Recalling the considerable progress achieved in bilateral educational relations following the visits by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to the United States in 2009 and President Obama to India in 2010, Human Resource Development Minister Shri Sibal and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reaffirmed the strategic partnership between India and the United States for meaningful dialogue, cooperation, and engagement in the field of higher education, and launched a new phase in this partnership. The two leaders acknowledged the immense possibilities for further collaboration between the two countries given the inherent dynamism, emerging challenges, and numerous exciting opportunities available for sharing and growing together.
Expressing their commitment to that vision, Shri Sibal and Secretary Clinton launched the expanded U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue as an annual bilateral event to map out strategies for partnership in the field of education between the two countries. The Dialogue should identify areas for mutually beneficial exchanges and provide a platform for intense and meaningful collaboration among academia, the private sector, and government on both sides. The plan is for the Dialogue to be held alternately in the United States and India.
Shri Sibal and Secretary Clinton emphasized that access to and the development of technology and skills are cross-cutting requirements to meet the challenges that their two countries face. They acknowledged the fruitful collaboration between India and the United States in the areas of education, research, and innovation and noted its contribution to the development of technologies, skills, and knowledge-based societies in both countries. Both leaders emphasized the need to enhance this collaboration.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved in the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, launched in 2009, under which proposals have been invited by both sides by November 1, 2011, to be reviewed by a joint working group for academic awards in support of university partnerships. The two leaders reiterated their strong commitment to the Fulbright-Nehru Program and its contribution to leadership development and scholarly achievement. They also highlighted and encouraged the full array of collaborations directly between higher education communities, such as the Yale-India program, for academic leadership and faculty development. The two leaders underscored the need to enhance the scope of collaboration and identify new ways to encourage linkages and exchange programs.
The two leaders also expressed their support for the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, which provides fresh impetus to academic collaboration in the cutting-edge areas of scientific research and technology development.
The two leaders lauded the continuing efforts by both sides to explore new avenues for collaboration such as the Indo-U.S. Engineering Education Conclave, held in January 2011 in New Delhi, for strengthening higher educational institutions in the fields of engineering and technology and expressed the hope that more such opportunities for engagement would emerge in the future in other fields.
The two sides endorsed the resolve of the stakeholders from academia, government, and industry to take forward the following areas of consensus arrived at during the Summit:
1.A continued expanded U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue with representatives from government, academia, and business that would interact on a periodic basis to inform and underpin the Dialogue.
2. Support for the following goals:
• Promoting strategic institutional partnerships for further strengthening and expansion of collaboration in the priority areas of higher education, including science and engineering, social sciences, and humanities, and addressing societal challenges in areas such as cyber security, energy, environment, health and agriculture;
• Encouraging expansion and deepened collaboration in research and development in the above areas between academic institutions of the two countries through existing initiatives;
• Fostering partnerships in the areas of vocational education and skills enhancement to meet the needs of today’s world;
• Exploration of models for ‘educational institutions for the 21st Century’ (such as ‘meta’ universities);
• Further strengthening programs for student and faculty enrichment and exchange, and development of leadership in academia at all levels;
• Welcoming the involvement of the private sector in the two countries to support and deepen collaboration with the higher education community, faculty exchanges, skills development, and institutional partnerships.
3.India announced its intention to set up an India-U.S. higher education platform as a means to pursue these goals.
4.Strengthening educator enrichment and exchange programs (with the Government of India indicating its intention to sponsor initially up to 1,500 faculty and junior scholars to leading universities and research institutes in the United States) to promote development of human resources while also enhancing broader interaction between the two countries.
Shri Sibal thanked Secretary Clinton and her colleagues, as well as the academic, non-governmental, and business communities in the United States for their efforts in successfully organizing the U.S.-India Higher Education Summit, and expressed optimism about building on this successful Summit in the expanded U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue to be held in 2012.