Indian American elected officials urge Biden to establish new Hindi Language Fund for schools

North Carolina State Senator Jai Chaudhuri. PHOTO: Twitter @jay_chaudhuri

Seventeen Indian-American state and local elected officials sent a letter to President Joseph Biden June 22, 2023, urging him to establish a New Hindi Language Fund through the Asia Society to teach Hindi in American middle and high schools.

The request has the support from both Indian American Impact, a national advocacy organization, and the Asia Society. The request was made during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to the United States June 22.

“Although there’s a strategic argument for such funding, we believe there’s an even stronger economic argument for investing in teaching Hindi in American schools,” the letter said citing a recent Standard & Poor Global forecast that said India could surpass Japan and Germany as the third largest economy in the world by the end of the decade.

The letter further argued that American foreign language offerings in schools do not match the rapidly growing and evolving global economy.  “We believe a joint New Hindi Language Fund to teach Hindi in American schools would accelerate the need to address this mismatch where the federal government has failed to provide foreign language support in these growing foreign markets.”

“Today, we have just 19 Hindi foreign language programs in our high schools across the country, even though the Indian economy will surpass $7.5 trillion in 2031,” North Carolina Senate Minority Whip Jay J. Chaudhuri, who led the effort in urging President Biden to establish a joint language fund, the press release said.

“Just as France’s President Macron did with his most recent initiative to provide more access to French during his official visit last December, we should do the same with Hindi,” elected officials said.

Neil Makhija, president of Indian American Impact, a national civic and political organization said, “Indian American Impact strongly supports a joint New Hindi Language Fund to teach Hindi, the third most spoken language, in American middle schools and high schools.  This essential and strategic initiative would strengthen the relationship between the United States and India, enhancing the long-term economic prospects of both countries and foster greater inclusion and understanding of the rapidly growing Indian-American community.”

Neelam Chowdhury, vice president of Education for The Asia Society, said, “As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the importance of Hindi cannot be overstated.”

“It opens doors to a rich tapestry of literature, history, and traditions, while also facilitating business and diplomatic endeavors. By embracing Hindi, American students can bridge the gap between cultures, promote global harmony, and embark on a journey of personal growth and intellectual enrichment,” Chowdhury said.



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