Remarks of U.S. Consul General Jennifer McIntyre for VA Tech Opening

CHENNAI: Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening.  It’s an honor to be here tonight to celebrate the launch of the Virginia Tech India-Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science, or “ICTAS.”

This ground-breaking partnership initiative is one that I hope can serve as a model for other institutions seeking to expand educational collaborations between the U.S. and India.

I would like to congratulate Dr. Charles Steger – President of Virginia Tech; Dr. Dick Benson – Dean of the College of Engineering and Trustee, Virginia Tech; Mr. GRK Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director – Marg Group; Dr. Roop Mahajan – Director ICTAS, India; and the many contributors to the successful inauguration this morning at the Marg Swarnaboomi facility.

The celebration this evening – marking the launch of ICTAS in India and the collaboration between Virginia Tech and the Marg Group – is an outstanding achievement by these institutions and representative of  the continued growth in educational ties between our two countries.

Virginia Tech is well known throughout the United States – and the world – as a leading center of research and innovation.

Of course, Chennai is also known as an emerging center of global research and innovation, and this partnership will undoubtedly flourish as the business community begins to partner with ICTAS to further research in important areas such as renewable energy.

For those of you familiar with the iconic American movie, “Casablanca,” this collaboration evoked in my mind the ending conversation, where Humphrey Bogart turns to Claude Raines, and says, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I think this collaboration is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The U.S. Consulate in Chennai will do everything we can to support this friendship – and the growth of this institute to help both partners achieve their objectives.

Our Commercial Service office looks forward to highlighting the work of the Institute to companies throughout India, and collaborating with the ICTAS team to identify areas where the U.S. government can be helpful.

ICTAS’ new initiative adds to decades of collaborations between the United States and India on educational exchange programs.

These initiatives include the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative (OSI) establishing by our governments to strengthen collaboration and build partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher education.

As the Consul General in South India, I’ve been delighted that half of the grants awarded since OSI began implementing its program two years were to institutions within my South India district.

But I’m also not surprised by this fact.

After living in Chennai and traveling around South India for the last three years – I have learned – as I’m sure my Virginia Tech colleagues have – the high priority placed on education by the people of South India as well as visited many of the quality academic institutions located in these States.

Education is, and will continue to be, one of the anchors of the U.S. and India strategic partnership, and holds the key to shared prosperity for our citizens in the future.

I applaud Virginia Tech and the Marg Group for being leaders in this next chapter to expand our U.S.-India relations and position our countries to address common challenges in the 21st century.

Thank you again for inviting me to participate in this milestone event.

I wish the ICTAS team all success!