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An international human services organization has recognized a UTA scholar for his worldwide leadership and research in the Social Work field.
The International Consortium for Social Development, which has branches in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, honored Vijayan Pillai in July during its international conference. Dr. Pillai won the organization’s Jim Billups International Social Development Award.
The Consortium is a 40-year-old group of scholars, professional social workers and students from the United States and numerous other countries who work to improve human conditions of people around the globe.
The organization’s members, among other things, consult with the world’s leading social change agencies, including the United Nations, UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank, to develop policies and practices that affect access to and delivery of health care, education and other services in developing countries.
Dr. Pillai won the Jim Billups Award during a year that some of the consortium’s scholars also sought, ironically, to have him elected president. He has been a member of the organization since its early years, served two terms on its directorial board and has served nearly a decade as editor of the consortium’s professional journal, Social Development Issues.
Dr. Pillai declined the nomination to serve as president, saying he instead preferred that an Australian scholar lead the organization. He said the scholar, Manohar Pawar, would bring new ideas and spur interest in social issues from that part of the world.
Dr. Pillai will continue serving as editor of the consortium’s journal.
“I voluntarily withdrew my nomination. I said the other person should get it,” Dr. Pillai said from his office in the UTA School of Social Work recently.
“They know me,” he said. “The U.S. tends to dominate these kinds of things.”
Dr. Pillai’s scholarly work is widely published and cited throughout the world. He said he hopes that, with the election of a president from another region of the world, more scholars will be encouraged to present work on issues affecting those regions.
Dr. Pawar, the Consortium’s incoming president, is a professor of Social Work at Charles Sturt University in Australia.
He cited Dr. Pillai’s professional work and selflessness during an address to the consortium’s membership during its gathering in July, calling him a “fine social development scholar.”
“He deserved to be the president of this great consortium more than me,” Dr. Pawar said. “Vijay offered his withdrawal much before mine to support me. It simply shows his generosity and gentle manner.”
Dr. Pawar posted his message to the consortium’s members on its Web site, saying that he and Dr. Pillai would work together within the organization.
In 2016, Dr. Pillai delivered a keynote address titled “Social Development—A Search for Conceptual Linkages,” to his peers during an Asia-Pacific conference in Kandy, Sri Lanka, in 2016. The address was published in Social Development Issues.
Dr. Pawar cited the address during his President’s Address at the consortium’s conference in July.
“I am of the view that anyone interested in social development must read it,” Dr. Pawar said. “It may be worth repeating such presentations at every ICSD conference.”