Recession has not impacted Yale’s India initiatives: Official

May 1st, 2009 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) The global financial meltdown may have forced the Yale University in US to slash its overall endowment from $24 billion to $17. 5 billion and reduce its workforce by 300 people, but that has not affected the university’s initiatives in India, a senior varsity official said here.
A group of parliamentarians from the country, cutting across party lines, will leave for US in June to take part in the third edition of the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme 2009.

“The group will be led by veteran parliamentarian, Abhishek M. Singhvi (Rajya Sabha MP),” George Joseph, assistant secretary of international affairs at the Yale University, told IANS Thursday.

The group will also comprise Rajya Sabha MP Shobhana Bhartia, the Yale official said.

The university had launched the India-Yale University Parliamentary Leadership Programme in 2007 in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the India-US Forums of Parliamentarians.

“It educates leaders in government, business and the functioning of the civil society,” Joseph said.

“The common perception is that if your endowments have shrunk, then it will impact the university’s initiatives and commitment to preserving and increasing faculty, improving the quality of education and overseas initiatives. But we are not allowing cost-cutting measures to affect the quality of staff, education or the initiatives. Some universities in US have cut cost by as much as 50 percent,” Joseph, who is responsible for the university’s international affairs in Asia barring China, said.

Joseph said there has been no decrease in financial grants for overseas students.

“The criteria for receiving financial grants have not changed either. If the family of an under-graduate student makes less than $60,000, then the family will not have to contribute anything. If the family makes between $60,000-$200,000, then the aid structure becomes graduated. The family has to contribute 10 percent of its income,” Joseph explained.

The university this term has admitted 14 Indian students for under-graduate courses and all of them have confirmed their enrolment, Joseph said.

At the PhD level, Yale guarantees a total support of $300,000 and “it remains unchanged”, the official said.

“We do not want students from India to think that since endowments have declined, studying in US is no longer possible,” Joseph said.

In November 2008, Yale announced a Yale-India Initiative which saw several partnerships between the university and high education institutes in India, Joseph said.

“The downturn was then just making its presence felt,” the official said.

But that has not deterred the university. “Yale is now collaborating with the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the capital in social sciences, with the Delhi University in history and with the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore in business, marketing, finance and consumer culture,” he said.

As part of the India Initiative, the university has also appointed climate scientist R.K. Pachauri, who had chaired the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as the part-time head of the university’s new Yale Climate and Energy Institute set up in March 2009.

The institute is partnering TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), led by Pachauri, in clean energy and climate change, he said.

“Yale is also looking at strategic dialogues between India, China and US on climate change prior to the UN meetings in Copenhagen in December to lay the groundwork for a post-Kyoto protocol,” Joseph said.

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