The strategic vision behind the Telugu Initiative is to create a world-class center for the study of Telugu language and culture at the University of California, Berkeley. The ambition is to create an environment in which research and teaching in Telugu can be performed at a level comparable to the level currently enjoyed by Sanskrit and Tamil at UC Berkeley.
University of California, Berkeley is ideally situated to accomplish this mission because it is already a recognized center of excellence in several Indian languages as well as a leading institute for research in linguistics. Indeed, Dr. Murray B. Emeneau, who did pioneering work on South Indian languages, was a Professor of Sanskrit and General Linguistics at Berkeley. His magnum opus, the Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, is a standard unsurpassed so far. To realize this vision we have to create an environment where students from all over the world can learn Telugu and do research on Telugu.
We project that we will need a corpus of $5 million to achieve this goal and we intend to do this gradually, in steps, over a period of time. We already reached our first fund-raising goal of $300,000 and this enabled us to hire a temporary lecturer and launch the program with 12 students. Our next goal is to create a $1.0 million corpus, make the lecturer position permanent and campaign to increase the enrollment by leveraging advances in Information Technology to extend the reach of Berkeley-based lessons. The next step is to develop collaborative ties with universities in Andhra Pradesh so there is a flow of students and faculty between Berkeley and Andhra Pradesh. This can be achieved via the university’s Education Abroad programs as well as student and faculty exchanges facilitated by opportunities like the Fulbright Scholar Program. Up to this point emphasis will also be placed on developing instructional materials to teach Telugu as a second language and learning environments like immersive programs. The final phase will be the creation of a $5 million corpus to support a tenure track professorial position so that scholars can rally around this professor to conduct research on matters related to Telugu language and culture and to help put Telugu on the world map.
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Phase1 Goal: 350,000 USD
Phase2 Goal:1 million USD
Total Achieved:377,000 USD
Total Goal:5 million
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