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India will get more prominence at Harvard


New Delhi : Harvard alumni in India will join hands with the growing Indian student community to make India the professional, academic and cultural focus at America’s premier Ivy League university that is celebrating 375 years of its existence, alumni heads said.

Harvard University, which boasts of high profile names such as union ministers Kapil Sibal and P. Chidambaram, held a first of its kind interactive event in the Indian capital where alumni members rubbed shoulders with current students and newly-admitted students.

Around 100 people, including undergraduate and graduate students and alumni from 12 Harvard schools came together over the weekend for the reunion by the Harvard India Students Group. The US varsity celebrates 375 years of its existence.

“The Harvard India Students Group is the first ever university-wise students group for the Harvard students in India in the long history of the university. This is also the first time we had a welcome reception in India for newly admitted students to Harvard where the students were introduced to a host of issues,” Namita Wahi, president of the Harvard India Students Group, told IANS.

The event saw participation from around 100 students from various disciplines yet finding something common among them. The disciplines were as diverse as law, social entrepreneurship, business and academics, among others.

Over 100,000 Indian students are currently studying in universities across the United States. The number is expected to rise because of considerable increase in student visa applications from the country.

“The Harvard Club of India seeks to promote national and global public policy discourse, including proactive dialogue with the central and state governments. We have never hosted an event of this kind for the Harvard Students and community before,” Meenakshi Datta Ghosh, president of the Harvard Club of India, told IANS.

“Students from the Law School, the Business School, Kennedy School, the Education School, the School of Public Health, and the Design School attended the reception,” Ghosh said.

Anirudh Burman, a newly admitted law student at Harvard, shared his experience: “Knowing people from different backgrounds and being similarly placed was indeed an experience for me. There is a sense of familiarity I hope to notice when I go to study law at Harvard.”

“The number of students is significant. Since this was the first time Indian students from Harvard met in India, there was also a direct engagement between the alumni and the current students,” said Wahi, who feels the reception brought them at the threshold of an important moment in the history of Harvard-India relations with “India increasingly becoming the academic, professional, and cultural focus at Harvard.”

The event was organised by the Harvard India Students Group, the Harvard Club of India and the South Asia Initiative.