PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday hosted five New York senators for the First Annual Thought Leadership Exchange Conference between India and the USA at the Chamber house.
Top officials of the country’s oldest chamber and the visiting dignitaries exchanged views and ideas on collaboration in the field of STEM Education, Enterprise, Technology and Sustainability with a promise to explore the possibilities of expanding cooperation in this field of higher education between the two countries.
Welcoming the American delegation, Dr Vishwa Mohan Bansal, chairman, Education Committee, PHDCCI said that India and US needs to work together. Future of the world lies in this part of the continent, and specifically in India, Dr Bansal said and added India also has a lot to learn from the United States.
Dr. Aseem Chauhan, Chancellor of Amity University, said that it was a historical day when five New York senators were in PHDCCI for the First Annual Thought Leadership Exchange Conference and hoped that there will be many more in the times to come. He spoke about Amity University and its journey to becoming a global varsity. The New York campus, he said, would become a global centre for teaching. Best people and the best minds will be solving the problems of mankind, Dr. Chauhan said.
Excited to be in India and the great potential it offered, in terms of scale and size, and the changes taking place in the country, the American senators’ delegation comprising five Senators from New York led by Kevin Thomas, an Indian origin American, felt that they could see something meaningful and concrete emerges out of their deliberations with the Chamber members, special invitees, and educational institutions, including the Amity University has gone global with its campuses in 15 countries.
Only recently, Amity University acquired a 175-acre campus in New York and already has another campus in San Francisco.
Senator Kevin Thomas said he was extremely happy and proud when Indian landed its probe on Moon at half the cost of what it took NASA to land its craft aboard Apollo 11 in the sixties. It only goes to prove that India is the land of innovators and men and women full of new and bright ideas. He said that he was glad that the discussions were focusing on STEM education, on which the global economy depended today.
In fact, he said, he was amazed at the entrepreneurial spirits and innovators of India that he invited them to visit Long Island and to work together to become global leaders.
Other senators too, echoed similar sentiments and spoke about their own experiences of the short but hectic trip to India.
Senator Kevin Parker, who is also a professor in many universities teaching political science and African studies said the subject of discussion was a significant convergence of key topics. The main challenge for the US now is to give quality education for all and not just have Ivy league colleges for the few who can afford it.
Education empowers people and is prepares a level playing field for everyone said, Mr Kevin Parker. The biggest challenge for America now was how to tackle the debt crisis that American students have. Most have huge debts ranging from $ 100,000 to $ 300,000 the moment they step out of the colleges.
Exchange of ideas and collaboration in the education sphere, like Amity University and others, can be of some help, he said. Amity is for all, and the US too should have such a model, Senator Parker said. But he said that he needed to understand more to do more. Which is why he said he would visit India a few more times and continue the conversations on the exchange and collaboration.
Senator Jose Rivera said that you people in India have some good ideas and that both would gain by an exchange of ideas and collaborations. Senator Comrie now is the time to tap into young minds, here in India as also in the US. It is not just Indian students come to New York, American students should also come to India, he said.
Senator Liu, of Chinese origin, is one of the two Asian origin senators in New York. He said that his interactions with students in India made him feel that they were top class and those in the US are most often at the top of the class. He went onto talk about the education system in New York where a major portion of its $ 180 billion is spent on education and health.
Possibilities are immense and the two sides should continue the conversations to arrive at mutually beneficial education exchange programmes. Even long-distance learning is a distinct possibility and Indians in India could help run some of the teaching and university programmes from India itself was one of the ideas that emerged at the discussions between the two sides.
Earlier, Mr. Deepak Bagla, MD & CEO, Invest India, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry said India was witnessing an unprecedented change, both in scale and size. Innovations under the ambit of Atal Innovation labs and the start-up India programme has spewed thousands of innovators across the country, he said. India will be a land of job creators and not job seekers, he said echoing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thoughts when he launched the startup India programme. Exchanges in the educational arena will widen the scope of exposure and experience for the students of both the countries, he said.
Dr. Ajit Nagpal, Chairman, Pacific Forum, Amity University, said collaborations between educational institutions is the way forward.
Mr. Sushil Chandra, a scientist from ISRO said that in India there was a disconnect between research, academics, industry and government policy. If this connection is established it would do wonders for the education system in India. Collaborations with American educational institutions would add value to the overall education system in India, he said. America also needs India for commercial reasons, the ISRO scientist said.