EU-India collaboration can elevate Indian Unicorns and enhance digital competition: Mr. Yves Leterme, Former Prime Minister of Belgium at Woxsen University, Hyderabad

Woxsen University in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, 9 January 2024:  Woxsen University in Hyderabad was honoured today to host Yves Leterme, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, on its campus. Leterme’s visit was a significant highlight of the International Conclave focusing on ‘India-EU as Strategic Partners for the Future of Higher Education.’ Notable figures present at the conclave included G. V. Prasad, Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Honorary Consul General of Belgium; Dr. Shankar S. Mantha, Former Chairman of AICTE; along with representatives from the US Consulate Hyderabad, the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Government of Telangana, the University of Hyderabad, IBS Hyderabad, NALSAR, NICMAR University, and IMT Hyderabad.

The primary objective of the International Conclave was to establish a dynamic platform to foster open and constructive dialogue among key stakeholders from the realms of diplomacy, higher education, and business. By bringing together thought leaders, policymakers, and industry representatives, the conclave aimed to strengthen EU-India ties, catalyze collaborations, and drive positive changes in the landscape of higher education.

G. V. Prasad, Co-Chairman and MD of Dr. Reddy’s Labs and Honorary Consul General of Belgium, graced the occasion with the Guest of Honour Address. The distinguished H. E. Mr. Yves Leterme, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, then delivered a captivating Keynote Address on ‘Enhancing India-European Union Bilateral Relations.’

H. E. Yves Leterme, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, said, “The EU, India, and the US are the biggest democracies in the world. The new rising power India is a democracy that protects its values while addressing the global challenges and well-balanced multinational institutions and Sustainable Development Goals agenda and Woxsen is forging a generation of future that holds these principles.”

He further added, “The first stage of EU-India cooperation is to collaborate and connect to promote good incentives and learn about each other. The connectivity partnership has decided to boost the collective efforts between the EU and India with transport as the number one priority – with some added value to invest in infrastructural links for transporting energy goods and water. The second priority is setting up an ecosystem for energy consumption. We need a lot of innovation and investment to use the resources efficiently. The third is the digital domain. We must join forces in the digital world because the EU needs natural resources in free market competition. EU and India cooperation can promote Indian unicorns and build more competition in the digital world using cutting-edge technology. The fourth domain is person-to-person cooperation, which is the importance of education exchange and tourism. We are demanding well-educated, skilled people from good management schools in India. India and the EU should deepen their cooperation in geopolitical terms as well. Together, we need to resolve issues. We must resume free trade, investment protection, and agreement on geopolitical issues.”

G. V. Prasad, Co-Chairman & MD, Dr. Reddy’s Labs & Honorary Consul General of Belgium, emphasized, “What makes a country powerful is military strength, education, economic output, and cost competitiveness. However, the foundation of a solid educational and research system is still something that we must invest in. Our founding fathers institutionalised good technical institutes and universities. But beyond the public universities, it wasn’t easy for the private sector to set up institutes like this and recreate the history of India with world-class facilities at low fee structure and cost-effectiveness. Research is the other thing. We must also ensure that we fund research in Indian institutions. Nurtured innovation, entrepreneurship, and research are the key driving forces to meet India’s grand ambition. We need hundreds of universities like this. We need cutting-edge research and discipline to move the country forward into the nation’s development. I could see Woxsen bringing all of these and more to life at the University.”

A Plenary Session on “Internationalization of Higher Education: Reflections on Present and the Road Ahead was orchestrated amidst the conclave. The speakers of the session included Dr. Shankar S. Mantha, Former Chairman, AICTE; Dr. Suman K. Mukherjee, Economist & Management Consultant; G.V. Prasad, Co-chairman and MD, Dr. Reddy’s Labs; Yves Leterme, Former Prime Minister of Belgium; Dr. Raul V. Rodriguez, Vice-President, Woxsen University.

Vishal Khurma, CEO, Woxsen University said, “The aging population in Europe poses significant challenges for their Corporates to find young talent with the right skill sets. As part of Strategic partnership with EU, India can solve the same by providing young talent adept at STEM disciplines. Universities like Woxsen can pave a new path for such mutual synergies by equipping our students with practical skills through advanced labs and innovative pedagogy in disruptive technologies like Artificial intelligence, data science, cyber security, deep learning etc. which are at the centre stage of innovation in tech space.”

Concluding the illuminating International Conclave at Woxsen University, the presence of Former Prime Minister Yves Leterme added a global perspective to the discussions on the future of higher education between India and the European Union. His insights into fostering collaboration, addressing geopolitical challenges, and enhancing person-to-person cooperation resonated deeply with the diverse audience present. The conclave catalyzed forging stronger ties, promoting innovation, and establishing a framework for sustained collaboration between India and the EU. Woxsen University remains committed to being at the forefront of facilitating meaningful dialogues that contribute to the advancement of higher education, research, and global partnerships.


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