University of Chicago opens its Delhi centre

Arunima Mishra        Last Updated: March 31, 2014  | 13:10 IST
University of Chicago opens its Delhi centre
(L to R): Eric Isaacs, Provost designate of the University; Gary Tubb, Faculty Director of the Center; Mukta Tomar, Jt secy, external affairs ministry; Nancy Powell, US Ambassador to India and Robert Zimmer, President of the University, among others

The University of Chicago (UChicago), a private research university in the United States, opened its academic centre in Delhi on Saturday (March 29) for collaborations among scholars and students from India and Chicago across academic disciplines.

Delhi is the University's third centre, the other two being in Beijing (opened in 2010) and in Paris (opened in 2004). For the time being, the centre will not offer any programmes under UChicago. It is a wholly owned foreign enterprise operating under UChicago Center in India Pvt Ltd, and it will not grant degrees.

Robert J. Zimmer, President, The University of Chicago, hosted the Presidential Forum in Delhi on Friday at which Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and a distinguished service professor of finance on leave from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, took part in a panel discussion. "The Delhi Center will be a place where the university faculty and students from across the entire breadth of the university will come to work with colleagues in India and beyond to address fundamental problems in their disciplines and fundamental issues for the society," said Zimmer.

The centre in Delhi will promote scholarship through three broad programmes: business, economics, law, and policy; science, energy, medicine, and public health; and culture, society, religion, and arts. Gary Tubb, Faculty Director of the India Centre, who is also Professor, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, said the Delhi centre will explore research collaborations with Indian institutes. "But we will not get into any permanent partnership at present," Tubb said.

A faculty committee from UChicago, that had been considering options in India since 2010, recommended opening a centre in Delhi, Tubb added. The Delhi centre will conduct workshops, public lectures, discussions, research and so on. On April 11, the centre will conduct a conversation on Indian elections, for instance.  

Harvard Business School set up its India Research centre in Mumbai in 2006, and now it's the University of Chicago that is opening one in Delhi to offer information to the increasing pool of aspiring students in India and young academicians who want to pursue higher education.

So, has UChicago followed other global institutes like Harvard? UChicago's Delhi Center Director Tubb said UChicago has not followed any other university. "It's knowledge extension and only to make global education more connected," Tubb said.

The university is also coming up with a centre in Hong Kong that will house a University of Chicago Booth School of Business Executive MBA programme besides other programmes that UChicago offers.

However, industry experts say reputed global universities opening centres in India or signing an MoU with an Indian university, aiming at research collaborations, can be understood as a first step of brand building towards them opening campuses in the long run in India.

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