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The European Union and The Republic of India have been traditionally very good friends from the early 1960s by signing a number of agreements and strategies. However, there is a great possibility to deepen and further utilize the existence of this relationship to a desirable extent without being aloof of the current global economic and political scenario which is highly ‘unstable and unpredictable’.
MAHE had the distinction of being one of the first and few Universities in the country to be celebrating EU Day this year and in the hindsight of winning the Grant for the setting up of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence as part of the Department of European Studies. As part of the EU Day Celebrations at MAHE, the Department hosted the Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education (CBHE) Cluster Meet with delegates coming in from various Indian and International Universities to discuss education and pedagogy. The EU Ambassador to India, His Excellency Tomasz Kozlowski had visited Manipal to address the delegation, press and the students of the Department in his addresses.
His Excellency Mr Tomasz Kozlowski stated that the European Union as an institution is one of the key partners to India because of the multiple investments and establishment of about six thousand companies, small and large in India. A massive seventy-three billion Euros is the investment rate of the European Union which makes it one of the largest investors in India. The ambassador also stated that India is one of the unique key partners due to the ‘shared values and common principles’ that encompassing democracy, rule of law and basic human rights, which was also later acknowledged and highlighted by the Pro-Chancellor of MAHE, Dr H.S. Ballal during the event.
The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence status is the proof for the already existent strong partnership of the Department of European Studies, MAHE with Europe. This has opened a new page in the relationship of EU and India in terms of academics many other fields.
The Centre is a platform that gives scope for strengthening the relations between Europe and India mainly because of the country’s growth in regards to manpower that encourages opportunities for job and investment. India as one of the significant Asian countries and as largest growing economy besides the Chinese, it helps the EU in one of its foremost objective i.e., to reinforce the interconnection with the expanse of Asia and tighten the security policy towards terrorist threats regionally as well as globally and also in the cyber dimensions. Sustainable modernization, trade and investments, finance, warfare, self-sufficiency, science and technology are some other fields that could be improved by endorsing the relationship of India with the EU. Besides, very importantly the implementation of clean and sustainable energy and similar policies to decisively tackle Climate change and to further understand and prepare for the consequences. Horizon 2020 being one such policy with the objective to enhance the research and management of the strategies that overlook the availability and accessibility of vaccines and clean water and harnessing renewable energy sources. Mr Kozlowski also emphasized the importance of cooperation for the same in larger space and the role of research, innovation and education as key elements in this process.
The driving force of this initiative and the Head of Department, Dr. Neeta Inamdar expressed her pleasure over the selection and said, “Within a decade of starting the Department in 2009, this feat is achieved. This would not have been possible without the vision of leaders at the University, collective efforts of the team at the Department and the support of EU delegation and a network of European Studies professors. We understand this recognition brings a lot of responsibilities and involves handholding of aspiring colleges across the region. A department that started with four staff members has grown up to 40 staff members today is geared up to take this responsibility. We are humbled by this recognition.”
The Centre was inaugurated earlier today at the Department’s new home behind next to the School of Allied Health Sciences by the Ambassador, HE Tomasz Kozlowski who later interacted with the students along with his colleagues from the European Union, Ms. Friederike Tschampa, Head of Political Affairs at the Delegation of the European Union, and Mr Sanjeev Roy, Key Expert – Higher Education EU Public Diplomacy in India.
The EU Day Celebrations, needless to say, was a historic one both in the annals of MAHE and India in its relations with the European Union and the International Education Spaces ushering in a new era of Higher Education in the country!