South Asian Studies Program Initiatives

The South Asian Studies Program (SASP) at Rutgers University works with faculty members, graduate students, members of the community, private institutions, and non-profit organizations to strengthen the study of the region and inspire new generations of South Asia scholars. In pursuit of these goals, SASP actively supports the teaching of faculty and graduate students, initiates and administers research projects, organizes and hosts lectures and conferences, develops financial resources, encourages interdisciplinary and comparative studies, and assists in the organization of cultural and community activities. SASP aims to support a wide variety of research in the social sciences, the humanities, engineering, and relevant professional fields.

To support these efforts, SASP seeks opportunities to collaborate with corporate, non-profit and community sponsors to expand our program, host sponsored lectures, or explore new avenues of research, teaching and outreach. The initiatives below highlight some of these efforts. Please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in supporting these initiatives, or make a secure online donation to our development fund.


The Chakra Endowed Fund

The Chakra Endowed Fund was set up by anonymous donors from the South Asian community in 2004 to finance library acquisitions in the area of South Asia, as well as an annual award for undergraduate student research papers. SASP currently seeks to enhance this Fund to provide annual fellowships to support pre-dissertation research by PhD students working on South Asia and to host an annual lecture or sponsored memorial lectures.


The Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative

Rutgers was one of four U.S. institutions to have received a grant of approximately 
$250,000 from President Barack
 Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. The program was announced as an affirmation of these leaders' commitment to enhancing India-U.S. partnerships in education. Following receipt of the grant, Rutgers University established the Indian Council for Cultural 
Relations Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies. In 2017, Rutgers welcomed our first ICCR Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies to campus. These visiting chairs deliver public 
lectures and engage directly with faculty, students and the New Jersey community. The Obama-Singh Grant was led by co-PIs Hal Salzman, Professor in the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Innovative Training and Workforce Development Research at the Center for Women and Work.


The Rutgers India Initiative

In 2013, the Rutgers Global launched an ambitious new effort to increase the profile of India at Rutgers through the University-wide India Initiative. Hosted by SASP, the India Initiative organizes colloquia on India and the Indian diaspora; forges institutional ties between Rutgers faculty and research and educational institutions in India; pursues collaborations with business, community and non-profit organizations in the US; and enhances outreach to the Indian-American community. The India Initiative has also established a joint seminar series between SASP and the South Asia Total Health Initiative (SATHI) in the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School titled “Global Cross Roads: Seminars in South Asian Culture, Ecology and Health.”


The Rutgers Rutgers Myanmar Initiative

The Rutgers Myanmar Initiative, directed by Dr. Chie Ikeya (History) and Dr. Christian Lammerts (Religion), seeks to foster Myanmar-related scholarship and teaching at Rutgers and to strengthen collaborative research and intellectual exchange among Rutgers faculty and academics in Myanmar. Established with the support of the Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs, the Initiative has taken part in a historic U.S. higher education delegation to Myanmar—the largest delegation of U.S. universities to travel to the country. Organized by the Institute of International Education with the goal of exploring potential partnership opportunities between higher education institutions in the U.S. and those in Myanmar, the delegation visited nine universities and met with several key government ministries. The Initiative is currently co-organizing with the Department of History, Yangon University, an international conference on Myanmar historical studies, to be held in Yangon on July 24-25, 2014. It will also co-sponsor an upcoming intensive training program for Myanmar librarians at Rutgers and other US universities.


The Bengali Language and Culture Initiative

Through support from community donors and the Rutgers administration, a Bengali Language and Culture Fund has been created to support the study and understanding of Bangla language and culture among Rutgers students and faculty. The Initiative has contributed to the development of a two year Bangla language instruction program at both the introductory and intermediate level. The Initiative aims to upgrade Bangla instruction to a three year, six-semester program; to introduce graduate fellowships whereby qualified students will study Bengali literature in the Comparative Literature Program 
while providing instructional support for undergraduate education; and to create a permanent faculty line to direct and oversee Bengali language and literary studies. The Bengali Initiative is directed by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Contact Us

nr07livingstonspring0107 cropped Lucy Stone Hall, Room B316
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8070

P   848.932.6734
E   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.