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Nalanda University is Bigger Than Us, Will Outlast Anyone: George Yeo

File Photo of Chancellor of Nalanda University George Yeo. (Reuters)

File Photo of Chancellor of Nalanda University George Yeo. (Reuters)

George Yeo who resigned as Chancellor of Nalanda University told News18 that he is still committed to its original mission and idea behind it will survive.

Eram Agha

New Delhi: George Yeo who resigned as Chancellor of Nalanda University told News18 that he is still committed to its original mission and idea behind it will survive.

The former foreign minister of Singapore resigned from the chancellorship on Friday citing a lack of autonomy in functioning.

“Nalanda is an idea whose time has come. It is bigger than (us) and will outlast anyone of us (sic),” Yeo told News18 in an email.

He added, “I remain completely committed to the original mission of Nalanda as supported by the leaders of the East Asian Summit in 2009 and as debated and unanimously agreed to by all political parties in India in both the Upper and Lower Houses when the act was passed in 2010.”

When asked about the dissolution of Nalanda Mentor’s Group, he said, “The sudden dissolution of the old Nalanda Board is bound up with Indian domestic politics which I do not wish to be embroiled in. I am not an Indian citizen and prefer not to make further comments beyond what is contained in my statement. On the Nalanda project, I have worked closely with leaders of different political parties in India including the BJP and Congress.”

Earlier, he released a statement saying he was resigning in protest against too much interference in the university that had hampered its autonomy. He cited the creation of a new Governing Board as the primary reason. He said he was "neither involved in the preparation nor consulted beforehand".

“When I was appointed Chancellor in July 2015, I was told that a new Governing Board would be formed under an amended Act, core aspects of which the Ministry of External Affairs sought my views on. The amended Act would have removed a major flaw in the current Act, which in essence offers Governing Board seats to East Asian Summit countries making the highest financial contributions in the last three years. This provision, which was never recommended by the Nalanda Mentor Group, would not have been a good way to constitute the Governing Board and was the reason the Government of India requested the Nalanda Mentor Group to continue functioning as the Governing Board for a number of years until the Act could be amended,” it said.

“For reasons not entirely clear to me, the Government of India has decided to form the new Governing Board with immediate effect before the Act is amended. This is of course entirely the prerogative of the Government of India," it added.


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