Confederation of Indian Industry

New Delhi, India
September 2, 2011


Thank you, Mr. Rajendan, for that very gracious introduction. I also want to convey my sincere thanks to all of you for being here this afternoon.

On behalf of the entire Indiana University delegation with me today—and everyone across the IU community—let me say how much we appreciate the opportunity to meet with the leaders of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

This is my first visit to India since 1954 when I was a young child, and the first official visit to this country by a sitting Indiana University president in at least 40 years. That is not to say, however, that we are new to your country. We have, over the years, developed strong relationships with some of the leading universities and other institutions in India, and we are expanding during this visit.

Confederation of Indiana Industry

The work of organizations such as CII is vital to the economic health of India and, indeed, crucial to the ongoing relations between our two countries. CII has played a leadership role in India for more than a century and especially in the opening of the Indian economy in 1991. You should all be very proud of your efforts.

You have been instrumental in creating one of the fastest-growing and most vibrant economies in the world. One needs to look no farther than how quickly India resumed its growth trajectory after the most recent global recession to witness the resiliency and dynamism of the Indian economy today.

Partnership with Indiana University

As evidenced by the signing ceremony you just witnessed, Indiana University is committed to being a partner with both the Indian business community and the country’s excellent educational institutions.

For Indiana University, this agreement is groundbreaking in a number of ways. While we have several academic partnerships with universities around the world, our agreement with CII aligns our strengths as a university squarely with the business needs of your country.

Through participation in CII’s University-Industry Congress, through R&D missions and technology demonstrations, by providing need-based training for Indian institutes, and through broad business-academic collaboration in areas of joint expertise such as life sciences and technology, Indiana University hopes to build a meaningful relationship with CII that will contribute to the continued development of the Indian economy.

At the same time, this partnership will almost certainly benefit Indiana University and the state of Indiana. It will raise the university’s profile in the world’s largest democracy, it will open potential new markets for Indiana University research and technology programs, and it will strengthen the ties between Indian businesses and the state of Indiana, which offers a business climate that is conducive to foreign investment. 

As you can see, we are very pleased to be collaborating with the CII, and I have high hopes for our new partnership.

Indiana University

Much the same can be said about our entire trip to India. Our visit to India is an example of the importance we place on building bridges between Indiana University and our friends in the business sector and the political arena, as well as our colleagues in the educational world. 

Before I go any farther, however, I would like to tell you a little about Indiana University to give you an idea of the scope of our work and to provide some context for our visit. 

The school year has just begun for us, and we expect to have record enrollment of nearly 110,000 students across our eight campuses. This makes us one of the five largest universities in the United States. At the same time, our freshman class this year is also the academically strongest in recent history. 

We attract students from every corner of our home state, as well as from 49 of the 50 states in the U.S., and 165 countries around the world.1 Approximately 7,000 of our students come from outside the United States, ranking us 15th in the nation in this regard.

Our student body includes more than 800 students from India, which has for several years had the third-highest concentration of international students at IU, behind China and South Korea. Our ties to India run deep, as our first Indian student graduated in 1930.

We are home to the second-largest medical school in the United States, as well as nationally ranked schools of business, environmental and public affairs, education, law, and music, to name a few.

As a major research institution, our faculty and students are engaged in cutting-edge work in a wide range of disciplines from life sciences to information technology to the humanities and social sciences, and much more. We have an outstanding and accomplished faculty, including more than 200 from India.

Eight Nobel Prize winners have ties to IU, including Lin Ostrom who in 2009 became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for economics. In fact, when a faculty member from Purdue won the Nobel Prize last year, Indiana joined Massachusetts—specifically Harvard and MIT—as the only two states in the United States to have Nobel laureates in consecutive years. 

Just last week we publicly announced that our research spending in the most recent year exceeded $500 million for the first time in our history. Those research efforts translated into a total economic impact in the state of more than $1 billion last fiscal year. 

We have one of the broadest portfolios of internationally focused programs of any school in the Unites States. IU offers courses in approximately 80 foreign languages and is a national leader in education and research related to areas of strategic importance to the United States, such as central Asia and the Middle East. We also have 10 special, federally funded, centers in international studies, equal to the highest number of any university in the country.

