Nehru and Eisenhower
Prime Minister Nehru (right) receives an honorary degree from General Eisenhower at Columbia University. Photo: U.S. Department of State. Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.

Columbia University and India have a longstanding relationship that has produced some of the twentieth century’s most influential thinkers and figures in India. In addition to playing important roles in India’s transition into a modern democracy and economic powerhouse, Columbia’s faculty, Indian alumni, and scholars have contributed to advances in the arts, journalism, business, and medicine that have had a global impact on today’s society.

Just a sampling of this relationship include the following:

  • 20 Padma awardees with Columbia University affiliations
  • Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar PhD'27, architect of the Indian Constitution
  • Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India. In 1949, Columbia honored then-Prime Minister Nehru at University convocation with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his “devotion to the noble ideals of universal peace and understanding.” In his acceptance speech, Nehru stated that he prized the honor “not only in an individual capacity [but also] as a symbol and representative of India.” Here is the text of the address by Jawaharlal Nehru at convocation.