Nandan and Rohini Nilekani have announced a generous gift of Rs. 50 crore ($ 11 million) to the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) to fund the establishment of its School of Environment and Sustainability. They issued a joint statement, saying that “IIHS is at the convergence of both our interests in education, urbanisation and sustainability. We are excited about contributing to an institution which will help people engage with new challenges in an innovative and interdisciplinary manner.”
This is one of the largest gifts in India’s history for a new School at a prospective national University.
The IIHS Board and its Director, Aromar Revi, expressed their deep appreciation of this gift, given in the spirit of creating an independent globally connected knowledge institution, supported by a range of stakeholders that reflect the richness and diversity of India and the contemporary world. Aromar said, “India is returning to a tradition of philanthropy to build independent national institutions for the common good. Rohini and Nandan Nilekani’s support to IIHS’s School of Environment and Sustainability is in the spirit that created some of India’s greatest Universities almost a century ago. We hope we can match up to this aspiration.”
This is a major step in a Rs. 300 crore ($ 67 million) IIHS resource mobilisation campaign to fund five interdisciplinary Schools, one of South Asia’s largest reference and digital libraries and other facilities for its Bangalore campus. An additional Rs. 100 crore ($ 22 million) will be raised for chair professorships.
The IIHS is nurtured and led by a group of eminent Indians who include: Xerxes Desai, Jamshyd Godrej, Cyrus Guzder, Renana Jhabvala, Vijay Kelkar, Keshub Mahindra, Kishore Mariwala, Rahul Mehrotra, Bansi Mehta, Rakesh Mohan, Nandan Nilekani, Nasser Munjee, Deepak Parekh, Shirish Patel and Deepak Satwalekar.
Aromar Revi, an international development consultant, researcher and academic is the first Director of IIHS.
The IIHS (www.iihs.co.in) is a national educational institution committed to the equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlements. It is a prospective National University for Innovation focused on the multiple challenges and opportunities of urbanisation.
The proposed IIHS University aims to be a globally ranked, practice and innovation-oriented knowledge institution that will seek to bridge the excellence, scale and inclusion divide. Organised around five interdisciplinary schools, it will host multiple programmes of campus-based education and research, practical training for working professionals, distance and blended learning as well as advisory services. It will have a strong interdisciplinary orientation, incorporating both theory and practice.
Its Masters and Undergraduate programmes in “urban practice” will provide a deep understanding of a wide range of themes including economic development, public policy and governance, human development, urban and infrastructure planning, transportation, land and housing, environment and sustainability, public safety and disaster management. A global faculty, consisting of experts from India as well as abroad, will create and educate a new profession of urban practitioners.
The School of Environment and Sustainability will be part of the IIHS mother campus located on a 54 acre site in Kengeri, south-west Bangalore. Work on planning the first phase of the 0.45 million square feet campus has started. It will be executed in a phased manner over the next 5 to 7 years. The campus is expected to set global standards for efficient, economic and sustainable design, operations and maintenance. It will aggregate and demonstrate the talents of India’s leading designers, construction agencies and artisans.