Updated on 04 Jul, 2014
Prof Gracious Thomas
Professor Gracious Thomas is the founder Director of the School of Social Work (SOSW) at Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. He has B.A, M.A, Ph.D and D.Litt in Social Work. He is an eminent academician having about three decades of research, teaching and administrative experience by holding very important positions as Principal, National Institute of Social Work and Social Sciences, Bhubaneswar, founder Director of National Centre for Disability Studies IGNOU, and Director School of Continuing Education, IGNOU. Prior to joining IGNOU, he was lecturer in Social Work at ISSW, Indore (DAVV). During his two decades of engagement in IGNOU, he has made remarkable contribution in Indian Higher Education particularly to social work profession, HIV/AIDS and Philosophy.
Dr. Thomas is a renowned author. He has authored /co-authored about 26 books, edited/co-edited over 80 books and 197 monographs (having ISBN number) apart from research papers and articles in reputed journals, periodicals etc. Former President of India Shri. K.R. Narayanan (L) wrote foreword for two of his books. Most of his books are on social work, HIV/AIDS, Ethics, World Religions, Philosophy and related topics. Some of these books were released by world leaders like Nobel Laureate Dalai Lama, Bharat Ratna Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, and former Chief Election Commissioner, Navin Chawla. Several national dailies and periodicals have carried interview with him. He frequently reaches out to millions through various T.V. channels and radio programmes. Prof. Thomas also coordinated the production of over 70 educational video programmes which are on regular telecast through the Gyandarshan channels. He has contributed several articles to the Encyclopaedia of Social Work and the ACPI Encyclopaedia on Philosophy. He was a member in the Editorial Advisory Board of the Indian Journal of Open Learning (International Journal).
He was instrumental in establishing the CBCI-IGNOU Chair in 2000, the Centre for Tibetan Studies and the Mother Teresa Chair at IGNOU in 2011. He also brought several collaborative endeavours to IGNOU, which include the MoU with Florida State University, the AIDS Health Care Foundation, USA, American Embassy, WHO, NACO etc.
He was an expert in the ‘Inter-Continental Study Group on HIV/AIDS’ in Rome. He was also a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, Vatican, apart from being Advisor to the Indian Parliamentary Forum on HIV/AIDS. He is the Founder Vice President of the National Association of Professional Social Workers in India (NAPSWI), Founder Chairman of the Annual National Seminar on Social Work and HIV since 2004, and the Convenor of the Annual Mother Teresa Memorial Lecture being organised by the CBCI Chair at IGNOU since 2008.
He is a pioneer in introducing programmes of study in Social Work, HIV/AIDS, Family Life Education and Philosophy in Indian Higher Education System through Distance Learning. The programmes developed by him include Certificate in Social Work and Criminal Justice System, Certificate in HIV and Family Education, Diploma in HIV and Family Education, Bachelor and Master Programmes in Philosophy, Bachelor and Masters in Social Work and M.Phil and Ph.D in Social Work as well as Philosophy. Prof. Thomas coordinated the launching of three MSW programmes namely (i) MSW (Generic) (ii) MSW (Philanthropy) and (iii) MSW (Counselling). The school of social work headed by him has about thirty thousand students within India and abroad.
The contribution of Dr Thomas to the promotion of HIV/AIDS education is unique. IGNOU offers several courses on HIV/AIDS and related topics such as substance abuse and counselling, family life education and adolescent education across the board in the Bachelor Degree programmes including B.A, BSW, B.Ed, MSW and M.Phil/Ph.D in social work. Thousands of students pursue these courses from within India and foreign countries including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Singapore and Nepal apart from several state open universities.
Prof. Thomas is being invited as visiting faculty to several Universities and renowned institutes of higher education within India and abroad which include the Florida State University, USA, Manchester Metropolitan University, U.K, and the James Cook University, Australia. Several Universities, educational bodies, Public Sector Undertakings, donor agencies and NGOs continue to invite him for lectures and consultations. He has served in several academic bodies of Central and State Universities as member in the Academic Councils, Finance Committee, Doctoral Committees, Research Councils, Board of Studies, Expert Committees, Selection Committees and Delegations. Dr. Thomas is the recipient of several awards including the Vijay Shree Award, Rajiv Gandhi Educational Award, and Best Citizen of India Award.
Professor Thomas organised eleven National Seminars: four in Delhi, one each in Guwahati, Assam, Bangalore, Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh, Kuttikkanam and Kasaragod in Kerala and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. He also organised several state-level seminars on social work and HIV/AIDS in places such as Shillong, Imphal, Dimapur, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Bhopal, Goa, Bangalore, Cochin, Port Blair, Srinagar, Khanna (in Punjab) and Hyderabad. He had been to all the states and most of the Union Territories of the country. He has visited several countries spread across the globe such as U.S.A., Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, Thailand, Ethiopia, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, several SAARC Countries and many countries in the Middle East and Europe including U.K.
School of Social Work,
Maidan GarhiNew Delhi -
New Delhi, India