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Harvard hug: Old boys warming up to India

Over 130 delegates from Harvard ? both alumni and faculty members ? gathered in Delhi to firm up ties.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 02:39 IST

The biggest brand in education is waking up to India. Over 130 delegates from Harvard University — both alumni and faculty members — gathered in Delhi on Wednesday to firm up ties with the country.

The conclave — the largest such meet ever to be held in India — also marked the opening of the Harvard Business School's India Research Centre and the first South Asia Initiative office in Mumbai on Thursday. Part of the delegation were Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Harvard president Lawrence H Summers.

"Interactions between India and Harvard will be good for both the parties. It will allow us to strengthen our ties with the 1000-strong alumni in India. The importance that is being accorded to India at Harvard can be gauged by the fact that one of the largest delegations is visiting the country," said Summers.

"India is a growing economy in the region and improved interactions will improve ties on all levels. It will allow more Indian students to come to Harvard. The Harvard Business School research centre, Asia Initiative and the School of Public Health are already taking up partnerships with their counterparts in India," added Summers.

The space for the two centres in Mumbai has reportedly been provided by Anand K Mahindra, an alumni of the Harvard Business School's 81 batch. The university, clearly, is not willing to overlook the strong alumni network in India — many of who are top industry leaders.

The India Research Centre is modelled on the existing centres in Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Paris and Hong Kong. They will not only study the business models here but also look at forging ties with industry leaders and Indian universities and institutions.

"The South Asia Initiative centre will serve as a camp office for Harvard scholars and faculty visiting India and also explore possibilities for tie-ups. At this moment, however, exchange programmes for students are ruled out," said Sugata Bose, South Asia Initiative director and Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard.

The meet will conclude with a two-day symposium, “The Power of the Idea,” to be addressed by PM Manmohan Singh among others.

First Published: Mar 23, 2006 01:29 IST