The University of Chicago celebrated the fifth anniversary of its Center in Delhi on Nov. 1 with programs showcasing the innovative research, partnerships, and policy impact that the Center has helped foster in India.
The Center builds on a long history of intellectual collaboration between the University and India, and has greatly expanded that work over the last five years. Since opening in 2014, the Center has hosted 590 events with more than 140 collaborators and 30,000 participants. The anniversary celebration underscored the many strategic partnerships that have been nurtured in the areas of science, business and economics, and culture and arts. A consistent theme was how the Center in Delhi represents a deliberate and sustained commitment to increasing understanding among University of Chicago faculty and students of Indian cultures, history and society, and how they affect the world today.
“The Center in Delhi has deepened the University of Chicago’s engagement in India, helping to build long-term relationships and collaborations that are essential to the pioneering research and global impact of the University,” said Daniel Diermeier, provost of the University of Chicago.
Several long-term initiatives in such areas as energy and the environment and health and medicine have helped to establish the Center as a vital presence in India.
The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago in India, both located at the Center, conduct and disseminate research on energy, environment, urban development and other developmental challenges in India, forging collaborations with government agencies and academic institutions to translate research into policy action. UChicago research projects in India include efforts to reduce pollution by increasing data transparency.
UChicago’s growing collaborations in India around health and medicine have ranged from work with the Indian government on expanding healthcare through Ayushman Bharat to developing a non-invasive diagnostic tool for early detection of oral cancer. Several medical professors from UChicago have formed close partnerships to bring medical curriculum reform in India. Most recently, in July 2019, the efforts of UChicago faculty and Indian partners culminated in the release of an updated undergraduate medical curriculum, which, for the first time, includes training on disability rights and dignity.
The University’s strong history of expertise in studies of Indian languages, culture, and art has allowed individual experts to build strong, lasting partnerships with their peers across the country.
“The Center in Delhi has become an intellectual and educational hub, supporting research and lasting partnerships across India. We have many friends, collaborators and colleagues to thank for the Center’s wide range of accomplishments in its first five years,” said Bala Srinivasan, the University’s chief international officer and executive vice president for science, innovation, and strategy.
The Center supports faculty as they meet with peers in India and conduct collaborative research, programs, and events. The Center is located in the heart of New Delhi at the DLF Capitol Point building. Together with the University’s global facilities in Beijing, Paris, and Hong Kong, the Center in Delhi demonstrates the university’s strong commitment to international engagement and collaboration.
The University of Chicago has a long history of engagement with Indian scholars and institutions, dating to the 1893 visit of Swami Vivekananda and the 1913 visit of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. In 1965, the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations established the University as a widely-respected hub of both the modern and classical languages of India and, from 1973-81, led the translation of the critical edition of the Mahābhārata. In 1983, astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar received the Nobel Prize in Physics. Chandrasekhar, who pioneered human understanding of black holes, was a faculty member at the University for many years.
In 2001, UChicago professor Paul Sereno joined an expedition led by Suresh Srivastava of the Geological Society of India and Ashok Sahni of Panjab University to uncover Rajasaurus narmadensis, the first fossil remains of a dinosaur found in India. A replica of this historic discovery was unveiled at the fifth-anniversary celebration.