Two years ago, Ohio Wesleyan University was selected by the Institute for International Education as one of 10 colleges and universities in the United States to participate in a new International Academic Partnership Program in India. The program is designed to foster partnerships among institutions of higher education in the world’s two largest democracies.
In November 2010, Darrell Albon, director of international and off campus programs, and Craig Ullom, vice president for student affairs, represented Ohio Wesleyan in the program’s inauguration. Since that time, we have actively explored potential partnerships. Last fall, students from Ohio Wesleyan and students from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi participated in a series of video conferences as a prelude for forming a partnership between the two institutions.
In January, seven students were selected to represent Ohio Wesleyan in an inaugural experience at Lady Shri Ram College as we formalize a relationship between OWU and LSR. OWU students will join a group of LSR students for a weeklong study of “Gandhi Today: Perspectives and Possibilities,” a curriculum developed specifically for this purpose.
Melissa and I have the privilege of leading this group of OWU students, along with Craig Ullom and Marin Leggat, assistant professor of theatre and dance. In addition to our work with students at LSR, Melissa and I will visit Mumbai where we will host a reception for OWU alumni and prospective students and where I will meet with college counselors at the United States International Education Foundation (USIEF) office. We will participate in similar sessions in New Delhi, including my presentation on the liberal arts in the United States, which I will offer at the USIEF office.
In New Delhi, we also will join LSR students and faculty in visiting sites of interest to students of Gandhi, participating in religious services reflecting Gandhi’s philosophy, community service on the LSR campus and in New Delhi, and a series of sessions with topics including Gandhi, Ecology and Developmentality; Gandhi and Psychoanalysis; Peace and Reconciliation; Gandhi and the Ethics of Food; and Gandhi in the Popular Imagination. In preparation for the trip, students have read Gandhi’s autobiography, My Experiments with Truth, and Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule), along with numerous other essays suggested by the faculty at LSR.
Throughout our visit, I and other participants will post reflections and photos through which we hope to share our experience. We hope you will share this journey with us.