Saturday, November 24, 2007

PM seeks European support for Nalanda university

SINGAPORE — Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday sought European support for a proposed internationally-backed university at Nalanda, the ancient Buddhist site of learning in India.

Speaking at an exhibition on ‘The Nalanda Trail’ here, the prime minister said the university would focus on becoming a centre for excellence for research and teaching with an emphasis on postgraduate studies.

"It will have departments for philosophy and Buddhist studies, regional history, business and management studies, international relations and peace studies and study of languages," he said.

"It will be established as an international university through an international treaty."

Welcoming leaders of the European Union to the exhibition, the prime minister sought support from the grouping "in making the initiative on Nalanda a success".

The exhibition, which unveils the spread of Buddhism from India to China and Southeast Asia and the role played by Nalanda in Bihar, opened on November 2 at the Asian Civilisations Museum. It ends on March 23 next year.

The ancient university at Nalanda drew students from all over the world for more than 700 years from the fifth century onwards. At its peak the campus had dormitories for over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers, from Turkey and Persia to Indonesia, China and Japan.

By special permission of the Indian government, the exhibition features bone relics from the only known archaeological find that can be linked directly to Buddha.

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