Saturday, December 08, 2012

Indira Gandhi Centre for Sustainable Development at Oxford University approved

As a tribute to the former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, the government on Friday gave an ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Sustainable Development at Somerville College, University of Oxford. Mrs. Gandhi was a student of Somerville College. An inter-ministerial committee is already in place to discuss the proposal.

This was announced after Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister M. M. Pallam Raju, met Alice Prochaska, Principal of Somerville College at New Delhi. The proposal to establish the centre has come from the college.

The centre will honour the late Prime Minister’s legacy by addressing key issues of sustainable development and will result in building up India’s intellectual capital and expertise in the area. It will enhance scholarship opportunities at Oxford for bright and talented students from India in the field of sustainable development, invest in intellectual capital and build a platform for strengthening partnerships with Indian scholars and leading institutions, thereby creating a community of alumni engaged in lifelong learning.

The centre is aimed at having a transformational impact on the lives of future leaders, who will help to direct a new paradigm of sustainable development in India and beyond. There will be three core activities, including supporting talent and leadership development by making graduate/Ph.D. scholarships available specifically to Indian students at Oxford, with a cohort of Indian graduate students participating directly in research of relevance to India.

The centre will strengthen interdisciplinary and pioneering research into food security, environmental sustainability and international governance by establishing post-doctoral positions and fellowships. The building will be designed to house an innovative “incubator” environment, helping foster new thinking and robust solutions to the challenges facing India and South Asian communities. Within each Impact Theme, the centre will develop its activities around three core activities: research, talent and collaboration.

The Somerville College has proposed to India to contribute £3.0 million for the project, while the university and college will provide an additional £5.5 million to support the centre. A dedicated building will be built for creating a landmark facility for the centre at a cost of approximately £10.0 million to be raised by Oxford University through philanthropic donations.

Almost 10 acres of land has also been earmarked for the building in the premises of the college. The building will be prominently located in the University of Oxford’s Radcliffe Observatory Quarter next to Somerville and opposite the new Blavatnik School of Government.

Source: The Hindu, December 8, 2012

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