Tony Blair Launches First Ever Partnership With Indian University
10 Dec 2012
Tony Blair, Founder of the Faith Foundation, was in New Delhi to launch a historic partnership with Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and to foster close co-operation with Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), paving the way for stronger interfaith and religious understanding in India.
The partnership is the start of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's Faith and Globalisation Initiative (FGI) network in India. Banaras Hindu University is the first Indian university to join the network which launched on the global stage in 2008 and includes 11 other influential global institutions, such as Yale University and Peking University.
FGI equips students with the skills they need to understand religion's presence and importance in the modern world, so they become successful leaders and policy makers of the future.
The formal agreement with Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and the possible future collaboration with Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), was honoured by Tony Blair in the presence of BHU Professor Priyankar Upadhyaya.
The programme will explore issues such as religion and conflict, religion and public life and human rights. FGI students will have the opportunity to connect directly with students across the globe. They will learn to understand how religion motivates society and the world and together learn to respect difference and not fear it.
Tony Blair said:
"I am delighted to be here in India, discussing how religion impacts the lives of millions in this country and what we can learn from it. India's rich and religiously-diverse population, living under its burgeoning democracy, has much to offer the rest of the world.
"I am especially pleased to announce that the Banaras Hindu University will be joining my Foundation's Faith and Globalisation Initiative. Along with Aligarh Muslim University, they will make a valuable and much-needed contribution to the international debate on how religion motivates society today and I know that we will gain much from their participation."
During this event in New Delhi, Tony Blair held an interactive discussion moderated by Karan Thapar of India Tonight, to discuss the impact of faith in India, a secular democracy.
Mr Blair explored the effect of globalisation on India's religious communities and the role of religion in public life. He discussed the lessons learned and the challenges experienced by India's secular democracy with the audience.
This event was the keynote session of a two-day conference covering religious pluralism in India's secular democracy. It included an opening address from Dr Karan Singh, former Education Minister, and speakers including Justice Rajinder Sachar, former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court; Suhasini Haidar, CNN-CBN; Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India; Saeed Naqvi, Senior Journalist, Indian Express; Gurcharan Das, Academic and Author.