Indo-US inter-university collaborative initiative

Higher education & research at Amrita University

7 December 2005 — Delhi

Today, 15 leading U.S. Universities—including Harvard, Yale and Princeton—joined the triumvirate of Amrita University, the Indian Space Research Organization and the Department of Science & Technology of the Government of India in a project to enhance higher education and research in India.

Representatives of the U.S. universities came to Delhi to sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU). Five other U.S. universities signed a similar MOU in Washington D.C. in July, making for a total of 20.

With the signing, the universities pledged to depute top faculty to teach and guide research projects from Amrita University’s Coimbatore campus via ISRO’s educational satellite (EduSat). These lectures will be continual throughout the next five years and will eventually be beamed to approximately 300 university campuses across India.

On the occasion of the signing, Swami Amritaswarupananda read a message from Amma, in which Amma said, “Through this holding of hands and sharing of knowledge and experience, new horizons of knowledge will open in the highest realms of science and technology to those thirsting for knowledge in India and others parts of the world—especially to students, teachers and researchers.

“Today, we are witnessing the world becoming like a single village. This is due to the efforts nations are putting towards cooperating in all fields. Thus, they are becoming like one. This venture to collaborate and share knowledge is a gigantic step in this direction.

“Knowledge is like a river—its nature is to flow. The dharma of knowledge is to flow to all corners of the world and nourish the cultures there. We should never stem its flow and thereby turn it into a stagnant pond.

“It is said that knowledge is the greatest gift one can give, for knowledge is imperishable. Even if we light a thousand lamps from one flame, the lustre of the first lamp never diminishes. Similar is the greatness of knowledge. Knowledge does not diminish, no matter how much it is shared. In fact, the more you give, the more it develops and expands.

“By sharing knowledge and experiences, we can prevent the flower that is this world from ever wilting and ensure that it remains eternally beautiful. By bringing together diverse streams of knowledge, we can create a magnificent river. May this great river of knowledge flow to caress the countries and communities of the world. May it overflow the borders between people and countries. May it impart the water of life to all of humanity, and thus nurture the blooming of culture throughout the world.”

Tomorrow, His Excellency, the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will conduct the venture’s launch at 1 p.m. from Rashtrapathi Bhavan via EduSat. In this way, His Excellency will address 11 Indian universities who will be benefiting from the venture. The distinguished academic leaders representing the U.S. universities signing the MOU will participate in the launch from Coimbatore campus of Amrita University.

The 11 Indian universities that will initially be benefiting from this allegiance are IIT Madras; IISc, Bangalore; Anna University, Madras, NIT, Surat; REC, Suratkal; Symbiosis Institute of Computer Engineering, Pune; JNTU College of Engineering, Andhra Pradesh; Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal; University College of Engineering, Osmania University; VTU, Belgaum, as well as the four campuses of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

The 15 U.S. universities who signed the MOU today were Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Yale University; University of California at Santa Cruz; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Georgia Institute of Technology; University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign; University of Maryland; University of Michigan; University of North Dakota; Purdue University; and the University of California at Los Angeles. Those who signed the MOU on the 20th of July are the University of California, campuses at Berkeley and San Diego; Carnegie Mellon University; Cornell University and State University of New York, Buffalo.

This collaborative initiative will focus on a broad range of areas, including but not limited to: engineering and computer science, information and communication technologies, materials science and manufacturing, biotechnology and bioinformatics, nanotechnology, medical sciences, management sciences, earth and space sciences, mathematical and natural sciences, humanities and arts and media. It will also introduce and forge collaborative research partnerships between U.S. and Indian researchers, particularly in interdisciplinary, international, and globally challenging scientific and engineering problems.