Naveen Chopra is the Founder Chairman of ‘The Chopras’, one of India’s largest and most successful global education companies, with over twenty-two offices and over five hundred employees. The company provides a holistic view of the opportunities available in the education and study abroad domain worldwide. The Chopras are the promoters of ‘The University of North West Himalayas’ and responsible for powering ‘Valley Of Words: International Literature and the Arts Festival 2018’.
Here are excerpts from a conversation with Naveen Chopra in the context of the upcoming Valley of Words LitFest:
Q: Can you tell us something about the background of The Chopras, the organisation which is behind the Shivailk Hills Foundation Trust and the University of North West Himalayas, besides spearheading the International Literature and Arts Festival to be held this year on 23-25 November?
A: There is a connectedness between the career counselling and education services we provide, and the establishment of a University with a clear focus on what the students want and expect from a great institution. Let me begin with The Chopras – which is a pioneering organisation in the field of career counselling in the country. Your readers may recall that this concept was initiated by us two decades ago. In those days, the focus was only on engineering and medicine, schools and parents were not taking the natural interest and inclination of the students in mind. That’s why our organisation focuses on student career counseling, selection of courses and placements across the globe. That’s how we got interested in establishing a university under the provisions of the Hill University under the auspices of the higher education policy of the state.
Q: But why Dehradun and the Doon Valley?
A: The history of our family is deeply embedded here amd keeps us closely connected to the city. For instance, one of my great grand uncles, Balaki Ram Chopra, came here in the early part of the last century, joined the freedom movement, established and encouraged enterprises and was one of the founding members of the Punjab National Bank. He sacrificed almost everything for the freedom struggle, became a prominent leader of the Congress, and was in correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi and had forthright conversations with him. Many members of our extended family have studied and worked in Dehradun. Besides, of course, Dehradun is certainly the most important education hub of North India.
Q: Would you like to discuss the courses which would be offered by the University of North West Himalayas?
A: Our University is going to be a multi-faculty institution. In the first go, we’d be launching School of Policy and Governance under which there will also be a course mounted on Comparative Civilisational Studies. Besides that will be the School of Business Studies, School of Media and Communication, School of Computer Sciences and School of Hospitality and Hotel Management. And every single area will have a research component right from the first day.
Q: What is your vision for ‘Valley Of Words: International Literature and the Arts Festival 2018’?
A: In the second edition, we will attempt to connect the people and enable dialogue. It would focus on an interaction between thought leaders from various disciplines. We see this upcoming Festival as an advance introduction of ourselves to Dehradun, the country as well as the larger world.