April 5, 2007
To India and Back: President Emmert impressed with Indian commitment to education.
President Emmert has just returned from India, where he was a member of a high-profile delegation of senior U.S. government officials and U.S. college and university presidents.
The members of the delegation met with students and leaders in higher education, government and business in Mumbai and New Delhi. The delegation also met with members of the news media. This was the second in a series of delegations stemming from the U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Education, held in 2006, at which the US. government committed itself to a greater role in helping create international educational partnerships. The delegation was led by Karen P. Hughes, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.
In addition to Emmert, other members of the delegation included Thomas A. Farrell, deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programs; John J. Bowen, president, Johnson and Wales University; Margaret B. Lee, president, Oakton Community College; John M. Lilley, president, Baylor University; James L. Oblinger, chancellor, North Carolina State University; and Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, president, Kalamazoo College.
On his blog (http://depts.washington.edu/presblog/wordpress/), Emmert wrote, “I am very pleased that the State Department has recognized the virtues of ‘soft power’ that come with advancing the common cause of education and understanding. For my part, I’m pleased to represent the UW and proud of the obvious respect our Indian hosts have for our university. I’m equally glad to be part of an American delegation that promotes mutual respect and cooperation.”
Emmert commented on the place of education in the values of the average Indian citizen, “When asked to rank priorities [in a public opinion poll], Indians listed food first and education second. Behind education came housing, health, and the environment. They are hungry indeed for educational opportunities. I heard stories of families that make the decision to skip one meal a day to afford education for their children.”
In addition to Emmert’s travels with the delegation, he extended his time in India, meeting with UW alumni, business leaders and academic leaders about possible future partnerships.
“Across India I have chatted with proud Huskies from the class of ‘59 to the class of ‘99 and Indian faculty who have worked on our campuses within the past few months or 25 years ago,” he wrote.
“They are all very pleased to hear the latest news from the UW and share their own stories with obvious pride and pleasure. Just as it is for American students, their time spent at the UW transformed their lives and opened a new world of opportunities to them.”