As a part of the MoU signed between KISS Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar and Otani University, Kyoto, Japan, a distinguished invited lecture was jointly organized by the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC), KISS-DU and the Centre for the Study of Indigenous Peoples across the Globe, KISS-DU on the topic ‘Introducing Otani University: A Cultural Bridge to Connect India and Japan’ on 3rd August 2022. Earlier, MoU between the two Universities was signed on 2nd August, 2022. The key areas of collaboration are to promote academic exchange in education and research, thereby nurturing academic cooperation; exchange of teaching and research staff; students’ exchange; organizing symposia; research projects; improvement of curriculum; and exchange of academic literature and materials.

The distinguished invited lecture was delivered by Professor Shobha Rani Dash, Department of Buddhist Studies, Otani University. She is an Odisha-born Buddhist Studies scholar who is now a Professor and advisor to the Vice President, Otani University on research and international affairs at the University in Japan.

Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor of KISS-DU and Professor Hideyo Emori, Director of the Shin Buddhist Comprehensive Research Institute at Otani University, welcomed the gathering. Professor Behera said that the partnership presented a great opportunity for students and scholars to engage the two countries in a mutually enriching future, while Professor Emory emphasized the strength of partnerships, recalling a Buddhist axiom that tripartite partnerships often produce the highest kind of enlightening wisdom.

Professor Dash, who had her early education in Sambalpur and Delhi before moving to Japan where she wrote her Ph.D. at Otani University, spoke about the constitutive elements of the university, touching upon aspects of institutional history, philosophy, students, infrastructure, research programmes, and international collaborations. She was particularly happy that their first institutional collaboration in India was signed with two Odisha-based institutions of world-class reputations, i.e. KISS & KIIT.

Otani University has ongoing international collaborations with 29 institutions from 14 countries, she informed. Speaking on prospects of international collaborations in research, she introduced several current projects, with a detailed note on the distinguished Shin Buddhist Comprehensive Research Institute, where as many as 23 major national and international research projects are currently underway. Professor Dash also briefed the audience about the unique museum and manuscript collection at the university, which holds an impressive number of ancient palm leaf manuscripts currently being digitized and made more widely available.

In his deliberation, Dr. Prashanta Kumar Routray, the Registrar of KISS-DU said that it is a proud privilege to sign MoU with a premier international university and hoped for a meaningful collaboration in the future. He also proposed a formal vote of thanks.