A Harmony Project Initiative

New facilities called ‘Friends Tea House’ and ‘Equipment Room’ were inaugurated in the Office for International Affairs, SIP Building on the South Campus on April 11, 2023, for international students at University of Hyderabad (UoH) by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. B. J. Rao. These facilities are funded by the European Union-supported Harmony Project on Internationalization at UoH. The facilities were inaugurated in the presence of the international project coordinator of Harmony, Prof. Rafael de Miguel González, and Juan Antonio Vallés Brau of University of Zaragoza, Spain, and Slovenian partners of the project, Dr. Olesea Sirbu and Ms. Anastasia Strelnicova.

Prof. Chetan Srivastava, Director, Office for International Affairs, UoH welcomed the visitors on behalf of the University and expressed his hope that the Harmony Project would contribute to the institution’s ongoing efforts of internationalization and take it to newer and higher orbits in line with Indian philosophy of “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam”, the whole world is a family, with Harmony.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. BJ Rao welcomed the Harmony project’s collaboration with UoH and said that the objectives of India’s current presidency of G-20 group of countries could be harmonized with the current and future operations of this project. He hoped that in the long term, the project would contribute to extending international collaborations beyond the project partners.

He also emphasized on India’s centuries old philosophy of “One World, One Family, One Future”, which is also the theme of G20 under India’s leadership this year. He also expressed his ideas on how to take this further, so that it will percolate further to include more students in this Internationalization process globe across.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. González conveyed his appreciation of the progress made by the UoH Harmony team on the internationalization project. He said the project was intended to bring better synchronization in internationalization between European and Asian Universities. Besides Spain, the project has institutional partners from Bulgaria, Lithuania, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India.

Applauding the initiation of the Friends Tea House at UoH, Prof. González said the project plans to formally connect the 40 Friends Tea Houses created under Erasmus+ support. The idea behind the Tea House is to create a social space on the campus for international and domestic students to interact and contribute to enhancing intercultural awareness.

Prof. N. Siva Kumar, senior member of the Harmony Project (started in January 2021) at the University of Hyderabad, shared that the Harmony team at the University could complete all the mandated responsibilities on time and created new infrastructure for better internationalization of the campus. Among the major milestones was a workshop on internationalization that the team conducted for deans and other administrators of UoH. He also mentioned the Digital Storytelling competition conducted by the team on intercultural awareness and cultural diversity.

On the occasion, three of the prize-winning digital stories were screened by the winners, Sanjeevini, Lasya Priya, and Mohammed Naseeh, all Integrated M.A. students at UoH. The winners were part of the workshop conducted for all students last year by Prof. Vasuki Belavadi of the Department of Communication, which also administered the competition.

Also present on the occasion were Associate Director of OIA, Dr. Alok Kumar Mishra, Harmony project team members, Profs Aparna Rayaprol, J. Prabhakar Rao, Siva Prasad, Vinod Pavarala, and Shaji S, Prof. James Raju, Dean, School of Physics, Prof. Belavadi, Dean, SN School, and Prof. Ghanashyam Krishna, Director, IoE . Senior administrators involved in student matters, international students, and public interface of UoH, including the Registrar and Controller of Examinations, Dr. Devesh Nigam, PRO Mr. Ashish Jacob Thomas, Deputy Registrar’s Dr. Bipin Varghese, Mr. Abhishek Kumar, and Mr. Sai Jawahar also participated in the inauguration of the Friends Tea House.