Wednesday, March 22, 2006

India shining: Now in Harvard too

America?s oldest institution of higher learning, Harvard University, will soon have India as a subject. And teachers will include visiting faculty members like Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Gardiner professor of history at Harvard Sugata Bose and Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna.

In an exclusive interview to Times Of India , Harvard University?s outgoing president, Lawrence Summers, said: ??Like people study political science, culture, public health, economics, law and medicine, students in Harvard will now study India as a subject. We are working hard towards building a programme especially on India, the subcontinent and South Asia studies. We want to strengthen and increase our knowledge of the country, which is fast becoming a super-power.??

??I want to start programmes whereby students from Harvard can study in Indian universities and vice versa. I also want to start exchange programmes between business and public health experts in US and India,?? he added.

Summers is a renowned economist who was the treasury secretary under Bill Clinton.

In Delhi after having travelled to Rajasthan and Agra, Summers ? who will deliver the Golden Jubilee celebration lecture of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Wednesday ? said he would discuss with his peers on his return to US about India?s tremendous emergence as an economic power.

Summers will also seek ways to deepen the connection between Harvard and Indian universities.

Summers, whose tenure as president of Harvard will be the briefest in its 140-year history, received his bachelor?s degree in economics at MIT in 1975 and PhD at Harvard in 1982. He was appointed president of the university in 2001, making him only the second MIT teacher to become Harvard president.

But it was his candour and brute honesty that some say cost him the job. His January 14 address that supposedly suggested that women have less aptitude than men in science and maths received a lot of flak leading to a vote of no-confidence against him by the faculty of arts and sciences, Harvard?s largest division.

Following this, Summers resigned from his chair. He will remain president till June 30 following which he will serve as a professor in Harvard. Derek Bok, the university?s president from 1971 to 1991, will serve as interim president.
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