India and United States are working together to solve the world's toughest challenges through people-to-people exchange programs said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan.
Ryan asserted that during her last visit to India she learnt that how cultural and educational exchange programs are crucial to the U.S.-India relationship which has blossomed immensely over the past few years.
"India is one of the top study abroad destinations for Americans outside of Europe, and this year alone, more than 130,000 Indian students are in the United States, studying at our best colleges and universities," Diplomacy India.com quoted Ryan, as saying.
"More than 150 American high-school students have studied Hindi in India through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth. And, with approximately 16,000 U.S. Department of State exchange program alumni, India has one of the largest and most diverse exchange alumni portfolios in the world,"she added.
Elucidating her observations from her last visit Ryan said that in an interaction with students of Mumbai's Sophia College, she realised that understanding of the current challenges between the two nations is increasing.
"Last week I spent time with many of these emerging leaders, from meeting with students at Mumbai's Sophia College to discuss women's empowerment to touring the Batashewala Mughal Tomb Complex with a group of ACCESS students. It is clear that together we are tackling global challenges and improving understanding," she said.
Ryan further said that India has grown to have the largest faculty in the Fulbright program in the world in the Fulbright-Nehru program, which was first created in 1950.
"The list of ways our two countries learn from each other through exchanges goes on and on. In 2014, our two nations launched a new U.S.-India Climate Fellowship Program to build long-term capacity to address climate change related issues in both countries by offering exchange programs for climate change scholars," she said.
"The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders exchange supports Indian undergraduate students focusing on New Media, Environment and Women's Leadership issues to attend programs hosted by American colleges during their summer break. And, the Community College Initiatives Program enables youth from underserved communities to study at an American community college for a year to develop professional skills," she added.
Quoting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who said, 'our governments are now engaged on more substantive issues in more vital areas than at any time in the history of this relationship,' Ryan said, "I believe that exchanges play a role in this accomplishment. While in the United States, students and professionals share their culture with Americans, and this opens doors for us to work together to solve the world's toughest problems."
Ryan further added that the increased cooperation amid officials to create ties has improved engagement in education, in climate change policy, trade and investment, and in diplomacy.
"People to people connections grow to city to city engagements, then state to state engagement - all of which leads to new partnerships in business and the private sector and enhance our government to government engagement," she said.
"Our collaboration through exchanges are a shining example of the great good that can happen when government, the private sector, the academic and higher education sector, and the tens of thousands of individuals work together. We are building a better tomorrow, and it often starts with a handshake and a conversation," she added.
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