Chancellor Mark Wrighton led a team from Washington University in St. Louis to India to promote collaboration through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.
The team consisted of Pratim Biswas, the Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor and Chair, Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering; Himadri Pakrasi, George William and Irene Koechig Freiberg Professor in Arts & Sciences, Professor of Energy, School of Engineering, and Director, Bioenergy Initiative; James V. Wertsch, Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts and Sciences and Director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy; and Nick Benassi, Assistant Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science. In addition to other responsibilities at Washington University, Pratim Biswas is the McDonnell Academy’s Ambassador to the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and Himadri Pakrasi is the Ambassador-at-Large for India as the Academy seeks to identify additional institutional partners.
The group visited Delhi and Bombay between December 20 and 27, 2006. Meetings were held with the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the Rashtrapati Bhavan; the State Minister for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh; and the State Minister for Human Resources and Development, A.A. Fatimi. Meetings were also held at the US Embassy in Delhi with Charge d’ Affaires Geoffrey Pyatt and the United States Educational Foundation in India. While in Delhi, the team visited the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University. At both institutions they met with faculty and administrators to discuss collaborative programs.
In Mumbai Chancellor Mark Wrighton presented an invited keynote address titled “The Role of the Research University in Building a Knowledge Economy” at the PAN IIT Meeting. The team also spent a day at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, which is one of the 17 current partner institutions of the McDonnell Academy. Several collaborative programs in the field of energy and environment were discussed, and procedures were devised to promote collaboration among the faculty at IIT Bombay and Washington University. In addition to these visits to current or potential institutional partners, two Washington University alumni events were held – one in Delhi at the home of Dr. Gurpreet Singh (Washington University); and the other at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai. Other meetings included sessions with Mr. Anil Kumar, Co-Chairman of the Indian American Council, and Director, McKinsey Corporation and with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).