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International funding sought for Nalanda University: Amartya Sen

Update: 2010-08-03 00:12:47
International funding sought for Nalanda University: Amartya Sen

NEW DELHI: International funding will be sought for the proposed revival of the ancient Nalanda University, a global centre for learning, and Singapore Buddhist organisations have already offered donations for the construction of a world-class library.

"We will go for international fund raising," Amartya Sen, chairman of Nalanda Mentors Group and Nobel economics prize winner, told reporters here Tuesday.

"The Singapore Buddhist community is making an important gesture to finance library," Sen added. They have reportedly offered around $5-10 million (Singapore dollars) to finance the institution.

Sen said they were open to funding from both public and private organisations as well as religious institutions.

Pegged as a symbol of global cooperation in education, the Nalanda University, proposed to be set up in Bihar near the site where an ancient university flourished centuries ago, will have schools on Buddhist studies, philosophy and comparative literature, historical studies and ecology and environmental studies.

The Nalanda Mentors Group, constituted in 2007 and chaired by Sen, has been giving a concrete structure to the plan to revive the educational institution, which had attracted students from across the world in ancient times.

The mentors group held extensive two-day meetings here that was also attended by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

George Yeo, visiting Singapore foreign minister and member of mentor group, said that he hoped "that by East Asia summit, the bill will be passed and work will begin".

He was referring to the proposed legislation to be tabled during the current parliament session which will govern the operations of the university.

Amartya Sen also introduced the new vice-chancellor designate for the university, Gopa Sabharwal, a sociology professor in Lady Shri Ram college.

"This is an exciting task and a huge responsibility. The primary task is to translate vision of Nalanda Mentors Group," said Sabharwal.

Asked if Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was associated with the project, Sen said: "No religious activist is involved in the process. This does not mean that they are out of the frame."

BDST 2200 HRS, AUGUST 3, 2010. 

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