AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin has established the South Asia Institute, demonstrating a university-wide commitment to fostering understanding and economic opportunities in South Asia, a region with mounting influence in the global marketplace.
The Institute will hold its first major conference, “Economic Globalization and its Implications for Democracy in South Asia,” April 8-9.
“South Asia’s politics, economics and culture are growing in importance, and this university is uniquely positioned to foster expanded interaction with the region,” said Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin. “We already have one of the most distinguished South Asia programs in the country, thanks to the expertise and leadership of more than 50 faculty members in schools and colleges throughout the university.”
The university established a Center for Asian Studies more than 40 years ago. This Center will now focus on East Asia while the Institute focuses on matters, particularly those pertaining to contemporary issues, of South Asia, which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan and the Maldives.
“This Institute provides a tremendous opportunity for our students who will have access to a body of knowledge unavailable at any other university,” said Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson. “To stimulate additional growth, my office has set aside funds to support faculty research that will contribute to a better understanding of and relationships with the people of South Asia. We also are committed to hiring at least one new South Asia faculty member each year for the next five years.”
The Institute’s upcoming economic globalization conference will examine connections between free market reforms and democratic outcomes in relation to labor markets, non-governmental organizations, family issues and gender relations. It will feature a keynote address by renowned economist Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University.
“The United States is India’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at more than $21 billion in 2004,” said Dr. Richard Lariviere, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a noted Sanskrit expert. “With India’s population more than three times that of the U.S. and its economy continuing to grow, it’s imperative for Americans to better understand the culture and history that shapes this region and our intertwined futures.”
The South Asia Institute, under the direction of Dr. James Brow, professor of anthropology and Asian studies, houses the Title VI National Resource Center for South Asia funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the only such resource center in the south-central region of the United States. The Title VI grant provides resources for outreach programs to K-12 schools, post-secondary institutions, business and civic organizations, and the Texas community at large. The Institute also sponsors conferences and seminars and provides Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships to students pursuing graduate degrees relating to South Asia in any department or school of the university.
Faculty members affiliated with the Institute offer more than 150 South Asia-related courses as well as complete language instruction in Hindi, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu. Students are encouraged to study abroad and, to this end, the Institute has awarded seven graduate fellowships for summer 2005 to support student study in India.
The College of Liberal Arts, in which the Institute is housed, awards seven degrees in South Asian studies: bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Asian Studies; bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s degrees in Asian Cultures and Languages; and two joint master’s degrees with the McCombs School of Business and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
More information on the South Asia Institute and facts on the region visit the South Asia Institute Web site.
For more information contact: Marisa Rainsberger, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-4945.