Indian American Dr. Pramod Vyas dies at 88 in California

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Dr. Pramod Vyas. Photo courtesy of the Vyas family.

Dr. Pramod Vyas, educator, writer and well-known international public relations professional, passed away on Friday, March 29, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.  He was 88. His death was confirmed by his son, Rohit Vyas, the renowned TV journalist.

Dr. Vyas was born May 8, 1930 in Kampala, Uganda to Prahaladji and Somiben Vyas, both educators from Gujarat. In his early years he joined Seva Dal as a volunteer in response to Mahatma Gandhi’s call for Satyagraha, a movement for India’s independence.

After completing his M.A. from MS University in Vadodara, he went to New York City in the 1950s on scholarship from Columbia University.  He received a doctorate in International Relations from American University in Washington DC, where he also lectured.

He went on to work on Capitol Hill during the John F. Kennedy administration with Congressman Emanuel Celler, who co-sponsored the Hart-Celler Act of 1965, playing a key role that opened doors for highly educated South Asians to emigrate to the US.

Dr. Pramod Vyas in his younger days. Photo courtesy of the Vyas family.

Dr. Vyas is the author of “Dawning on the Capitol: US Congress and India”, a study of the United States Congressional attitudes towards India.

His career as a well-known figure in the field of international public relations spans five decades, with companies such as Ciba Geigy, Union Carbide, Ogilvy and Mather, Hill and Knowlton, among others.

During that time, he successfully managed many varied and challenging assignments that involved governments, national and international leaders, global media and academia. He played a critical role in handling crisis communications during the Bhopal tragedy in1984, one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

At the end of the 1960s and in the early 1970s, he was the Vice-President of the International Public Relations Society and was invited in that capacity to Israel as a guest of Prime Minister Golda Meir.

A ferocious intellect and sharp-witted provocateur, he will be forever remembered for his formidable learning and biting wit while debating topics such as US and Indian politics and foreign policy.

He is survived by his wife, Shakuntala; son, Rohit and daughter-in-law, Isha Vyas; daughter, Rita and son-in-law, Paul Delaney; son, Rahul and daughter-in-law, Tanuja Vyas; grandchildren, Radhika and Aditi Vyas, and Bobby Delaney; and brother, Dr. Ashutosh Vyas.

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