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Vinod Daniel - Indian-Australian Museum Expert from Sydney, Australia

Q1. Mr Vinod Daniel tell us about your parents, siblings, childhood, school and college education?   My parents were from the southern-most ...

Q1. Mr Vinod Daniel tell us about your parents, siblings, childhood, school and college education? 

My parents were from the southern-most part of India, from a small town called Nagercoil (Tamil Nadu). Though I was born in Virudhunagar (which is also very much in the southern part of Tamil Nadu), I grew up in Chennai. My parents laid the foundation for myself, my brother and my sister to believe in Education, Entrepreneurship, Fairness and Compassion. I did my schooling in Chennai and then completed a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Delhi, which taught me both technical skills as well as cross cultural and people skills. I then completed a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Madras and a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Texas Christian University.

I am married to a very compassionate human being and have two children. My son is practicing law in Sydney, and my daughter is pursuing a degree in Law and Media, also in Sydney.

Q2. We know after your degree from IIT - Delhi, you happened to get a chance to work for International Company? Please tell us more?

After my dual degrees in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, I was exploring work opportunities in the USA. I was fortunate to get a position at the one of the world's wealthiest art institutions in Los Angeles to use my science background to implement projects on cultural objects preservation. One of my first projects was to assist in designing a display case for the royal mummies in Egypt. This ultimately led me to a career in Museums and an opportunity to work with Museums in over 50 countries.

Then in the mid-nineties, the Australian Museum offered me a position which helped me to broaden my skills from Conserving collections to Education, Exhibitions, Outreach and Management. 

Q3. You are a multi-facted personality, arts, museum, culture, sports, eye care, have all these been by design, plan or was it fate or destiny? 

I have always been inquisitive by nature and my education assisted me in strengthening this skill. I also have worked well with people, including in several student body leadership roles. All these have assisted me in my career and philanthropy pursuits. I guess, sometime, opportunities come your way due to whatever reason, but the ability to grab it and succeed in it is very much up to you. Also, every opportunity is a learning opportunity and assists in making an individual more balanced. I was fortunate to be appointed to one of the boards in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which assisted in building my diplomatic skills, and my leadership roles with several peak bodies assisted in building my negotiation and leadership skills. 

In short, my advice is to embrace opportunities, have a go, learn, adapt, enjoy successes, learn from failures, and overall, enjoy the journey.

Q4. You are among the few persons of Indian origin, being represented in World forums on Museums. How did it come about what value to do you add to these International committees? 

This is my second-term at the board of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). This body represents the profession globally and has over 45,000 museums and professionals from over 140 countries, I have also had the chance to chair a forum at the Salzbug Global Forum on Collections. I also Chair AusHeritage.

In all these roles, the global perspective one brings in as well as the understanding of how society and museums operate in a local context is very valuable. Having worked in a ground level with Museums in over 50 countries, especially from the developing part of the world, helps me to identify what the needs and priorities are in a practical way. I also understand cross-cultural perspectives very well and assist often in developing consensus on policies and strategies for the betterment of museums globally.

Q5. Work, Life & Socialise?  We spoke to few of your admirers and they all say Vinod, gets an eclectic mix of all these?  How do You find the time and do it? 

I enjoy what I do - be it work or sports or socializing or partying! Whether in the Museum world where I see a number of people I have taught and mentored in leadership roles now, or my charity work on vision care started because of my deep friendship with my friend, the late Professor Brien Holden, a pioneer and visionary Optometrist, through which hundreds of thousands of underprivileged people in India, adults and children, now have access to vision screening and a pair of free glasses.

I do prioritize exercise and sports and make sure I fit that in, have a deep faith in God, have an excellent family, all of which provide the strength and energy to do what all is possible to fit in a day. Also, one lesson I have learned is not to dwell too much in failures and negativity which can pull you down. Learn and move on.

Q6. What is your advice to people of the world, who want to pursue a career as a Diplomat? 

Diplomacy is a good career option. There are a lot many competent officers in the diplomatic services of countries. I interact with several senior Ambassadors and High Commissioners, and they are of exemplary caliber. Diplomats are trained to deal with all sorts of situations and it’s not always rosy as it seems so from the outside. People who choose diplomacy as a career need to remember that a lot of hard work and effort goes into it. Having said that, it’s also exciting and can be fulfilling; you get to see and interact with people from different cultures and nationalities. 

Q7. What is Vinod Daniel, keen on doing for next 3 years, what are projects on hand, what is the road map ahead?

Just want to build on what I have been doing over the past decade.

Contribute my leadership and knowledge to strengthen museums globally, especially in India.

Provide vision care support for at least 2 million underprivileged Indians.

Stay healthy both mentally and physically.

Cherish new challenges and opportunities as they come by.

Enjoy time with family and friends.

Get closer to God.

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Interviewed by : Dr. Vivek G Mendonsa & Dr. Suhani Mendonsa from Mumbai, India

Edited & Published by: Khushboo Chotaliya - Lifestyles Influencer from Mumbai, India.

Both Dr. Suhani Mendonsa & Khushboo Chotaliya are students of Yogesh MA's Digital Influencer's Academy.

Kindly follow 

Dr. Vivek G Mendonsa here

Dr. Suhani Mendonsa here


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