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Prof. Dr. Ken Gnanakan
Dr. Ken Gnanakan is one of India’s well-known educators, environmentalists and theologians. Gnanakan wrote an introductory certificate course in health and environment for the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), headquartered in New Delhi.
He also initiated the Programme for Environmental Awareness in Schools, a nationwide network aimed at motivating students into action for the protection of nature. Hundreds of schools have been networked in an environmental movement bringing together thousands of children from all over the country. His book “Trees” – a collection of poems on environmental issues – is being used in various schools. He is also editor of PEAS Magazine, India's first environmental magazine for schools. Based in the city of Bangalore in South India, Gnanakan pioneered the use of waste plastics for road surfacing in India. Working for some time with young people in Chennai and Bangalore after his undergraduate studies, Gnanakan completed his Ph.D. at King's College London.
In 1979, he and his wife Prema returned to India to set up the ACTS Institute, a vocational training school, which also imparted spiritual values to young people. The institute took the couple into needy areas in slums and villages, and gradually grew to become a large network of education, health and environmental projects, all under the banner of ACTS. Gnanakan is also an accomplished musician who used to be a part of the “Trojans”, the band known as “the Indian Beatles” that kept Bangalore swinging in the sixties and that included Biddu, a prominent pop musician. Gnanakan is a consulting member of the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education.