From the Director's Desk - 2012

-Cecilia Van Hollen, Director of the South Asia Center

Last summer the Syracuse University & Cornell University’s joint National Resource Center for South Asia received news from the Department of Education that all National Resource Centers covering all regions of the world would face a whopping 47% budget cut. Although budgets have been trimmed for many governmental programs, this was a particularly severe reduction to hit international studies in higher education at a time when, arguably, we need globally educated citizens more than ever. We are, therefore, extraordinarily grateful that the Dean of the Maxwell School, the Dean of Arts & Sciences, and the Director of the Moynihan Institute for Global Affairs all demonstrated their commitment to international studies here at Syracuse University by providing us with additional financial support to enable us to continue to provide high quality programs on South Asia to Syracuse University and the broader community. Cecilia Van Hollen, Director, South Asia Center

We continue to offer a dynamic Speakers Series, with fifteen talks throughout the year, including lectures on political developments and issues of governance and civil society in India, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan; on legal transformations affecting women in South Asia; on the booming Hindi and Tamil film industries; on music and art history; and on healthcare and environmental issues facing the subcontinent. In November, we hosted a concert by Grammywinner, Steve Gorn, on the classical Indian flute, accompanied by Naren Budhakar on the tabla. This spring we are sponsoring a film series, including a full afternoon of contemporary documentaries on Afghanistan.

Fortunately, our Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships have continued to be funded through the Department of Education and we were able to provide the Academic Year FLAS to 8 graduate students (5 for Hindi Urdu and 3 for Pashto) and 1 undergraduate student for Hindi-Urdu as well as the 3 FLAS fellowships awarded to students to study South Asian languages over the summer. We were also able to award a dissertation research funding to Daniel Cheifer from the Department of Religion.

Further testament to the growing strength of South Asia Studies across disciplines at Syracuse, we are teaching 14 courses that focus exclusively on South Asia and several others which have a large South Asia studies component being offered in the spring 2012 semester alone.

In October 2011, I attended the State Department’s U.S.-India Higher Education Summit which marked the beginning of a major initiative between President Obama and Prime Minter Singh to increase collaboration between these two countries in the area of higher education. Given the strengths of the South Asia Center faculty, the Maxwell School’s Executive Education programs in India, and the growing interest and demand in South Asian Studies courses among our graduate and undergraduate students, Syracuse University is well positioned to be a major player in such initiatives, not only in India but in the South Asia region more broadly.

We hope you will join us on March 29-30, 2012 when the South Asia Center will be hosting a two-day conference on Food, Health, and Agriculture in South Asia: Contemporary Issues and Future Directions, organized by Drs. Tim Dye, Sudha Raj, and Saurabh Mehta. Please see our website for more information: http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/southasiafoodconference.