Cornell University

December 20 2010

Global Service Learning

Faculty, staff and students visiting India to explore partnership

Dr. Arun KarpurDevelopment of ILR's global service learning curriculum continues in January, when a school delegation visits health, education and leadership learning sites of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, a leading non-governmental agency in India.

ILR Extension faculty member Dr. Arun Karpur, International Programs Office Associate Director Donna Ramil and ILR Global Affairs Club students will also meet with partners of the agency, working for more than 25 years in Karnataka, India,

"ILR has a history of engaging its student communities in global service learning, but this partnership would provide an opportunity for sustained student engagement in an emerging economy," Karpur said.

A physician who is now part of ILR's Employment and Disability Institute, he worked as chief medical officer outreach services for the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement.

He later served as a liaison for a global service learning partnership between the agency and the University of South Florida, where he taught global health, infectious diseases epidemiology and advanced statistics for medical practitioners.

Global service learning, Karpur said, enhances cross-cultural learning and helps develops global citizenship -- an increasingly important focus for ILR students.

Working with Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement field-level managers and leaders, students would help identify and implement real-life solutions to specific problems, she said.

During a nine-day trip beginning Jan. 13, ILR representatives will travel in India, meeting with agency faculty and leaders to discuss specific academic and research fits with the school.

They will also begin drafting a one- or two-week curriculum in Indian studies focusing on culture, history, economic development, environment and technology, sustainable resources, governance and social systems.

After developing a budget for a program in India and refining travel and accommodation logistics, the group plans to present a proposal to the International Program Faculty Committee.

Earlier this year, the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement signed an agreement with the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs to establish a research and advocacy initiative in conjunction with higher education institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, which has more than 700 employees, currently hosts a global service learning program for the University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Mount Allison, University of Windsor and higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Ramaswami "Balu" Balasubramaniam, founder of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, visited ILR twice in 2010.

Last summer, two undergraduate interns sponsored by the ILR International Programs Office worked with Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement.