Indian American educationists Neeli Bendapudi and Sunil Kumar named co-chairs of group to align priorities of both nations
Two Indian American educationists have been named two of three co-chairs of a new Association of American Universities (AAU) task force focused on strengthening partnerships between universities in the United States and India.
Penn State University President Neeli Bendapudi and Sunil Kumar, current provost of Johns Hopkins University and incoming president of Tufts University, will be joined by Robert J. Jones, chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as the third co-chair.
Read: Indian American Neeli Bendapudi named Penn State president (December 10, 2021)
The task force will make recommendations on strengthening academic and research partnerships among institutions of higher education in both nations, with a goal of expanding research partnerships that amplify the positive global impact of scholarship undertaken by American and Indian universities, according to a press release.
“It is an honor to be selected to help fortify the vital relationship between American and Indian universities,” Bendapudi said. “I myself came to the United States from India to earn my doctorate from an American university, and have experienced firsthand what a transformative impact these kinds of partnerships can have.”
“By building stronger bridges between our nations and our institutions of higher education, with a focus on leveraging the enormous potential of research across international lines, we can further empower our faculty and researchers while maximizing the influence of our scholarship for the global good.”
The AAU task force was first announced in conjunction with the launch of the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology, which was jointly announced by the administrations of US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2022.
The AAU task force’s work directly aligns with priorities of both nations, with the US-India initiative identifying partnerships between academic institutions as a critical component of the wider strategic partnership between the two countries, according to the release.
“Research partnerships between universities in the United States and international counterparts are crucial to global scientific, educational and economic advancement; that is why these partnerships have always been a priority for the Association of American Universities,” AAU President Barbara Snyder stated announcing the task force.
“AAU is proud to work with our Indian counterparts to expand US-Indian research and educational collaboration, and we look forward to working with India’s leading research universities to create a roadmap for a future of even more robust partnership.”
Founded in 1900, AAU is composed of America’s 65 leading research universities focused on transforming lives through education, research, and innovation.
Read: Bendapudi named to AAU group working to bolster U.S., India university alliances (February 28, 2023)
The work of the task force also supports work underway at Penn State. University leadership recently shared with the Penn State Faculty Senate that a group of University leaders are working to refine how the University handles articulation agreements and transfer credits with international universities, with the goal of creating partnerships that help meet the needs of India’s population of college-aged students while creating opportunities for these international students at Penn State’s campuses.
These strategic efforts reinforce Bendapudi’s focus on the importance of preparing students from all backgrounds for lifelong success and the global impact of Penn State’s interdisciplinary research, the release said.