Telugu chair being set up at noted US university
New York, Jul 10 : Emory University, one of America's noted educational institutions, has embarked upon the task of establishing a chair in Telugu studies-the first such effort in the US.
The effort, expected to lead the setting up of a professorship and a separate permanent department for Telugu, is intended to teach the language, literature, culture and history in Georgia and other US states.
The Telugu initiative was taken by Professor Ms Joyce Flueckiger, of the Department of Religious Studies at the university. The professor has a long association with Andhra Pradesh, which includes her extensive anthropological fieldwork in Hyderabad and Tirupati.
"She works closely with Dr Velcheru Narayana Rao, distinguished visiting professor at the university," a statement released yesterday in connection with the initiative said.
"They have already raised over 750,000 dollars and are looking for active support and donations for another 750,000 to establish a permanent Telugu chair at Emory University." Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju visited the university on July 7 to know about the matter.
"I hope to do whatever I can from the Centre and the state government of Andhra Pradesh," Mr Raju was quoted as saying by Rajender Dichpally, who was present at the meeting where the minister discussed with Rao, Flueckiger and other university officials.
Mr Raju added, according to Dichpally, that the effort will go a long way in contributing to the promotion of the language and culture.
Dichpally, who is national secretary of Indian-American Forum for Political Education, said Mr Raju toured the campus and familiarised himself with the university matters. Magam Ranga Reddy, a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council and an adviser to the chief minister, Dichpally and several Telugu association officials accompanied the minister.
Mr Raju was in Atlanta, where the university is based, to attend the weekend's American Telugu Association's 12th biennial convention.
The university currently teaches Hindi and Sanskrit. Atlanta is home to Hindu temples, Indian businesses, Carnatic and Kuchipudi dance schools. It was the third time such a major Telugu conference was held in Atlanta.
Rao, a known name in the Indian-American community particularly among the US Telugus, was earlier teaching Telugu at Madison University, Wisconsin.
In October 2009, the university said in a report that the family of Florida biochemist Visweswara Rao Koppaka had made a lead gift of 750,000 dollars to help set up the professorship in Telugu and other South Indian traditions.
"Emory is committed to building a strong program in Telugu studies to enhance its South Asian studies through internal funding and support from the Telugu community. Emory hired world-renowned Telugu scholar Rao in 2007," the report said. (UNI)