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.
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