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Reliance Foundation is planning to set up a world-class university in the country and it may be headed by Nita Ambani
Refinery-to-retail giant Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is planning to set up a world-class university in the country, marking its foray into the education sector. The university may be headed by Nita Ambani, wife of RIL chief Mukesh Ambani. Ms Ambani is president of Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation and also heads the Dhirubhai Ambani International School.
"Reliance Foundation, the new philanthropic initiative of the Reliance Group, has decided to set up a new age world-class university in India and it will promote education and research in all disciplines of knowledge," RIL chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani said.
He was speaking after receiving the first Dean's Medal by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The proposed university would be set up on the lines of great American universities like UPenn, Mr Ambani said, adding that it will also forge partnerships with reputed educational institutions around the world. "It will be international in scale and in best practises, but with an Indian soul," he said.
Noting that there was a need to bring about changes in the methodology of education, Mr Ambani said that education in India is also at the doorsteps of transformation.
"Access to world-class education is not only a necessity but a strong prerequisite to building a strong India. It is by far the strongest aspiration of young Indians," he said.
The RIL chairman said that in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, a new world is emerging, which is fundamentally different from the old.
Noting that Asia is witnessing unprecedented prosperity, Mr Ambani said that the centre of economic activity was shifting from the West to the East.
However, many parts of Asia also present a picture of deprivation and under-development and employment creation remains a challenge for all countries.
"Countries left behind in the race for development are fast catching up. Asia is witnessing unprecedented prosperity. Yet, many parts of Asia also present a picture of deprivation and under-development," he said.
Calling for equitable development, he said that the deprived are demanding their due share.
"The poor are still denied access to food, water, housing, electricity and transport... the basic necessities of life. Therefore, the challenge of equitable development has become most urgent. So has the imperative of sustainable development," Mr Ambani said.
Urging to devise new developmental models that provide growth with sustainability, and development with equity, he said that sustainable development demands more out of less from finite resources.
The new developmental models will require partnerships and newer ways of solving problems and problems cannot be segregated into separate silos, Mr Ambani said.
"In this new and interdependent world, we have to become silo-breakers in our thinking, policies and strategies of development. Every single challenge that the world is facing demands a creative response from scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and policy-makers," he said.
Science, technology and engineering have an epoch-making opportunity to evolve to the next level, by making common cause with social sciences, responsible entrepreneurship and good governance, he said.
"I believe that technology, wedded to the Gandhian vision, can create a better future for our children in all parts of the world," the RIL chief said.
He observed that the world was facing crises on several fronts including financial, energy, food, water, environmental and international terrorism. "The decade gone by taught many important lessons to the world. 9/11 at the beginning of the last decade reminded the world about the barbarity of terrorism. 26/11 towards the end of the last decade was yet another reminder," Mr Ambani said.
The financial crisis highlighted the inter-connectedness of the world, he said, adding that the crisis taught the world that money cannot produce money.
Mr Ambani expressed his deep appreciation for all staff of the Oberoi, hit by the deadly terrorist strike in November 2008, for facing and overcoming terror with courage, reports PTI.
Earlier in November, Mr Ambani had said that RIL was planning to invest Rs500 crore to set up a philanthropic entity called Reliance Foundation with plans to scale up its contribution to Rs1,000 crore.
The debt crisis in Dubai is having a cascading effect on the company’s risk profile
Credit rating agency CRISIL has downgraded Global Aviation Services Pvt Ltd’s Rs20-crore bank facilities to ‘P3’ from ‘P3+’ after the company lost an online station cargo service contract from its top customer, Emirates. The outlook remains ‘negative’.
CRISIL has also downgraded Global Airport & Ground Services Pvt Ltd’s proposed Rs10 crore long-term bank loan facility to ‘BBB-’ from ‘BBB/Stable’.
The company has lost two of its top customers Emirates and Finnair over the last six months, both of which contributed 80% to its total cargo commission income in 2008-09.
According to company officials, the debt crisis in Dubai has affected the company’s business. Emirates is owned by the Investment Corp of Dubai, which is controlled by the Dubai government.
Global Aviation Services is a part of the Global Group which provides services in airline ticketing, ground handling, logistics, foreign exchange, legal assistance, revenue accounting, interline negotiations, cargo and courier consolidation, road-feeder services, and publicity through its associate companies.
Mukesh Ambani has received an inaugural Dean's Medal from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science
Reliance Industries Ltd's chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani has been awarded the Dean's Medal from the University of Pennsylvania for his visionary leadership in the application of engineering and technology for the betterment of mankind.
Commenting on the inaugural medal, Eduardo Glandt, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, said, "Mukesh Ambani embodies what the engineering profession can contribute to a country, as someone who seeks to apply technology for the betterment of society."
In his acceptance speech, Mukesh Ambani said, “It (the medal) recognises the collective achievement of the Reliance family and the creativity of over 25,000 engineers in Reliance. I dedicate this medal to the indomitable spirit of our founder chairman, Dhirubhai Ambani and each and every member of the Reliance family."
Mr Ambani is currently steering Reliance's development of a pan-India retail network, a transformational initiative connecting rural and urban India. He was also instrumental in the formation of Reliance Infocomm Ltd, one of the largest information and communications initiatives in the world.
Among Mr Ambani's numerous honours are the 2007 US-India Business Council 'Global Vision' award for leadership; the 2006 ‘ET Business Leader of the Year’ Award by the Economic Times and the first NDTV Profit ‘Global Indian Leader Award’ in 2006.
Mr Ambani was the co-chair of the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2006 and received the 2004 World Communication Award as the ‘Most Influential Person’ in Telecommunications by Total Telecom.
In 2008, Mukesh Ambani was elected vice chairman of the executive committee of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
In India, he is a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry and of the Board of Governors of the National Council of Applied Economic Research. He is also Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a member of the Indo-US CEO’s Forum, the International Advisory Board of Citigroup, the International Advisory Board of the National Board of Kuwait, and the Advisory Council for Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, among other appointments.