VC message

Dear Friends,

At the outset, I would like to share with you the happy news that a few of JNU’s alumni have been appointed to head important academic institutions. I am particularly proud in mentioning about Professor S.K. Thorat, a Professor of Economics at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, who has recently joined as the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission. Professor Seyed E. Hasnain, an alumnus of the School of Life Sciences, is the new Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Hyderabad and Professor Rajan G. Harshe, another alumnus of the School of International Studies, is the Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Allahabad. I not only wish to congratulate them for their professional achievements but also for bringing laurels to their alma mater as an institution which strives both for academic excellence and also for professional skill.

Coming to the events that took place during the reporting period, the University hosted the Third Conference of the Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities, between January 12-13, 2006. The inaugural address was delivered by Shri Arjun Singh; Union Minister for Human Resource Development and the valedictory address was delivered by Shri Kapil Sibal, then Union Minister for Science & Technology and Ocean Development. The Chancellor of the University, Dr. Karan Singh also addressed the participants, which included eighteen Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities, senior officials from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the University Grants Commission, the Association of Indian Universities and from JNU. The major recommendations of the Conference included, (1) increase allocation of GDP to higher education (2) dispensing of NET qualification for faculty appointments (3) flexibility in recruitment (4) utilization of incentive funds for academic development etc. these recommendations have been sent to MHRD and UGC for appropriate follow up action.

Since my previous column, there have been a number of visitors to the university, some of them are worth mentioning. Professor John Ingleson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of New South Wales, Australia and Mrs. Jennie Lang, Executive Director, UNSW International; Professor Tom Wansbeek, Dean, Faculty of Economics and two other academics from the University of Groningen; Mr. J. Hoekema, Ambassador for Cultural Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ms. S. Gimbrere, Senior Advisor for Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Education, Government of the Netherlands; Scientists from German Research Foundation (DFG); Dr. Brain Hrley, Director, Programs for Study Abroad and Mr. Mathew Sikora, Coordinator, Asian Initiative; professor Stephen Jansen, University President, Zeppelin University of lowa; Professor Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor the University of Melbourne; Dr. (Mrs.) P. Kurasha, Vice-Chancellor, Zimbabwe Open University; President Chang and Dr. Zhu Guobin’s President and University Professor; Dr. Sijbolt Noorda, President, University of Amsterdam, Mr. Sam Baker, Director, Asia Group, Trans-National Research Corporation, New Jersey, USA; Bill Cade, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Alberta, Canada; Professor Jesus Maria Sanz Serna, Vice-Chancellor, University of Valladolid; Dr. Sheila Embleton, Vice-President and Ms. Roopa Desai Trilokekar, Project Manager, Strategic International Initiatives, York University, Toronto, Canada; Professor Kenneth Bell, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK; former Italian Prime Minster, Mr. Guiuliano Amato; Prime Minister of the Netherlands, HE Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende; and a few others. While JNU has more then sixty MOUs with several universities around the globe, the stream of visitors strongly points to ever increasing interest of foreign universities in establishing an academic link with us.

Besides the above visits by distinguished academics and senior parliamentarians, the Schools/Centres organized a number of seminars/workshops/courses. Many of theses events were funded by JNU. Some of the distinguished visitors also participated in the seminars, that included former Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Guiuliano Amato; Prime Minster of the Netherlands, HE Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende. Special Distinguished Public Lecture on “Democracy, Governance and Economic Reform in India” by Prof. Pranab Bardhan; A talk “Qubec and India: A Journey of Mutual Discovery” by Mr. Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec; Antonio Binimelis Memorial Lecture “Le sombra del elefanta: la influencia India en la literature catalna”, by Prof. Ramon Bassai Martin.

We also had meetings of the University Court (33rd meeting), the Executive Council (227th meeting) and the Finance Committee (65th meeting) during February/March 2006.

During the Period, University has submitted an ambitious plan of infrastructural development and renovation of our existing facilities to MHRD and the University Grants Commission. I am happy to share that the response from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the University Grants Commission has been very encouraging. We have to soon trigger the internal mechanism so as to ensure optimum and timely utilization of grants for the benefit of the University community.

We are already in the middle of admission process for 2006-07. What we know from initial data, the JNU admissions are getting very popular and the response to various courses are overwhelming. We are going into new academic sessions with two new courses: (1) MPhil/PH.D in Arts and Aesthetics and (2) M.Tech in Computational and Systems Biology.

I am keen on ensuring that you receive the JNU News (for subscription details, contact the Public Relations Officer of the University through email: or over landline 011-26704046 or 26704017). I would welcome feed back from you particularly, your response to some of the new developments. This would help me in taking appropriate action at the University’s end. I could be reached by email: I wish you all a very happy and productive summer vacation.

B.B. Bhattacharya

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