Calcutta University (CU) is poised to sign an MoU with the US-based University of Peace for opening a two-year post-graduate course in the study of “peace and security”.
University officials said on Tuesday that the director of the American university, Narendra Kakkar, will arrive here on December 19 to discuss the matter with higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty, CU vice-chancellor Ashish Banerjee and members of the varsity’s peace study group. “If Kakkar is satisfied, then ours will be the first campus in the region to tie-up with the University of Peace for a course on peace and security at the post-graduate level,” said CU pro vice-chancellor (academics) Suranjan Das, who gave a presentation on the need to introduce such a course during his US trip in October.
UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is said to be the prime mover behind the study of peace and security in US universities. According to Das, a spurt in terrorist activities across the world may have prompted the US-based university to provide financial support to Indian universities for the study of peace and security. “I was told that it has already signed MoUs with JNU and some other Indian universities. This move will put our varsity on the international map,” he added.
The University of Peace is working on a common syllabus to be followed in all Indian universities where post-graduate courses in peace and security will be introduced. “A uniform syllabi will also help us coordinate with the other universities here,” felt Das.
Bhaskar Chakraborty, a senior faculty member of the university’s history department, observed that themes like regional cooperation and ‘a track to diplomacy’, in which people outside the government can contribute to the promotion of peace, could be included in the syllabus.
CU is presently conducting a two-year M. Phil course on peace studies in its history department as an optional subject, with funds from Ford Foundation. “During the current year, we have received $ 80,000 from the Foundation to upgrade the course. But a collaboration with this US-based university could help us launch a full-fledged course on a subject which is of prime importance these days,” said Chakraborty.