State University, George Mason University, Northern Illinois University, Queens College (City University of New York), Rollins College, Rutgers, The State Institution of New Jersey, Suffolk University, Thomas College and University of Oregon.
IIE’s partnership program is one of several initiatives helping to increase institutional capacity for developing partnerships and assisting U.S. institutions through their strategic planning process.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Delhi this week for the second U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, and the two governments are working on plans for a U.S.-India Higher Education Summit to be held in Washington later this year, to follow up on the Obama-Singh Summit of 2009. The event will bring hundreds of educational institutes together from both countries to discuss a number of topics including growing the number of U.S. students who study in India and the number of Indians studying in the United States.
"UK’s statewide focus on under-served communities, and India’s acute needs in providing higher quality education and healthcare to rural populations, raises similar questions about which we can offer each other insight and experience," Carvalho said. "And experience in India will prepare our students for the world in which they will live and work."
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has network of 18 offices worldwide and over 1,000 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.