Former foreign minister of Singapore, George Yeo has been made the new Chancellor of Nalanda University. He succeeds the first chancellor, Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen.
A notification for Yeo's appointment as Chancellor for three years was issued by the ministry of external affairs (MEA) on Saturday. Yeo is expected to assume charge mid-July. Yeo has been with the transnational university since its inception and has been a member of the Nalanda mentor group (NMG) as well as its endowment committee.
Yeo is the Chair of the International Advisory Panel of the Nalanda University Governing Board. He is also a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, the Nicolas Berggruen Institute's 21st Century Council and the International Advisory Boards of Harvard Business School and IESE Business School.
With Yeo taking over as Chancellor, sources said the university would continue with its quest for global excellence. The name of Yeo was proposed by none other than Prof Amartya Sen himself at the Nalanda board meeting on May 5 last. All the members present at the board meeting endorsed it.
A highly-placed source said, the board was keen on having Sen as the Chancellor for the second term till the very end. "But when it became clear it would not happen, Yeo was the next choice. He has worked closely with Sen for a long time," he added.
Sen had himself withdrawn his candidature for a second term citing 'political interference' amidst speculations that Centre would not like him to continue due to his anti-Narendra Modi statements in the run up to parliamentary elections in 2014. Yeo takes over at a time when Nalanda University has a whole lot of work to do, including development of its sprawling campus close to the ruins of the ancient seat of learning in Nalanda, and shape academic plans for the future, which were being pursued in depth and detail under Sen.
Sen could not be reached for his comments, as he was on board a flight from England to the US. Nalanda University VC Gopa Sabharwal said, "With Yeo, the university would strive for further growth. "He is a man of vision and one who has been part of the Nalanda journey from the very outset," he added.