Study Abroad

Of course, it is not enough to simply teach our students foreign languages or to help them learn about different cultures in the classroom. We believe study abroad is a critical part of the best education that can be provided, and in many fields it is almost expected today. It has evolved from a luxury two or three decades ago, to virtually an essential college experience, especially for those students who have aspirations of an internationally focused career. 

Indiana University students have access to more than 350 study abroad programs in 60 countries, including India. In the 2009-2010 school year, nearly 3,000 IU students studied outside the U.S. in programs ranging in length from a few weeks to an entire academic year. On our Bloomington campus, nearly 25 percent of all our undergraduate students graduated last year having participated in at least some form of international study abroad experience during their years at IU. This ranks us 11th in the United States.2

Up until now, only a small percentage of our students who are engaged in overseas study have chosen to come to India. But we think this will change with the expansion of our partnerships with leading Indian universities, such as the ones we are establishing on this visit.

Indiana Universitys Aspirations

As you can tell, I am extremely proud of our students and faculty. But we aspire to be more.

We aspire to attract the very best students in the world. And once we have them, we must provide the tools they need to succeed in their chosen fields on what has become an increasingly global stage. We aspire to cultivate a world-class faculty by drawing the best and brightest to our campuses with the opportunity to perform important research in their chosen field and to teach gifted students. We aspire to do even more to strengthen our communities and serve as an engine of economic growth for the state of Indiana by aligning many of the programs we provide even more closely to the needs of business. 

To do that, we need to further raise the profile of Indiana University internationally by partnering with excellent universities and organizations that share our strengths and our goals.

Our Visit: Business Highlights

We also need to continue to work closely with business. 

In the past week, we have visited the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and traveled to Bangalore to meet with leaders of the CISCO R&D Center. We also spent time at Infosys talking about ways to provide our students with internship opportunities at that world renowned company and were honored to have dinner with the governor of Karnataka state. 

Since our arrival in New Delhi yesterday, we have signed partnership agreements between our highly ranked IU Kelley School of Business and the Indian Institutes of Management at Lucknow and Rohtak, visited Jawaharlal Nehru University, and met yesterday with the minister of Human Resources, Communication and IT, the honorable Shri Kapil Sibal. 

And, we have a very busy day today. We have already met with Dr. Narendra Jadhav, a member of the India Planning Commission and who is, incidently, also an alumnus of Indiana University. Then later today we will have the honor of meeting with the Vice President of India, the Honorable Hamid Ansari. 

Tonight we open a conference on globalization, professional education, and knowledge development being co-hosted by Indiana University and OP Jindal Global University. This conference is evidence of the growing relationship between our two universities. It will include the signing of a partnership agreement between Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, considered one of the top two schools of its kind in the U.S., and OP Jindal University. 

It also provides an example of what Indiana University has to offer the Indian business and academic communities. Three of our most highly ranked schools—the Kelley School of Business, the Maurer School of Law, and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs—will be represented at the conference. 

We conclude our visit with a trip to Hyderabad, which is a sister city to Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana. Our stop in Hyderabad builds on separate visits early this year by the state of Indiana’s top economic development official and executives from the Indiana University Health system, the largest health care provider in Indiana and one of the largest in the United States. 

While there, we will sign a partnership agreement with the University of Hyderabad and discuss potential collaborations on bio-medical, science, and business initiatives. We also will meet with the mayor of the city, Banda Karthika Reddy, and continue discussions with The Apollo Hospitals Group around possible joint programs and training opportunities.

Value of Academic-Business Partnerships

These types of discussions and collaborations are important both for universities such as ours and for the economic well being of any nation. 

Business is the engine that powers a country, providing essential goods and services just as education empowers its people with knowledge, skills and the arts of citizenship.

You also generate the income that allows individuals to achieve a standard of living that provides for the basic necessities of life, and that, in a high-functioning society, lays the foundation for improving the lives of future generations. It is a significant responsibility, and not one that you bear alone. 

