Indian-American investor and philanthropist Frank Islam hopes that a $2-million management school set up by him at his alma mater, the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), will become an incubator for leaders in India. “From this Complex will come the leaders who will make India and the world a better place,” said Islam, who dedicated The Frank and Debbie Islam Management Complex at the AMU in February. “That is my vision,” he told IANS. “I also expect that the Complex will be a place for sharing of information and imparting and development of knowledge.”
“It will be a space where faculty and students can collaborate on innovative projects. It will be an educational empowerment zone,” he said.
“As a result of that collaboration, the Complex will be a place where dreams will begin and students will develop the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities to realise them,” Islam added.
Speaking of his role in developing stronger people-to-people ties between the US and India, Islam said he hopes “to be a strong advocate for increased attention to addressing the educational needs of minorities and those in the weaker sections in India.”
“I will also focus time and attention to the development and support of new entrepreneurs and making the connection between American businesses and investors and those interested in starting new businesses.”
Islam also called “attention to need for increased constructive civic engagement by those with the capacity and competence to be difference makers.”
This would “ensure that these two strong democracies are places where freedom, equal rights, and equality of opportunity regardless of sex, race or religion are true in reality and not just in rhetoric.”
Asked how he saw India-US relations growing under President Donald Trump, Islam said former President Barack Obama saw the US and India as “indispensable partners”.
But “Trump’s more isolationist emphasis on America first and economic nationalism suggests that he is not putting building relations with foreign countries — India included — at or near the top of his agenda,” he said.
However, Islam firmly believes that Trump “administration will broaden and strengthen and deepen our engagement with India as US-India relationship had bipartisan support”.
Islam currently heads the FI Investment Group, a private investment holding company. He founded the QSS Group, an information technology firm in 1994 and built it from one employee to more than 2,000 employees and revenues of approximately $300 million before its sale in 2007.