South Asia Center Grant Renewed
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the South Asia
Center (SAC) in the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs nearly
$1.4 million in Title VI language and area studies funding. The four year award
will support the creation of a pipeline of students proficient in modern South
Asian languages, who will undertake field research, internships, employment and
further language training.
The funding also will help infuse South Asian studies into
community college and teacher development programs, and will expose students
and faculty to diverse perspectives about sustainability through a new
Sustainable South Asia Initiative.
SAC is part of the Cornell-Syracuse South Asia Consortium,
which, since 1985, has served students and faculty at both universities,
working in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. The consortium and SAC
have the added distinction of being National Resource Centers (NRCs), language
and area studies centers funded by the Department of Education. NRCs serve as
“national resources” for the teaching of modern foreign languages. SAC is
Syracuse’s only NRC.
Carol Babiracki, SAC Director, is proud of the NRC
designation because it reflects favorably on faculty, staff and students. “We
offer a range of highly successful conferences and seminars that expose
students to cutting-edge research and personal interactions with experts,” she
Another measure of the consortium’s value is the number of
well-placed alumni. They occupy important positions in the U.S. Department of
State, the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the Peace
Corps, World Bank, specialized agencies of the United Nations, and colleges and
universities across the globe.
At SU, Title VI grants support Foreign Language and Area
Studies (FLAS) instruction, research fellowships, student and faculty training,
national and international partnerships, and study abroad activities.
Curricular emphasis is on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives,
Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
“Title VI grants not only strengthen Syracuse’s programs,
but also help us share our expertise with teachers and students in area K-12
programs, community colleges and schools of education, such as Syracuse’s
School of Education and Onondaga Community College,” Babiracki says.
Babiracki, an ethnomusicologist who does research in India,
has high expectations for the consortium. Upcoming goals include more than 200
graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in intermediate and advanced
modern foreign language programs; faculty advancement and study-abroad
partnerships with Onondaga, Monroe and Tompkins Cortland community colleges, as
well as SUNY Cortland and Buffalo State universities; and a network of joint
teaching, research and public outreach activities related to sustainable
communities in South Asia.
“The Sustainable South Asia Initiative will feature working
groups, speakers, seminars, symposia and study abroad opportunities for
students and faculty,” she says. “Rather than looking at sustainability only
through disciplinary lenses, we will consider how these perceptions intersect
with one another, leading to a greater understanding of the sustainability of
communities, businesses and democratic institutions in South Asia.” Babiracki
says the consortium satisfies Central New York’s demand for globally competent
citizens and professionals—individuals who understand prevailing world
conditions, issues and trends, and can communicate effectively
cross-culturally. “We ensure a steady stream of graduates with expertise in one
or more modern South Asian languages, area studies and transnational trends,”