33 years of multi-role services in GCC
In over 33 years, Issac has made his indelible mark as a man of resourcefulness through his invaluable contributions towards fostering economic, business and cultural ties between the Middle East countries and India.
Through his innumerable articles and writings, Issac has always been in the forefront to promote Indian interests by projecting the nation in the most possible positive way. Through his countless reports and interview, Issac has always tried to build economic and business relations between India and the Gulf. He has been effective as a news commentator on Indo-UAE trade and business ties.
As a staunch supporter of all trade and business delegations coming from India to the Gulf, Issac has helped foster and bolster bilateral ties, especially during the historic state visit of UAE Vice President and Prime Minister HH Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to India, and the state visit to the UAE by Indian President Pratiba Patel.
A veteran of many a breaking news stories and invigorating analytical articles, Issac has been in the UAE’s mainstream journalism for 33 years — 9 years with Gulf News, two years with Emirates News, one year with a business magazine UAE Digest, and 20 years with Khaleej Times.
Acclaimed for his invigorating and insightful analysis of global and regional business and economic issues and trends, Issac is known for his astute understanding of the local business scene and trends.
Catalyst for GCC labour reforms
As a writer and thought leader, respected and recognized widely across the Gulf Cooperation Council countries for his professionalism and social commitment, Issac has been able to act as a key catalyst for bringing about far reaching immigrant friendly reforms and social welfare measures that had significant positive implications on the life of Indian expatriates and businessmen in the Gulf.
He has been instrumental in influencing Arab and foreign media to bring to the attention of Arab governments and authorities the burning issues, gross exploitation and innumerable challenges faced by the expatriate Indian community, particularly the low-salaries workers, housemaids, in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries.
Campaign for social welfare measures
With his team of reporters in Gulf News, Emirates News and Khaleej Times, and also in his role as the Middle East correspondent of Malayala Manorama, India’s largest circulated regional language daily, for several years till 2005, Issac has been a key and persistent campaigner for ensuring social justice and labour rights of Indian and Asians working in the Gulf countries. He has been successful in effectively bringing to light cases of labour rights abuse and plight of immigrant labour as well the illegal immigrants stranded in the Gulf.
Campaigner for amnesty for illegal immigrants
Tireless media campaigns mounted by Issac and other journalists for the safe repatriation of hundreds of thousands of illegal Indian workers had prompted the authorities to declare Amnesty twice by the UAE and other Gulf countries.
During the general amnesty declared in the UAE in the 1990’s and 2000 that saw the repatriation of thousands of illegal and hapless expatriate labour force, Issac has led a team of reporters and photographers in prompting the attention of authorities in India and the UAE towards the solving the problems and challenges faced by the working labour class.
By bringing to focus the deprivation and deplorably miserable conditions under which blue-collar migrants worked, the media in the UAE could champion their cause and help drastically reform the sector by securing several pro-labour measures and rules to alleviate their plight and reduce labour rights violations.
As a respected journalist and social worker, Issac had championed the cause of the blue-collar migrants and helped reform the sector by securing several pro-labour measures and rules to alleviate their plight and reduce labour rights violations. This sole instance is enough to highlight Issac John as a man of compassion and leadership.
Issac’s versatility has led him to take up various social, national and humanitarian causes with great degree of commitment and passion.
Social and community leadership
Issac has been in the forefront of several social, cultural and community activities in varied roles. He was President of All Kerala Colleges Alumni Forum (AKCAF), an apex body of more than 60 college alumni groups in the UAE.
Issac is also the founder patron of NRI Association of Kayamkulam, and MSM College Alumni.
Promoter of traditional Indian arts
To promote Indian arts and culture, as AKCAF president, he organized inter-school youth festival featuring 1,200 budding artistes from 35 Indian schools in the UAE for three years in row.
Founder of Gulf Arts and Leadership Academy
Issac is the Founder and Chairman of Gulf Arts and Leadership Academy (GALA), a non-profit organisation devoted to fostering, assisting, and sustaining excellence in literature, music, sports and art.
