Friday, June 6, 2014

Tribute to Dr. K.E. Vaidyanathan

IASSH family regret to inform you the passing away of Dr. K.E. Vaidyanathan, a well known demographer and former President of IASSH on  4th May, 2014 at Bangalore. He was not keeping well for some time.

Dr. Kunniseri Eswaran Vaidyanathan, a distinguished demographer and social scientist was born in Kerala on 31st March 1937. He acquired his first post-graduate degree in Statistics from Madras University (1957), and subsequently the M.A. in Demography from University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, U.S.A (1965) and Ph.D. in Sociology also from University of Pennsylvania (1967). Dr. Vaidyanathan started his career as a Statistical Assistant in the Department of Statistics, Govt. of Tamil Nadu in 1957 and later elevated to Assistant Director of Statistics. He served the Department of Statistics for ten years and in 1968 joined as a faculty at the International Institute for Population Studies, Mumbai. At IIPS he taught courses on Statistics, Mortality, Migration, Labour Force and Economic Demography.  In 1971 he joined the Institute of Rural Health and Family Planning, Gandhigram, as Head of the Department of Population Studies and also served as its acting Director for a short period. During this period he edited the book Studies on Mortality in India, at a time most demographers were focused upon fertility and family planning.

In 1971 he joined the UN system as a UN Demographer in Cairo Demographic Centre, which is the regional centre for Africa and the Middle-East. In 1976 he moved to Syria as an UN Adviser to help establish the Centre for Population Studies and Research and to advice the Planning Commission of Syria.  This was followed by a posting in Kampala, Uganda to serve as a faculty in the Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics in Makarere University, Kampala. In 1979 he became the UNESCO Regional Adviser for Population Education in the Arab region, and in 1982 he moved to ILO as the Regional Expert for Household Surveys under the National Household Survey Capability Programme (NHSCP) in the Arab region.  In these positions he has contributed greatly to the establishment of population education and national household surveys programmers in several countries of the Arab region.  He later served during 1992-96 as the Chief Technical Adviser for the Sudan Population Census of 1993, which was acclaimed as the most successful census ever held in that vast and complex country. In 2001 he helped plan and implement the Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in 2005 he went back to Sudan to plan the 2007 Population Census of Sudan.  Besides these long term assignments he has undertaken several short term assignments for international organizations as Consultant and Team Leader in over ten countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia. Besides English and Tamil, he has working knowledge of French and Arabic.

Dr. Vaidyanathan is a member of International Statistical Institute, International Association of Survey Statisticians, IUSSP, International Union for Health Promotion and Education, IASP and other professional bodies. He was the President of the Indian Association for Social Sciences and Health (IASSH) from 2007 to 2011 and was mainly responsible for the growth and expansion of the association to its present form. Considering his significant contribution to the Association, the IASSH felicitated him in 2012 at its tenth Annual Conference held at JNU, New Delhi in 2012.

In his demise, we lost an outstanding scholar, an excellent teacher and above all, a fine human being. We at IASSH express our heartfelt condolences to his family members. May his soul rest in peace. 
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