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European Union keen to associate with Nalanda University

After southeast Asian countries, the European Union (EU) member countries are now keen to associate with the upcoming Nalanda International University at the ancient seat of learning in Bihar, an official said Friday.

An 11-member delegation of EU ambassadors will visit the site of Nalanda University near Rajgir in Nalanda district Oct 28 (Monday), its vice chancellor Gopa Sabharwal said.

The EU ambassadors will also meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during their visit. Sabharwal said the visit of the ambassadors will help establish close relations between the varsity and different countries.

"It is bound to help develop it as an international centre of excellence," she said.

EU to associate with Nalanda University

According to her, the visitors include ambassador of Belgium, Portugal, Hungary, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Poland and Slovakia.

Early this month, at the East Asia summit held in Brunei, eight countries, including Singapore, New Zealand, Myanmar, Australia, Thailand and Brunei, signed an inter-governmental agreement to pledge their commitment to the international institution in Nalanda.

Other countries, including Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and the US, have also shown keen interest in the setting up of the university.

The university plans to commence its academic programme with the School of Historical Sciences and School of Environment and Ecology from 2014. The university is set to come up on 446 acres in Rajgir, 10 km from the site of the ancient university in Nalanda, about 100 km southeast of Patna.

The university will be fully residential, like the ancient Nalanda university.

It will offer courses in science, philosophy and spiritualism and social sciences. The project took shape in 2006 at the initiative of then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The ancient university at Nalanda was home to over 10,000 students and nearly 2,000 teachers. It existed until 1197 and attracted students and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey.

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