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Mayor Mike Bell and a delegation from the University of Toledo plan to travel to India next week.
The group is set to leave Tuesday for the southern Indian city of Coimbatore, where UT's College of Business and Innovation operates a master's of business administration program in conjunction with the PSG Institute of Management. The delegation will return April 26.
On April 23, the sixth class of Indian students in the program will graduate with an MBA from UT. The students receive instruction from UT faculty members in the business school who travel there and from teachers at PSG, according to Tom Gutteridge, dean of the College of Business and Innovation.
Mayor Bell will deliver the keynote address at the graduation. He said he will speak about Toledo and the importance of maintaining good international relationships.
In May, 2010, Mr. Bell and Coimbatore's mayor signed a Sister Cities agreement linking their communities.
When representatives of the Indian city visited Toledo in the fall, he promised to make a reciprocal trip to Coimbatore. Mr. Bell said he also will meet with elected officials and business people in India.
Having a successful Sister Cities program means establishing rapport with citizens and officials of those cities, he said, adding that, "If we're going to do this, let's make it real."
In September, Mayor Bell traveled to China at the request of a northwest Ohio delegation of businessmen, in the hopes of attracting investors and jobs to the region, and facilitating stronger trade relations.
The trip led to a $2.15 million deal to sell The Docks restaurant and entertainment complex as well as an additional pending development deal to sell the Marina District to Dashing Pacific Group, a U.S. corporation created by two Chinese investors.
Those investors, Yuan Xiaohona and Wu Kin Hung, said they learned of business opportunities in Toledo through the mayor's trip to their country.
Mayor Bell's India visit is at the invitation of the PSG Institute of Management, which will pay his expenses once he is on the ground. The city of Toledo will pay the $6,890.20 air fare to Mumbai and then to Coimbatore. The UT officials will be Mr. Gutteridge; university President Lloyd Jacobs; Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering; Patricia Komuniecki, dean of the College of Graduate Studies, and T.S. Ragu-Nathan, who is chairman of the information operations and technology management department at the business school.
The MBA graduating class has 90 students, Mr. Gutteridge said. The program has graduated more than 300 students to date and gets 400 applicants for every one that is accepted. He said UT has similar programs in Cairo and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Coimbatore is a growing industrial city of almost 2 million people. It and Toledo have some things in common, said Mr. Gutteridge, who has been there.
"It has a strong entrepreneurial base, strong manufacturing, and a strong health-care base," he explained.
It was important for UT to be there, he noted, because higher education has gone global along with the international economy. "By the definition of a business school, we need to be active in that."
Contact Carl Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.