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Fact Sheet: Enhancing U.S.-India Cooperation on Education and Development, November 2009

Published November 24, 2009

This fact sheet on education and development is an outcome of the November, 2009 visit between President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Singh.

In meeting the demands of a changing world economy, President Obama and Prime Minister Singh joined this week to recommit to cooperation on education and development. President Obama and Prime Minister Singh have both put education at the top of their national agendas. Today, they reaffirm that it is through cooperation on education and development that global challenges are met — from food security to public health, from climate change to workforce development and women’s empowerment.

Toward that end, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama agreed to strengthen U.S.-India cooperation on education and development by launching the following initiatives:

• The 21st Century demands a new brand of cooperation on Education. The two leaders committed to building an enhanced India-U.S. strategic partnership in education that seeks to advance solutions to the defining global challenges that their countries face. Expanding higher education cooperation through increased exchanges and greater academic collaboration, as well as enhancing the role of the private sector, are important elements to this strategic approach.

• Fulbright-Nehru Expansion: The United States and India enjoy a long tradition of educational exchanges, and are substantially increasing it. Since 1950, the bilateral U.S.-India Education Foundation established by the two governments has awarded more than 8,200 Fulbright, Fulbright-Nehru, and other scholarships to U.S. and Indian students in every field of human endeavor. The binational Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship Program will be expanded through a 45% increase in funding by each government to support increased exchanges of students and scholars in priority fields, bringing total support for these scholarships to $6.7 million this year.

• Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Launched: To meet the serious demands of the 21st Century, the newly announced Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative will provide $10 million in combined funding to increase university linkages and support junior faculty development between U.S. and Indian universities.

• Women’s Empowerment Dialogue (WED): President Obama and Prime Minister Singh have underscored the need for the full participation of women in all aspects of society in order for the global community to address the complex challenges we face in this new century. During the initial meeting of the Women’s Empowerment Dialogue in New Delhi, in addition to discussing areas of mutual collaboration and support, both sides agreed to explore the creation of a “Women’s Empowerment Fund,” that could potentially serve as a catalyst for foundations and civil society actors to advance WED priorities including women’s social and economic empowerment, capacity building for self-help groups, support for micro-credit, female literacy, political participation of women, education, violence against women, nutrition, healthcare, climate change, and gender budgeting.

• In support of these and other initiatives, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama agreed that the Governments of India and the United States will continue the U.S.-India Education Dialogue and the U.S.-India Women’s Empowerment Dialogue at the earliest opportunity in 2010.

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