Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president and chief executive of Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a policy think-tank, was on Thursday named the new vice-chancellor (V-C) of Ashoka University in Sonipat, Haryana. He will join the university on July 1.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mehta said that he has informed the CPR board of his decision to join Ashoka University and that he will formally step down next month. He joined CPR 13 years ago.
“Ashoka is a young institution with very strong foundations and its well positioned to be a global leader in liberal education. That’s where we want to take it,” said Mehta, who is also Contributing Editor, The Indian Express. He succeeds Professor Rudrangshu Mukherjee, who was Ashoka’s founding V-C.
Ashoka is a liberal arts university established through collective philanthropy. It advertises itself as a world-class “pioneering liberal initiative” that encourages students to think.
An Oxford University graduate in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE), Mehta has a PhD in politics from Princeton University. He has taught at Harvard University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and New York University School of Law. He is on the editorial board of leading academic journals including the American Political Science Review, The Journal of Democracy, and India and Global Affairs. He won the Malcolm S Adiseshiah Award in 2010, the Infosys Prize in 2011, and the Amartya Sen Award for Social Science, 2013.
“Dr Mehta’s intellectual concerns are profoundly interdisciplinary and he is deeply committed to the idea of a wide-ranging liberal education. He is an outstanding teacher and scholar. After conducting an extensive global search, the selection committee — consisting of a few founders, faculty members and academic advisory board members — were of the unanimous opinion that Dr Mehta is best suited to carry forward and enrich the vision that is already embodied in Ashoka University,” says the press statement released by the university.
Mehta was in the news last year when he resigned from the Executive Council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library after former bureaucrat Shakti Sinha’s name was shortlisted for the director’s post. He was learnt to be unhappy with the alleged compromise with the library’s reputation as only eminent scholars can apply for the post.