Notably, tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan have led to frequent closures of border crossings at Torkham and Chaman in the recent past.
In a pioneering and humanitarian educational initiative, O.P. Jindal Global University has launched a special Advancement of Afghan Nationals in Comprehensive Education (ADVANCE) Fellowships for Students from Afghanistan. This initiative is in response to the complicated geopolitical situation in the region and the need for Afghan students to have credible educational alternatives to pursue their academic goals and aspirations.
A total of 10 Fellowships will be awarded under this initiative.
JGU’s ADVANCE Fellowships Policy will provide an exceptional opportunity to selected students from Afghanistan to pursue PhD degrees at any of the Schools or Institutes offering Doctoral programmes and to work closely with the global faculty of JGU, where they can understand and appreciate the nuances of academic research. The policy will be applicable from the Spring 2022 (January 2022) semester and all Afghan students who have completed a Master’s programme or M.Phil. will be eligible to apply. JGU will also provide suitable accommodation, dining hall facility and annual health insurance coverage to the research scholars in addition to the fellowship.
The Founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar said, “This Fellowship aims to support, strengthen and empower students from Afghanistan to develop their research capabilities and intellectual competencies and provide them with a pathway for a career in academia. This is a modest effort of our university to demonstrate our solidarity and commitment to the promotion of higher education opportunities for the students of Afghanistan. Our aim is to support and provide higher education opportunities to Afghan nationals whose pursuit of educational goals may have been disrupted due to the ongoing crisis in the region.”
Prof. Kumar observed, “Universities have a larger social and institutional responsibility to respond to injustices. As an educational institution, one of the most effective and sustainable ways by which a university can respond to injustice is to work towards empowering the affected people with a view to building knowledge capacities for the future. O.P. Jindal Global University since its founding has had a mission to advance public interest and promote public service. This is one more opportunity for us to be involved in an effort that has the potential to empower young Afghans who are facing numerous challenges.”
Afghanistan is going through a very difficult and tumultuous phase in its history. India and Afghanistan have had a strong and historic bilateral relationship, including having strategic partnership agreements for assistance in rebuilding Afghanistan’s infrastructure and institutions in higher education. India has always been the most preferred destination for Afghan nationals in terms of higher education. India records the second highest influx of international students from Afghanistan after Nepal. Every year, an average of over 4,000 Afghan students enrol for higher education in India.
O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has a long-standing institutional association with Afghanistan. To date, JGU has been home to 14 Afghan students across its various schools. The Centre for Afghanistan Studies (CAS) in the Jindal School of International Affairs has active partnerships with a diverse set of educational and research institutions in Afghanistan.
In March 2015, a delegation comprising Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, JGU and Professor (Dr.) Sreeram S. Chaulia, Dean, Jindal School of International Affairs visited Afghanistan (Kabul & Mazar-e-Sharif) for advising on internationalization of higher education in Afghanistan with a strong focus on curriculum development, pedagogical innovations, faculty engagements, research and knowledge creation systems, promoting scholarship and building research capacity for Nokhbagan University in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Abdullah Abdullah, Former Government Chief Executive of, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, also visited the JGU campus in 2015 and delivered a distinguished public lecture on ‘The Future of Afghanistan – India Relations” to the students and faculty members of JGU.