Following the global energy symposium in Mumbai, Chancellor Mark Wrighton and Washington University delegates moved on to a meeting of the International Advisory Council for Asia (IACA), which took place Dec. 12–15, 2012, in New Delhi. The council, made up primarily of alumni, parents and friends who live in Asia, assists the university in expanding its global presence and provides advice on how to best advance university objectives in Asia. The conference chair was Trustee David Conner, AB ’74, a founding IACA member who has spent his professional career in Asia and lives in Singapore.
Pratim Biswas briefed the council on the symposium and spoke about the Washington University’s India Initiative. “I described our overall goals, provided a brief description of the 25 projects that we have worked on, and how we would like to scale up. I also described the challenges and approaches to overcome them,” he says.
Chancellor Wrighton unveiled Gautam Yadama’s book on the energy impoverished and presented copies to council members. Yadama says, “I talked about what we can do in India going forward, why ‘ACCESS’ is important, and why we need to be investing in that further as an institution, as a university.”
Council members also learned about Washington University’s newly announced joint EMBA program with IIT Bombay and about the work of I-CARES (International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability) in India. They heard from a panel of university presidents: Chancellor Wrighton; Devang Khakar, director of IIT Bombay; and Sudhir Sopory, vice chancellor of Jawharlal Nehru University — the third McDonnell Academy partner in India, located in New Delhi — about the challenges and opportunities in higher education in India.
They heard an update on India from the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Donald Lu, who was enthusiastic about Washington University’s initiatives in India. B.K. Chaturvedi, a member of India’s planning and finance committees, spoke about India’s economic expansion. “He talked about the infrastructural challenges they face and the kinds of things we discussed in Mumbai, which were very much in sync with his concerns,” Wrighton says.
Each Washington University dean discussed programs that his or her school has in Asia, and representatives from the Teach For India program shared information about how the program began.
At an alumni dinner, Wrighton addressed guests on the topic, “Leading Together: Washington University’s International Agenda.”
Gurpreet Singh, MBA ’54, a founding IACA member and honorary host, welcomed council members to Delhi. He hosted a luncheon for the IACA and the Washington University delegation at his home on December 14. “That was culturally rewarding and very interesting,” Wrighton says. Singh’s son, Interdeep, and daughter, Punita, have also become actively involved with the IACA.
“So all-in-all it was a good meeting,” Wrighton says.