In her first visit to Boston/Cambridge after assuming responsibility as the Ambassador of India to the U.S., Ambassador Rao visited the Harvard University, MIT, the Emmanuel College and met with a section of the Indian American community in the Greater Boston area.
At the Emmanuel College on 15 February, Ambassador Rao delivered the prestigious Wyant Lecture on "India's role in a changing landscape in the 21st Century", which was attended by a large number of students, faculty members and scholars at the College.
On 16 February, Ambassador Rao met with the President of the Harvard University Prof. Drew Gilpin Faust, who had returned from India after a successful visit. Ambassador outlined the initiatives being taken by the Indian government to strengthen education infrastructure in India and opportunities thus generated for enhancing collaboration between India and the U.S. Ambassador Rao outlined the successful outcomes of the inaugural India-U.S. Higher Education Summit held in October 2011 and invited greater engagement of the Harvard University in forging newer links in education, research and innovation with academic institutions in India. President Drew Gilpin Faust shared impressions of her recent visit to India. Prof Faust assured Ambassador of even greater engagement of the Harvard University system with India.
At the Harvard University, Ambassador addressed the Kennedy School of Government on the 'people centric' dimension of India-U.S. Partnership and how this extraordinary people to people connectivity was helping the India-U.S. Global Strategic Partnership to grow from strength to strength. Ambassador Rao also addressed the Middle East Seminar on India's foreign policy and interests in the West Asia and the Gulf region, jointly organised by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, where Ambassador Rao had earlier served as a Fellow during 1993-94, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the Harvard.
Ambassador Rao began her visit to the MIT on 16 February with her meeting with the President of the MIT, Prof Susan Hockfield, who recalled MIT's long standing commitment and partnership with India beginning with the setting up of IIT Kanpur and IIM Kolkata, and a number of ongoing programs at the MIT to strengthen institutional and educational linkages with India. Prof Hockfield briefed Ambassador on the initiative taken by the MIT of providing access to numerous MIT courses online and how students across the world were benefiting from this unique enterprise. Recalling the Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative announced in 2009, Ambassador Rao outlined a number of bilateral initiatives taken recently to deepen university linkages, junior faculty development and encouraging partnerships in the area of S&T, innovation and skill development, and hoped that MIT would continue to expand its collaborative ventures with India. Prof Hockfield reiterated MIT's commitment in deepening linkages with India in diverse disciplines.
Ambassador Rao also met with a number of students, interns, faculty members and scholars associated with MIT's India Initiative and MIT's Center for International Studies and exchanged views with them on their ongoing projects and research activities in India.
On 17 February, the Indian Association of Greater Boston hosted a community reception to welcome Ambassador Rao in the Boston area on her first visit as the Ambassador of India to the US.