U.S. Ambassador talks on Indo-American relations in Jamia Millia Islamia

WordForPeace.com

H. E.RichardRVerma, U.S. Ambassador to India addressed the faculty and students of Jamia Millia India saying that, Jamia embodies the very best of India and its alumni have made countless contributions to academia, business, media, and many other fields. I understand Shah Rukh Khan even studied here for a time so your reputation as a celebrity university is quite warranted!

Congratulating the Central University on its recently concluded 96thFoundation Day Celebrations, he called it a historic institution of learning.

Welcoming the Ambassador, Prof Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, JMI said, Jamia was of the opinion that we must have more interactions and exchanges between JMI and American universities.

AmbassadorVermasaid that over the past twenty years, more than 50 students and faculty associated with Jamia have participated in U.S. sponsored educational and professional exchange programs which was a testament to the leading role Jamia plays in cultivating young Indian leaders.

Last year, he said, the number of Indian students in the United States reached 132,000, the highest number ever, and expressed hope that it would grow even higher.

Talking about the flagship student and faculty exchange programs the Ambassador said, the Fulbright-Nehru exchange program, which builds life-long bridges among our young scholars and academics, has tripled in size since 2009 and that earlier this year they launched the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship to skill-up Indian and American climate experts.

Citing the headway JMI was making in international exchange programs, he said, 29 scholars from Jamia have received Fulbright fellowships includingDr. Akhtarul Wasey, the former Director of Zakir Husain Institute of Islamic Studies. He earned a Fulbright Fellowship in 2008 for his efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and also participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).Barkha Dutt,who received her Masters degree from Jamias prestigious Mass Communication Research Center, is another alumna who participated in a State Department exchange program.

AmbassadorVermasaid that many U.S. academic institutions are keenly interested in the Indian market and they were looking forward to Indias approval of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries to enhance government-to-government dialogue on higher education.

Talking about the importance of the Indo-U.S. ties, AmbassadorVermasaid, It matters because when the U.S. and India come together, we can make a difference in the lives of ordinary people….The 21st century is increasingly defined by a new security paradigm, one that includes terrorism and asymmetrical warfare, cyber threats, environmental degradation, climate change, pandemic disease, resource scarcity, and other non-conventional challenges. Against this complicated global landscape, like minded partners must come together and leverage all the elements of our national power in order to overcome these challenges.

Adding further AmbassadorVermasaid that, Strains to the international order, compounded by globalization and economic inequality, are also bringing to the fore voices who seek to exploit our fears and build barriers to cooperation. We see this in many parts of the world, with growing pockets of intolerance and anti-immigrant sentiment.This has included instances of unacceptable rhetoric against Muslims, including in the United States, and particularly during this Presidential campaign season.

Drawing out the similarities between the U.S. and India he said, Both our countries are melting pots where we celebrate and embrace diversity; respect minority rights and freedom of religion; guarantee equal protection under the law; and protect the freedom of speech and assembly. The real promise and potential in this relationship is not any one government program, student exchange or transaction it is in our shared values.

Encouraging the students to to challenge old assumptions he said that the questions and debates that will shape the 21stcentury will be first articulated not in the conference rooms of governments but in university auditoriums like this one.

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