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Lehigh announces international partnership with Ashoka University

As part of its ongoing efforts to grow and expand international opportunities for its faculty and students, Lehigh has established a new partnership with Ashoka University of Haryana, India, that will see the institutions launch a number of new academic and research programs.

The partnership between Lehigh and Ashoka, India’s premier multi-disciplinary liberal arts university, was formalized on Wednesday at the Ashoka campus. There, Lehigh President John Simon and Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs Cheryl Matherly gathered with Ashoka officials to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that lays the groundwork for the two institutions to establish new student exchange programs, create cross-institutional research opportunities, expand entrepreneurial opportunities and more.

“We are both proud and excited to announce this new partnership,” Simon said. “Our institutions share many common strengths, including a commitment to creative inquiry, a passion for entrepreneurship and a desire to pursue impactful, important research. We are confident our collaboration will provide exciting new opportunities for students and researchers at both Lehigh and Ashoka.”

“In Ashoka, we have found a highly respected, innovative and ambitious institutional partner,” Matherly added. “The entire Lehigh community stands to benefit from this exciting new partnership.”

Founded in 2011 by a group of leading Indian business leaders, Ashoka University is based in the city of Sonipat, just north of New Delhi. The university has a stated aim of becoming one of the finest institutions of its kind in the world, and offers an innovative curriculum focused on foundational knowledge, research and hands-on learning opportunities. Its first class of 120 students graduated in May 2017.

The new MOU calls for Lehigh and Ashoka to create study-abroad and exchange opportunities for students at both schools; to open up Lehigh’s innovative Mountaintop program to Ashoka undergraduates; to facilitate faculty exchanges on either a short-term or long-term basis; and to create joint research programs between the two institutions.

Going forward, additional opportunities could be explored, including entrepreneurial experiences for Lehigh and Ashoka students at the newly launched Lehigh@NASDAQ Center in San Francisco.

The MOU makes Lehigh the latest top U.S. university to partner with Ashoka. Previously, Ashoka established agreements with Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, and the University of California-Berkeley, among others.

Simon said the Ashoka initiative represents another important step forward as Lehigh looks to build on its historical strengths to create new programs that can serve the needs of the students of today, and the leaders of tomorrow.

“We are excited to share Lehigh’s strengths in an ever-expanding international setting, and we look forward to the extraordinary outcomes this partnership will produce for both institutions in the years to come,” Simon said.

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John Simon shaking hands with Vice Chancellor of Ashoka University

Lehigh President John Simon with Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Vice Chancellor of Ashoka University. 

John Simon participating in a ceremonial tree planting

While at Ashoka, President Simon participated in a ceremonial tree planting, a tradition for distinguished guests and partners visiting the university. 

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