Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute

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Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute
Abbreviation SICI
Formation 1968
Headquarters 2500 University Drive N.W. & 5 Bhai Vir Singh Marg
Prof. Girish M. Shah

The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute is a binational non-profit organization with registered charity status in Canada.[1] The Institute supports the creation of binational links between academia, government, the business community and civil society organizations by funding research and hosting seminars. It provides grants as well as internships and fellowships to provide opportunities for individuals to gain first-hand experience in India or Canada in their field of expertise.[2] Furthermore, the Institute serves as a liaison between educational institutions and the Indian diaspora in Canada.[3]


Named after former Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute was created in 1968 through a joint announcement of the governments of Canada and India. The idea of forming an institute to promote scholarly activity between Canada and India was first conceived by Dr. Michael Brecher, a political science professor at McGill University, when he met Prime Minister Shastri who gave the convocation address at McGill University in June 1965.[4] In his address, the Prime Minister suggested that there needed to be institutional understanding to promote scholarly exchange in the field of humanities and social sciences.[5]

The initial purpose of the Institute was to encourage Canadian educational institutions to focus university level teaching and research on India. With an emphasis on the humanities and social sciences, the Shastri Institute’s programmes funded fellowships and distributed Indian books and journals to the libraries of the four founding Canadian member institutions.



The Institute’s main sources of funding come from the Canadian and India governments, chiefly through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) on the Canadian side and from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (India) from the Government of India.[6] It also receives contributions from Canadian member institutions as well as private donations.[7]


An eight-member bi-national Executive Council, which is elected by representatives of the member institutions, governs the Shastri Institute. The presidency of the Executive Council alternates annually between Canada and India. The Institute also operates with the guidance of the Indian Administrative Committee, as well as with advice from the Canadian Advisory Council and the Indian Advisory Council.[8] In addition to the Executive Council, there are various committees within the Shastri Institute, which are filled by representatives of the member institutions.[9] Staff members at the India and Canada offices, located in New Delhi and Calgary respectively, carry out all administrative responsibilities of the institution.[10]

Grants and awards[edit]

For Canadian students[edit]

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri Student Prize (Value- CAD 500): Two Prizes are given out to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree programme at a Canadian university that is a member of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. The Prize is given out to students who submit an essay on any topic with specific relevance to India which was written as a class assignment and has been graded.[11]
  • Student Excellence Awards (Value- CAD 2000): Five Awards are given out to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree programme at a Canadian university that is a member of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute who are registered in the last two years of undergraduate study in a programme with a substantial India component. The awards are given to students with high academic achievements who can clearly demonstrate how the award will contribute to their knowledge of India and how this knowledge will contribute to their long-term career goals.[12]
  • India Studies Fellowship: The purpose of the India Studies Programme is to promote understanding of India in Canada. The Fellowship covers a round trip airfare from the fellow’s residence to the place of affiliation in India and a monthly allowance up to Rs 24,000 per month and is open to Master’s and PhD students as well as students who want to get language training or visual and performing artists who want to expand their experience in an Indian art form.[13]

For Indian students[edit]

Canadian Studies Doctoral Research Fellowship: This fellowship is designed to assist full-time graduate students at degree-granting institutions of higher education, whose dissertations are related in substantial part to Canada, to undertake doctoral research about Canada. The maximum value of any award will consist of a contribution towards international airfare, an allowance of CAD 1,200 per complete month towards expenses while in Canada, up to a maximum of 6 months.[14]

For Canadian and Indian faculty[edit]

  • Millennium Development Goals Research Grant (Value- CAD 80,000): One grant is awarded for a period of 30 months to fund bi-national research teams to undertake public policy relevant research toward one or more of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals.[15]
  • Partnership Development Seed Grant (Value- CAD 15,000): Five grants are awarded for a period of one year to projects that serve as a catalyst for activities which contribute to formal institutional agreements or other long-term partnerships between Canadian and Indian institutions. Funds may also be used to support bi-national seminars, conferences, meetings, or other activities that build awareness of potential collaboration opportunities between Canadian and Indian institutions and promote sharing of knowledge, information, resources and expertise.[16]
  • Scholarship Travel Subsidy Grant (Value- 50% of travel expenses up to $1200): The subsidy grant is in place to assist scholars to participate in conferences and academic meetings affiliated with Shastri member institutes.[17]

For Canadian faculty only[edit]

  • India Studies Award: The purpose of the India Studies Programme is to promote Canadian faculty research and training in an area of expertise in India. The Fellowship covers a round trip airfare from the fellow’s residence to the place of affiliation in India and a monthly allowance up to Rs 24,000 per month.[18]

For Indian faculty only[edit]

  • Canadian Studies Programme Development Grant: Started in 1979, grants are provided to encourage scholarly inquiry and professional academic activities with the objective of contributing to the development and expansion of Canadian Studies at Indian Universities. The value of the grant varies since the amount provided is meant to defray direct costs related to professional activities initiated by the institution, such as domestic Indian travel of visiting Canadian scholars abroad as well as cost of materials, printing, office-related charges and computer time.[19]
  • Canadian Studies Faculty Enrichment Fellowship: This program of support is designed to increase knowledge and understanding of Canada abroad by assisting academics in higher education institutions to develop and teach courses about Canada in their own discipline, as part of their regular teaching load. The program enables academic award holders to come to Canada and gather the necessary information and material to devise a new course on Canada, or to modify or extend significantly the Canadian component of an existing course.[20]
  • Canadian Studies Faculty Research Fellowship: This fellowship is designed to assist individual academics in higher education institutions to undertake short-term research about Canada or on an aspect of Canada’s bilateral relations with the participating countries. The purpose is to increase knowledge and understanding of Canada through publication of pertinent articles in the foreign or international scholarly press.[21]

For libraries[edit]

  • Canadian Studies in India: The programme was initially launched in 1976 as a journal program. The programmer took a huge leap forward in 1991, when the Canadian Studies Library (CSL) was inaugurated as the main information resource centre of Canadian publications in India. The library houses a large and comprehensive collection of books, journals and newspapers as well as a variety of other media, with specific Canadian content. While the language of the collection is primarily in English, there is also a significant amount of material in French, both in literature and other subjects.[22]
  • Library program in Canada: The Programme acquires current Indian publications for scholarly and public use, housed in the libraries of the member institutions. The libraries of SICI’s three founding members (the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia) act as resource libraries while the other member institutions act as support libraries, acquiring material on a more limited scale to support their individual India Studies programmes.[23]

Member Institutions[24][edit]

The four founding members of the Shastri Institution were McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto and the National Library of Canada.[25] In 1980, the University of Ottawa became the first bilingual organization to join the Shastri Institute while HEC Montreal and Université Laval became the first francophone members in 2006.

List of Canadian members[edit]

List of Indian members[edit]


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  3. ^ Baraga et al. ‘Building bridges: A Case Study on the Role of the Indian Diaspora in Canada’ (December 2008). Kingston: Queens University Press, 26
  4. ^ Annual Report of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, 1972-1973, pp. 1
  5. ^ Annual Report of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, 1972-1973, pp. 1
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  25. ^ Annual Report of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, 1972-1973, pp. 3