The Indian Graduate Student Association at UD, in collaboration with UD’s Black Graduate Student Association, conducted a panel discussion on the 26th of January, 2015 on the occasion of Indian Republic Day. Here is an link to the Udaily article.
Indian Graduate Student Association hosts discussion on race relations
10 a.m., Feb. 16, 2015–The Indian Graduate Student Association (IGSA) at the University of Delaware celebrated India’s 66th Republic Day on Jan. 26 by hosting a pan
el discussion titled “Indian Voices: Discussing Race Relations in America.”
Conducted in association with the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) at UD, this panel discussion was a key step in increasing the awareness of the Indian student community on race relations in the United States and aided in bringing a new voice to the conversation on race, an IGAS representative said.
“While Indian students do experience certain forms of racial discrimination here in the United States, many arrive in this country carrying their own baggage of racial prejudices,” the representative said. “In the light of the recent protests in Ferguson and New York City, as well as the subsequent march on Main Street in Newark, it became necessary to open channels of communication between different communities in order to understand each other and celebrate our differences.”
As a part of the Indian Republic Day celebrations, IGSA and BGSA decided to conduct a joint panel discussion on race relations. The panelists included Asia Dowtin, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography; Binta Bah, a graduate student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies; and Devesh Radhakrishnan, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
The panelists engaged students from both communities in an active dialogue focusing primarily on the history of African American race relations in the U.S. and how that has shaped modern day race relations in the country.
There were parallels drawn to the caste system prevalent in the Indian society, which also helped steer the conversation toward the issue of racism and discrimination experienced at the institutional level.
The conversation concluded with plans to develop collaborative programs between the organizations in the upcoming semester and to reach out to the larger graduate student population as well.
The IGSA representative said the two organizations hope that events such as these will help cultivate a more culturally sensitive and understanding community that is better integrated and more empathetic.
About the BGSA
UD’s Black Graduate Student Association is a student run organization open to all individuals from a variety of academic disciplines and programs who are dedicated to support students of African descent in the pursuit of graduate and professional advancement at the University. The group works collectively to provide opportunities for professional development, academic support, community engagement, and peer and professional network building for its membership throughout the academic year.
About the IGSA
The IGSA is a student run organization at UD serving the needs of the Indian graduate student community on campus. The IGSA assists incoming Indian graduate students and also engages with the campus community by conducting events to showcase Indian culture. The highlights of the IGSA’s cultural activities include events for Diwali (the Indian festival of lights), Holi (the Indian festival of colors) as well as celebrations for the Indian Independence Day (Aug. 15) and Republic Day (Jan. 26).
About Republic Day
The Constitution of India was formally adopted by the Indian state on the Jan. 26, 1950, and each year this day is celebrated as the Indian Republic Day. The Indian constitution guarantees the citizens of India social, economic, political justice; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and opportunity; and promotes fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual.