Elite Duke University to Reach Out to Its India Origin & Hindu Students

Duke University will make extra outreach efforts to India origin and Hindu students to make them feel at home, Larry Moneta, Vice President of prestigious Duke University, told Hindu and Indo-American leader Rajan Zed in Durham (North Carolina, USA) on Monday.

Moneta further said that Duke University will continue to do more in the honor of Abhijit Mahato, doctorate student from India killed in January last.

Zed, who met Moneta in his office to discuss community concerns, stressed the need for more endeavor by Duke officials to make India origin and Hindu students feel as an equal partner in the larger Duke family and more security arrangements. Moneta assured Zed of more outreach programs aimed at students of India and Hindu background and added that Duke announced creation of Abhijit Mahato Memorial Fellowship few days back.

Rajan Zed later met Durham Mayor William V. Bell in his downtown office who, discussing Mahato tragedy, told Zed that patrolling has been stepped up around Duke campus, coordination with campus police has been strengthened and city is working on police reorganization.

Zed also met Reverend Canon Dr. Samuel Wells and Craig Thomas Kocher, Dean and Associate Dean respectively of Duke University Chapel, who said that more efforts are being made to involve the Hindu community in campus interreligious programs.

Rajan Zed with Executive Board members of Duke University Hindu Students Association.
Rajan Zed with Executive Board members of Duke University Hindu Students Association

Zed also met North Carolina Deputy Secretary of State, Michael R. Peeler, in capital Raleigh, who assured him more outreach efforts by his department aimed at Indo-American and Hindu community of the State. In a meeting with Eric. M. Meyers, Director of Duke University Center for Jewish Studies, he discussed the issues facing Hinduism and Judaism.

Zed presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita, ancient Hindu scripture, each to Moneta, Bell, Wells, Peeler, and Meyers.

Earlier, addressing at a gathering organized by Duke University Hindu Students Association (DUHSA) in the campus, Zed said that a deeper and more inclusive understanding of religion is needed.

Religion is a complex and powerful component of human life and we must take it seriously, Zed further said and added that dialogue brings us mutual enrichment.

Zed talked about challenges faced by minority religions, passing on faith traditions to next generation, status of Hinduism in America, faith and politics, youth and religion, pluralism, interfaith dialogue, etc.

On this occasion, Kedar Kirtane, co-President of the Association, presented Zed with a plaque honoring him, while Professor Kishor Trivedi, Association Advisor, welcomed him.

Zed also met with DUHSA Executive Board members Roshen Sethna, Kedar Kirtane, Karna Mital, Arnav Mehta, Yamini Misra, Jai Singh, and Daniel Agarwal, and discussed the issued faced by Hindu youth in America.

Zed addressed a gathering at Morrisville Hindu Temple discussing preserving the Hindu heritage in America and other issues, where temple officials Saroj Sharma and Jaylan Parikh welcomed him.

Zed has read the groundbreaking historic first Hindu opening prayers in the United States Senate in Washington DC and various other state legislatures during the last few months. He is one of the panelists for “On Faith,” a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com.

Situated nearly in about 9,000 acres, Duke University, one of the world’s top institutes of higher education which consistently ranks among the very best, has about 13,000 students, 31,000 employees, and where per student annual expenses are over $45,000.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, was introduced in North America in 1830s and there are currently about one billion Hindus in the world. Moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.

Founded in 1997, goals of DUHSA include facilitating spiritual development among members, increasing awareness of Hinduism in Duke campus, etc.

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