University delegation from India visits Queen's
Higher education partnerships between Queen’s and Indian universities were the focus of discussion two weeks ago when officials from the University of Pune visited campus.
“People have realized that they can’t work in isolation because there is so much globalization right now. A strong exchange of cultural and scientific ideas is required,” says Raghunath Shevgaonka, vice-chancellor of the University of Pune located in the western India state Maharashtra.
As an emerging economic powerhouse, India has sought international partnerships to help meet its innovation demands. Last June as part of the G20 Summit held in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in higher education.
To capitalize on the momentum created by that agreement, Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf and 14 other Canadian university presidents will travel to India in November. The seven-day mission represents the largest delegation of Canadian university presidents ever welcomed by India.
“The goal is to raise the profile of Canada as destination for education, research and business partnerships,” says Principal Woolf. “This trip also builds on my visit to India almost a year ago with Premier McGuinty.”
Queen’s has taken advantage of the opportunities created by existing higher education agreements between the two countries. The Ontario Maharashtra Goa Student Exchange Program was established three years ago, and now Queen’s students account for approximately 25 per cent of Ontario students going to India.
In turn, Queen’s welcomed five Indian students in 2009-10. This year six students are studying at Queen’s under the OMG program.
Anne Kneale, a fourth-year Queen’s student, attended the College of Engineering, Pune last year. After the exchange, she better understood the global dimension of engineering.
“The OMG Program is successful in promoting understanding and collaboration on a global level through Indo-Canadian relations,” she says.
Fatima Jiwani, a fourth-year global development studies student, enrolled at the University of Pune to help prepare her for a career after university.
“I wanted to get an Indian perspective on development issues, even if the concept was something I had already learned at Queen’s,” she says.