New Program Brings Students from India To Penn for MLA

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A new agreement between Penn Arts and Sciences and Ashoka University in India has created the Global Gateway Program, which will allow Indian students to come to Penn to complete a Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) degree in a year-long program. With this agreement and other initiatives, the School is building on its long tradition of scholarship and teaching on South Asia and expanding its connections to India, a goal in the School’s strategic plan Foundations and Frontiers. 

Ashoka was conceived as a liberal arts university in a nation that traditionally has focused on professional education. A group of Indian scholars and advocates, including Penn alumnus Pramath Sinha, GEN’89, GR’91, worked with Penn and other schools in the U.S. and U.K. to create the university. One of Ashoka’s first initiatives was a post-baccalaureate program, the Young India Fellowship (YIF), which offers the top graduates of other Indian universities an intense education in the liberal arts. Now YIF alumni will be able to earn a Penn MLA in an individualized, interdisciplinary program, positioning themselves to go in any number of directions. 

The agreement will benefit other MLA students at Penn, as well. “The addition of YIF students to the MLA cohort will provide new opportunities for all students to broaden their thinking on complex issues and to develop friendships and connections,” says Nora Lewis, Vice Dean for Professional and Liberal Education in Penn Arts and Sciences. The first group of Global Gateway students will arrive at Penn this fall.


Dean Steven J. Fluharty participating in a ceremonial tree planting at Ashoka University during his visit to India in January. Penn Arts and Sciences has partnered with Ashoka since its founding in 2011, but this was the first opportunity Dean Fluharty had to visit the campus. While in India, the Dean also met with staff at the University of Pennsylvania Institute of the Advanced Study of India (UPIASI) and spoke to the Penn Club of New Delhi at a reception hosted by Harish and Priya Ahuja, PAR’07, PAR’12, and their sons Anand, C’07, and Anant, C’12.