KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – The Catholic Bishops Conference of India currently in session at Bangalore appointed Jesuit Father Jacob Srampickal as new director of National Institute of Social Communications, Research and Training (NISCORT), 3rd February 2012. Currently professor of Communications Studies at Gregorian University Rome, Fr Srampickal is expected to take charge in June 2012.
As president of Unda\OCIC-India, (now SIGNIS) the international communication association of the Church (1992-98) and Asian president (1993-2001), he was the inspiration behind the establishment of the National Institute of Social Communications, Research and Training (NISCORT) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in New Delhi, and was its co-founder along with Fr John Noronha former Caritas India director.
“Fr Jacob’s six year experience as director of Communications Studies inRomeand exposure to European academics will definitely help NISCORT to make giant leaps,” said NISCORT founder member and project director Fr John Noronha.
Though still inRome, Fr Srampickal does not hesitate to spell out his vision for NISCORT. He says, “I would like to develop courses that are relevant and meaningful to students so that they can find their place in the mainstream media.”
He also stressed the need to have “more streams of long term courses, and use the resources in personnel we have in the church for training.”
Fr Srampickal, (62) holds a PhD degree in Development Communication from the University of Leeds, England (1987-91) as well as four major diplomas in communications fromIndia.
Besides being Asia representative at the International Catholic Media Council for 8 years (1995-2003) and the first dean of NISCORT (1998-2004), Fr Srampickal was part of the ecumenical jury at 4 international film festivals (Montreal, Leeds,Venice,Berlin).
Fr Srampickal is author of some 15 books including: Understanding Communication (1982), Voice to the Voiceless, Power of People’s Theatre (1994), Babel to Babri Masjid and Beyond (2003), Cross Connections: Interdisciplinary Communication Studies(2005), Understanding Development Communication (2007). Issues in Media Ethics (2009 , Communications in the Family (2010), and Prophetic Media – Power to the Alternatives (2011). He has currently four more books on various themes in communications in the press.
He was successful in initiating several creative new projects like the New Delhi Video Festival (2001) for NGOs, national seminars on church and media, online media training for poorer countries from Rome (2005 onwards), a weekly half hour radio programme for migrants from Radio Vatican in Italian, an international bi-annual seminar on theology and communications from Rome. From 2005, Fr Jacob has been consulter to the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications.
Jacob also has been teaching in 18 theological seminaries ofIndiafrom 1991 as visiting professor on the theme of “why communications for priests and the Catholic church?”