The chair, at the Columbia University Law School in honour of Ambedkar, one of the university's alumni, has been instituted to mark the 120th birth anniversary of the chief architect of the Indian Constitution on April 14.
Indian-American economist Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor at Columbia University and senior fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, is well known for his research in International Trade and for his advocacy of free trade.
Welcoming the initiative to set up the chair, Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar said it commemorates one of the great leaders of India in the 20th century who is also remembered today as a symbol of social change and a vigorous advocate of social justice.
In an address April 1 at the University in New York on "Democracy and Pluralism in India", Shankar stressed that India stands out as a developing country with a pluralistic democracy, which has become increasingly robust.
The "Indian Constitution became an instrument not only for freedom, but also for empowerment; a means not merely to guarantee and protect, but also to transform," she said. It also "provided a framework to not only accommodate India's diversity, but to also enable social groups that were on the periphery of society and on the margins of power to participate fully in the nation's political and economic processes".
The democratic process in India with free elections where each vote counts and counts equally has strengthened the political forces, which promote equity and inclusiveness, Shankar said.
"As the economy has grown and modernised and as the regions across the country are getting increasingly integrated and interlinked, the avenues for all groups have increased, though ensuring that growth is inclusive remains a key national challenge and priority," she said.
India looked ahead with a sense of confidence based on the progress we have achieved, our experiences and the lessons we have learnt over the past six decades, Shankar said.
Washington: Columbia University has instituted a Dr. BR Ambedkar Chair at its law school and two Professor Jagdish Bhagwati scholarships with support from the Indian government.
First Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 09:39