Brown School Alumna Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in India

Alumni; Global; Research; Social Work

Murli Desai, PhD ’83, received the Life Time Achievement Award from the National Association of Professional Social Workers in India (NAPSWI) in recognition of her contributions to the field of social work.

The award is given to those who have significant contributions to the fields of social work and social development in general.

During her time at the Brown School, Desai worked closely with Michael Sherraden, George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor. “The doctoral program at the Brown School gave me the rigour and theorization that significantly prepared me for an effective academic career,” said Desai.

Sherraden, who served as Desai’s dissertation chair, expressed his respect for Desai’s contributions to the knowledge base of social work. “She has shaped and carried out an exemplary career, making important contributions in social development policy and practice from a human rights perspective. For many decades, social development has been a deeply important theme in the Brown School’s evolution and recognized contributions. Desai’s heralded career is part of that.”

Desai’s research focuses on family and women’s studies, childhood adolescence, and old age. After working in practice-based research in the field for four years, Desai joined the faculty at the Tata Institute for Social Science (TISS), where she stayed for the major part of her career. She held various key positions, including head of the Unit for Family Studies, head of Social Work Education and Practice cell, and associate editor of The Indian Journal of Social Work. She subsequently worked two years at the Department of Social Work at the National University of Singapore and one year at the Department of Social Welfare of the Seoul National University.