Heidelberg Centre South Asia launched with grand celebration
HeidelbergUniversity – or Ruperto Carola, named after its founder – has launched its Heidelberg Centre South Asia at Max Mueller Bhavan here in Delhi on Tuesday 17th November with a grand opening ceremony followed by a garden reception.
The Ceremony was hosted by the branch office of HeidelbergUniversity’s South Asia Institute (SAI) and Cluster ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’, which has joined the SAI branch office in May this year.
Max Mueller Bhavan's entrance, dressed in the colors of Heidelberg University and South Asia Institute
Special guests from Germany included the University’s Rector Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Virendra Gupta, Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), with whom a Memorandum of Understanding on an endowed chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History was signed just a day before, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, Government of Baden-Wuerttemberg (Germany) Horst Tappeser.
Rector of Heidelberg University lighting the lamp at the inaugural ceremony.
More than 110 guests participated in the celebrations, among them representatives from academic partners such as Delhi University, JNU, Jamia Millia, CSDS, and many more, as well as the representatives from the German science organizations in Delhi, the German Embassy, and numerous Heidelberg Alumni, some of whom have traveled as far as from Kolkata, Lucknow and Jaipur to be part of this event and refresh their links with the Ruperto Carola.
An attentive audience in MMB's Siddharta Hall
HeidelbergUniversity has, as all speakers emphasized, always played a leading role in Indo-German academic cooperation and exchange. It has been represented through the SAI’s branch office for 47 years. The SAI was founded in 1962, and combines the classical cultural studies with the social sciences, economics and geography in an interdisciplinary approach, a setup which is unique in Germany and most of Europe. Its research and teaching focuses on the countries of South Asia, viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maledives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Prof. Dr. Eitel an Prof. Dr. Michaels interacting with an Alumna
Heidelberg’s involvement with India, as Prof. Dr. Michaels pointed out, taking the audience for a virtual walk to the physical manifestations of India in Heidelberg, has started much earlier, with outstanding scholars like Max Weber and Heinrich Zimmer who have lived and taught in Heidelberg, and have considerably shaped the perceptions of India in Germany and Europe.
In this sense, it has been emphasized by all speakers, the opening of the Heidelberg Centre South Asia is a logic continuation of the University’s long- and outstanding academic relations with India.
It is a commitment towards expansion and intensification of academic relations, and a means to defend Heidelberg’s leading role in cooperation with South Asian countries and improving its visibility, with more and more German and international universities discovering the potential and establishing their branch offices in the region.
Besides pooling information about activities and opportunities in all faculties and departments of Ruperto Carola, the establishment of a Postgraduate Study Centre is one of the major strategies to achieve this.