The India Initiative for Research and Education Collaboration of CUNY CREST Institute (IICCCI) was officially launched on September 9, 2022, in the North Hall Library building, the Bronx Community College through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony. The MoU was signed by the President of Bronx Community College (BCC) Thomas Isekenegbe and the President of The City College of New York Vincent Boudreau witnessed by CUNY CREST Institute Executive Director, Dr Reza Khanbilvardi and other guests from across CUNY, New York City and Government of India.
BCC has been active with academic partnerships in India since 2019. Under the leadership of Prof. Neal Phillip and Prof.Paramita Sen a sustainability-focused study abroad program to Maharashtra was undertaken with 15 BCC and other CUNY students where they installed a solar-powered weather station and participated in other science and cross-cultural diplomatic activities.
Prof. Phillip and Prof. Sen from BCC have received several grants for their work in India. One of the grants is a public diplomacy grant from the US State Department to install six solar-powered weather stations in three states and to conduct climate change workshops for over 5,000 participants. Another is a three-year $300,000 National Science Foundation grant with Dr. Brian vant-Hull of CUNY CREST Institute to take 33 BCC/CUNY students to conduct air pollution research in Mumbai and New Delhi, beginning in January 2023.
The meeting opened with welcoming remarks and a presentation by BCC Professors Paramita Sen, Neal Phillip along with Dr. Shakila Merchant, Deputy Director of CUNY CREST Institute. They provided an overview of ongoing work and future collaborations with BCC, CUNY CREST Institute and India. The MoU ceremony was followed by the ribbon cutting ceremony at the India Books Corner located within the Library and the signing of four CUNY-approved Shared Statement of Interest (SSI) by the Indian Delegates from Maharashtra and President Isekenegbe.
Among the dignitaries who attended the event were Consulate General of India Honorable Randhir Jaiswal; Mrs. Abha Jaiswal, Deputy Consulate General of India; Dr. Varun Jeph, NYC Deputy Commissioner of Trade, Investment, and Innovation for International Affairs, Mr. Dilip Chauhan, among others.