University of Alberta and Indian Council for Cultural Relations Sign Agreement to Establish Chair of Indian Studies

New ICCR visiting Chair of Indian Studies will expand course offerings and deepen connections between U of A and India

Peter Carter - 16 June 2022

The University of Alberta and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) have partnered to create a new Chair of Indian Studies. The agreement was signed in May 2022 during a meeting between U of A’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bill Flanagan and His Excellency Ajay Bisaria, High Commissioner of India to Canada in Ottawa.

"For over a decade, our university has been engaging in a wide range of joint research projects as well as student and faculty mobility programs with Indian partners in the fields of arts, engineering, science, medicine, public health, and beyond. We are pleased to be able to further strengthen U of A’s connections with India through this partnership with ICCR and look forward to welcoming the first Chair next year."

- Prof. Bill Flanagan, President and Vice-Chancellor, U of A

"Establishment of this Chair is another major step in advancing India related studies in Canada and thereby fulfilling ICCR's mandate of fostering and strengthening academic and cultural bonds and towards enhancing knowledge and awareness about India."

- His Excellency Ajay Bisaria, High Commissioner of India to Canada

The ICCR Chair of Indian Studies will be held by distinguished Indian scholars in select academic fields of study, appointed in consultation by U of A and ICCR. The Chair will serve as a visiting professor for one semester each academic year in U of A’s Department of History, Classics, and Religion (Faculty of Arts), and will contribute to the academic life of the university by engaging in teaching and research in their respective specialization, including an annual ICCR Lecture on India.

"Establishing a visiting Chair of Indian Studies will allow U of A to expand its course offerings in modern Indian history, while deepening scholarly connections between U of A and Indian institutions of higher education. This partnership is sure to benefit our students, while also creating new opportunities for research collaborations."

- Dr. Steve Patten, Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts, U of A

The creation of the ICCR Chair of Indian Studies is yet another addition to U of A’s wide range of expertise related to India, including the Singhmar Chair in Ancient Indian Society and Polity; Engage India: Association of Professors; and the South Asian Studies council.

This will be ICCR's third Chair in Canada. Their other Chairs are located at Simon Fraser University and Concordia University .

India has long been a key partner country for the U of A, with which it enjoys strong relations. Indian students represent the second largest group of international students enrolled at U of A, 60 academic staff members are of Indian origin, and many more of Indian heritage. U of A currently has 28 active agreements with 23 partners in India.

"The university is proud to have a wide range of long-standing partnerships in India with many of the top post-secondary institutions including the Indian Institute of Science, various Indian Institutes of Technology, as well as government bodies and industry such as the Science and Engineering Research Board and Infosys. It is a natural progression to include the Indian Council for Cultural Relations among these partners."
- Dr. Cen Huang, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International), U of A

The first Chair is anticipated to arrive in the Fall 2023 Term.