IITB Central Library 2.0 Service

Dmitry Medvedev wants to sit close to students at IIT

Posted on: December 22, 2010

By DNA
When US president Barack Obama visited the city in November, he chose to interact with the Generation Next at St Xavier’s College.

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, too, has decided to reach out to students at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B).

Stressing his desire to connect with youngsters, the latter has made one request to the country’s premier engineering institute: “I want to sit close to the students”.

“The president wanted us to make his sitting arrangement close to students. It will be an hour-long, interactive session. He is very eager to face questions from the audience,” said Jaya Joshi, public relations officer, IIT-B.

An impromptu session at the institute’s newly-constructed Convention Centre, with a sitting capacity of 350, will see the president field questions from students and faculty. Around 220 students and 75-80 faculty members are expected to be present.

There will be 350 headphones to translate what the president speaks in Russian.

Medvedev is visiting IIT-B during Mood Indigo, its annual cultural festival. He will arrive at 3pm and is expected to stay for one-and-a-half-hours. His visit to the campus is symbolic, as it was erstwhile USSR that had helped set up the institute.

“The visit marks the re-establishment of our contact with Russia. We hope that we will be able collaborate more with academic institutions in Russia,” said Devang Khakhar, IIT-B director.

IIT-B was established in 1958. The Unesco had identified USSR as the major donor nation. The assistance was in terms of experts from USSR guiding IIT-B’s development, funding and technical equipment.

Medvedev will be presented with a copy of the book Monastery, Sanctuary, Laboratory: 50 years of IIT Bombay by professor Rohit Manchanda.

“The year 2011 marks the year of ‘Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation’ between India and Russia and it was Russia which had assisted in setting up IIT-B. Hence, the Russian president’s visit is significant for us and will help reinforce the ties,” said Joshi.

“Most of our faculty members in the early years had got their doctorates from USSR. So strong was the Russian association way back in the 1960s that the campus had its own Russian Club then,” she said.

Medvedev, who inked several deals with India on Tuesday, will also visit IIT-B’s nano-technology lab and take a look at the facilities there.

“Nano technology and its applications are of prime importance to India and other countries. He will get to see the kind of research and development work being done in the lab,” said Joshi.

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