University of Florida to launch new India programme

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New York, Feb 11 (UNI) India will be the focus of a new programme being launched at the University of Central Florida (UCF), according to an official statement.

The Anil and Chitra Deshpande India Programme Endowed Fund, as it is known formally, is expected to sponsor public discussions involving prominent speakers, panels and other meetings; encourage scholarship and research; and work with partners worldwide to broaden awareness and understanding about the country. The programme will cover India in the areas of politics, technology, communication, culture and religion.

Mr Deshpande is a prominent businessman in the US as well as India. He and his wife Chitra have extended support to various UCF programmes on India and other international initiatives over the past few years.

The programme is intended to further boost UCF's India links.

The United States is the superpower, and India is an emerging power. Both are important democracies of the world, Mr Deshpande was quoted as saying in the UCF statement.

We have made this endowment to enable the creation of a programme that promotes understanding and expanded relations between the two.

The initial contribution to the endowment fund is 100,000 dollars and with expected state funding the amount will go up to 150,000 dollars. Some individual contributions are expected.

The programme will provide the base for other opportunities on campus related to India.

Mr Deshpande, who arrived in the United States from Mumbai in 1971, holds a degree in Construction Management from the University of Florida.

He was a project manager for the Orlando International Airport (in Florida) Deshpande co-founded Park Square Homes, a residential building and land development company, in 1984. It grew to be the 69th largest home builder in the United States four years ago.

The company built more than 1200 homes in 2004 at a cost of 260 million dollars, according to news reports.

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