Hillary Clinton Gives Opening Address at U.S.-India Higher Education Summit

International education must adapt or face destruction, global educators said at the U.S.-India Higher Education Summit this morning.

“A democracy depends upon educated citizenry,” said Hillary Clinton, who gave an opening address at the summit, held at Georgetown University.

Also on hand to give an opening address was Kapil Sibal, Indian Minster of Human Resource Development, who stressed the high stakes of global collaboration.

“Business as usual is a recipe for global disaster,” Sibal said.

The opening address was followed by a roundtable discussion featuring Sibal; Richard Levin, president of Yale University; and Sam Pitroda, advisor to the prime minister on public information. The panel discussed the challenges facing higher education throughout both nations, stressing collaboration as a key to success.

“Nations are defined by boundaries,” Sibal said, “but in the 21st century, nations will have to transcend them.”

These boundaries include the fact that, while 30,000 Indian students come to the U.S. annually to study, only 2,500 American students travel to India to do the same. According to Sibal, American students need India just as much as India needs them.

“Lots of young Americans have skills which are outdated,” Sibal said. “People in India have the resources to help with that.”

The panelists had different ideas as to what some other boundaries are. According to Levin, the study of India in the U.S. is “under-resourced,” and American higher education needs to put as much emphasis on the study of the history and culture of India as it does on Europe.

Pitroda sees the integration of technology and education as the key to productive citizens in the future—and denial of that is a potential obstacle to progress.

“We must realize,” Pitroda said, “that technology plays a very important role—that everything we do is essentially obsolete.”

The panelists agreed that the number one way to maintain U.S.-Indian relations is to simply be there. If you want to understand another place better, your best bet is to simply get on a plane and go, they concurred.

The entire summit is being broadcast live at webcast.georgetown.edu, and will continue until 5:45 p.m.


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