Meet our Team – Dr. Peter, Profugo’s COD Director

Meet Dr. Peter, a subject matter expert and Director of Dr. PeterProfugo’s Center of Development (COD). He’s the glue that keeps it all together and the backbone of the Global Neighborhood. Dr. Peter offers us an insight into his world, over 8,000 miles away, in Wayanad, India. Read more to find out how Dr. Peter does it all!

RAIGAN WHEELER (RW): Where is the place you call home?

PETER (DR. P): Where I am, that’s my home. As the Indian saying goes, “vasudhaiva kudumbakam”, the whole world is my family. I was born in Kerala, better known as ‘God’s own country’, did my High School and college in a neighboring State, Tamil Nadu, worked at various locations in India as a Civil Servant for over two decades, and now for the past one year, Wayanad has been my home.

RW: Where did you study in college and what degrees have you earned?

DR. P: I did my undergraduate studies in English at Loyola College in Chennai, then called Madras. Throughout my career I continued learning, mostly in distance mode, and took Masters in English, computer science, ecology and environment, and a PhD in English.

RW: What relevant work have you done prior to Profugo?

DR. P: I served in various capacities for 13 years with an international NGO engaged in agricultural research in the semi-arid tropics. My role as the Member Secretary of the Environment, Health and Safety Committee there was relevant and useful to the work that I’m currently doing in Profugo.

RW: Who or what has been the biggest influence in your career in development?

DR. P: The quality of living and lack of resources and opportunities of thousands of people living around us; the awareness that we can be of help to them, and development pathways can make a difference in their lives.

RW: Where is the most interesting place your career or studies have taken you?

DR. P: In 2013 I visited The Philippines and Manila City while doing a professional course at the Asian Institute of Management. The urban style of living, the evening malls, and affluence in Metro Manila contrasted with the countryside and smaller towns that almost resembled one in India. The rural landscape almost looked like verdant, hilly farmsteads in Kerala.

RW: What’s a typical day like for you as a Field Leader?

DR.P: I am usually at the COD by 8:30 am. I read and respond to emails first, and then complete any pending or priority tasks. Our staff team meetings are usually held in the forenoon.  I visit the farm in the afternoon. And then there are meetings with Village Advisory Committee, SEIP groups, Tailoring Unit, visitors, and so on. Workshops and training sessions for the village community are held from time to time. Wednesday afternoons, we have a conference call with our ED, Ms. Jenny Koleth. Occasionally I join the Field Team for community connect with Prasanthagiri and Valad households. I drive back home at about 16:30.

RW: What do you hope to accomplish in your Field Leader role, professionally and/or personally?

DR. P: Help the community that I serve to improve their quality of life and happiness index, enable Profugo to achieve its vision and mission, and make my Team professional and proud of their work.

RW: What do you think are the best skills that you bring to the Field Fellows and the Wayanad community?

DR. P: Field Fellows: the ability to have conversations and jointly plan a meaningful fellowship schedule of activities, review them from time to time and facilitate their immersion in the village community life; to help translate/interpret their communication; mentoring and enabling them to write impact stories and blogs.

Wayanad community: connecting and communicating with them to understand their problems and help them work towards solutions that make a difference in their lives, education, health, and family income, and enhance their quality of life; sensitizing and skill development through workshops, training, and farming/social enterprise activities.

RW: Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

DR. P: Can’t comment. Writing, publishing, poetry, philosophy…maybe

RW: What gets you out of bed every day?

DR. P: The God-given life-breath or prana, the rising sun, the cool and misty air of Wayanad.

RW: What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

DR. P: Look at the moon-less sky at night from their rooftop when there’s a power outage and there are no candles around.

RW: What would be your personal motto?

DR. P: Live and let live.

RW: Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me….

DR. P: at the nearby church, joining the worshippers in praising God and taking the day off to just walk and breathe.

RW: How do you want people to remember you?

DR. P: As a rock that also holds water.

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