Rajgir, Sep 2 (IANS) Private donors from Thailand gave $27,000 for the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions at Nalanda University, a varsity official said on Friday.
“On August 27, 2016, the Thai Ambassador to India Chalit Manityakul handed over a cheque of $27,000 contributed by private donors to Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo for establishing a “Thailand Fund for Nalanda University,” a statement issued by the varsity said.
According to the statement this fund already had $5,000 contributed earlier by a private company. With this new donation the total amount would be $32,000. The government of Thailand had contributed $100,000 to Nalanda University in 2012.
The $27,000 private contribution was announced in Rajgir, right after the first Convocation Ceremony of the university, an official here said.
Part of this fund will be allocated to three scholarships earmarked for the Thai citizens pursuing Masters programme at the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions.
The remaining fund will be managed by a supervisory committee for the Thailand Fund for the benefit of the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions.
Chancellor Yeo said: “We really value Thailand’s support to Nalanda University and thank them for creating this fund.”
Chalit Manityakul congratulated Nalanda University on the commencement of the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions this year. He said Thailand as a Buddhist country was ready to support the School in all areas.
Manityakul stressed: “Especially in the fields of academic development and cooperation, student and faculty exchange programmes as well as disseminating information on the School’s education programmes to attract more Thai students.”
Vice Chancellor Gopa Sabharwal, who had initiated the talks with former Ambassador of Thailand to India, Pisan Manawapat for creating this fund said she was happy.
Sabharwal said: “We are also happy that the proposal for creating a fund has finally been approved and thank the private sector of Thailand for making this contribution to the University.”
Thailand is one of the 17 countries that have signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Nalanda University granting it an international status.
The Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is also a member of Nalanda University’s International Advisory Panel.
The university is coming up in Rajgir, 12 km from where the ancient Nalanda University stood till the 12th century, when it was razed by an invading Turkish army.
It started its first academic session in September 2014 in a makeshift campus.
The fully-residential university is set to be completed by 2020. It will eventually have seven schools for postgraduate and doctoral students, offering courses in science, philosophy and spirituality and social sciences.
Rajgir attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. It is the second most visited tourist place in the Buddhist circuit in Bihar after Bodh Gaya (the birthplace of Buddhism).
Rajgir (then Rajagriha) was the first capital of the Magadha kingdom and one of the favourite places of the Buddha.