The South Asian Times

16 January 2018 18:26 PM

Fundraiser for Tamil Chair at Harvard

Garden City, NY: On the 7th of January, 2018 a grand gala is taking place at the Akbar restaurant in Garden City, NY. New York Tamil Academy and New York Tamil Sangam are jointly organizing this $250 per plate fundraiser to benefit the Tamil Chair at Harvard University. Volunteers from other Tamil groups, the Muththamizh Munnetra Mandram and the New York chapter of Tamil Nadu Foundation are also working with them.

A couple of years ago Harvard University has accepted a proposal to set up a “Sangam Tamil Chair” in the Department of South Asian Studies with the focus being on Tamil Sangam Literature. The commitment was $6 million. Two doctors seeded the effort with $500K each and formed Tamil Chair Inc. a non-profit 501 (C) (3) to collect funds for the establishment of the Tamil Chair at Harvard University.  Now, almost $5.2 million had been raised. The New York team has tapped the two doctors to take part in a panel discussion on January 7th. Mr. Jonathan Ripley who currently teaches Tamil at Harvard and Mr. Dexter A. Bailey, Senior VP of Advancement and Executive Director of Stony Brook foundation are also speaking. It looks to be the place to be in New York for Tamil Americans next month. A fitting way to welcome the new year and begin the Pongal celebrations.

“Tamil is a classical language that has one of the oldest written traditions in all of Asia and boasts a rich body of literary work dating back at least 2,500 years. However, the global reach of Tamil literature is so limited; and for its ancient and Classic standing, Tamil literature deserves to be critically looked from new and diverse perspectives,” says Mrs. Kanchana Poola, past president of New York Tamil Sangam.  “Tamil Chair will help explore the Tamil studies on a much deeper level through a rigorous approach,” says Dr. Bala Swaminathan, the president of New York Tamil Academy. Swaminathan who, along with his wife Prabha, has recently set up a Tamil professorship at Stony Brook University, NY,  added, “The Harvard Tamil Chair shall be able to focus on executing formal academic research processes to bring out the traditions, the culture, and social practices of the Sangam period that are barely explored as of now.” It is the fact that Harvard shall also produce Tamil scholars who will be trained in proven research methodologies which is driving the Tamils across America.

Update: 31 Dec, 2017

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