GALA has been in the forefront of rewarding and recognizing the contribution of several prominent Asian writers, literary luminaries, and artists. Under his leadership, GALA has made its mark as an organisation devoted to fostering, assisting, and sustaining excellence in literature, music, sports and art.
In 2001, GALA in cooperation with ACKAF, instituted the largest prize money for literary eminence in Malayalam.
The recipient of the award was selected for the first time through mass opinion polls that had the support of four leading Malayalam language newspapers.
Jnanpith Award Award recipient MT Vasudevan, famous Malayalam writers Sakaria, Sethu, Chemmanam Chacko were among the proud recipients of GALA literary award.
GALA also encouraged Pravasi writers by instituting awards and incentives. For the first time in the history of Kerala Sahitya Academy, GALA became instrumental in organising literary workshop outside India for the sake of expatriate writers and poets.
Past President of ACKAF
As President of AKCAF, an apex body of 60 colleges alumni in the UAE, Issac launched Inter-School Youth Festival in the UAE in 2001, which provided a platform for children to demonstrate their talents in traditional Indian arts and culture. During his stewardship of AKCAF, Issac also instituted Malayalam’s highest prized literary award through opinion poll.
Founder of Kala Bhavan Global
As the founder President of Kala Bhavan Global, Issac has made rich contributions to the cultural and arts scene in the UAE by setting up arts and music institutes affiliated to Cochin Kala Bhavan, the renowned school of performing arts founded by the legendary priest Fr. Abel. Through Kala Bhavan institutes that were set up in Dubai, Sharjah and Kuwait, hundreds of Indian children were given professional training and grooming in several Indian classical and traditional art forms.
By raising the quality and professional benchmark of performing arts, Kala Bhavan institutes soon became a benchmark and role model for several such arts training schools across the Gulf. Those institutes, while helping to raise the bar of dance and music institutes in the region, also became the breeding home for hundreds of budding talents and artistes.
Global Chairman, The World Malayalee Council
Issac John was elected unanimously as the Global Chairman of World Malayalee Council at the 8th global biennial convention held in Cologne in May 2012. Although, it was a surprise election as he went to Cologne primarily to receive an award, the election underscored broad recognition for his long years of service to the Diaspora.
The main objective of World Malayalee Council, founded in April 1995 at the first ever World Convention of Non Resident Malayalees in the USA, is to provide a non-political forum to bring together the widely scattered community of people of Malayalee/Kerala origin and strengthen the common bonds of culture, tradition and way of life.
With the registered Head Quarter in New Jersey and Cologne, and its current administrative head quarters in Dubai, WMC has spread its wings to all the continents namely Africa, America, Europe, Far East & Australia, India and Middle East.
The charter of the organization recognizes the revolutionary transformation taking place at global levels as a result of quantum leaps in technology. WMC works towards an international brotherhood of people of Kerala origin to bolster their cultural, artistic and social uniqueness and give resilience and understanding towards other cultures with which they have to co-exist and interact.
WMC is responsive to the needs of the diverse multi racial geographical milieu in which Malayalees move about.
This organization with a global network provide opportunities and capabilities for people of all age group to provide leadership and service to the community they live in and to the motherland Kerala/India. WMC gives special emphasis to the development of the new generation of expatriate Malayalees who feel cultural and social alienation in their adopted country.
WMC provides meeting/networking platform for interested Malayalees all over the World to open up new possibilities for their economic, political, social growth and the empowerment of the Diaspora community [Pravasis] by addressing issues of the Pravasis and their children in the countries of their adoption
WMC has a three Tier Organisational structure namely Global, Regional and Provincial Councils consisting of Officers for Cabinet, Executive and General Councils.
Chairman, Media Council, Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issac John’s rich journalistic track record and extensive media network had helped him win a new global responsibility in May 2012 when he was nominated as the Chairman of the Global Media Council of the UN-accredited Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) with a view to bring under one roof journalists of Indian origin spread across the globe.
