By Mandira Banerjee

Mary Sue Coleman


U-M President Mary Sue Coleman joins with other dignitaries to light a lamp–a common ritual in India that pays tribute to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.

President Mary Sue Coleman and a delegation of University of Michigan leaders visited India this fall to build partnerships and strengthen collaborations with Indian institutions of higher education.

The U-M contingent traveled to Delhi and Mumbai Nov. 13-17 to find ways to work jointly with Indian educational leaders on solving global issues such as trauma care and sustainable development. A key goal is to create educational experiences that allow both U-M and Indian students to understand the context within which global challenges must be understood.

“This is a natural extension of the strong partnerships the university has enjoyed in India for many years now,” Coleman said. “Just as we have built upon educational bonds in China, Ghana, South Africa and Brazil in recent years, we look forward to increasing our collaborations in India.”

India, which has more people than the U.S., Europe and Latin America combined, spends more on education than China, Russia or Brazil. By the next decade, it will have more college graduates than any other country except China—12 percent of the world’s total.

“Universities are at the forefront of globalization and co-operation,” said Coleman. “Collaborations among our universities draw on the strengths of diverse perspectives to encourage the sort of cross-fertilization that is the basis of creativity and innovation.”

James Holloway, U-M vice-provost for global and engaged education, says the visit provided an opportunity to build new partnerships and enhance existing ones.

“India offers unique opportunities for our students to engage in global educational experiences that benefit both the people of India and the students who participate there,” he said.

Farina Mir, director of the U-M Center for South Asian Studies, says global education has become central to student learning.

“Our world is increasing globalized and our partnership with Indian institutes will provide opportunities for experiential learning for our students,” Mir said.

The partnerships also will allow Indian students to conduct research at U-M.

In Delhi, the university announced that it will partner with Ashoka University, the National Council of Applied Economic Research and Delhi University. President Coleman also signed an agreement to collaborate with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to work on trauma care, cancer research and genetics.

“We’re aiming to develop a robust platform for collaboration that will facilitate research on diseases common to both our countries and the education that will strengthen our abilities to improve health,” said Joesph Kolars, M.D., the Medical School’s senior associate dean for education and global initiatives.

In Mumbai, Coleman delivered the keynote address at the India Business Conference, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Over the last few years, the conference has evolved as a platform not only for U-M alumni and students, but also for prominent industry executives and policymakers to meet and discuss issues of common interest.

“The annual conference is attended by over 300 people and is a platform to discuss opportunities and challenges facing global businesses in the backdrop of an emerging Indian economy,” said M.S. Krishnan, director of India Initiatives at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

The U-M delegation also visited the Indian Institute of Technology to discuss student engagement in sustainable development projects.

For more information about U-M’s activities in India, visit Global Michigan’s interactive map.