The Foundation for India Studies (FIS) and Texas Southern University (TSU) in the United States have announced the creation of an India Studies programme for its graduate school in order to encourage the study of India in the United States, particularly in Houston. According to a TSU release, this alliance will develop and implement India-focused programmes at the university in collaboration with the foundation, which will encourage the study of India in the United States.
According to the press release, the programme will involve a series of public and academic symposia, conferences, and guest speakers that will emphasise the link between India‘s struggle for independence and the African-American struggle for equality in the United States.
“With this partnership, we want to perpetuate a legacy for future generations so that there is a greater understanding from the mainstream community of the contributions that Indians have made,” said Krishna Vavilala, the Founder and Chairman of the Foundation for India Studies.
“When I first came to Houston, the Indian population was just 20,000; it has grown incredibly since then, enriching the city economically and culturally. We are here to support the TSU in its efforts to incorporate India into the academy and advance the programme year after year.”
Another goal of the cooperation is to increase awareness of India and Indian Americans among university students and faculty, as well as to strengthen ties with India and Indian universities to facilitate student and faculty exchanges. A committee of TSU faculty will oversee the programme, with FIS serving as an advisor.
The Graduate School plans to host the first symposium during the Fall 2022 semester, the release said.
“Part of the TSU’s mission is to prepare our students to become global citizens and to have an understanding of the complexity of societies around the globe,” said TSU Graduate School Dean Dr Gregory Maddox.
“To understand the importance of Indian civilisation to global history, especially through the lens of the historic linkage between Mahatma Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to non-violence in pursuit of liberation and social change, helps us accomplish that,” the release said.
The Foundation started in 2005, is a non-profit organisation, with a vision to promote knowledge about India’s contribution to the world in the field of language, literature, arts, sciences, engineering, politics, economics and spirituality.
The foundation’s first successful project was the India Studies programme at the University of Houston instituted in 2006.
The programme which initially began with Hindi language courses and classes in Hinduism and Jainism has been expanded to 12 courses and is now funded by the university itself.
The FIS has now embarked on a history project called “Indo-American Oral History Project” which will record the life stories of first-generation Indian immigrants to Houston.
The project is being done in partnership with Houston Public Library (HPL) and Houston Community College (HCC) and the recordings will be stored for posterity in HPL’s digital archives.
The foundation also strives to bring Indian and American universities together for the exchange of students and faculty by facilitating MOUs between the universities.
An example of such an endeavour was the successful MOU signed between the Central University of Hyderabad and the University of Houston.
(With agency inputs)