December 7, 1998
Volume 51, No. 14
India trip lays inroads for future Emory connections
In late October a delegation of Emory administrators embarked on a weeklong trip through India, and their odyssey through the country could prove invaluable to a university that is beginning to extend its international roots.
Organized by the division of Institutional Advancement, the group was led by Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement Bill Fox and consisted of College Dean Steve Sanderson, Office of International Affairs Director Marion Creekmore, Emory benefactor Claus Halle (whose $5 million gift established the Halle Institute for Global Learning) and Associate Vice President Glenn Kellum, who did most of the work in setting up the itinerary.
The delegation landed in Delhi on Oct. 23 and embarked on a schedule of meetings both formal and informal with Indian leaders of state, industry and education, as well as others with ties to Emory itself or simply to the United States. The purpose of the trip was to explore possible relationships with institutions in India, and that end, according to the entire delegation, was no doubt furthered.
"I think we have a much better sense of what is being done there and where there might be linkages that would make sense, both from an Emory perspective and from that of the places we talked to," Creekmore said. "We've really moved forward in the exploration of possible areas of mutual collaboration in the future."
"The India trip, and our earlier trip to Japan and China, signal our seriousness as an institution in developing real partnerships with counterparts in Asia," Sanderson said. "In India, we have the unique opportunity of joining forces with strong educational institutions in one of the real cultural wellsprings of the world."
One of the missions of the trip was to identify possible entities with which Emory might enter into some sort of scholarly exchange of students, faculty or both. For example, on their first full day in Delhi the delegation met with the representatives from the Tata Energy Resource Institute (TERI). TERI is a well-respected organization and may begin to grant diplomas at the master's and doctorate levels soon; its work in environmentally responsible energy issues may be of interest to Emory researchers or students.
Similar opportunities await in the Himalayas. Sanderson and Creekmore, along with professors Paul Courtwright, Howard Rollins and Tara Doyle, broke from the rest of the delegation to make a trip to Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile reside.
Emory religion students, Creekmore suggested, could travel there to study in an arrangement with the Loseling Institute here in Atlanta. "Our own Geshe Lobsang Tenzin of the Institute of Liberal Arts facilitated the trip, which enabled us to further our relationship with the abbot of the Drepung monastery and the director of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics," Sanderson said.
One challenge confronting the University is enhancing its name recognition in southeast Asia. Manmohan Singh, head of the opposition party in the Indian congress, admitted he knew little of Emory but was aware of its connection with President Jimmy Carter. Ties like that, Singh said, could be useful in boosting Emory's notoriety to the level of other elite American universities.
Partnerships with Indian organizations is one clear way of getting the Emory name out in India-as well as establishing important fund-raising contacts, another objective of the trip-and the University could attempt to do this through its many alumni in the subcontinent. In fact, several Emory alums met with the delegation and even served as intermediaries for certain appointments.
"One of our alumni literally took off three days of work to take us to all our appointments in his city of Hyderabad," Fox said, referring to the city in the state of Andhra Pradesh, which is making a strong push into the information technology industry. "He introduced us to many significant and important leaders, including the chief minister. We established and re-established some wonderful friendships with alumni, with parents of former or present Emory students, and with other friends of the University."
And many of them stressed that, whatever the method, this is an especially appropriate time for Emory to establish connections in India, as relatively few American universities have attempted to do so. "It really seemed that this would be an area where Emory and people there would find it in their mutual interest to work out collaborations and ways of cooperation," Creekmore said.