New chair enhances McGill ties to India

Posted on Thursday, May 9, 2013

High Commissioner of India to Canada His Excellency Admiral (Retired) Nirmal Verma and McGill Principal Heather Munroe-Blum signed the agreement creating a new chair on India Studies at the University. / Photo: Owen Egan

By McGill Reporter Staff

McGill and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) have partnered in the creation of a new chair on India Studies. The agreement was signed during a recent visit to the University by His Excellency Admiral (Retired) Nirmal Verma, High Commissioner of India to Canada.

The ICCR India Studies Chair will be held by distinguished Indian scholars who will serve as visiting professors at McGill’s Faculty of Arts. The Chairs will teach two courses, present an annual ICCR Lecture on India, and participate in seminars and other academic activities. The first chairholder will be recruited for the 2013-2014 academic year.

“As the governments of Canada and Quebec seek to strengthen ties with India, McGill University welcomes the opportunity to contribute to education and research in the field of Indian culture and history,” said McGill Principal Heather Munroe-Blum. “This new chair strongly complements the partnerships that unite McGill faculty and their collaborators in India and will allow us to learn from each other for the benefit of both of our countries. We thank the ICCR for choosing to partner with McGill in this initiative.”

The ICCR India Studies Chair builds on longstanding research collaborations between McGill and partners in India on issues of concern to both nations, such as climate change and sustainable development, food and water security, health and social welfare, urban studies, and the advancement of nanotechnology, aerospace, and other key domains in science and industry.

McGill’s ties to India also include a strong presence of faculty members and students from India at the University. McGill has 400 students from India – making it the fourth-ranking country of origin for McGill’s international students –, more than 30 faculty members of Indian origin and a network of some 600 alumni in India.

“I consider it a privilege that soon after my arrival, as the High Commissioner of India to Canada, we have inked the MOU for an India Chair between Indian Council for Cultural Relations and McGill University,” said His Excellency Verma. “Education presents a great opportunity for enhanced cooperation between India and Canada. The ICCR India Studies Chair that will be housed at McGill will not only promote greater understanding of India, it will also act as a catalyst for collaborative projects between McGill and higher institutions of learning and research in India”.

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