Throwing open a new opportunity for the West to know India, New Delhi on Sunday created a faculty chair — named after Swami Vivekananda — at the University of Chicago. Supported by a $1.5 million endowment grant from the ministry of culture, the University of Chicago will establish “the Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Visiting Professorship” for Indian studies.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday made the announcement at the Fullerton Hall of the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), where Vivekananda had delivered his famous speech 119 years ago.
Last month, HT had reported about the creation of this chair.
According to a University of Chicago release, “The one-quarter visiting professorship will be given to distinguished scholars from a variety of disciplines with an interest in the fields of study most relevant to the teachings and philosophies of the Swami, such as Indian philosophy, politics and social movements.”
Dedicating a plaque of Vivekananda at the AIC, Mukherjee said, “Swami Vivekanda was practically India’s first cultural ambassador to United States.” He also inaugurated an art exhibition of Rabindranath Tagore at AIC.
In a release, university president Robert J. Zimmer said, “The ministry’s generous support will allow us to expand on the university’s tradition of rigorous scholarship in Indian studies.”
Martha Roth, dean of the Humanities, said: “The University of Chicago is proud of our exceptional group of faculty and students with interests in the scholarship of South Asia.”
This will be New Delhi’s second chair at an American university after the Bhim Rao Ambedkar chair at Columbia University.