Getting students from everywhere feels like 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam': Sushma Swaraj

Observing that the foreign students take back "a bit of India" with them and work as the goodwill ambassadors of India, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said students, Indian or foreign, are all treated as "our own students" like in Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam.

Dr. Kaba Urgessa Dinssa from Ethiopia being confered the ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle and Director General Riva Ganguly Das at a ceremony in C.B. Muthamma Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. Photo courtesy: ICCR
Dr. Kaba Urgessa Dinssa from Ethiopia being confered the ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle and Director General Riva Ganguly Das at a ceremony in C.B. Muthamma Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. Photo courtesy: ICCR

"They take back a bit of India with them and work as the goodwill ambassadors of India. For India the whole world is one family and we nurture all our students – Indian or foreign – as our own students, with the spirit of ‘ Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ - the World is One Family. This is one of the unique aspects of studying in India," Swaraj said.

Giving away 'Distinguished Alumni' awards to Indian and foreign students of Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) here, the minister said India embraces students from all over the world as "our family."

"It is also a fact to be recognized that no task is difficult when there is a will and initiative to move ahead in life, which has been ably demonstrated by these awardees," the Minister said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle and Director General Riva Ganguly Das with ICCR Distinguished Alumni awardees at the felicitation ceremony in C.B. Muthamma Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. Photo courtesy: ICCR
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle and Director General Riva Ganguly Das with ICCR Distinguished Alumni awardees at the felicitation ceremony in C.B. Muthamma Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. Photo courtesy: ICCR

"They have imbibed the essence of what has been said in: Ko Ati bharah smarthnam kim durram vyavsayinam; Ko videsh suvidyanam  keh prah priye vadinam. [No task is impossible for a competent person, No place is distant for a business-person, No land is foreign for educated persons, No one is stranger for persons with sweet tongue]," Swaraj said, reciting a shloka from scriptures."I would also like to congratulate all the distinguished awardees for their accomplishments, their extraordinary contributions in promoting Indian culture, and above all, strengthening bilateral relations between their countries and India. It is indeed a pleasure for me to have bestowed this award to these distinguished personalities since the first year of its institution. I also want to congratulate ICCR for fulfilling my wish to develop A2A (Admissions to Alumni) scholarship portal, that creates the database of the ICCR students passing each year and enables maintaining contacts with its alumni, even when they leave the country after completion of their courses. We launched this portal last year in January 2018," the minister informed the audience.

"These awardees are examples of adapting well and emerging out as success stories for many more aspiring foreign students wishing to study in India," the minister said, adding, "Education in India, through these scholarships is a humble contribution of India to capacity building in your countries."

"Scholarship programme for foreign students has been one of the original mandates of ICCR since its inception. Subsequently, many schemes were launched by the MEA, which are also being administered by ICCR. Today there are about 6000 foreign students studying in India under various scholarship schemes of ICCR and MEA. I am pleased to inform that the number of foreign students is increasing with every passing year," she said, exuding satisfaction.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is one of the most prestigious Awards given to the ICCR Alumni who have made a significant mark in their fields of expertise in their countries. Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) instituted this Award in 2015. Since then 13 ICCR alumni have got this award. This year five more alumni from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Portugal and Vietnam got this award.

Ajmal Hameed Abdulrahimzai from Afghanistan being confered the ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle and Director General Riva Ganguly Das at a ceremony in C.B. Muthamma Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. Photo courtesy: ICCR
Ajmal Hameed Abdulrahimzai from Afghanistan being confered the ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle and Director General Riva Ganguly Das at a ceremony in C.B. Muthamma Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. Photo courtesy: ICCR

Swaraj said the quest for knowledge has always been a fundamental of Indian culture and civilization. Since time immemorial, India has quenched the thirst for knowledge of inquisitive learners from all over the world.

With institutions like Nalanda, Taksh shila and Vikramshila, India had a well developed formal system of education from as early as 5th Century BC. These institutions formed the foundation for many other institutions in modern India and overseas as well, she said.

"India today has emerged as an educational hub, for students from all over the world. India has best of the institutions like IITs, IIMs, NITs and universities offering niche courses in space and biotechnology, agriculture science, solar energy management, applied courses as hospitality management, film and textile technologies," Swaraj said.

Lyonpo Damcho Dorji from Bhutan being confered the ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle and Director General Riva Ganguly Das at a ceremony in C.B. Muthamma Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. Photo courtesy: ICCR
Lyonpo Damcho Dorji from Bhutan being confered the ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhle and Director General Riva Ganguly Das at a ceremony in C.B. Muthamma Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. Photo courtesy: ICCR

"India also offers unique learning experience through courses in performing and visual arts under the Guru-Shishya traditions that it has preserved over centuries. We welcome more and more students to study in India. When foreign students come to India, they come as foreigners. But over time, they become our family," Swaraj added.

Author
Pradeep Rana
Pradeep Rana – Senior Correspondent

Pradeep Rana has worked as a journalist with news ​agencies UNI and PTI, newspapers Indian Express and The Times Of India, and television channel NHK as South Asia Correspondent. He has also worked as Media Analyst at US Embassy, and edited several magazines and a medical handbook.

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