India grants USD 1.5 mln to UOC to establish Vivekananda Chair

India will provide USD 1.5 million grant to the prestigious University of Chicago to establish a Vivekananda Chair for Indian studies as part of initiatives to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the 19th century luminary and spread his message of harmony.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard between Dean of University of Chicago (UOC) Martha Roth and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Culture Sanjiv Mittal in presence of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"The Indian Government is extremely happy in giving an endowment of USD 1.5 million to the University of Chicago, for establishing the Swami Vivekananda Chair," Mukherjee said.
"The activities that would be undertaken under this Chair would focus on Vivekananda, through lectures, seminars and suitable related academic activities on Indian Culture and Indian Studies," he said.

Under the MoU, India will provide the grant to UOC for the Vivekananda Chair to honour his life and legacy and to facilitate exchange of research scholars from/to India.

"We sincerely hope that this Vivekananda Chair will promote an ongoing study of the cultures and way of life of the peoples of these two great democracies, so that our two countries understand each other better and come closer together," Mukherjee, who is here to celebrate the new Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Visiting Professorship at the University of Chicago.

He expressed the hope that the permanent endowment will help spread the message of harmony of religions, understanding between nations and the spiritual oneness of humanity, which Swami Vivekananda worked for.

US Ambassador to India Nirupama Rao spoke on the opening of University of Chicago Center in New Delhi this year under the mutual partnership of the two countries.

Martha Roth, Dean of the Humanities and the Chauncey S Boucher Professor of Assyriology; and Dipesh Chakrabarty, the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor in History and South Asian Languages and Civilizations also spoke about Swami Vivekananda's contribution to religious freedom that opened doors of religious tolerance between East and West.

Also present was Chicago Consul General of India Mukta Dutta Tomar. University students also performed dance and music at the event. The University also did a live webcast of the event that could be viewed from "UChicago Live" tab of the UChicago Facebook page.

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