The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin
P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA
GOPIO ACTIVITIES FROM MARCH 2016 TO DEC. 2017 AS COVERED IN GOPIO NEWS
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES
GOPIO BAHRAIN PREPARING FOR GOPIO INTL. CONVENTION 2018
GOPIO Convention will be held for the first time in The Middle East, after holding conventions in New York, London, Paris, Zurich, Trinidad, South Africa, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, GOPIO International is holding its Biennial Convention 2018 - Bahrain on January 6-8, 2018 and concluding with a Desert tour scheduled for January 9th.
GOPIO Bahrain team has picked up Gulf Hotel, Manama, Bahrain as the venue for GOPIO Biennial Convention. GOPIO will also hold its Annual General Body Meeting on Jan. 6th, which will consider many bylaws amendments.
Bahrain's Energy Minister, Dr. Abdul Hussain Mirza welcomed the decision of GOPIO to hold the convention in the Gulf kingdom.
"Govt. of India organizes 'Pravasi Bharatiya Divas' every other year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India to lead the non-violent movement against the British to gain Indian Independence and we want to commemorate the same on his return date in January next year," said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International.
Members of GOPIO and leaders of several countries, will be among the 500+ delegates arriving in Manama for the three-day conference, which has the support of the governments of India and Bahrain. Minister Dr. V.K. Singh will be the Chief Gust at the inauguration of the convention Jan. 6th evening.
Massive global support has been pouring in for the proposed Pravasi Sammelan of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and People of Indian Origin (PIOs) to be held in Bahrain from January 6 to 9, 2018 at the Gulf Hotel Convention Center.
Shri Alfons Kannanthanam, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Culture, and Tourism, Government of India, will inaugurate the GOPIO International Convention on January 6th evening followed by the presentation of the Indian Women Achievers Samman, a collaboration of GOPIO and NRI Achievers Magazine.
GOPIO's Global Ambassador and Convention Convener Sunny Kulathakal who called on to Union Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. V.K. Singh during his trip in November. Kulathakal also met several other political leaders in India and invited them to the convention.
Photos from l. to r.: Sunny Kulathakal with Minister Dr. V.K. Singh, BJP General Secretary Muralidhar Rao and with Maharashtra Assembly Chief Whip Raj Purohit last month.
"The Bahrain convention will live up to GOPIO's role as a strategic networking platform for Indian businessmen globally," Kulathakal further added.
On January 7th, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, former External Affairs Minister and top leaders of BJP - the ruling party of India will address delegates coming from nearly 30 countries.
On evening of the same day, the Global Indian Businessmen Award will be given in collaboration with GOPIO and Business India Magazine, a 37-year-old publication from Delhi.
Mr. Chandan Mitra, Editor, The Pioneer and former MP, Mr. Muralidhar Rao, National General Secretary, BJP and Mr. Nalin Kohli, BJP Spokesman, have agreed to be speakers at different sessions.
Mr. Sam Pitroda, the Global Telecommunications Exponent will conduct a detailed session with the delegates on January 8th.
Dr. Shashi Tharoor and Sam Pitroda as speakers at the convention.
Former Prime Ministers, former Heads of State, and members of the House of Lords are expected to attend the three-day conference.
"Since 1989, GOPIO has taken several issues confronting the Diaspora community to India and various other governments," said Niraj Baxi, President of GOPIO International.
GOPIO's Global Ambassador and Convention Convener and Convention Convener Sunny Kulathakal met Minister V.K. Singh, BJP General Secretary Muralidhar Rao, Maharashtra Assembly Chief Whip Raj Purohit and former minister Dr. Shashi Tharoor who have committed to speak at the Convention.
Contact: Sunny Kulathakal, Global Ambassador, GOPIO International, Tel. in Bahrain +973-39441956, India +91-9845756692, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAVEL AND HOTEL ARRANGEMENTS
Regarding the travel and visa arrangements our travel partner Dadabhai Travels will do everything possible to get the special rate to any destination. You may contact Mr. Aziz Gilitwala, Managing Director E-mail email@example.com, Tel: +973-39614499 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +973-39843283
UK and US Passport holders will get visa on arrival. Visit Bahrain Govt. website at https://www.evisa.gov.bh/ or a private agency at https://www.bahrainonlinevisa.com/application. Others have send in the passport copy (1st and last pages) to the travel agent to arrange the visa, Contact: email@example.com.
