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South Asia Consortium awarded $1.7 million grant

September 08, 2010

Jill Leonhardt
(315) 443-5492

The Maxwell School of Syracuse University has announced that the Cornell-Syracuse South Asia Consortium has been awarded a $1.737 million, four-year renewal grant from the U.S. Department of Education. First named a National Resource Center for South Asian Studies in 1985, the consortium will use this latest funding for lectures, language teaching, workshops, student fellowships and scholarships, and faculty development.

The consortium is comprised of two centers: the South Asia Center in the Maxwell School’s Moynihan Institute and the South Asia Program located in the Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University. Its mission is to promote—through research, teaching and service—a deeper understanding of the histories, cultures and contemporary affairs of the countries of South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives Islands) and to facilitate the sharing of curricula and graduate advising between campuses.

During the next four years, the consortium will expand its focus to issues of national concern in the region, which is becoming increasingly globalized and transformed by advancing areas of applied science.

Meanwhile, anthropology associate professor Cecilia Van Hollen has been appointed the new director of the South Asia Center at Maxwell. Her research focuses on the impact of global health policies in South India; an upcoming project will focus on the post-conflict period in the Jaffna Peninsula of Sri Lanka, a country emerging from a nearly 30-year civil war. “It was the dynamism of the South Asia Center that drew me to Syracuse University and so it is a tremendous honor to now be the new director,” she says. “One of my goals is to expand the political coverage of South Asia at Maxwell through additional talks on key policy issues facing the region. The new thrust toward the applied sciences such as health, agriculture and technology in our next four-year funding cycle provides greater opportunity for the center to link up with people involved in the policy arena.”

Workshops featuring scholars from across the United States and South Asia will look at the impact on culture and technology caused by global transformations in the environment: water, transgenics, agriculture and food security. Other workshops will examine the implications of technological globalization for crucial cultural and economic activities, including health and nutritional practices, manufacturing and technology, especially as related to green textiles and their production.

In addition, SU has added the teaching of Pashto, the predominant language of Afghanistan, to its current offerings of Hindi and Urdu. Outreach activities will focus on bringing new understandings of Afghanistan to the wider Syracuse community, particularly the Watertown-Fort Drum area, from which thousands of military personnel are deployed to that country.

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