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Manmohan Singh backs new Oxford school

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is an alumnus of the University of Oxford, has extended his support to the university's new Blavatnik School of Government, which will train graduates in the skills and responsibilities of government.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, London
UPDATED ON SEP 20, 2010 03:58 PM IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is an alumnus of the University of Oxford, has extended his support to the university's new Blavatnik School of Government, which will train graduates in the skills and responsibilities of government.

The school, launched in Oxford last evening, has been supported by several world leaders and a 75 million pounds grant by American industrialist and philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik.

In his message to the school, Singh said: "I commend Oxford University for taking the initiative to establish this School and convey my best wishes for its success. I am sure that it will attain renown as one of the premier centres of study in the field of governance."

Blavatnik's gift is one of the most generous in the University's 900-year history.

The University is contributing an additional 26 million pounds as well as land in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, where the School will be located.

The school will provide a highly practical series of courses, leading to a Master's degree, with a unique balance of the humanities, social sciences, law, science, technology, health, finance, energy and security policy.

The first students will start in 2012 and student numbers will increase to approximately 120 within the next few years.

An international search for the inaugural Dean is currently underway, and planning has begun to design the building to house the new School.

Besides, Singh, other prominent Indians who studies at Oxford include Cornelia Sorabji, India's first female lawyer; Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission; Deepak Nayyar, member of the National Knowledge Commission; and Mukund Rajan, Vice-President of Tata Sons Ltd.

There are currently 320 Indian students at Oxford, mostly postgraduates, and 80 Indian academics.

Lord Patten, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: "This is a once-in-a-century opportunity for Oxford. Through the Blavatnik benefaction, Oxford will now become the world's leading centre for the training of future leaders in government and public policy – and in ways that take proper account of the very different traditions, institutions and cultures that those leaders will serve. It is an important moment for the future of good government throughout the world."

British Prime Minister David Cameron, an Oxford graduate, called Blavatnik's gift "a very generous act of philanthropy" and said the School would "create a new avenue for training and research in the crucial field of good government and public policy in this country and around the world".

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