Contact:	Suzanne Trimel					For immediate release
		(212) 854-5573					October 28, 1997

Visiting Professorship and Lecture Series In Indian Political Economy Established at Columbia

A visiting professorship and an annual lecture series in Indian political economy have been established at Columbia University through a fundraising campaign led by the Southern Asian Institute and prominent Indian-Americans in the New York metropolitan area. The first in the new series of distinguished lectures will be given by P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister of India, who is to speak Oct. 29 at 4 P.M. on "The Three Revolutions in India" at the School of International and Public Affairs. His predecessor, Dr. Manmohan Singh, who, together with Mr. Chidambaram and others initiated the immense economic reforms in India that began in 1991, also has agreed to lecture at Columbia at a future date. More than $1.5 million has been raised to date through donations by individuals and corporations both in the United States and India, and through a series of benefits, including a reading by the poet Javed Akhtar, the U.S. premiere of "In Custody" by Indian producer Ismail Merchant, and the U.S. premiere of "The Making of the Mahatma" by the noted Indian director Shyam Benegal. The campaign also has received support from other prominent members of the Indian and American business and arts community with large donations made by the State Bank of India, Air India, the American Express Foundation and The Starr Foundation. Another 700 donors have contributed. A final drive is under way to reach the $2.5 million target, which will allow the University to establish a permanent chair in Indian Political Economy at the School of International and Public Affairs. "The endowment will be a major contribution to maintaining Columbia in a leadership position in Indian studies in the United States," said Jagdish Bhagwati, the Arthur Lehman Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at Columbia, who is chairman of the Columbia University India Chair Program Committee. "This will enable greater numbers of students to be trained in Indian studies, helping to create ever more interest in India in the United States as the two nations increasingly draw together in friendship, trade and investment." Professor Bhagwati said the position of visiting professor will be filled in the spring 1998 semester by Asutosh Varshney, an associate professor at Harvard University and a leading scholar of India's political scene. He will teach a course on politics and economic change in India. At Columbia, the campaign has been spearheaded by Professors Padma Desai, Ainslie Embree, John Stratton Hawley, Philip Oldenburg, E. Valentine Daniel, current director of the Southern Asian Institute, and Barbara Gombach, an assistant dean of SIPA. Dr. Thomas Abraham and Dr. Rajendra Bansal have served as co-chairpersons. South Asian studies at Columbia is taught by a faculty core of 33 professors and 27 adjuncts and associate members offering 125 courses a year to approximately 1,500 students. Instruction is available in 10 languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Nepali, Punjabi, Tibetan and Urdu. 10.28.97 19,212