Strengthening research and teaching ties between Canada and India is the goal of a new visiting chair in Indian studies at the University of Guelph announced during a campus visit on May 25 by Sanjay Kumar Verma, High Commissioner of India to Canada, and Apoorva Srivastava, Consul General of India (Toronto).
The new chair is intended to deepen U of G’s existing connections with India and the Indian diaspora in Canada as well as underline the University’s commitment to internationalization.
Srivastava and U of G president Dr. Charlotte Yates signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of the India Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) to launch the new position.
Under the agreement, U of G will host a visiting professor from India for one semester each year; the visitor will teach, conduct research and hold a public lecture.
“This new chair will bring eminent Indian scholars to campus every year,” said U of G president Dr. Charlotte Yates.
Referring to opportunities to deepen relations, knowledge exchanges and cross-cultural understanding between India and Canada, Yates said, “This chair aligns perfectly with the University’s new strategic plan, ‘Our Time,’ with its emphasis on global engagement with international partners.”
New visiting chair to strengthen research, teaching ties with India
The May 25 event demonstrated the University’s commitment to the new chair and campus connections to India through activities including recruitment, partnerships and global learning.
U of G is home to the Canada India Research Centre for Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), led by Dr. Sharada Srinivasan, Canada Research Chair in Gender, Justice and Development, and a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology within the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.
Established in 2020, CIRCLE enables interdisciplinary research on India and the Indian diaspora as well as knowledge exchange between Canadian and Indian scholars.
Srinivasan said the new chair will further strengthen U of G’s ability to foster learning, research and knowledge-sharing with India, South Asia and the Indian diaspora.
U of G is also an active member of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, established in 1968 to promote exchange between the two countries through numerous universities in both countries.
The Shastri presidency will be assumed this year by Dr. Pavneesh Madan, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the Ontario Veterinary College.
India is top source country for U of G international students
“This visiting chair position will enhance the University’s initiatives in India and our visibility among potential research partners,” said Dr. Stuart McCook, assistant vice-president (international) in U of G’s Office of International Strategy and Partnerships.
“Besides strengthening ties to leading researchers and institutions in India, this position will help build connections within the University across disciplines and faculties through activities to promote Indian culture and learning on campus.”
India is the top source country of international students at U of G, with more than 550 Indian students enrolled. The University has seven active agreements with higher education institutions in India, including research agreements, student exchange and field study programs, and strategic partnerships.
This is the sixth visiting chair in Indian studies established at a Canadian university. Funded by the ICCR, the chairs are intended to generate interest in India among foreign students and raise global awareness of India.
The ICCR is a governmental organization devoted to fostering and strengthening mutual understanding between India and other countries.
McCook said, “We are grateful to the Indian Council of Cultural Relations for offering us this visiting chair in Indian studies.”
The event included representatives from Guelph’s Hindu community and from Indian student groups on campus.
Dr. Stuart McCook