Dean Richman Fosters Collaboration in India

April 23, 2014
Jack Richman with Pratibha Patil, former President of India, and Suresh Pathare (far right) at a candle lighting ceremony at the beginning of the 3rd International Conference in Spirituality and Social Work in Pune, India. Photo courtesy the Comprehensive Rural Health Project.

Dean Jack Richman (far left) with Pratibha Patil, former president of India, and Suresh Pathare (far right) at a candle lighting ceremony at the beginning of the 3rd International Conference in Spirituality and Social Work in Pune, India. Photo courtesy the Comprehensive Rural Health Project.

Jack Richman, dean of UNC School of Social Work, visited India in March to meet with one of the school’s international partner institutions to increase opportunities for joint research and teaching.

The School of Social Work recently signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Centre for Studies in Rural Development, Institute of Social Work and Research in Ahmednagar, India. The center, which is affiliated with the University of Pune, established a relationship with the school three years ago, and has served as a host to UNC students, faculty and others as part of a study abroad program.

While in India, Richman met with center faculty and students, signed the collaboration agreement, visited several community agencies and presented on intervention research at a social work conference.

Richman’s trip was facilitated by Suresh Pathare and alumnus Darshan Mundada.

At the welcoming festivities, students at the Centre wore traditional native dress from the state of India they are from. There were 30 areas represented. Pictured to the left of Richman is Carol Cohen from the Adelphi University School of Social Work, board member of the International Association of Social Work with Groups. Photo courtesy Darshan Mundada.

At the welcoming festivities, students at the Centre for Studies in Rural Development wore traditional attire from their home states in India. There were 30 areas represented. Pictured to the left of Richman is Carol Cohen from the Adelphi University School of Social Work, board member of the International Association of Social Work with Groups. Photo courtesy Darshan Mundada.

Centre for Studies in Rural Development

Pathare, a professor and director of the center, spent six months at the UNC School of Social Work this year as a visiting scholar and has been helping the school explore ideas for collaboration. Mundada, MSW ’11, is conducting community development in India, and was instrumental in establishing the school’s study abroad programs in India.

The main goal of the visit was developing a research agenda with the center, said Richman, and a number of plans are already in development. The school is also pursuing opportunities for study abroad and international field placements. A study abroad in India is targeted for 2015, and the school’s first international field placement is set for this summer. MSW student Priya Chelladurai will work in Delhi on a project called, “Women and Girls Lead Global.”

“The  project] is being implemented in five countries, and India is one of them,” said Chelladurai. “The work in India, titled ‘The Hero Project,’ will focus on targeting the root causes of gender-based violence by addressing harmful gender stereotypes, our ideas of masculinity, and the harmful aspects of traditional gender roles.”

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Read more about SSW’s work with India