The University of Virginia has launched a new partnership with Jindal Global University (JGU) – one of India’s leading private universities near New Delhi – to create a significant new platform for student and scholar exchanges and shared… To provide research on issues of global importance such as democracy and environmental sustainability, and a general expansion of UVA engagement in India.
UVA Provost Ian Baucom and JGU Vice Chancellor Raj Kumar signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with five JGU deans and other senior staff during Kumar’s visit to Charlottesville the week of November 14. The document serves as the basis for further agreements between UVA and JGU faculties and institutes to support student exchange, joint research and symposiums, and other collaborative activities.
Ian Baucom said that JGU has proven to be an attractive partner in preparing our students to be productive members of society because of our shared values of public service, academic freedom and strong interdisciplinarity. “Jindal’s commitment to building a strong humanities core and focus on combining the academic achievements of its students with practical experience is particularly noteworthy and will bring rich opportunities to our students and scholars,” he said.
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Provost Baucom mentioned that a university cannot exist in isolation within its own borders or solve problems of today’s world. “By collaborating across borders with respected international partners like Jindal, we will greatly increase our success in expanding knowledge and developing effective solutions to problems with global dimensions such as climate change and effective healthcare,” he said.
Founding Vice-Chancellor of OP Jindal Global University Kumar, Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar said the partnership will enable students to gain a holistic understanding of the globalized world through collaboration in sharing knowledge, perspectives and cultural experiences to develop. “The partnership will provide students from both universities with transformative prospects for higher education and learning, and will enable our faculty members to teach and research together to advance the cause of international education and institution building,” he said. The MOU paves the way for opportunities to sponsor student exchange programs as well as faculty exchange programs. It creates opportunities for dual degree programs and pathways programs in which students from both countries and both institutions can pursue degrees at each other’s universities. I think this is a very important aspect of national education policy and also current thinking within government when it comes to public policy in relation to higher education and internationalisation. The MOU also engages in joint conferences, joint research initiatives and joint publications. It essentially enables an intellectual partnership between two major institutions. The University of Virginia was founded by none other than Thomas Jefferson and we want to draw inspiration from the best universities in the world to build capacity in India.”
Founded in 2009, JGU has quickly become one of India’s consistently leading institutions with 10,000 students, a highly internationalized faculty with a 1:9 to student ratio, and a substantial budget for further growth. Led by Kumar, a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate, the university has grown to 12 faculties with faculties in Law, Business, Humanities, Media Studies/Communications, Public Policy, International Relations, and Public Health/Human Development.
The Government of India’s new National Education Policy (NEP) promises to liberalize the Indian education system and remove the barriers to international engagement, including a significant easing of barriers to international universities operating in India. JGU is one of 14 “Institutions of Eminence” that the Indian government has identified as particularly prestigious universities that enjoy special autonomy and privileges that enable them to play a leading role in shaping Indian higher education.
Stephen D. Mull, UVA’s vice provost for global affairs, said the time was right for expanded US engagement with Indian higher education, which is critical for universities like UVA looking to make a global impact. “The country is the largest democracy in the world with a population larger than the US, Europe and Latin America combined,” he said, adding that India has brilliant students, scholars and entrepreneurs who are working on some of the world’s greatest challenges world want to work together. Since 2019, the number of new Indian graduates and professionals studying in the United States has skyrocketed by 430%, clearly indicating a huge potential for higher Indian enrollment here at UVA.”
I worked as a US diplomat at the University of Virginia for many years. I didn’t need to be persuaded of the strategic importance of India and the importance of developing a very strong relationship with India as we believe India will only play a bigger role in the world. An important part of this emerging strategic relationship has to be a very close relationship. between our two academic communities. The University of Virginia is one of the oldest public universities in the United States. As Professor Kumar mentioned, it was founded by our third President, Thomas Jefferson, who believed that having institutions like the University of Virginia to educate citizens about full participation in the life of democracy was vital to the success of our democracy to prepare. That was a challenge when our university was founded in 1818. One could even say that today it is an even greater challenge. With all the significant threats and challenges that we democracies face collectively or in different places around the world.”
In addition to Ambassador Stephen D. Mull, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, the University of Virginia academic delegation includes Professor Nicole Jenkins, Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce; Professor Jennifer Bair, Associate Dean of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences; Mr. Dudley Doane, Director, Office of International Studies; Professor Pankaj Gupta, Director of the Yamuna River Project; Ms. Judi Byers, Director of Admissions, McIntire School of Commerce; Ms. Darci Spuck, Director of Advancement, McIntire School of Commerce and Dr. Ingrid Hakala, Director, Global Internship Program.