By Professor Roger Jeffery, Dean for India, the University of Edinburgh
I’m now back in Delhi, after three nights in Kolkata – where everyone I met chided me for spending too much time in the nation’s political capital and too little in its intellectual capital…or so say the Bengalis, at least.
Last week was probably the most crowded with events of the three that I’m here for: too many cities, too many disciplines, too many Universities being involved for me to keep up. Fortunately the India Office has done wonders in ensuring that very little goes wrong, and we arrive on time (mostly) and at the right place.
There’s been a good mix of academic discussions along with formal and informal networking events. I helped to renew contacts with the British Council, with the Delhi office of Research Councils UK, with the local office of the Department for International Development and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, in between attending sessions with the vets at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The ICAR-Edinburgh collaboration seems to have moved a good step forward, with a set of practical proposals for future joint working on mutually interesting topics that provide synergies.
Then off to Kolkata, where we established contact with the Institute for Development Studies, through an Edinburgh alumna who is now an Assistant Professor there. We were able to discuss student placements for our own MSc programmes in International Development Studies. With the University of Calcutta, where we have strong links to the Vice-Chancellor, we hope to be able to set up exchange programmes for faculty at its Institute for Foreign Policy Studies, as well as some joint publications. We also renewed links with the local British Council office, as well as holding a very successful get-together with some of our alumni, recent and from the 1990s.
My final week in India on this trip will be different again – but that’s a matter for my next blog.