Yale chief who advanced linkages with India to quit

August 31st, 2012 - 10:59 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 31 (IANS) Yale University President Richard C. Levin, who had made advancing the Ivy League institution’s connections to India a priority of his administration in recent years, has announced plans to step down after almost two decades at the helm.

Levin, 65, is leaving Yale at the end of the current academic year, according to a statement made from New Haven, Connecticut where the university is located. He has served Yale longer than any other president currently in the Ivy League or the 61-member Association of American Universities.

Levin, an economist, travelled to India five times between 2005 and 2011, and during his November 2008 visit, he announced the launch of the Yale India Initiative, stating “Yale commits itself to the goal that India will have a permanent and prominent place in the teaching, scholarship, and the life of the institution.”

“Decades from now, as India continues its economic, political, and social ascendancy, the commitments that Yale had made today will ensure that our students and faculty have a richer and deeper understanding of India, and will contribute to strengthening the relationship between the world’s two largest democracies,” he then said.

Over the last five years, Yale committed significant financial resources to position itself among the world’s pre-eminent institutions for the study of and engagement with India and South Asia, according to a university media release.

During Levin’s tenure, Yale hired eighteen new faculty who teach and work on India and South Asia; expanded resources for Yale students and faculty to work and study in, and to experience India; and allowed resources to attract the most talented students from the region to Yale by providing generous financial aid and scholarships.

During his presidency, Yale launched the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme that has been attended by more than seventy members of India’s Parliament since it was begun in 2007.

It also launched the India-Yale Higher Education Leadership Programme in 2011 to build the leadership capacity in Indian higher education. Levin has regularly met and interacted with India’s leaders in government, business, and civil society since 2004.

Current Yale trustee Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, said Levin “has been transformational in envisioning how a university should be a leading citizen in its home community and he has boldly staked out how the leading universities should become global institutions.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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