I, Dr. Balasubramanian Ramani, in short form Bala, was born on March 13, 1977 in Kalancheri, Distrikt Thanjavurin, Tamil Nadu in southern India.
From 1994 to 1997 I studied zoology (as Gold Medallist) at Bharathidasan University in Tamil Nadu and then from 1997 to 1999 marine biology and oceanography at Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu (University first rank). My Master thesis "Desalinization of seawater using cyanobacterium" was awarded the Best Student Project.
I came from India in 2000 to do my doctoral thesis in marine botany with a scholarship from the state of Lower Saxony at the Leibniz University of Hanover (LUH). After my PhD, I actually wanted to go back to my university in India. But then the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean destroyed large parts of my institute, shortly before I wanted to start my return journey to India.
I have been working in the University Office for International Affairs at LUH since 2006 - initially parallel to my post-doctoral work at the Institute of Botany, and since 2011 as a permanent employee. I am the regional coordinator for India / South Asia as well as Africa and in the past few years I have tried to significantly expand the cooperation between the LUH and universities and research institutions in India. In 2010, for example, I started a program at the LUH with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in which there is a rotating exchange of chairs between Indian and German professors. 2010, I also supported the establishment of the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CMIS) at the University of Cologne focusing on Indo-German Research on Vocational Education and Training funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research.
In addition, I am not only responsible for Indian-German cooperation in the academic field, but also work on a broad basis. In 2009 I founded the Indian Association of Hanover (iash), initially as a student association from Leibniz University. In the meantime, the initiative has numerous members of all age groups, organizes many events and is also on hand with help and advice with matters such as visits to the authorities, visits to the doctor or care issues (Promo Video). In 2015 I also founded the Indian Student Association Germany, which is recommended by the Indian Embassy in Berlin.
Inspired by the words of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – “My only desire is that India should be a good producer and no one should be hungry, shedding tears for food in the country”, I founded the Young Professionals Platform for Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD) funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Government of Switzerland in 2005. As a Global Coordinator of YPARD, I travelled to more than 33 countries and created a platform for motivating young professionals to focus on global agricultural issues. I then successfully negotiated YPARD to be a part of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 2010.
For many years I have maintained a lively intercultural exchange with a wide variety of people on earth. Therefore I visited numerous countries (see yellow on the map).
As part of the international community in Germany and as the founder of YPARD, I am able to develop a relationship with today's youth. I understand their problems and appreciate their situation. I love networking and my close co-workers tell me that I have very good negotiating skills. I believe in working around a problem and take everyone involved with confidence as I come to solutions. I always strive for a win-win situation. That earned me respect and love and I would like to help improve the community.
I also volunteer abroad ...
... through the support of a rural school in India. About 120 children from the surrounding villages learn there. The school is supported in the development and maintenance of the infrastructure, including clean sanitary facilities, drinking water, provision of free bicycles, extra nutritious lunches, support in difficult times such as natural disasters and the COVID situation.
... by supporting African higher education institutions through capacity building activities for students in writing research projects, arranging contacts with prospective professors for research projects and also providing small financial support for projects.
On January 9th, 2021 I received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA). This award, comparable to the German "Bundesverdienstkreuz", has been given by the Indian President since 2003 to Indians or people of Indian origin who are not resident in their home country in recognition of their outstanding achievements. So far, only four people in Germany have received the prize, which is awarded every two years to 30 individuals or organizations and institutions worldwide. The award is given on January 9th as this date commemorates the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi in India after he left South Africa.
As a devout Hindu, my religion is important to me, so I'm happy to be part of a traveling exhibition that has been touring Lower Saxony since 2016: Religrams - Faces of Religions.
Hinduism is not just about God, it is about the way of life. This includes helping those in need as well as regular fasting. In Indian temples there is food for the poor. In Hanover there is also food for the needy once a week in the temple. I am a member of the Hindu-Tamil association that runs a Hindu temple in Hanover. I go there about three times a week.
Foto: Patrice Kunte