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An academic honour for me

June 7, 2012

Though I have been teaching and lecturing in India now for more than 15 years, I truly felt the excitement of being in a thorough academic environment only when I was at Harvard. Being a student on one side and a teaching assistant on the other gave me perspectives from both sides of the fence. It was at Harvard that I could fathom the dynamics of a classroom in an American setting. The year that I spent in the US then truly helped me hone and fine-tune my teaching and training skills. I had used that year to lecture at more than half a dozen universities and realized my own potential and passion for teaching. I was happy when I was appointed as Adjunct Professor at the University of Iowa and Cornell University some time back.

I am given to understand that being appointed to a named and endowed professorship in an Ivy League University like Cornell is truly prestigious. I felt happy and privileged to receive a formal appointment as the Frank H T Rhodes Visiting Professor of Cornell University a couple of days ago from Dr David Skorton, the President of the University. This visiting professorship will necessitate my presence for a week or two at the University for the next three-year duration of my appointment. This position is considered as a full-faculty position and should help keep my intellectual and academic pursuits alive and vibrant. I will be spending most of my time with the undergraduates there and plan on sharing my views on Globalization, Leadership, Managing and Governing NGOs, Poverty and Development, and Global Health. I am indeed looking forward to not only expanding on my own understanding of these subjects, but also using the opportunity to build a larger academic partnership in line with the spirit of universalism.

I am looking forward to this assignment and feel blessed and touched by the wishes and support expressed by all my friends and well wishers.


Categories: General
  1. Arun Karpur
    June 11, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Balu – It is my privilege and good fate to have known a human being of your nature and intellect. I feel proud that my university has chosen to recruit you in this way. Besides recruiting such a remarkable human being within you, I believe we are also recruiting the message of Swami Vivekananda of selfless service for restoring human dignity and pride. We are also recurring the enduring work for every member of SVYM who dedicatedly and passionately carry out the work of SVYM inspired by the message of Swami Vivekananda. You see my university and our students have a three in one deal here!
    Congratulations and I look forward to working with you Professor Balu!

  2. Govind Pai
    June 9, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Congrats from me too, Professor Balu. A prophet is honoured, save in his own country? Swami Vivekananda got his impetus first by being recognized in the World Congress of Religions. Wonder if we would have appreciated him otherwise, without this foreign stamp of approval? Reminded also of the recent Nobel laureate, ‘Venki’ Ramakrishnan. When he gave a lecture several years ago at the IIS (for much of the same work) the hall I think was almost empty. After the Nobel, he suddenly becomes a celebrity. Hopefully, you are not like the Rhodes scholars (thankfully with you it is Frank H T Rhodes and not Cecil Rhodes) we have, like Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who think it so prestigious that they make sure that their entitlements are much greater than those for the less prestigious Indians at the bottom of the heap.

  3. Swaminath G
    June 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Congrats Prof. Balu. It is truly prestigious. However the title Frank H T Rhodes Visiting Professor of Cornell University is too long. You have shown that accolades come not necessarily from armchair work at the University, but from work and experience gained from grassroots. I too feel privileged to have known a Frank H T Rhodes Visiting Professor of Cornell University! Could you let your hair down and enjoy this moment like all of us do? Can we party? Best wishes and congrats again.

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