Dr Chandra Madramootoo

Farewell to ICRISAT Governing Board Chair Professor Chandra Madramootoo

Dr Chandra Madramootoo

Dr Chandra Madramootoo

‘Passionate’, ‘dedicated’ and ‘committed’ are just some of the adjectives used to describe outgoing Governing Board Chair Professor Chandra Madramootoo as ICRISAT bid him farewell.

Prof Chandra (as he is popularly called) completes his three-year tenure as Chair of the Governing Board, ICRISAT, on 30 April 2017. He joined the Board in March 2009, was elected as the Board Chair in April 2014 and has since played a key role in ICRISAT’s dynamic journey.

He oversaw the development of a country strategy for drought-hit Zimbabwe in 2016, the setting up of a pilot biogas plant to extract energy from biomass of constructed wetlands at ICRISAT-India, an effective Farmers Day where farmers pledged to use ICRISAT technology to help double their incomes, and several other milestones.

Prof Chandra completed his Bachelors, Masters and PhD (Agricultural Engineering) from McGill University, Montreal, Canada and was named to the James McGill Professorship in 2000.

Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT, said in his address, “We acknowledge the tremendous contribution of  Prof Chandra, who has so ably served ICRISAT in different capacities. He has not just brought his wisdom and wealth of knowledge about irrigation science to ICRISAT, but has left an indelible footprint on the people he touched through mentoring, including myself. His James McGill Professorship has been renewed for 15 years, which is very rare. It points to his character and unique skills including mentoring students and colleagues, and being really passionate about what science can do for society.”

Dr Bergvinson talked about Prof Chandra’s successful research career and about his will to take on the urgency with which innovation needs to be applied to address society’s needs, especially the Sustainable Development Goals. “He has really invested himself in understanding our science and our partners,” said Dr Bergvinson. “That has been a tremendous asset as the board deals with the issues of positioning our research strategically.”

Dr Bergvinson thanked Prof Chandra for steering ICRISAT through challenging times and for going beyond the call of duty as not just a leader of science but as a mentor of people.

Incoming Governing Board Chair, Dr Nigel Kerby, MBE, said, “What I know of Chandra as a person is that he’s truly dedicated, truly committed. He expects the best from others but also gives his very best to the job. I believe that he is leaving ICRISAT in a much better position than it was when he took over, despite the challenging times it has faced.”
Dr Paco Sereme described how he met Professor Madramootoo and said, “When I joined the ICRISAT Board, I saw the way he dealt with issues the Board has to deal with and what impressed me is the way he respects the view the people. That is important for a Board Chair. I have also seen his commitment for sub-Saharan Africa and the entire drylands. It was a pleasure for me to work with Chandra and I know that in him we have a friend to assist us all the time.”
Ms Oluwande Muoyo remarked, “He has inspired me in terms of dedication to ICRISAT and acceptance of the responsibility that we Board members are handed.”
Dr Paul C Anderson commented,  "As Board Chair, Chandra has exactly the characteristics needed to manage a diverse group such as that at ICRISAT. He’s extremely well organized, very very polite and a thorough gentleman. He’s very well-spoken and he represents ICRISAT very well because of these characteristics.”
“It’s been said many times by other Board Chairs in Australia about how Chandra makes them feel as though they need to work a little bit harder,” said Dr Wendy Umberger.  “He’s really inspired other people in the CG system to do better, to be more dedicated to their centers. He leaves big shoes for all of us Board Members to fill.”
Dr Laurie Tollefson said that he had known Chandra from the time they were young. "He’s always driven me to try to be better. He’s been an inspiration for me, personally as well as academically, in every way. I know his love for ICRISAT, his love for international agriculture. He is a visionary and a true leader and we’re lucky to have him at ICRISAT.”

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