Mercedes Paniker created, in 1998, the Ramuni Paniker Trust in memory of her father, born in Kerala, with the aim of assisting talented students and few economic means in rural areas, as well as mutual knowledge between the two cultures that formed part of her life.
In 2020, the centenary of the birth of our founder, the Generalitat de Catalunya celebrates the Mercedes Paniker Alemany Year to thank and publicize the trajectory of this woman committed to her time.
Mercedes Paniker Alemany (February 27, 1920 – January 28, 2012) was a Catalan businesswoman and social activist. Daughter of Sri Ramuni Paniker Amah, an Indian businessman based in Catalonia, and the Catalan Carmen Alemany Sabadell, sister of the priest and philosopher Raimon Panikkar and the philosopher Salvador Pániker, and mother of four children.
Our founder studied at a boarding school near Bonn during the Spanish Civil War. In 1943 she graduated in chemical sciences from the University of Barcelona.
In addition to the creation of the Ramuni Paniker Trust Foundation (1998), Mercedes Paniker was one of the organizers of the First Women’s and Economics Congress and in 1992 FEMVISIO, a European-wide entity dedicated to the promotion of women entrepreneurs who participated in the IV World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995. She was also a consultant to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission (ECOSOC).
She was one of the pioneering women in Catalonia, as an entrepreneur and defender of women’s rights. She always fought to defend the importance of women’s economic independence and support the initiatives that were undertaken in Catalonia for small and medium-sized enterprises. She was convinced that women had to lead business and all kinds of organizations, and in her public interventions she clamored for women taking a space that had been denied to them.
As a member of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), towards the end of her professional life, she carried industrial advisory missions in Africa, Asia and America. Her work has been recognized at European level by the European Women’s Lobby, but also by global institutions such as the United Nations.