To carry my analogy further, I would argue that educators—particularly those in higher education—play a critical role as providers of well educated and skilled people who power the engine of business. We have the responsibility of continuing to provide business with well-educated young people to fuel your growth. Increasingly, that responsibility requires that our graduates obtain an understanding of global markets, issues, and societies well beyond what previous generations possessed when leaving our campuses. 

Our research—whether in business practices, sciences, technology or the humanities—is the fuel of innovation that often leads to new products or breathtaking advances in knowledge that eventually become commercial technologies. 

Occasionally, however, universities are accused of pursuing an agenda that is divorced from the needs of the business community. But the pursuit of basic research, of what is known as “curiosity-driven research,” has time and again proven to lead to monumental breakthroughs that have transformed society. 

Indiana University, for example, was born out of the finest traditions of a liberal arts education, and we are proud of the outstanding scholars and researchers we produce across a myriad of disciplines. To fully leverage the tremendous power that universities have to educate, train, and influence future generations of leaders, however, we must continue to work at understanding the needs of the industries that serve our communities and support our citizens. 

For Indiana University that means being a leader in business education, training future generations of doctors and developing expertise in public affairs and environmental sciences. It also means building a world-class information technology school and devoting the resources necessary to train our students in languages and cultures that few other universities offer. 

We do not do these things in a vacuum, however. We work closely with our colleagues in the business world to remain abreast of their needs, especially those businesses closest to our home. It is no accident, then, that we produce some of the best medical and chemistry graduates in the United States, in a state that is home to one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. 

Similarly, our Kelley School of Business is attuned to the demands of business in our region, whether it is the need for first-rate MBA students at Fortune 500 companies or the demand for essential skills to build the strong entrepreneurial base necessary to create the next generation of business innovation. Likewise, in the globally interdependent world in which we live today, we simply must do more to reach across borders to better understand diverse business cultures. 

Our trip to India is just one step in what we hope will be a long and mutually beneficial journey of collaboration with the academic and business communities in your great country.

Indiana Business Climate

I would be in serious trouble with our friends in business and government back home if I left you today without saying a few words about the outstanding business climate in the state of Indiana. 

I am sure you are all aware of the economic and financial difficulties facing the United States, as well as many other parts of the world today. At a time when many states are running large budget deficits and being forced to make significant cuts to infrastructure, education, and other services, Indiana is on solid financial footing with a budget surplus in excess of $1 billion. 

Indiana is home to a number of global companies, including diesel engine maker Cummins and pharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly, both of which do significant business in India. Indiana also is home to Cook Medical, one of the largest privately owned medical device makers in the country, and Zimmer Holdings, a leading developer of orthopedic devices. In addition, our home state is a leader in traditional manufacturing fields such as automotive-related industries, and a burgeoning player in the growth areas of tomorrow such as the life sciences and health informatics, driven largely by work being done at Indiana and Purdue Universities. 

Indiana supports a growing Indian community, especially in the capital of Indianapolis and in the nearby city of Columbus, which is home to Cummins. Indian businesses will find the state a welcoming place for its ex-patriot employees as well home to a strong local labor force. With a low cost of living, significant government support for business, well-developed infrastructure, and its central location within the U.S., Indiana is an outstanding place for businesses looking to expand. 

And, while we do not officially handle economic development duties for the state of Indiana, Indiana University stands willing and able to help Indian businesses prosper—both here and in our home state—by partnering with you to promote new technologies, develop employees, strengthen business processes, and more.   


In preparing for my visit here today, I did some reading on CII’s University-Industry Congress and came across the following passage, which struck me as particularly appropriate for our gathering today. 

“Excellence in higher education is the main pillar of any society and plays an important role in a nation’s development. Good quality human resource, research, and connectivity are important components for this growth.” 

I could not agree more. And I am very pleased that a leading business group such as CII is speaking in a strong and clear voice for the value of an outstanding system of higher education. We are equally proud to be CII’s newest partner. On behalf of the entire university, I look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between our great institutions. 

Thank you for your time and attention today.

Source Notes

  1. 2010-2011 school year. Source: University Institutional Research and Reporting
  2. IU Office of Overseas Study data