University of Birmingham launches India Institute

The University of Birmingham launches its India Institute in the presence of His Excellency Mr Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha, High Commissioner of India.

Creating the University of Birmingham India Institute (UBII) reflects the University’s extensive links with India, which span over 100 years, as Birmingham researchers continue to forge new partnerships with their Indian counterparts to address global challenges.

The aim of the UBII is to increase the visibility, impact and coherence of the University’s engagement in India; and more broadly to encourage a greater awareness of India in the Midlands and the UK, building academic, cultural and business ties with India. Its activities will include academic research and scholarship; teaching and postgraduate research; policy analysis and debate; collaboration with corporate partners; and public engagement in culture.

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood and H.E. Mr Kumar Sinha addressed representatives of the UK Indian and education communities, before the High Commissioner unveiled a commemorative plaque.

The High Commissioner then took part in a round table discussion with Indian-born University of Birmingham Chancellor Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea. The discussion was chaired by the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Robin Mason.

The Edgbaston campus’ iconic clock tower ‘Old Joe’ turned orange for the evening, as a cultural night at the University’s world-famous Barber Institute of Fine Arts presented a range of Indian arts including:

  • Yakshagana dance from Andhra Pradesh by Devika Rao;
  • Bharatanatyam and Kathak performances by BBC Young Dancer finalists Anaya Bolar and Shyam Dattani;
  • Music from Ambika Jois and her band; and
  • High-energy Bhangra from award-winning dance group Nachda Sansaar.

Professor Sir David Eastwood commented:

“Our India Institute marks an important milestone in our long-standing relationship with India and re-affirms the University of Birmingham’s deep and strong commitment to engagement with the country.

“From reducing the impact of refrigerated food distribution chains, to helping make India’s cities more sustainable cities, our researchers are forging links with their counterparts that will change millions of lives for the better.”

Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, the Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs and Founding Chairman of the UK-India Business Council, commented:

“The University of Birmingham is a civic university with a global outlook and there exists a special bond between Birmingham and India, which stretches back to the arrival of our first Indian student in 1909. For me, this is also a personal bond as my mother and my maternal grandfather both studied at the University of Birmingham. I am the third generation of my family to have grown up in India been educated at a British university, and it makes me very proud to see that Birmingham has put its century-long bond with India even further with the launch of the University of Birmingham India Institute.

“I look forward to deepening relations between our University and partners in India, in education, business and government over the coming years as our new India Institute fosters research and teaching collaborations which benefit both countries. Education and research are a central part of the bond between the UK, which has some of the best universities in the world, and India a global emerging economic superpower, which has some of the oldest.”

His Excellency Mr Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha said:

“It gives me great satisfaction to note the deepening and broadening of ties between the University of Birmingham and India. I trust that, through the India Institute, the existing bonds between Indian institutions and the University will be further strengthened, and new links forged, to address local as well as global concerns through joint research and other collaborative initiatives.”

The University’s relationship with India began in 1909 with the first cohort of Indian students travelling to Birmingham to study for degrees in Mining and Commerce.

Since then, the University has provided education to around 2,000 Indian alumni, with some of India’s finest and most distinguished minds educated at Birmingham.

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