What does the 21st Century hold for India’s growing economy and its relationship with the United States? How will the world’s largest democracy handle supporting over a billion people in the future?
These and other questions will be addressed as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign celebrates 60 years of Indian independence with a free symposium addressing major issues in India’s past, present and growing future. “India Sixty: The Critical Questions” will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2 and run through Saturday, Nov. 3 in room 210 of the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana. Speakers from across the United States and Asia will hold six panel discussions, with a keynote address by the Honorable Ashok K. Attri, Consul General of India in Chicago.
“Since the U.S.-India partnership is expected to be an important feature of the 21st Century, and given the steady growth of the Indian-American community in the United States as a whole, the best possible understanding of India’s challenges and opportunities is vital,” said Rajmohan Gandhi, panel coordinator. “The symposium and its expert participants from India and the United States, including from campus, will contribute valuably to this understanding.”
Panel topics include cultural diversity, the information technology boom, India’s place in the global marketplace and national security issues. One panel will discuss the human dimension in India’s successes and address questions of education, nutrition, health care and human rights. Another panel will discuss sustainable water management, since water links India’s different regions and the university has leading research programs in water resources, according to Jim Wescoat, panel coordinator.
“With its many resources, India is well poised to become a major world leader, especially in regards to technology,” said Ravi Iyer, panel coordinator. “It’s important to understand the barriers against and opportunities for advancement presented to this diverse, dynamic country.”
“India Sixty” marks several decades of campus engagement with India. The university was instrumental in the establishment of the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur and agricultural universities at Pantnagar and Jabalpur. The symposium is one of the latest connections between the university and India, and is intended to strengthen and expand these connections.
“Given India’s increasing salience in world affairs, a focus on critical questions facing India was necessary,” Gandhi said.
To register for the event or to view the schedule, visit the symposium web site at www.psames.uiuc.edu/India60. Attendees may also register at the door.