Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has launched a twin India-focussed
initiative at the Trinity College in Dublin during a visit that
helped spark a renewed interest in India at the 417-year-old
The university announced the establishment of an India chair and a
post in Indian studies to coincide with Kalam's visit Friday - held
amid a warming of India-Irish ties and plans for greater
collaborations in education and science and technology.
The post in Indian studies has been sponsored by groups representing
the 25,000-strong Indian community in Ireland while the India Chair
will be funded by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR),
Trinity Provost John Hegarty said.
The university hopes the move will attract more Indian students,
particularly in the fields of science and technology, where the
numbers of Irish students have been falling.
"At the moment we have around 100 Indian students. We can quadruple
that without a problem," Hegarty told IANS.
"We want to attract the best Indian students. The motivation is not
only financial - we have to make sure we are delivering quality as
well. The experience of every student while they are in Trinity is
vital to us," he added.
Trinity College, which figures in lists of the world's top 100 and
Europe's top 50 universities, has a historic connection with India
dating back to 1762, when it established its Chair of Oriental
The links grew exponentially in the second half of the 19th century
when it hosted an India Civil Service School, which supplied over
150 graduates to the ICS, the bureaucratic service that ran the
The author of the first Linguistic Survey of India (1898-1928), a
mammoth compilation, was Trinity graduate George Grearson - a
mathematician-turned Sanskrit scholar who too joined the ICS.
Hegarty said the university now wanted to build upon those
historical links and was particularly keen to attract young Indian
researchers in science and technology, having set up a 75
million-euro research institute for Nano science.
"We only upped our game in India two years ago. We want to be a
magnet for the best students from India and elsewhere," he said.
"Ireland has a problem of brand recognition as a country. We want to
tell Indians that here they have another English-speaking country in
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