Several hundred members of the academic community and distinguished guests celebrated the three-day opening of the new University of Chicago (UC) Center in Delhi that featured scholarly panels, a gala dinner and a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 29, a UC press release said.
U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy J. Powell joined UC President Robert J. Zimmer and a prominent group of University leaders, supporters, and government officials at the inauguration.
“We take great pride in this facility and in the commitment it represents to collaboration in India and Asia, and to the University’s larger global engagement,” Zimmer told a full house at the Center, located near Connaught Place in New Delhi.
Ambassador Powell said that education was a central element of the partnership between the United States and India, and that universities were leading the way. “Your presence in Delhi underscores the very strong international interest of our top American universities,” she said. “To bring this level of expertise and experience from both our Indian and American colleagues is truly going to be a unique opportunity for Delhi and for Chicago.”
The ceremony was webcast live for viewing at the UC Centers in Paris (opened 2004) and Beijing (2010). The weekend began with a panel discussion among leaders in academia, business, and government, hosted by Zimmer and moderated by Raghuram Rajan, governor of the Reserve Bank of India and a distinguished service professor of finance, on leave from UC Booth School of Business.
“The Center in Delhi, together with the Centers in Beijing and Paris, is an important step in bringing a much greater global perspective to the University and to enhancing our ability to support our faculty and students’ work as they incorporate a global perspective into their own work,” Zimmer said in introducing the session.
The Center will promote scholarship through three broad programs: business, economics, law, and policy; science, energy, medicine, and public health; and culture, society, religion, and arts.
Three panel discussions on March 29 reflected those areas of inquiry by featuring UC faculty in conversation with scholars from India. A Chicago Booth panel was titled “Improving Productivity: Private, Social, and Public Sector Perspectives,” where Rajan and Professor of Economics Randall S. Kroszner were joined by Shobhana Bhartia, chairperson and editorial director of the Hindustan Times Group, Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, and Arun Maira, member of the Planning Commission for the Government of India.
On March 30, the deans of Chicago Booth, the Humanities Division, and the Social Sciences Division will participate in a panel discussion, titled “Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Scholarship and Teaching,” moderated by Prof. Gary Tubb, the Center’s faculty director. A book discussion will follow with Leela Gandhi, professor of English at the University of Chicago, and Amit Chadhuri, professor of contemporary literature at the University of East Anglia.
The opening celebration was to close with a reception in honor of UC faculty members Susanne Hoeber Rudolph and Lloyd I. Rudolph, for their lifetime of research in political anthropology. The Rudolphs will each receive India’s prestigious Padma Bhushan Award, the nation’s third-highest civilian honor from the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 31.
Drawing upon a long and rich history scholarship, research and teaching in and about South Asia, UC Delhi Center aims at facilitating broader and deeper understanding—through the open and free exchange of ideas and debate—of questions facing South Asia and the world.