IIE Expands Academic Partnership Work in India

NEW YORK and NEW DELHI, February 22, 2012—The Institute of International Education expanded its work to build closer academic ties between India and the United States through a series of activities in India this month. In Delhi, a representative of IIE’s New York-based Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education addressed key education issues at a conference with business, government, and higher education leaders, and IIE hosted a panel discussion with speakers from the U.S. Embassy and Indian higher education to launch its new book on higher education partnerships. Experts from IIE’s New Delhi and New York offices brought together universities from the U.S. and India in a partnership-focused university study tour to Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

IIE’s Clare Banks addressed the “One Globe” Conference, which convened public and private sector leaders such as Minister Kapil Sibal and Sam Pitroda to explore the role of education in developing India’s knowledge economy. Ms. Banks highlighted the increasing importance of international partnerships to building the capacity of the institutions and providing a global environment for students and faculty. Speaking on a panel moderated by Kiran Datar, Advisor for the National Knowledge Commission, with co-panelists Michael Pelletier, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and Torsten Fischer, Director of the German Research Foundation, she provided concrete guidance on forming and financing partnerships, including leveraging resources through networks or consortia, to reduce the resource burden of maintaining partnerships while sharing in the cultural and academic benefits.   

According to Daniel Obst, Director of IIE’s Center for International Partnerships, “Education must be viewed as one pillar of the increasingly complex and globally interconnected economy, along with technology, innovation, and employment considerations.  As business and government leaders focus on the relationship between the United States and India, it becomes evident that higher education is a key factor, and academic partnerships are at the forefront of this growing collaboration.”

“Until now, the higher education community has focused on a number of successful ties between some high profile institutions in both countries,” said Mr. Obst. “The new era of U.S. – India partnerships will focus on the numerous other high quality institutions in both countries that have much to offer each other in terms of faculty and student exchanges, study abroad programs, collaborative research, and even joint or double degree programs.”

To help universities succeed in this next wave of partnerships, IIE has developed an International Academic Partnership Program, which guides U.S. institutions through a year-long strategy-building process. The program is current working with its second cohort of universities seeking to develop partnerships with Indian institutions, building on a pilot program with India in 2010. IIE advises institutions to enter into partnership discussions only after conducting extensive research on both the institution and the region, and to be prepared to invest the time and resources that go into building a partnership. Potential partners need to meet face-to-face many times, travel to each other’s institutions, jointly develop curriculum, and ultimately set realistic goals for the partnership.

From January 29 – February 3, IIE led a delegation of 24 representatives from 11 U.S. colleges and universities on a study tour to India. Briefings during the visit informed U.S. participants about many of the current issues in Indian higher education, such as the pervasive pressure to provide higher education for over 250 million Indian youth over the next few years and the growing debate regarding the role of private higher education institutions. Chancellors and principals from Indian institutions presented their perspectives on the importance of research for their faculty, how they manage the highly regulatory nature of Indian higher education governance, and the possibilities and limitations for international partnerships.

To provide an introduction to the country’s vast educational system, IIE’s New Delhi-based experts arranged for the U.S. university administrators and faculty members to visit and hold discussions with a wide range of Indian higher education institutions. These included H.R. College of Commerce and Economics, St. Xavier’s College – Mumbai, S.N.D.T Women’s University, the University of Hyderabad, the Indian School of Business, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Amity University, and the Industrial Technology Institute – Dheerpur. In addition, the delegation visited one of Delhi’s public schools, RK Puram, as well as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the U.S.-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), which operates the EducationUSA advising office for students who are interested in studying in the United States, and manages the Fulbright-Nehru fellowship and scholarship programs in India.

IIE’s India office hosted a reception and discussion to launch the Institute’s newly published book, Developing Strategic International Partnerships: Models for Initiating and Sustaining Innovative Institutional Linkages. The volume explores a wide range of models and strategies for initiating and sustaining international relationships between higher education institutions. The February 1 event opened with remarks from Adele Ruppe, Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and Pawan Agarwal, Adviser on Higher Education for the Indian Government’s Planning Commission. In addition, the evening featured a panel on developing Indo-U.S. higher education partnerships, chaired by Dr. P.J. Lavakare, an expert in Indian higher education who authored a chapter in the book. Panelists P.R. Ramanujam, former Pro-Vice Chanceller of the Indira Gandhi National Open University and David Finegold, Senior Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Strategic Growth at Rutgers University provided insight into the U.S. and Indian priorities for building international partnerships.

The Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education will continue to work with the U.S. universities and a group of professional mentors as they develop their partnership plans in the coming year. IIE also welcomed the Indian host universities as to the IIENetwork, a membership association with more than 1,000 colleges and universities around the world.


Public Affairs