President C. L. Max Nikias led a group of USC faculty, deans and trustees to Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore this week, marking the first time a USC president has visited India with an official delegation.
Nikias, who also met with the Indian prime minister Feb. 24, hopes the trip will help USC build relationships with civic, academic and corporate leaders.
The trip, which began Sunday, will last 10 days, and will consist of meetings, receptions, presentations and the opening of USC offices in Bangalore and Mumbai.
“Our delegation’s visit to India represents USC’s commitment to being one of the first truly global universities and having an active presence in one of the world’s most dynamic, emerging societies,” Nikias wrote in an e-mail. “We already have extensive ties to India and we feel we’re in an excellent position to strengthen and broaden those ties.”
Nikias said he hopes expanding partnerships with India will be beneficial not only to USC, but also to the rest of the country.
“Working with them to address various economic, medical, cultural and environmental issues can help us influence how societies around the planet can tackle such challenges in the coming years,” Nikias wrote. “And in this globalized era, engagement with India also offers a tremendous educational advantage to USC’s students, both domestic and international.”
The opening of USC offices in Bangalore and Mumbai will allow for enhanced student recruiting, alumni relationship, fundraising and faculty engagement. USC also has offices in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei and Mexico City.
Arvin Varma, adviser of the Association of Indian Students, said this is a historic moment and that it shows that USC’s administration is concerned with the needs of Indian students.
“It will be great for [Nikias] to actually experience Indian culture,” Varma said. “It will help him better relate with Indian student needs and what USC can do to make them more comfortable.”
Aseem Monga, a freshman of Indian descent majoring in computer science, said he has seen USC’s increasing presence in India.
“The major reason [Nikias] went to India is because he wants to get more Indian students to come to USC,” Monga said. “We’re seeing more USC advertisements in Indian newspapers.”