On Friday, August 15, as Indian students and community celebrated India’s independence day from British colonial rule UMass Dartmouth announced that the Three Rs Foundation has pledged $1 million to support the university's Center for Indic Studies to initiate an innovative educational pedagogy rooted in India’s Vedic traditions. The donation will support the Center's mission to connect the university, region and Commonwealth to India's growing economy and world influence.
"Our university, our students, and our region are enriched by experiencing diverse cultures,'' Chancellor MacCormack said. "The history, art, music and religion of India hold important lessons for all of us as we strive to be better citizens of our own community and the world. On behalf of UMass Dartmouth, I thank the Three Rs Foundation for its exemplary generosity."
"We are excited to be part of this educational initiative that will allow UMass Dartmouth students to learn about India at a time when the information super highway and global economy are creating important East-West connections,'' said Pandit Ramadheen Ramsamooj, Director of Three Rs Foundation. "Among our highest priorities is to develop innovative teaching strategies, rooted in Indian culture."
The Three Rs Foundation is the lead sponsor of the Super Accelerated Learning Theory (SALT), a school model that emphasizes whole brain education.
Preceding the announcement, the Board of Governors of the Center for Indic Studies unanimously approved the Memorandum of Understanding with Three Rs Foundation. The Chairman of the Board, Mr. Rajiv Malhotra said that the accelerated learning movements across USA regard Georgi Lozanov, a Bulgarian educator and neuroscientist, as their founding father. What is seldom considered is that Lozanov had studied traditional Vedic learning systems in India in the 1960s under UNESCO programs, to figure out how Vedic pandits were able to memorize and impeccably recite tens of thousands of verses.
Malhtora said, “Today, the Three R's Foundation is reviving that learning system from its source, and creating a program which could be a breakthrough even beyond Lozanov's. This deserves all our encouragement and support.”
Mr. Braham Agarwal from Orlando, Fl, the General Secretary of Indic Governing Board agreed saying, “this is a good beginning for the Center.”
The Center for Indic Studies is planning several major academic and scholarly initiatives in the coming years. In its Board of Governors meeting, Dr. William Hogan suggested to include graduate education as part of the Three Rs Foundation’s agenda in Indic Studies. He agreed with the Board Chairman’s suggestion to distinguish Indic Studies from South Asian Studies, the latter being adopted by many US universities for general area study that handicaps them from getting into deeper understanding of Indic traditions and values.
"An endowment of this size to bridge ancient civilization of India to the most modern civilization of United States through education is a most powerful statement to society,'' said Dr. Bal Ram Singh, director of the Center of Indic Studies. "I am thrilled at this opportunity and am looking forward to facilitating the engagement of my colleagues in this educational mission."
With more than one billion people, India represents over 15 percent of the world's population. Only China has a larger population. India's median age is 25, one of the youngest among large economies. India and the United States are the two largest democracies in the world.
With an average GDP growth of 7 percent over the last decade, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is leveraging its large number of well-educated and English-speaking people to become a major exporter of software services and software workers.
According the U.S. Census Bureau India also now ranks 4th in Massachusetts as a nation of origin of foreign born residents in 2006 with 40,000 residents of Massachusetts. In 2000, India ranked 9th, and in 1990 did not rank in the top 10. India is the top country of origin for international students on the UMass Dartmouth campus. This fall there will be approximately 150 students from India on the campus.
The Center for Indic Studies was established in 2001 to disseminate understanding of issues relating to the arts, philosophy, culture, societal values, and customs of India. For more information, visit www.umassd.edu/indic.