Strengthening ties in IndiaProvost Thomas Burish visits Mumbai, New Delhi

October 17, 2018

In an effort to build on the University of Notre Dame’s relations with leaders in education, business and government in India, Provost Thomas G. Burish is visiting Mumbai and New Delhi this week for a series of meetings, interviews and speaking events.

This is Burish’s second visit to India as provost and is intended to follow up on the momentum created by a 2014 visit by Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, during which he established formal academic relationships with St. Xavier’s College, St. Stephen’s College and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Since then, Notre Dame has initiated several new study abroad opportunities and faculty research collaborations in India while increasing the number of students from India who are studying at Notre Dame.

“No university can be a great university for the 21st century unless it is an international university and a global university.” — Thomas G. Burish

These efforts were further enhanced when Notre Dame established the Keough School of Global Affairs, the first new college or school at the University in nearly a century. The Keough School brought together seven existing campus institutes — each with significant expertise in language, culture and history around the globe — with two new ones focused on global engagement with religion and human development and global business. Also part of the Keough School, the Liu Institute for Asia & Asian Studies is strengthening the community of scholars who are conducting research on and teaching about South Asia.

Most recently, Notre Dame Global established the Mumbai Global Center to serve as a strategic hub in the world’s most populous democracy.

“No university can be a great university for the 21st century unless it is an international university and a global university,” Burish said. “That means not only attracting great students and faculty members from all over the world, but also giving students and faculty the resources to go out into the world to pursue distinctive learning and research opportunities.”

Students from India now comprise the fastest-growing group of international students at Notre Dame. From 2015 to 2018, Notre Dame also hosted 43 high school students from 11 high schools across India who took part in the International Leadership, Enrichment and Development summer study program. During the same period, eight undergraduate students from three universities in India participated in the International Summer Undergraduate Research Experience on campus.

The ornate building is lit up with gold and purple light at night, with red blurs of lights from cars driving by in front of the building.

The Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai

In addition, some 80 Notre Dame undergraduate students have studied abroad in India since 2014 as part of research, service and cultural immersion programs, and Notre Dame faculty members have continued to increase their research collaborations with more than 50 institutes of higher education and research across India. Notre Dame Global’s Asia Research Collaboration Grant program was set up specifically to support the development of such endeavors.

“In today’s hyper-connected world, scholarship is rarely conducted in an isolated environment,” Burish said. “To increase their positive impact on the world, Notre Dame faculty members and students must interact with those from different nations or cultures. India’s high academic standards and culture of innovation and entrepreneurship make it a vitally important region of the world in which to develop partnerships.”

Jonathan Noble, Notre Dame’s assistant provost for internationalization and head of Notre Dame Global’s Asia regional team, is accompanying Burish on the visit.

“In recent years, we have watched India’s international importance and influence grow significantly,” said Noble, whose role includes strengthening academic engagement and research partnerships across Asia. “The Mumbai Global Center’s efforts represent a vital part of our goal to provide opportunities for our students and faculty in India.”

During the visit, Burish, Noble and Dhiraj Mehra, a 1996 Notre Dame alumnus who leads the Mumbai Global Center, will meet with senior officials from The Cathedral and John Connon School, one of India’s most prestigious high schools, and St. Xavier’s College, one of the country’s most prominent Catholic institutions of higher learning. They also will meet with U.S. Consul General to India Edgard Kagan.

Wednesday evening, Burish will be the featured speaker at a meeting of the Notre Dame India Club, hosted by its president, Mayank Khemka, before moving on to New Delhi for a series of meetings with Indian government and business leaders.