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  • Writer's picturesri venkateswara charitable trust

The Fr Jerome D’Souza Memorial Endowment Lecture, instituted by Surana &

Surana Public Charitable Trust (SSPCT), supported by Surana & Surana

International Attorneys (SSIA), on Dr Radhakrishnan Road in Royapettah was held

at the college’s Lawrence Sundaram Auditorium in association with Loyola College

Fr Jerome D’Souza was the Principal and Rector in Loyola College and other Jesuit

colleges for 15 years. As founder of the Indian Social Institute and the Jesuit

General’s first Assistant for Indian and Asian affairs, he excelled as a priest,

educationist and statesman.


SSPCT has a long-standing Memorandum of Understanding with Loyola College

for two annual endowment lectures, the second one being Pandit Jawaharlal

Nehru Memorial Lecture.

The theme of this year’s Endowment Lecture is: “Sustainable Development Goal

3: To ensure a healthy life and promote well-being for all at all ages”, which was

delivered by Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chairperson, MS Swaminathan Research

Foundation and former Chief Scientist, World Health Organization.

She spoke on “Future Pandemic Prevention in relation to WHO Experience”. The

world renowned epidemiologist Dr Soumya Swaminathan shed light on India's

effective handling of the COVID-19 situation in comparison to other developed


Emphasizing the challenges posed by the Infodemic, she highlighted the rampant

spread of misinformation globally, contributing to the chaos surrounding the



Dr. Swaminathan underscored the crucial role of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

in the context of vaccine development during the pandemic.

She detailed the World Health Organization's efforts to encourage international

collaboration in vaccine invention, urging nations to actively participate in the

fight against the virus.

She called upon students to focus on the social aspects of the pandemic, including

accessibility, ethical considerations, and adherence to international regulations.

Dr. Swaminathan said the next pandemic is not if but when. Her key takeaways

included a plea to minimize interference with nature and a call to actively work

towards conserving the planet's well-being.


Soumya Swaminathan was most recently WHO's Chief Scientist and before that,

Deputy Director-General for Programs.

Returning to India, she took over as Chairperson of the M S Swaminathan

Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Feb 2023. A pediatrician from India and a

globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30

years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her

career to translate research into impactful programs.

Dr Swaminathan was Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research

and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) from 2015

to 2017

In that position, she focused on bringing science and evidence into health policy-

making, building research capacity in Indian medical schools, and forging south-

south partnerships in health sciences.

From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF /UNDP /World

Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in


She received her academic training in India, the United Kingdom and the United

States of America, and has published more than 480 peer-reviewed publications

and book chapters.

She is a Fellow of the US National Academy of Medicine, the Academy of Medical

Sciences of the UK and a Fellow of all the science academies in India. She has

received several honorary doctorates, including from Karolinska institute, EPFL,

Lausanne and the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

She serves on several national and global advisory bodies and committees. She is

an adjunct Professor at Karolinska University in Sweden and Tufts university in

Boston, the US. 

She is a Board Member of the Alliance Bioversity, Coalition for Epidemic

Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), FIND, Population Foundation of India and

others. She is also a Governing Council Member of the Tamil Nadu Climate

Change Mission and Chair of ICMR’s Scientific Advisory Board.


As WHO’s inaugural Chief Scientist, Dr Swaminathan built the Science division

with a focus on research, quality assurance of norms and standards and digital


She played a key role during the pandemic in coordinating scientific efforts at the

WHO, as well as in setting up Covax, with a focus on equitable vaccine distribution

to Low and Middle Income Countries.


Surana & Surana International Attorneys (SSIA) is ranked No 1 in South India since

1998 by leading national and international publications like Legal 500 Asia Pacific,

Business India, Legal Business, Chambers Global and Legal100 Asia Pacific. The

firm is headquartered in Chennai, with a full-fledged office in New Delhi.


SSIA is the "go-to" law firm by industry on parameters such as competence, quick

response, integrity, cost effective solutions, research oriented work and

practicality.  Trusted and respected by most decision makers in Chennai, the

firm's client include Fortune 500 MNCs including Indian Corporates, Central and

State Government organizations, High Net Worth individuals, Social and

Charitable institutions.


Dr J Vanitha, Head of the Department of Sociology, Loyola

College, Dr Vinod Surana, Managing Partner and CEO, Surana &

Surana International Attorneys, P S Surana, Founder-Partner

(SSIA) and Rev Dr A Louis Arockiaraj, Principal, Loyola College

attended the event.


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