A programme that enriches lives of Indian students in U.S.

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Old 18-Nov-2010
A programme that enriches lives of Indian students in U.S.

The United States and India this week reaffirmed and celebrated an important partnership in the field of education — the Nehru-Fulbright Educational Exchange Programme.
At an event hosted by the Indian embassy here, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said via a televised message that she was “delighted to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright scholarship programme with India,” adding that it was a programme that had truly enriched and transformed the lives of students from India who had come to the U.S.

Noting that Fulbright student exchanges had led to lasting relationships developed during the course of the programme, Ms. Clinton said that there were more than 15,000 Fulbright alumni from India, notable among them being External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.
Speaking to The Hindu at the event Sashikala Sriram, a Fulbright Scholar and Principal of Bala Vidya Mandir school in Chennai, India, said that the programme had given her a rare opportunity to understand educational practices in the U.S. and she intended to take some of those insights back to her school when she graduated.
In particular Ms. Sriram said that after extensive visits to the U.S. schools across the country she had been impressed by the strong emphasis on reading as opposed to mere lecturing. She added that she was intrigued by the concept of “cooperative learning” and through her interactions with teachers and students here she had developed some ideas in this area that she would use in the Bala Vidya Mandir.

On the occasions the State Department also issued a statement recalling that during his recent trip to India, President Barack Obama had noted that education was one of the key pillars of the U.S.-India partnership and even as far back as 1950, the Fulbright Program “played an essential role in nurturing established ties and building new relationships by providing opportunities for discourse between the people of the U.S. and the people of India.”

More recently, in 2008 the U.S. and India signed an historic agreement making the two countries full partners in the governance and funding of the Fulbright Program, and in November 2009 President Obama and Prime Minister Singh announced a significant expansion of the Fulbright-Nehru scholarships under the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, the State Department statement noted.

Speaking at the event India's Ambassador to the U.S., Meera Shankar, said that from being a U.S. funded programme, this Agreement had been converted into a scholarship programme implemented by the governments of both India and the U.S.as full partners. There had also been an increase in the total scholarship amount awarded annually to $ 4.6 million, a 100 per cent increase from the existing level, she added.
Touching upon the broader impact of the programme the Ambassador said, the Nehru-Fulbright Education Exchange Programme “which nurtured educational cooperation at a time when political ties were not so robust, has contributed to transforming the relationship between our two countries.”

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