Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: With more bilateral funding coming from both India and the United States, the size of the United States–India Educational Foundation (USIEF) has tripled in the past two years, its executive director Adam J. Grotsky, said here on Tuesday.

The signing of an educational agreement between India and the United States in 2008, which made India an equal financial contributor to the programme (the United States Education Foundation in India has since been renamed to give India the importance of an equal financial partner), and the recent meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with President Barack Obama that allotted more funds were the reasons for the tripling of the programme size, he said.

This year, as many as 155 Fulbright scholars from India, including 124 Fulbright–Nehru fellows are preparing to leave for the U.S. Of these, 123 gathered here for a three-day pre-departure orientation, organised by the USIEF.

New fields

Speaking after the day-long session, Mr. Grotsky said that there was a significant shift from Humanities and Social Sciences —the “mainstay fields of study” so far —to “new India fields” such as Public Health, science and technology, sustainable development and climate change, management and leadership development, agricultural sciences, education and energy.

The Fulbright, the flagship international educational exchange programme of the United States is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries. The USIEF has awarded and administered about 17,000 Fulbright and other grants to the U.S. and Indian scholars, professionals and students since its inception in 1950.

More In: TAMIL NADU | NATIONAL