Tom Purekal

Program Director of Applied Innovation, Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development, University of Notre Dame

“Sustainability Projects at the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD)”


The University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) in the Keough School of Global Affairs combines the existing world-class faculty of the University with a dedicated team of experienced international development professionals and researchers to address global poverty and inequality through policy, practice, and partnership. NDIGD recognizes that society and natural resources are integrally linked, and that the Earth’s environment and scarce resources must be stewarded with ever-increasing care. In this talk, Tom Purekal, the Director of Innovation and Practice at NDIGD, will offer insights and lessons learned from NDIGD’s research programs focused on global sustainability. Most notably, Purekal will highlight NDIGD's partnership with Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), which empowered disconnected communities in South Africa and Uganda by way of a sustainable and scale-able model, linking renewable energy with education and mentorship opportunities to support entrepreneurship and income generation.


Tom Purekal manages a cross section of programs within the Applied Innovation Division. Purekal comes to NDIGD following a long career of working overseas with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and other organizations. His places of work include posts such as India, South Sudan, and Myanmar to name a few. Purekal has an eclectic background, having worked as an advertising executive in New York City for three years, sub-director of an orphanage in Honduras, director of operations and business development for a small agriculture manufacturer’s distributor in Florida, followed by nine years with CRS. His extensive programming and project design experience encompass sectors such as peacebuilding and governance, education, disaster risk reduction, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Purekal holds a bachelor's in government from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Georgetown McDonough School of Business.