UC delegates aim to forge partnership with India

In an effort to establish a partnership based on education and research with Indian government officials, several University of California professors and administrators are traveling to India this weekend.

Originally written by Ben Thaler and published in the Daily Bruin on February 16, 2007

Arun Majumdar, a UC Berkeley professor who is a member of the delegation, said he is looking forward to the visit, as both the UC and India constitute multiple research universities with advanced findings, and so faculty and administrators from these universities can exchange ideas.

“The (focus of the visit) is to see if we can come up with joint partnerships that will be mutually beneficial to (the UC and India), particularly in fields such as health and education,” Majumdar said.

UC spokesman  Brad Hayward said the UC delegation will arrive in India on Saturday and spend a week touring major cities including New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

Hayward added that collaboration between faculty from the UC and India is not a new phenomenon, as many faculty have pursued individual projects between the two.

“With this visit, we are trying to take international collaboration to the next level, which will (help us) to address major challenges,” Hayward said.

The attendees include UC President Robert Dynes, Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and one professor from UCLA, Ronald Mitsuyasu, who is the director of the UCLA Center for Clinical AIDS Research and Education, according to a university press release.

The attendees will also address the development and improvement of India's higher-education system.

“Using information technology to dramatically improve education at all levels is a critical part of this initiative,” delegation member and UC Berkeley Professor Shankar Sastry said in a statement.

“Our desire ... is to bring new technology to bear on societal-scale needs (which) is perfectly in line with our mutual goals.”

Hayward also said the trip will benefit students and faculty back in California, as the problems of India are similar to ones faced in Los Angeles.

“By working with the best minds from all over the world, we are able to produce innovations that can be used here related to (issues such as) energy consumption and environmental pollution,” Hayward said.

President Dynes echoed the same theme regarding the interdependence between different countries.

“Most of the challenges facing our world today are not confined within the borders of any one state or country,” Dynes said in a statement.

UCLA faculty involved in the UCLA Center for India and South Asia also said they saw the mutual benefits of the conference.

“India is the world's largest democracy, and the United States' collaboration with (India) has been increasing recently,” said Snehendu Kar, a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health.

“The (conference) will be beneficial because India has much to contribute to us in academic knowledge,” Kar added.

Hayward said the conference will begin with discussions based off preliminary conversations the UC and the Indian government have had regarding issues of mutual concern.

“(The attendees) are focused on a concrete research agenda and plan to come out with the first steps toward achieving this goal,” Hayward said.

With reports from Udeitha Srimushnam, Bruin contributor.

Published: Friday, February 16, 2007