India's dramatic rise on the global stage has made a leading American university to launch the Year of India, an initiative to better understand the country and its growing impact around the world.
The lineup of events during the 2009-2010 academic year at Providence, Rhode Island, based Brown University includes major public lectures, art exhibitions, academic conferences about India's people, culture, economy, and politics.
"American and Indian scholars, researchers and administrators have long enjoyed a productive environment of international exchange and collaboration," said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons.
"While the fact of India's new global stature may no longer be surprising, understanding the history and potential of modern India is more important than ever for all academic disciplines."
Brown is one of several universities that have recently launched initiatives to better understand India, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and University of Rhode Island.
"Politically and economically, India's rise on the international stage has been widely noted, and American higher education is responding to the new developments," said Ashutosh Varshney, professor of political science and one of the programme organizers.
"In the coming years, a global orientation in education will almost certainly require greater understanding of India - its politics, economics, history, society, and culture."
The Year of India that officially began on October 1 features on October 22 a lecture by Infosys founder Narayan Murthy on India's national strides, its powerful new international position, and the role technology has played.
Other Year of India events this fall include the inaugural lecture of a year-long seminar series being launched by faculty at Brown, Harvard, and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, aimed at filling a long-perceived gap in the intellectual discussion of contemporary South Asian politics in the Boston-Providence area.
"The superb and diverse programmes planned for this Year of India reflect our deep commitment to bringing Brown to the world and the world to Brown," said Matthew Gutmann, vice president for international affairs.
"Events with leading scholars, government figures, and cultural presentations will bring greater appreciation and understanding about India to campus, and greatly strengthen future exchange programs and collaborations between faculty and students in India and Brown."