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Ashoka, O.P. Jindal Global and Shiv Nadar University hosted conference on ‘The Future of the Liberal Arts in India 2015’

The three-day conference focused on topics such as ‘Innovative approaches to higher education in the Humanities and Arts’ and ‘How Liberal Arts can foster global connections and collaboration’.

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1 April, 2015 | 8 min read

Ashoka University, O.P. Jindal Global University and Shiv Nadar University co-hosted a conference titled ‘The Future of Liberal Arts in India 2015’ from March 19-21, 2015. The conference, organised in collaboration with Carleton College, Yale-NUS, Claremont McKenna College, Pomona College, the Raman Research Institute and the University of Chicago Centre in New Delhi, brought together senior leaders and faculty of higher education from institutions across India and the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities for high quality teaching, scholarship and research for the Liberal Arts and Sciences in India.

The three-day conference, attended by over 100 Indian and international participants, was hosted by Ashoka University on March 19th, O.P. Jindal Global University on March 20th and Shiv Nadar University on March 21st. Day 3 of the conference was held at University of Chicago Centre in Delhi.

Speaking at the conference, C.Rajkumar, Vice Chancellor, Jindal Global University said, “Emphasis on engineering and medical education is so huge that the challenge is to break through this thinking. A course in Liberal Arts instills values.”

The conference focused on topics such as ‘Cultural trends in India – reconciling traditional and modern India’, ‘Innovative approaches to higher education in the Humanities and Arts’, ‘Innovative curriculum in Social Science and Sustainability’, ‘How Liberal Arts can foster global connections and collaboration’ and ‘Approaches of teaching and learning in research universities in India.’

“Ashoka is proud to have been one of the founding organisers of this conference last year and to have also organised it this year,” notes Pramath Raj Sinha, Founder and Trustee, Ashoka University. “We are excited that this has become a movement rather than just another conference at a time when liberal education is rapidly becoming popular in India. In a country such as this with its complexities and challenges, the time has come to restore the balance in higher education by bringing back Liberal Arts education to the forefront.”

Rupamanjari Ghosh, Director, School of Natural Sciences and Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at Shiv Nadar University said, “The Liberal Studies curriculum offers flexibility to students to choose from multiple electives which help enhance their learning and engagement. The flexibility is essential for future readiness of students and equips them to face a very challenging future outside.”

Some of the other speakers in the conference included Rudrangshu Mukherjee (Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University), Shiv Visvanathan (O.P Jindal University), Steve Poskanzer (President, Carleton College), Bryan Penprase (visiting professor, Yale-NUS and Chair of Physics Department, Pomona College), Lakshmi Saripalli (Astrophysicist, Raman Trust Fellow, Raman Research Institute), Arjendu Pattanayak (Professor, Carleton College), Shailendra Raj Mehta (V-C, Ahmedabad University), Gary Tubb (Professor in South Asian Languages at University of Chicago and Director of the University of Chicago Centre in Delhi) amongst others.

This iteration of the “Future of Liberal Arts in India”, following the first held on January 8-12, 2014, explored how best to create new forms of education within India that can enhance social justice, public service, and environmental sustainability, while also developing students to lead a new era of growth and change within India.

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