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US University to offer post-doctoral fellowship in Jain studies

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Houston :US’ Rice University is set to offer a post-doctoral fellowship in Jain Studies in a bid to enhance the global understanding of Jainism as a religion and culture.

The Jain Society and the Rice University here signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a post-doctoral fellowship in Jain studies.

The MoU signed at a ceremony held at the Jain Society of Houston last week stated that USD 80,000 had been given to the university’s TT and WF Chao Center for Asian Studies to establish Bhagwan Mahavir/Chao Family Post-doctoral Fellowship in Jain Studies.

Rice University and the Jain Society will split the cost in half for the collaboration, which will include the study of Jainism, its philosophy, history, art, culture and contributions to the world.

“We strive to deepen the global understanding of Jainism as religion and culture, and to contribute to and participate in the TT and WF Chao Center for Asian Studies’ (Chao Center) Transnational Asia Research Initiative,” the agreement said.

The fund will be under the Chao Center within the School of Humanities and be administered by the director of the Chao Center or his/her designee.

The signing of the MoU took place in the presence of members of the Rice University, the Houston Jain community and Sugar Land, Texas, Indian-American councilman Harish Jajoo, among others.

Former president of JAINA and chairman of the International School for Jain Studies in the US Sulekh Jain said there are no courses offering Jainism at any Houston-area universities. Rice University, which has been around for more than 100 years, will be the first.

The Rice University will hire a full-time post-doctoral fellow Jain scholar with a proven track record of leadership and publication, a statement said.

The scholar will create a platform for discussion, learning and awareness of Jainism and will offer classes each semester.

While Jain studies at Rice is the first in Houston, the curriculum is available at 10 other American universities, including two fully-funded chairs at Florida International University and the University of California-Irvine.

PTI

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