Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Indian Consul General promotes bilateral education initiatives

By Jenn Donovan, Michigan Tech Director of Public Relations
Posted on Tech Today Oct. 10, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

HOUGHTON -- Mukta D. Tomar, consul general at India's consulate in Chicago, addressed a public forum at Michigan Tech on Tuesday, Oct. 9. She talked about the need for more collaboration between US and Indian research centers and institutions of higher education.

Mukta Tomar, consul-general of India's consulate in Chicago. (Photos © and courtesy Jenn Donovan)

"We share many values," she said, "particularly the spirit of inquiry."

Some steps have already been taken. Tomar spoke of the first bilateral higher education conference, held in Washington, DC, last year. An Indian Support for Teacher Education initiative and an exchange program for junior faculty from India and the US are also under way. India study centers have been established at several leading US universities, and India is in the process of designating 14 of its universities as "innovation and research universities," each focusing on research and advanced education in a different field.

"Our focus is on making the entire higher education/innovation/research enterprise grow," Tomar stated.

There is also a need for more cooperation between industry and research institutions in India, she said.

"India is positioned to be the country with the third largest GDP (gross domestic product) in the world," she noted. "But we face many techno-economic challenges." However, she said, "there is an interesting new phenomenon, and that is the rise of investment by Indian companies in the US. Indian companies created 280,000 jobs in the US last year."

Mukta Tomar talks with Alex Mayer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech.

"Entrepreneurship and vision have made this possible," said Tomar. "Investment occurs when there is mutual benefit."

Tomar praised Michigan Tech for its own focus on research and on "keeping education relevant," pointing to Tech's revival of mining engineering and its multidisciplinary biofuels research as examples.

Tomar was scheduled to meet with President Glenn Mroz and other campus representatives today. Tonight she will help judge the Homecoming Court.

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