Next year, Penn will help change the lives of 50 students in India.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science will partner with The International Foundation for Research and Education to create the Young India Fellowship, a free, one-year program offered to post-graduates in India.
The YIF, dubbed “India’s own Rhodes Scholarship,” will be offered to a select group of students who have already graduated from a four-year university, according to Engineering professor Dwight Jaggard, who will be teaching in the program.
The fellowship will act as a foundation for Ashoka University in India, which will open in 2013, Jaggard said.
“This is step one, stage one,” he added.
Instructors will range from ex-Fortune 500 chief executive officers to the Indian government’s chief economist and Penn professors, according to the program’s website, to provide a “holistic learning experience.”
The fellowship will focus on teaching broader skills that help students advance in their careers rather than technical skills required for entry-level jobs, Jaggard said.
The Fellowship was founded by Engineering School alumnus Pramath Raj Sinha, who said in a press release that he wanted “top-rung faculty” to teach at the YIF.
Around 20 Penn professors are in talks to collaborate with the YIF, Engineering Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Joseph Sun said.
“I expect this to be a leading program in India,” he said. “A leading global institution such as Penn has to contribute our capabilities.”
Penn is a good match for the YIF because it is an “interdisciplinary institution,” Jaggard said.
Furthermore, the fellowship is very consistent with the Penn Compact mission of engaging globally, Sun added.
“At Penn, there is definitely an emphasis on globalization — global awareness, global experience,” he said.
“I found it incredibly inspiring, engaging and challenging that there is a group of philanthropists who wanted to create this kind of charity,” Jaggard said, adding in an e-mail that “I am sure that I will gain as much as any Young India Fellowship student in the program as I continue to learn first-hand about teaching and learning across cultural boundaries.”
Other faculty members have different reasons for participating in the YIF.
“I like to travel and have never been in India before,” Engineering professor Kenneth Foster wrote in an e-mail. The “only downside for me is that skiing is a lot better in Pennsylvania than in Delhi.”
Sun hopes that Penn will be part of the YIF for many years to come.
“We expect to have a long-term relationship,” he said.
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