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US university receives $1.5 million grant for Jainism studies

WASHINGTON: An Indian-origin philanthropist in the US has made a grant of $1.5 million to a prestigious American University to advance studies in Jainism.
Mohini Jain, a retired teacher, has made the grant to University of California (UC) Davis.
The gift will establish the Mohini Jain Presidential Chair for Jain Studies in Department of Religious Studies as part of a larger effort to position UC Davis as a leader in the study of Indian religions and the interdisciplinary field of South Asia studies broadly.
A formal announcement in this regard would be made on February 21.
“In our multicultural, global world, it is important to escape boxed-in points of view,” Jain said in a statement, hoping that the impact of the chair at UC Davis will be a broadening of minds and a renewed focus on dialogue and peace.
The chair will be awarded to a scholar with a well- established record for creative, exceptional and interdisciplinary research on Jainism.
As a member of the religious studies department, the holder of the chair will help develop curriculum in Jain studies, offer graduate courses in Jainism, pursue a vigorous research agenda, give public lectures, and contribute to the development of a religions of India and South Asia studies initiative at UC Davis by participating in community outreach, a media release said.
“This gift will further diversify and strengthen our expertise in world religions and is another step toward UC Davis serving as a leader in India religions and Asia studies globally,” said Archana Venkatesan, chair of the religious studies department and associate professor of religious studies and comparative literature.
Mohini Jain was a research scientist at UC Davis in the 1980’s and then served as a high school science teacher for 19 years, retiring in 2008.

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