JNU signed MOU with IOM for the creation of a Centre of Excellence

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New Delhi:  On 17 August 2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Present during the signing were the Vice Chancellor of JNU, Prof. Santishree. D. Pandit; Mr. Sanjay Awasthi, Head of Office, IOM; Prof. Ajay Dubey, Rector, JNU; Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli, Dean, School of International Studies, JNU; and Amb. Rahul Chhabra (Retd.), Secretary, ER, MEA.

The MoU focused on the creation of a Centre of Excellence (CoE) with research scholars pursuing their PhD, from JNU’s ‘School of International Studies’. The research will entail conducting digital surveys, ascertaining skill gaps and related economic and sectoral skill requirements and publishing the findings in relevant fora. The CoE will research and publish data about mobility, harness sectoral data for creating economic and skill radar and developing a Happiness Index, to name a few. The digital survey will also be instrumentalised as an economic and skill radar for foreign companies in India and for the Overseas Indian Diaspora.

Prof. Pandit, JNU’s first female VC, remarked how this agreement was in sync with the government’s foreign policy of ‘development, democracy and diaspora’, wherein this exercise of collecting data will create a robust dashboard through the coordinated efforts and combined abilities of all partners’ abilities to deliver the best results. Hoping that “we would have a new way of looking at policy”, she said, that the “research will help not only the Government of India, but also the migrating diaspora, with well needed, authenticated data and counter the malpractices in migration”. Lastly, she expressed confidence in the university’s ethos of “delivering excellence with inclusion, equity with integrity, and tradition with modernity.”

The data collected by the CoE from surveys, will be used for sector-specific skill gap analysis and demand forecasting to support the ecosystem of corporates, investors, academia and most importantly, the job seekers. One way to do this, will be through periodic newsletters supplemented with digital mediums like AI-driven dashboards, portals etc., to disseminate and bridge information gaps. Besides digital surveys, focused research-based studies will also be conducted for data gathering, publishing and analysis. It is envisioned that CoE will work closely with the Overseas Indian Diaspora to understand new and emerging employment challenges and opportunities.

Mr. Awasthi, spoke of the agreement bringing together two esteemed institutions, “IOM since 1951 and JNU with its reputation of excellent, high-quality research on migration and diaspora.” He mentioned some of IOM’s work, most recently the co-hosting of the Global Diaspora Summit by IOM and the Government of Ireland in Dublin, and IOM’s coordination of the International Migration Review Forum by IOM under the aegis of the United Nations General Assembly. He said that “such partnerships can help us pull together a wide repository of knowledge, insights and good practices”, something which has also been highly sought after by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Prof. Dubey reflected on how “migration and diaspora, a mega-mover in globalization, is affecting the world and India”. On the partnership, he expressed his pleasure on how “we are moving from just academic studies to skill building, which is a major focus of the Government of India, much like students moving from classroom teaching to the field by acquiring new skills from knowledge that has been produced”.

A professional organisation will be appointed for the program management of the CoE. The organization will also liaison to work with various governmental agencies like the NITI Aayog, Invest India along with the Confederation of Indian Industries, etc., within the broader scope of the program. A team of relevant stakeholders will oversee the day-to-day functioning of the CoE.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is part of the United Nations System as the leading inter-governmental organization promoting since 1951 humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all, with 174 member states and a presence in over 100 countries.

JNU is the foremost university in India, and a world-renowned centre for teaching and research. Ranked number one in India by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a Grade Point of 3.91 (on a scale of 4), JNU was ranked no 3 among all universities in India by the National Institutional Ranking Framework, Government of India, in 2016 and no 2 in 2017. JNU also received the Best University Award from the President of India in 2017.

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