Our first “Future of Liberal Arts in India” meeting was held at the Raman Research Institute and the Indian Institute of Human Settlements during January 8-12, 2014. This meeting brought together founding Vice Chancellors of new higher education institutions across India, with thought leaders from across India and academic leaders from the United States, including the Chancellors of two UC campuses, and the presidents of Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College. The first meeting enabled an open-ended discussion of the future of liberal arts and sciences education within India, as well as a broader discussion of how best to create new forms of education within India that can enhance social justice and environmental sustainability, while also developing students to lead a new era of growth and change within India. Our meeting included artists, philosophers, social entrepreneurs, leaders of multinational corporations, and a wide range of brilliant thinkers from both the academic and private sector. You can see many of the talks from that meeting and the program at our “Future of Liberal Arts in India” web site.
This new meeting in March, 2015 in New Delhi hopes to take these discussions to another level. While preserving the open-ended contemplation of the future of liberal arts in India,we hope to bring together academic leaders and professors, social entrepreneurs and leaders of industry to create new partnerships that can harness the creativity and energy of India to develop students who are capable of inventing India’s new future. New forms of education such as the dynamic new institutions hosting our meeting, Ashoka University, Shiv Nadar University, and the O.P. Jindal Global University, can provide a historic shift in how young people in India can prepare their minds to navigate the daunting challenges that India and the world face in 2015. New forms of teaching, new curriculum, new types of engaged, socially relevant and interdisciplinary scholarship, will all be presented in ways that will allow our meeting to build new communities of practice in higher education. These new models build on India’s illustrious academic and spiritual traditions and offer to provide a more peaceful future for the nation and the world.
The March 2015 meeting will convene in New Delhi at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rohini. The meeting will feature day-long sessions at the campuses of both the Ashoka University and the O.P. Jindal Global University, about an hour north of New Delhi. The conference will provide transport to these new campuses, and will give attendees a chance to see at the ground level what the future of liberal arts education looks like – both from tours of these two new institutions, and from a rich array of presentations and conversations with the leaders from across India that are helping to re-shape its higher education to meet new challenges. The third day of the meeting will convene at the University of Chicago New Delhi center, and will feature talks from speakers representing a cross-section of expertise from within India and from abroad.