"Your visit sends a wonderful signal for our research collaborations and the exchanges among academics and students", said a delighted Professor Christina Hansen, Vice President of International Affairs and Diversity at the University of Passau. "India is an important partner country for the University of Passau. We maintain strong relations and wish to expand them even further in the coming years." This was the first official diplomatic visit to the University since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. Dr Suyash Chavan, Head of Chancery and Culture and Education Consul at the Indian Consulate General in Munich, had intended to come to the University much sooner and showed himself pleased to finally be able to pay a visit to the City of Three Rivers. "The pandemic has made many things more complicated, but that should not detract from our good cooperation", he affirmed.
The consul had numerous ideas on how to further strengthen cooperation and networking between Indian universities and the University of Passau. "Too often we only talk about research topics, but it's just as much about interpersonal relationships", said Dr Chavan. The visit took place in two phases: First, opportunities for academic cooperation were discussed. The Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics, represented by its Dean, Professor Tobias Kaiser, Chair of IT Security, Professor Joachim Posegga, and Coordinator for International Affairs, Wolfgang Mages, presented the initial situation and the faculty’s research interests. Dr Kathrin Plank represented the Department for Internationalisation in Teacher Education, as the number of students enrolled in Passau’s teacher education programmes who complete an internship or study abroad is in the top range among German universities. Barbara Zacharias, Head of Student Services and Stefanie Dallmeier, Head of the International Office, then briefed the consul on the requirements for support from the International Office. The second phase was all about the question what could be done to strengthen cultural relations between the peoples of our countries. Dr Chavan suggested offering German language courses for Indian students in Passau or holding an Indian culture week on campus. Finally, the consul was given a tour of the campus by University Archivist, Mario Puhane, and two Indian students, where he learnt about the history of the university, the local study conditions and the support services available to international students in Passau. This was also a special form of "relationship management" for Dr Chavan, as he noted appreciatively in conclusion.
The University of Passau has maintained good contacts with India for years. Currently, there are partnerships with seven Indian universities: the National Law University in New Delhi, the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in Nagarbhavi, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati and, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, the Manipal Academy of Higher Education and the T.A. Pai Management Institute in Manipal. In addition, there is a lively exchange of visiting scholars and numerous research collaborations. All four faculties of the University of Passau offer student exchange programmes with Indian universities. Indian students form the second-biggest group of international students at the University (the biggest group are Austrian students). The most popular degree programme among Indian students is M.Sc. Computer Science, which can be studied entirely in English.