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Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala : 30.10.2012

I am very happy to be here today to inaugurate the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of this prestigious Institution.

The Loyola College of Social Sciences, a 'pioneer' in social service has been training generation after generation of men and women, motivating them to go forth, deliver services and work for social change. Once Swami Vivekananda has said "From time immemorial India has been a mine of precious ideas to human society; giving birth to high ideas herself, she has freely distributed them and broadcast over the whole world." In pursuing your mission with dedication and commitment, students of Loyola College are making a significant difference in realizing Swami Vivekananda's vision for our people.

Distinguished Guests,

I am aware of the long and distinguished history of the Loyola College since it was conceived and established by Rev. Joseph Edamaram, the first Provincial of the Kerala Jesuit Province. He had dreamt of an institute of Social Sciences that would contribute to the building of a diverse and well knit, resurgent society - particularly in the state of Kerala. He wanted to propagate the motto of the Jesuit Society - to imbue in students the elements that would help them to transcend the goals of money, faith and success and create leaders devoted to the betterment of society and the world.

I am happy to learn that Loyola College, Trivandrum has lived up to this vision, blending education and praxis, learning and intervention. The college has steadfastly pursued the triple goals of teaching, research and extension.

I am also happy to see that as a pioneer teaching institute the Loyola College has trained thousands of social workers, social scientists and personnel managers - who have themselves carried forward and extended this training through projects and initiatives in collaboration with associates in India and abroad.

I would, nevertheless, take this opportunity to remind the young trainees and students of the Loyola College to pause and consider some of the challenges that still needs to be addressed. For example, despite its high literacy rate of 86 percent, Kerala has a relatively low profile of women in public life. Statistics show a concentration of women in the unorganized sectors including agricultural labour, cottage and traditional industries and selected service sectors where equal pay for equal work is unfortunately not well established. A perceptible marginalization of women in the economic process and their low level of control over resources have been major impediments in improving their status in Kerala. This is despite the generally progressive political environment in Kerala. There needs to be more active involvement of women in various leadership levels in the State. A good step in this direction is the reservation of 50% of seats in local bodies and Panchayats for the women.

As an institution of Social Sciences ranking 6th among the best colleges in this field, it is incumbent upon the graduating classes today to be all the more conscious of their social responsibility. As enlightened alumni of the Loyola College, you have a head start - and can do more for the building of a socialist, secular democratic society not only in Kerala but all over India. I call upon you to commit yourselves to more outreach, new projects and a wider range of activities at multiple levels in society.

With these words, I have the pleasure to declare the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Loyola College of Social Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram open.

Jai Hind.