'The UB community is delighted to celebrate the establishment of a formal exchange programme with Banaras Hindu University, a partnership that will enhance our university's ongoing internationalisation and provide an outstanding partner in a critically important region of India,' Simpson said at the signing ceremony.
'India's importance on the world stage -- both as an economic and as a strategic power -- is growing very rapidly, and its global influence will only continue to increase in the years ahead,' he said.
Simpson noted that UB is increasingly active in India, and recently launched a dual master's degree programme with Amrita University. Moreover, India sends more international students to UB than any other country. Some 1,000 Indian nationals currently are enrolled at UB and contribute in many ways to the university.
'I welcome this partnership between our two institutions, as it will be mutually beneficial in terms of joint research, education and other collaborative activities,' Singh said. 'We look forward to promoting and supporting our exchange programme and to receiving visiting faculty and students from UB,' he said.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 27,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programmes. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
Like UB, BHU is a large comprehensive research university, with more than 20,000 students in 14 faculties and 124 departments. The largest residential university in Asia, BHU has more than 12,000 students living on its campus.
It is anticipated that BHU and UB will exchange both faculty and students, and develop joint research activities in a number of fields of mutual interest. UB expects to develop a study abroad programme at BHU, which will be particularly attractive to UB students interested in studying Indian languages, history, culture and religion.
'We are delighted to formalize our relationship with Banaras Hindu University, a truly world-class institution,' noted Stephen C Dunnett, UB vice provost for international education. 'We look forward to working with Vice-Chancellor Singh and his colleagues to develop a range of collaborative activities of mutual benefit to our universities.'
During his visit, Professor Singh toured UB's three campuses and met with senior administrators and faculty about potential cooperative activities between UB and BHU in a variety of areas.
He also met with a number of BHU alumni who are affiliated with UB, including Satish K Tripathi, provost and executive vice-president for academic affairs, who earned baccalaureate and master's degrees at BHU and who invited him to visit UB.
The affiliation with BHU grew out of initial contacts made by Tripathi and Dunnett during their visit to the BHU campus in January 2006. It was following the visit that Professor Singh was formally invited to visit UB.