OVERVIEW


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) is the nation’s first public university, and today one of the world’s top research universities, conducting nearly $1 billion in sponsored research each year. The College of Arts and Sciences is home to more than 16,000 undergraduates, including all first-year and second-year students, with more than 75 percent of students graduating with degrees from the College. It has the critical role of teaching and mentoring curious and ambitious students, preparing them to contribute meaningfully to North Carolina, the nation and the world.

As a leading public university and home to the largest Asia Studies Center in the southeastern U.S., Carolina is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of advancing knowledge of modern India across North Carolina, the United States and beyond. In partnership with leaders from North Carolina’s Indian-American community, UNC has embarked on a bold initiative to transform the model for Indian Studies. We are forging ahead in establishing the country’s leading program in Modern Indian Studies – increasing knowledge and understanding of the India of today, and its rapidly evolving future.

Resources

5 Asia-related academic departments and centers

Faculty

Faculty driven research on India

Programs

7 global programs in India


Our vision for Modern Indian Studies, if realized, will drive direct, measurable impact in North Carolina, the U.S., and beyond. The initiative will draw on the state’s strong education, research and innovation ecosystems to foster new linkages and partnerships between North Carolina and India, further strengthening important economic ties. By increasing knowledge and understanding of modern India, the initiative will help position North Carolina as the go-to state for leading Indian biomedical, biotechnology, information technology and other firms considering investments in the United States. In close collaboration with our community, academic, research and business partners, UNC’s Modern Indian Studies initiative will transform the study and understanding of contemporary India for generations of students, entrepreneurs and future leaders in our global economy.

Rationale


India and North Carolina are inextricably connected, with deep existing economic, business, community, and family linkages. Indian firms currently invest more than $15 billion annually in the United States, and have a significant economic impact in North Carolina – providing thousands of well-paying jobs, particularly in key technical and growth sectors. Top Indian information technology firms are investing heavily in North Carolina, for example: HCL has created more than 1,600 jobs in the state; and Infosys currently has brought more than 1,100 jobs to North Carolina, with plans to add 2,000 more in the next four years.

Despite India being the world’s largest democracy, with massive and rapidly expanding global economic and geopolitical influence, many Americans have only a cursory understanding of the diverse, dynamic India of today—and even less understanding of India’s trajectories as a global leader in the future. Many students and community members are unaware that India today is home to almost one-fifth of the world’s population, and that it’s moving rapidly towards becoming the world’s most populous nation. Many people are equally unaware that the United States is home to the largest number of Indians of any country outside of Asia. The critical importance of US-India ties and understanding has been further reinforced by current U.S. foreign policy directions.

Traditional Indian Studies programs are rooted in the country’s rich history, languages and cultures, yet fall far short in focus on modern India. Emerging approaches employed through business school models, however, tend to focus squarely on economic development and building cross-cultural capacities for working effectively with, or within, Indian firms. UNC is well-prepared to bridge these two models, drawing upon the strengths of each approach, while affording students and diverse communities the opportunity to develop a broader, deeper understanding of today’s India.

Building a Modern Indian Studies Program at UNC


Given the seismic shifts and expansion in U.S.-India geopolitical, economic and security cooperation over the past 20 years, it is essential that UNC students, faculty, and citizens of North Carolina have opportunities to learn about the relevance of modern India – to North Carolina, the U.S. and to future leaders around the world.

UNC is working closely with leaders from the Indian-American community to develop rich, diverse programming on critical issues impacting India’s rapid rise as a global economic power. Our vision is that students need not be Indian Studies majors to be exposed to—and impacted by—modern India during their time at Carolina. Rather, content will be infused across the undergraduate curriculum, from political science, sociology, history and the arts and humanities. We also envision opportunities for the broader community to access lectures, events, and other programs related to modern India.

Key Opportunities for Investment


  • Modern Indian Studies Endowment

    – Endowed and expendable resources to enrich the campus and broader community through inspiring guest speakers, community engagement, performing arts, film, music, and art exhibitions, and travel exchange fellowships to create and expand linkages with Indian universities and other institutional partners.

  • Instructional Support

    – faculty stipends for new course development, endowed professorships to recruit and retain Modern Indian Studies faculty, and fellowships to recruit visiting scholars.

  • Experiential Learning and Student Support

    – Student and graduate research fellowships, global internships, study abroad, and service work projects.

Carolina’s Modern Indian Studies initiative will span all three aspects of UNC’s mission to teach, research and serve, and it has earned the strong commitment of UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and other top university leaders. Its goals are tightly aligned with the forthcoming announcement of UNC’s Global Guarantee—a commitment to all undergraduate and graduate students that, if you come to Carolina, we guarantee you will receive a truly global education. Opportunities to learn about modern India must be a fundamental component of that experience.
Impact

Our vision for Modern Indian Studies, if realized, will drive direct, measurable impact in North Carolina, the U.S., and beyond. The initiative will draw on the state’s strong education, research and innovation ecosystems to foster new linkages and partnerships between North Carolina and India, further strengthening important economic ties. By increasing knowledge and understanding of modern India, the initiative will help position North Carolina as the go-to state for leading Indian biomedical, biotechnology, information technology and other firms considering investments in the United States. In close collaboration with our community, academic, research and business partners, UNC’s Modern Indian Studies initiative will transform the study and understanding of contemporary India


For more information about Modern Indian Studies at Carolina, please contact Raymond Farrow, Associate Provost for Global Affairs, at +1.919.962.2435.