Former Foreign Minister of Singapore George Yeo will be the new Chancellor of the Nalanda University, the External Affairs Ministry announced on Saturday. The announcement came over two months after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen withdrew his candidature to the post for a second term.
60-year-old Yeo, who was conferred Padma Bhushan in 2012, is currently serving as a member of the governing board of the prestigious university at Rajgir area of Bihar.
“George Yeo, former FM of Singapore is to be the new Chancellor of Nalanda University,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
A New Chancellor in Nalanda. George Yeo, former FM of Singapore is to be the new Chancellor of Nalanda University. pic.twitter.com/XCQ2kFLfYm
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) May 30, 2015
In February, Sen had withdrawn his candidature as Chancellor for a second term, saying the Narendra Modi government does not want him to continue, a contention which was rejected by the Government.
Amartya Sen, who has long been a critic of Modi, had blamed the absence of government’s approval to his re-nomination for delay in nod from President Pranab Mukherjee for his name.
The renowned economist in the letter to the governing board of the University had said, “It is hard for me not to conclude that the government wants me to cease being the chancellor of Nalanda University after July, and technically, it has the power to do so.”
The former Singapore Foreign Minister has been playing a key role in reviving the the ancient seat of learning and has been praised for his contribution in the field of “public affairs”.
The idea to revive Nalanda University was first mooted in 2005 by then President APJ Abdul Kalam. The university is being built near the ruins of the historic academic place by the same name in Bihar and a number of member countries of the East Asia Summit grouping is involved in the project.
The government had enacted the Nalanda University Act, 2010 to implement the decisions arrived at the Second East Asia Summit held in January, 2007 in the Philippines and subsequently at the Fourth East Asia Summit in Thailand for establishment of the Nalanda University.
East Asia Summit is a forum for co-operation between various countries of the region with ASEAN and includes Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US, in addition to the ten ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries.