February 10, 2009
VC’s Office, Coimbatore
The visit of the high-level delegation from the State University of New York, Buffalo (see news) culminated in the signing of a MoU for greater collaboration in teaching and research between the two universities. Over a period of one week, the delegation visited four of the five Amrita campuses, called on the Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham at Amritapuri, and met with Dr. R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, who was in our Coimbatore campus presiding over a national symposium. On the final day of their visit, the delegation participated in the graduation ceremony for MITES students (see news).
The team began their visit on Monday, Feb 2, with a tour of our healthcare campus at Kochi. On the following day, they met our Chancellor Amma. Dr. Richard Lee, a medical doctor and a distinguished academician from SUNY, told Amma that his institution would like to send medical students to study at Amrita. The team also visited the Schools of Ayurveda, Biotechnology and Engineering at Amritapuri. On the following day, the team was in Coimbatore to participate in the national symposium — Water for All. They joined in with Dr. Chidambaram and senior Amrita faculty for a panel discussion on building world-class universities.
“In order to become world-class, a institution needs to foster the culture of research,” stated Dr. Bharat Jayaraman, Chair of the Dept of Computer Science and Engineering at SUNY. The previous day the SUNY delegation had taken note of the research initiatives at Amrita — development of an inexpensive insulin pump, deployment of a wireless sensor network to predict landslides, tissue engineering and stem cell research. “There is no parallel in the world to what Amrita has been able to achieve in such a short amount of time,” said SUNY Provost Dr. Satish K. Tripathi. “A book should be written about its achievements,” he added.
Dr. Chidambaram also seemed highly impressed with the Amrita collaboration with SUNY Buffalo. He mentioned that this could be a role model for similar alliances by other educational institutions in the country. Here, one is reminded of Amma’s words spoken during the launch of the Indo-US initiatives — “By bringing together diverse streams of knowledge, we can create a magnificent river. May this great river of knowledge flow to caress the communities of the world. May it overflow the borders between people and countries. May it impart the water of life to all of humanity, and thus nurture the blooming of culture throughout the world.”
SUNY President John B. Simpson has led similar delegations to many universities around the world; this was the group’s first visit to India however. “We are deeply proud of our affiliation with Amrita,” he stated. “My wife Katherine and I are delighted to have the opportunity to visit several campuses of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.” Before the delegation returns to New York, its members will also visit Banaras Hindu University and IIIT Allahabad in North India. Amrita was the first of the three Indian universities the delegation visited on this trip.