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### Fostering a Meaningful Exchange: Encouraging Dialogue Between US and Indian Universities

A fervent advocate of innovative pedagogy and cutting-edge research, Sunil Kumar, an Indian American academic, is dedicated to cultivating a thriving research environment with global benefits. Holding an engineering degree from NIT, Karnataka Surathkal, and a master’s from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Professor Kumar is actively exploring avenues for impactful research in diverse fields such as medicine, public health, biotechnology, and Liberal Arts. In a recent conversation with Education Times, he delves into topics like academic partnerships, AAU initiatives, and the safety measures for Indian students studying in the US.

Strategic Priorities for Tufts University in Internationalization and Academic Collaborations with Indian Universities

Tufts University has established enduring and successful research partnerships with Indian counterparts, particularly focusing on infectious diseases and public health research. One notable collaboration involves Dr. Ramnath Subbaraman, an infectious diseases expert and associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, who has been engaged in joint research with ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (ICMR-NIRT) since 2006, contributing significantly to enhancing tuberculosis care in India. Building upon these fruitful associations, Tufts aims to expand its engagements in India, with a specific emphasis on infectious diseases, public health, nutrition, materials, and the utilization of Artificial Intelligence. The university stands as an appealing choice for international students, with over 14% of its international student body hailing from India.

Enhancing Ties with India: AAU’s Strategic Approach

The Association of American Universities (AAU), comprising leading US research institutions, has initiated the AAU Task Force on Expanding US-India University Partnerships, co-chaired by Professor Sunil Kumar, to explore and bolster research and educational collaborations between the two nations. The task force’s efforts concentrate on identifying key areas for bilateral cooperation in research and education, leveraging existing programs as models for future partnerships, and devising strategies to advance mutual interests. The proposed establishment of a joint US-India Global Challenge Institute underscores a concerted bilateral endeavor supported by both governments to address significant societal and scientific challenges through collaborative initiatives.

Journey to Presidency and Equal Opportunities in US Academia

Reflecting on his academic journey, Professor Kumar acknowledges the transformative impact of his education in India, particularly at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), which paved the way for leadership roles at esteemed institutions like Stanford University Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and eventually, as the 14th president of Tufts University. He highlights the abundant opportunities available for international students and researchers in the US, emphasizing the enriching potential of global collaborations in advancing societal welfare and scientific progress.

Expanding Collaborations between Tufts University and Indian Institutions

Recent interactions between Tufts University delegations and key stakeholders in India, including the Department of Science and Technology (DST), IIT representatives, and IISc delegates, have laid the groundwork for fostering robust partnerships between the two countries. These engagements aim to facilitate the implementation of collaborative recommendations, with a focus on multidisciplinary projects addressing shared societal challenges. Through strategic dialogue and coordinated efforts, US institutions like Tufts University seek to deepen relationships with Indian counterparts, fostering innovation and knowledge exchange.

Ensuring Safety and Support for International Students

Addressing concerns regarding the safety of Indian students on US university campuses, Professor Kumar underscores the paramount importance of providing a secure learning environment. He expresses empathy for victims and their families affected by unfortunate incidents while emphasizing Tufts University’s commitment to ensuring campus safety. With a dedicated support network comprising law enforcement, student services, and mental health professionals, Tufts University strives to create a nurturing and secure environment for its diverse student body, including those from India.

Presidential Goals and Initiatives at Tufts University

As the 14th president of Tufts University, Professor Kumar has outlined five overarching priorities: nurturing responsible leaders, offering transformative educational experiences, expanding research endeavors, redefining student experiences, and fostering community engagement. These strategic objectives have garnered enthusiastic support from the Tufts community, setting the stage for collaborative efforts among students, faculty, staff, and alumni to realize these goals and contribute meaningfully to society.