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Provost Travels to India with Fulbright Program, Promotes Campus Arts Initiative

Provost Travels to India with Fulbright Program, Promotes Campus Arts Initiative


Provost Miguel Martinez-Saenz travelled to India from March 5-20 to participate in the Fulbright-Nehru Program, which is designed to provide selected U.S. administrators the opportunity to familiarize themselves with program designs, organizational structures, quality assurance procedures and credit and degree expectations in Indian Higher Education. Martinez-Saenz gained first-hand knowledge of a cross-section of Indian institutions and met with university administrators and public sector officials who play key roles in the planning and administration of higher education in India.

According to Martinez-Saenz, “The importance of understanding India’s relevance to a global perspective cannot be overstated. It should be central to any global education project.”

As part of his trip, he explored opportunities for partnerships between Indian institutions and Otterbein.  “As much as we have to gain from a deeper understanding of India, I feel our institution has a great deal to offer. Otterbein has a long history of bold actions and inclusivity that parallels some of India’s most impressive historical narratives,” he said.

“We want to develop partnerships that make sense,” he added. “Creating partnerships that enable the professional and personal development of our respective faculty and student bodies remains our overarching goal.”

Martinez-Saenz has read extensively about Indian culture, art, history and more, but the March trip was his first visit to the world’s largest democracy.

The trip coincides with arts events happening on campus during fall semester 2016. Otterbein’s multi-year arts initiative, Otterbein and the Arts: Opening Doors to the World, will focus on Asia in 2016-17. India and Thailand will serve as the gateway countries in the fall, with China and Tibet in the spring.

Visitors to campus next fall will see Indian visual arts, theatre, music, dance and other cultural events that are central to the rhythms of life in India. The programming will focus primarily on contemporary art, broadly defined to include urban and rural contexts and new expressions of traditional forms.

“Broader issues of global identity, the play of tradition and modernity, and global conceptions about emerging socio-religious spheres will be explored through these media and other arts-related programming,” Martinez-Saenz said. 

“Much of this is made possible thanks to Otterbein Professor Abhijat Joshi, as well as our efforts to reach out to Indians and Indian-Americans currently living in central Ohio.”

Highlights include:

Two curated art exhibitions:

  • On Being Gandhi: The Art and Politics of Seeing
  • Sonabi: Another Way of Seeing

A film series focusing on the work of world-renowned screenwriter and Otterbein professor, Abhijat Joshi.

A Theatre and Dance performance around themes of The Goddess will aptly usher in discussions about the Fall harvest festivals.

Diwali and the Arts celebration, which will include the drawing of a colored rice powdered raangolee/kolam and adorned with 1008 butter lamps, by a member of Columbus’ Indian community. 

Theatre readings of Abhijat Joshi’s award-winning play A Shaft of Sunlight about India’s history of religious tolerance and periods of challenge in the wake of colonialism.

Classical Indian dance (Bharatnatyam) and music (Carnatic).

Public talks by guest curators, film critics and directors, and scholars.

Classes for Otterbein students, including an interdisciplinary course titled INDIA! Art, Religion, and Politics, will intentionally engage Otterbein’s students into the arts of India programming. Students will visit a local Hindu Temple and the Cleveland Museum of Art’s world-renowned collection of South Asian art, experience Indian food, study the history of Indian art and practice yoga, among other activities.

Learn more about Otterbein and the Arts: Opening Doors to the World.