August 30, 2010
Exchange programmes, scholarships, collaborative research and of course, a regional university—when academics talk peace, they think first of the classroom.
The South Asian University‘s first academic session was set to begin this month (August 2010) in New Delhi. However, this is not the only education project that has inspired international cooperation. The restoration and revival of Nalanda University is another instance.
S.D.Muni, Nalanda: A Soft Power Project, The Hindu, August 31, 2010.
South Asia’s ancient centres of learning, Takshashila and Nalanda for instance, drew scholars from around the world—both students and teachers. Their memory is a cherished part of regional heritage. The idea of reviving Nalanda was mooted recently and taken forward by a group of governments from across Asia and including New Zealand.
The American and British experience have shown that international student and scholarly exchanges build bridges, create shared vocabularies and most important, personal relationships that survive political vicissitudes. If Asia’s states were to move in this direction, facilitating such exchanges within and across regional groups, the long-term impact on the region’s politics and development could be significant.