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NRIs hold key positions in US varsities

india Updated: Feb 20, 2007 11:47 IST
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Over 8,000 Indian professors are enriching university campuses all across the United States with many holding top positions in their respective fields and making their mark.

In an era of the global economy some of the brightest minds shaping international economics include Amartya Sen of Harvard University and Jagdish Bhagwati of New York's Columbia University.

The impact of Indian academics is being felt all the way to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where Raghuram G Rajan is economic counsellor and director of research. Rajan is the first person of Indian origin - and the youngest ever - to be chief economist at IMF.

Business guru CK Prahalad, professor of business administration at the University of Michigan, has been named among the top 10 management thinkers of the world and is recognised as a specialist on corporate strategy, according to Little India, a South Asian magazine.

Indian academics are making their mark in every discipline. "You take any field and the top people are Indian," said Bhagwati, who has authored several books and articles.

"The only thing we haven't got into yet is the mafia. But then I think, maybe we have, but just haven't been caught yet!" he said jokingly.

According to Homi K Bhabha, professor of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University, "the rise of Indian intellectuals who were brought up in post-colonial India were deeply immersed in western ideas, western languages and western cultures, while also being very much a part of our own Indian societies and traditions and values."

Several noted Indian-American writers like Bharati Mukherjee, Vikram Chandra and Amitava Ghosh teach creative writing in major US universities.

Indian immigration to the US was earlier driven by students coming to pursue their master's or PhD programmes at universities. Many of them ended up in academic careers until opportunities opened up in corporate America in the 1990s.

Many Indian academics have risen to hold important posts in the US educational set-up. Beheruz N Sethna, professor of business administration, is in his 12th year as president of the University of West Georgia, Carrollton.

He is also currently serving as interim executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the University System of Georgia, which covers 35 institutions.

Michael Rao is president of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He heads one of the country's largest campuses with 28,000 students. He earlier served as president of Mission College in California's Silicon Valley and chancellor of Montana State University.

Similarly, several Indian-Americans academics are deans of educational institutions. While Ajay Menon is dean of College of Business, Colorado State University, Yash Gupta is dean of Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

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