The 175-year-old Madras Christian College (MCC) founded by the Scottish missionaries has been fostering collaborations and academic partnerships with various institutes around the world. MCC has tie-ups with nearly 24 universities/colleges across the globe, wherein student/faculty exchange, internship, joint research and so on are taking place on a regular basis.

College principal Dr R. W. Alexander Jesudasan spends a fortnight every year at Liverpool at the invitation of the Liverpool Hope University to deliver lectures on a wide range of topics. He also takes time off to explore other universities in the U.K. and seek avenues for mutual cooperation with the MCC.

Oxford was on his agenda this year. He spent time at Somerville College, Kebel College, Pitt Rivers Museum, Bodleian Library, the Department of Zoology, Oxford University, Trinity College, Oxford Stem Cell Institute, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology and Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS) during his stay at Oxford. “In addition to learning and understanding from the visits to these institutions, I also explored possible areas of collaboration with MCC, wherever possible,” he says.

“During my interaction with Alice Prochaska, principal of Somerville College, I came to know that they are involved in intensive research in medical diagnosis of Parkinson’s, and marine studies.” Somerville College is inviting applications for the Indira Gandhi Fellowships for Indian students for the next academic year. The idea of sending Somerville College students to India for voluntary work during summer was also mooted.

A series of discussions with the professors of the Zoology department of that university has resulted in academic cooperation in the area of ecology and evolution through joint research with joint supervision. Not just that, Oxford has come up with capacity-building measures by offering post-doctoral fellowships to promising young scholars from India.

“The MCC will be organising a conference on ‘Mission Today: Challenges and opportunities’ and the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies supports the event with joint publications and by patronising the proceedings,” Dr. Jesudasan says.

India link

Somerville College, one of the highly reputed colleges at Oxford, has links with India dating back to 1889 when the college was just 10 years old. Ms. Cornellia Sorabji was not just Somerville’s first Indian woman but also the first Indian woman to study at any British university at that time.

The Indira Gandhi Centre for Sustainable Development, an initiative by the college, is aimed at shaping the next century of India’s growth by educating, connecting and supporting its future leaders in sustainable development and by forging lasting partnerships between Indian institutions and the University of Oxford. Great personalities such as Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi have had their training at Somerville.