Friday, December 14, 2007

IITB designated as “Knowledge Heritage Centre”

The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) was designated a “Knowledge Heritage Center” by UNESCO,s New Delhi Office on the occasion of IITB’s Golden Jubilee.

IITB was originally established with the cooperation and participation of UNESCO, and over the past 50 years it has grown to be an institution not only of national but of international importance. It is a leader in higher education, research and training in India, Asia, and indeed worldwide.

The historical role of UNESCO in helping to create IITB is an indication of the role that it has played in the past, and that it can play in the future.

Editorial Comment: I was very impressed by Media Lab Asia, a collaboration between MIT and IITB, and was sad when it failed to find funding to continue. I also had the opportunity to visit IITB with a team from the World Bank and the Development Gateway. IITB was a member of the Development Gateway's Research and Training network. I saw demonstrations of many fine projects that were implemented by IITB in its role as an Indian member of that network.

Of course, many graduates of IITB are important contributors to India's software industry, and indeed many have immigrated to Silicon Valley and other U.S. centers helping to create the Information Revolution in this country. Indeed, it is suggested (only partially in jest) that the best high school graduates in India, concerned by the extraordinary competitiveness of entry into IITB, apply to MIT and Cal Tech as "back up schools".

Perhaps the United States Permanent Delegation to UNESCO should recommend that the organization create a global network of "Knowledge Heritage Centers" in the great institutions of higher education in the world. JAD

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