Vinod Daniel: deft leadership in vision care and museum development
Professionals in the optometry and ophthalmology sectors in India, and indeed in many other parts of the world, are well acquainted with Vinod Daniel’s indefatigable work as the CEO and managing trustee of the not-for-profit charity India Vision Institute (IVI). His contributions have been widely covered in India and in Australia, the two countries where he divides his time, as well as in the media elsewhere through print, digital platforms and TV via many an interview.
To grasp the scale of meeting the challenge of vision impairment in India, the country has over 100 million visually impaired people, and about 10 million children, mostly people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many organisations, optical associations and institutes are working tirelessly to meet this challenge.
India Vision Institute plays an important role through its work, providing access to primary eye care and free glasses for children and adults in underprivileged communities across the country, including in remote areas. For prevention of avoidable blindness, its team of experienced and qualified optometrists provide timely intervention in these communities. Since it was founded in 2012, IVI has touched several hundred thousand lives (330,000, including 260,000 children and 70,000 adults) in 19 states across India. Around 23,000 adults and 27,000 children found to have refractive errors have been provided free eye glasses. Under Daniel’s leadership, vision screening and optometry development continue to make an impact in a largely underserviced sector of primary eye health care in the country.
Daniel is an authority in heritage and museum development and preservation, with work in over 50 countries. Much has also been written about this role in news and feature articles. In addition, he has penned many articles on the subject. He has worked on museum projects in several countries in Europe and America, and in developing countries in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and South Asia, including Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and India. Projects range from Preservation of Egyptian Royal Mummies to developing a storage case for the Constitution of India.
He has held many positions in the field including being a senior manager at the Australian Museum; board member, Australia-India Council (AIC), and currently chairman, AusHeritage, and board member of the prestigious International Council of Museums (ICOM), Paris.
Daniel has represented and coordinated Australia’s functional interaction with the ASEAN-Committee on Culture and Information (ASEAN-COCI), India and the Pacific, AusHeritage and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), among others. He has co-chaired the Salzburg Global Forums 2009 session on ‘Conserving the World’s Collections’, which brought together 50 of the world’s prominent cultural heritage professionals, and chaired the Olympic Arts festival exhibition on heritage recognition for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
In India, Daniel has worked on prestigious projects such as with the Chennai Government Museum, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangralay (formerly Prince of Wales Museum) in Mumbai, Shantiniketan, Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, and the Indira Gandhi Memorial and National Museum, both in Delhi.
The many accolades for his extensive body of work include the International Council of Museums Australia award for International Relations (2011), the Association of Community Ophthalmologists of India (ACOIN) Golden Eye Award in 2012, the ASTRA (Association of Soft Skills Trainers) Service Excellence Award (2014) for sustainable contribution to human resource development and management relating to cultural heritage and blindness prevention, and the 2015 American Academy of Optometry-Essilor Award for outstanding international contributions to optometry.