GOPIO was founded at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York in 1989. The initial thrust of GOPIO was fighting human rights violation of people of Indian origin. Although this has been improved in the last one decade, human rights violations continue to be a major issue for People of Indian Origin (PIO) living outside India. GOPIO has now set its priorities in pooling our resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of PIOs, the countries they come from and India.
Patron, NRI Association of Kayamkulam
Patron, NRI Association of Kayamkulam and Alumni of Milad e Sherif Memorial College. He is currently the patron of NRI Association of Kayamkulam and Alumni of Milad e Memorial College, also based in his hometown.
News Commentator, analyst
He is also a renowned commentator on regional social and economic issues on Indian televisions and radio.
Passion for Astrology and Vasthu
To a questioning mind what Issac John has to do with Astrology and Vasthu, here comes the simple but beautiful answer. He has a deep passion for both the subjects. They are his hobbies, which he has been seriously pursuing for the past two decades. He considers himself a student of astrology and almost every day tries to enhance his understanding of the subject and consult with renowned experts.
Born in a well-known family, “Pattaniparampil” in Kayamkulam, Kerala, Issac is a long-time resident of Dubai where he lives with his wife Esther and two children: Dhanya and Dipin. Dhanya is married to Jason Prince. Issac has a grandson — Jayden — born in May, 2012.
The foundation for Issac’s future as a media and social figure was laid when he took a post graduation in English after graduating in Economics. An abiding interest in journalism had prompted him to attend a Post-graduate Diploma Course in Journalism from the Institute of Journalism, Trivandrum.
Gulf News, Dubai (1980-1990)
Soon after his post graduation, Issac started his career as a lecturer in a leading parallel college, Shankar’s College in Trivandrum when he pursued studies for the Indian Administration Services in the capital city. In 1979, he joined the Kerala Government Secretariat, but within two years, went on a long leave to pursue higher studies in the US. Although he got admission in Ohio University, his application for a student visa got rejected in India.
As the Gulf countries offered better prospects to obtain a US visa, he decided to try his luck from the UAE. That attempt also failed when the US authorities got more stringent with visa issuance in the aftermath of the Iran hostage crisis. In the meantime, he landed a job in Gulf News in Dubai in 1980 as sub editor trainee, paving the way for an illustrious career.
By 1986, he became the Chief Sub-Editor who was responsible for the edition at the fastest growing daily. He started his writing career in Gulf News, dealing a varied range of topics encompassing politics, business, and sports as well as social and cultural events.
Issac was instrumental in bringing out the first business magazine from the UAE, The Gulf Asian in 1982 in his role as a Consulting Editor. After leaving Gulf News, he also worked as the Assistant Editor for UAE Digest, a monthly business magazine published from Sharjah, during 1989-1990.
Emirates News, Dubai (1990-1992)
He had been with Gulf News for almost 10 years before joining Emirates News, a daily newspaper published from Abu Dhabi, as its Dubai Bureau Chief in April 1991.
Khaleej Times, Dubai (1992- Continuing)
He left Emirates News in June 1992 to join Khaleej Times, Dubai where as Business Editor he has been writing news, analytical reports and in-depth articles, mostly on business-related topics, and his responsibilities include assigning reporters to cover special and routine events.
During his tenure with Khaleej Times, Issac became a regular news contributor for India’s largest regional language daily, Malayala Manorama. Writing for Manorama for seven years until the paper opened its own news bureau in Dubai in 2004 brought his byline, Issac Pattaniparampil, instant popularity and recognition across Kerala.
Issac is also the consultant editor of Gulf’s first and the only Who’s Who published from Bahrain. He was also head of the jury, which selected outstanding NRIs in the Gulf for Achievers published from the UAE.
The record of Issac John’s journalistic and non-journalistic pursuits and achievements do not end here. As a true stalwart in the Middle East media world, he remains deeply committed to his profession and societal duties while basking in the limelight through his multi-faceted roles encompassing philanthropy, promotion of Indo-UAE relations, arts, culture, literature, NRI welfare, astrology and business.