Remarks of President Robert J. Zimmer at announcement of Center in Delhi

I would like to thank members of the news media and alumni and friends of the University of Chicago for joining us here today. This is an important day for the University of Chicago. We believe it is also a promising day for scholars and students in India, across South Asia, and around the world who want to work together in this dynamic region and benefit from one another’s ideas.

From its inception in 1890 to the present day, the University of Chicago has created an environment where scholars come together to pursue questions of great importance; where research takes place in an unfettered and multidisciplinary environment; and where students are educated in an environment of innovation and open and rigorous inquiry.

Central to the University of Chicago’s distinctive culture has been our focus on collaboration. Scholars throughout the University’s history have addressed the greatest challenges of their times together with scholars from other fields and other places. Our faculty and students work in many countries around the world, and students and scholars from around the world are an important part of our campus life in Chicago. For more than a century, India has been an important partner and location for those collaborations.

As the questions these scholars seek to answer grow in complexity and become more global in nature, the University has explored new ways to support their work around the world. In 2010 a faculty committee highlighted the importance of our collaborations in India, and recommended establishing a platform here that would enhance ongoing work and promote new partnerships. So it is with great pleasure today that I announce the creation of the University of Chicago Center in Delhi, which will open in March 2014 in Connaught Place.

The Center will expand opportunities for research, education, and collaboration in India and South Asia across the breadth of the University’s activities. It will support students and scholars at all levels, from undergraduates to Nobel laureates. Our faculty and students will collaborate with Indian and South Asian scholars and institutions to host conferences at the Center on a wide array of subjects. It will be a place to form and strengthen academic partnerships, to infuse research with global perspectives, and to participate in thought-provoking student programs and internships. For our alumni and parents who live, work, or travel in the region, the Center will provide a location for social, professional, and educational opportunities and build on a lasting bond with the University.

The Center in Delhi reflects the importance the University places on global engagement and our commitment in India and South Asia particularly. The Center will support the work of our faculty, provide a platform for collaboration and opportunities for Indian scholars, prepare our students with a much greater understanding of India, South Asia, and global issues, and contribute to intellectual discourse in and with India. Our goal is to create an intellectual destination in Delhi where scholars and students from the United States, India, and around the world can benefit from the free exchange of ideas.

Delhi joins the University’s Center in Beijing, opened in 2010, and the Center in Paris, opened in 2004, in bringing together researchers and students to collaborate across the academic spectrum. Building on and expanding the University’s presence in China, work is also underway on a Center in Hong Kong that will house a Booth School Executive MBA program as well as other University programs. Additionally, the Booth School operates campuses in London and Singapore. The University is also home to the Oriental Institute’s “Chicago House” in Luxor, Egypt, and dozens of other programs and initiatives around the world.

We are fortunate to be joined here today by three eminent scholars who will provide more information on plans for Center, as well as detailing examples of collaborations already underway, and reflecting on the ways in which this Center will benefit their work.