A new collaboration between The India Center at UCF and The New Indian Express newspaper is serving to broaden awareness and understanding between the world’s two largest democracies – and providing an opportunity for writers at UCF to be seen around the world by readers of the publication.

Beginning in October, articles written at UCF started appearing regularly in the newspaper published in India with a circulation of more than 300,000 and an online presence around the globe.

The early focus of stories has been on the U.S. presidential election and results because of the potential effects on India, but various topics are on the horizon.

“We’ll take on subjects such as the impact of India’s culture in the United States, the lives and livelihoods of Indian-Americans, U.S. foreign policy and India, where Indian-American students go after graduating from U.S. colleges and universities, etc.,” said John C. Bersia, special assistant to the UCF president for global perspectives and co-chair of The India Center, who initiated the relationship. Kerstin Hamann, chair of the UCF Political Science Department, also co-chairs The India Center.

The potential for collaboration started when a delegation from India representing multiple news outlets was hosted in Orlando last spring by The India Center and others from the UCF and Central Florida communities. After discussing possible ties in the months that followed, representatives from The India Center at UCF were extended the opportunity to write in The New Indian Express.

Hamann said the collaboration has already evolved into a productive relationship.

“The regular contributions from The India Center in The New Indian Express significantly increases the visibility of the center in India and presents a high-profile partnership between UCF and the newspaper, but on a larger scale also between the two countries,” she said.

Bersia added that the new relationship will give UCF staff and students a special international experience: regularly presenting insights to primarily Indian readers on issues of importance to them.

“I believe the newspaper would say it benefits from having unique content originating in the United States that holds appeal for its main audience,” he said. “Further, the effects go beyond the United States and India, given that the online versions of the pieces greatly extend their reach.”

So far, articles in the publication have been written primarily by Shannon Payne, a recent UCF graduate, and Pratyush Goberdhan, the UCF India Fellow this semester. Payne, a senior program assistant for The India Center and the Global Perspectives Office, majored in anthropology and minored in diplomacy. Goberdhan, a junior majoring in international and global studies, also minors in French and art history. Stories have featured comments from several Indian-American students at UCF.

Past articles are available for reading on The India Center’s website.

Payne said the writing collaboration will provide the opportunity to share with a broader audience the research capabilities of The India Center because many of the articles have a research component provided by the center.

“This partnership showcases the way international, professional exchanges are ideally supposed to work,” Bersia said. “They’re designed to plant seeds for ongoing, mutually beneficial interaction – communication, idea-sharing, collaboration, future exchanges, etc. – and possibly more-involved partnerships.”

The India Center, supported by The India Group Annual Fund, The Anil and Chitra Deshpande India Program Endowed Fund and the India Studies Fund of the Global Connections Foundation, was established in 2012. It is housed in the Political Science Department in the College of Sciences at the University of Central Florida.