Singapore Buddhist groups to help finance Nalanda university


New Delhi : Singapore Buddhist organisations have offered funds amounting to around $5-10 million for building a library at the proposed Nalanda University which will be a global centre of learning.

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“The Singapore Buddhist community is making an important gesture to finance the library,” Nalanda Mentors Group Chairman and Nobel economics prize winner, Amartya Sen, told reporters here Tuesday.

He said the groups were looking at both private and public funding for the university, which is estimated to cost Rs.1,005 crore ($425 million).

Pegged as a symbol of global cooperation in education, the Nalanda University, proposed to be set up in Bihar near the same site where an ancient university flourished centuries ago, will have schools on Buddhist studies, philosophy and comparative literature, historical studies and ecology and environmental studies.

“It was one of the greatest intellectual achievements in the history of the world,” said Sen, referring to the ancient seat of learning.

The Nalanda Mentors Group, constituted in 2007 and chaired by Sen, has been giving a concrete structure to the plan to revive the educational institution, which had attracted students from across the world in ancient times.

George Yeo, visiting Singapore foreign minister and member of the mentor group, said he hoped “that by the East Asia summit, the bill will be passed and work will begin”.

He was referring to the proposed legislation to be tabled during the current parliament session which will govern the operations of the university.

Amartya Sen also introduced the new vice-chancellor designate for the university, Gopa Sabharwal, a sociology professor in Lady Shri Ram college.

“This is an exciting task and a huge responsibility. The primary task is to translate the vision of the Nalanda Mentors Group,” Sabharwal said.