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Ohio State awarded $500,000 Grant for Passport to India initiative

The Ohio State University is the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to serve as the lead administrator of the national Passport to India initiative, which seeks to increase the number and diversity of American college and university students studying abroad and interning in India by 2020. The program was launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 to create a hub for U.S.-India higher education partnerships and to develop a stronger bond between the youth of both countries by increasing American student mobility.

Ohio State will partner with IndoGenius, a Delhi-based organization established to enhance international interactions with India through education and research. Ohio State and IndoGenius will implement several strategies over the next five years which include advocacy, fundraising and building relationships in order to increase the number of students studying or interning in India. According to the latest figures released by the Institute of International Education, of the more than 280,000 American students that studied abroad during the 2011-12 academic year, 4,593 selected India as their destination.

“With India’s growing economy it is critical for our future leaders to understand India’s cultural, historic and economic importance in world affairs,” said William Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs. “Engaging young Americans to experience the depth and breadth of India firsthand will only produce stronger U.S.-India relations. For Ohio State to take a leadership role in this transformative process is an exciting and important opportunity.”

The proposal calls for an in-depth analysis of U.S. higher education study abroad practices to identify current trends and challenges within the field; creation of a digital platform with an enhanced web and social media presence; development of an online course to educate American students on the importance of India; attend higher education conferences and corporate forums to promote Passport to India and raise funding support; and host a series of events to spark dialogue on U.S.-India relations and the need for increased student mobility.

“India is relevant to American students of all backgrounds and interests,” said Nick Booker, Co-Founder of IndoGenius. “Our forthcoming MOOC will demonstrate how India’s economic and civilizational re-emergence has renewed the importance of India. Take any of the grand challenges faced by the world today and if you can innovate a solution that works in India it can work anywhere.”

Ohio State has a long history of collaborating with institutions in India and recently opened a Global Gateway office in Mumbai in 2012 to facilitate learning, teaching and research opportunities.