Near the Gulf Hotel where GOPIO Convention Team has made an agreement with a new hotel- Park Regis for rooms with $70 for single occupancy and $80 for double occupancy including tax and breakfast. The above rate will be available only up to 15th December 2017. You may book directly on line at www.parkregislotushotel.com. Should you require further assistance you can contact Asst. Director of Sales Mr. Usman Kiani, Tel: +973-36293777 (Mobile), E- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Shiju Nair, Tel: +973-39830603, E-mail: email@example.com.
Delegates get free transport to the Gulf Hotel (Convention Centre) which is at a five minutes distance from Park Regis Hotel.
GOPIO DELEGATION DISCUSSES DIASPORA ISSUES WITH INDIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER SUSHMA SWARAJ
A delegation from GOPIO, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (www.gopio.net and gopio.com), met with India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on September 24th in New York and discussed several Indian Diaspora issues and avenues of cooperation.The delegation was headed by GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. Other members included GOPIO Intl Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Chief of Board of Advisors H.R. Shah, International Coordinator for North America Dr. Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO Intl. Chamber of Commerce Co-Chairman Prakash Shah, New York Area Coordinator Lal Motwani, GOPIO-Connecticut Past President Shelly Nichani, GOPIO-New York President Beena Kothari, GOPIO-North Jersey President Rajul Shah, Health Council Chair Dr. Asha Samant, Science/Tech Council Chair Shailesh Naik and Media Council Chair Nami Kaur.
Photo above - Minister Sushma Swaraj in discussion with GOPIO Delegation. From l. to r. Minister Swaraj, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO's Chief of Board of Advisors H.R. Shah and GOPIO-North Jersey President Rajul P. Shah
GOPIO delegation brought the following issues to the Minister Swaraj:
PIO youth participation in Know India Program (KIP) from the developed countries (currently only PIO countries have larger participation) - GOPIO asked for a program in the Summer (July/August) timeframe.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, 2019 and GOPIO's Active Participation - GOPIO provided the largest Overseas Indians registration at the last PBD. GOPIO has the largest network among NRIs/PIOs. GOPIO should be involved from the beginning for PBD-2019 planning. Minister agreed to have representative in every pre-planning meeting of PBF 2019.
Launch of GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) - Launched in Mumbai this year on Jan. 10th and inaugurated in New York on April 28th. GOPIO would like to work closely with her ministry to develop this global Indian business people network.
Demonetization Issue- OCIs and PIOs are still holding demonetized currencies since RBI did not allow them to deposit and Diaspora Indians have close to Rs. 7,500 crores still lying with them in small amounts. What should the NRIs do with the old currencies? Minister Swaraj informed that the Govt. had provided the time window for NRIs who are Indian citizens to deposit their currencies earlier. However, that window was not open for Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship and the government would not be able to provide another such chance.
Aadhaar Card policy confusion for NRIs - NRIs do not have Aadhaar card for linking with their bank accounts. Minister Swaraj clarified that NRIs won't require Aadhaar card to operate their bank accounts. GOPIO suggested that Indians citizen living anywhere in the world should have an Aadhaar card similar to all US citizens having a social security number, whether staying in the US or outside.
The Middle East NRI issues - NRIs stuck in the Middle East, returned NRIs without any opportunities in India, etc. - GOPIO complimented Minister Swaraj and the Indian Missions worldwide for their pro-active role in helping Indians living outside India in time of distress. However, as more Middle East NRIs are returning home, we need to develop programs to help resettle them. Minister Swaraj said that there are many programs for skills development as well as money available from different ministries for starting a business or technology related outfit. GOPIO offered to be facilitator between the returned NRIs and the government.
Diaspora Women's Issues - GOPIO, like Indian Missions, take a proactive role on issues of Indian women in the western countries especially the newlyweds who arrive in their new adopted lands and find themselves in financial distress or other crisis mode.
NRI/PIO Participation in Make in India, Clean India, Pooling/Transferring New Technologies for India, etc. - GOPIO can be catalyst to motivate participation of the Diaspora to collaborate with Indian professional and community groups to find creative solutions in these arenas.
Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty also participated in the meeting which ended with a positive discussion on how GOPIO can play an instrumental role to support the Indian Government's objectives with respect to their nationals living abroad. Minister Swaraj encouraged the GOPIO officials to continue engagement with their local congressmen and other legislative officials to advocate for the Diaspora rights and position within their adopted homelands.
Photo above - GOPIO delegation with Minister Sushma Swaraj, Sitting: from l. to r.: H.R. Shah, Minister Swaraj, Ram Gadhvi; Standing: from l. to r.: Dr. Asha Samant, Lal Motwani, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Prakash Shah, Shelly Nichani, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Rajul Shah, Beena Kothari, Shailesh Naik, Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty and Nami Kaur
GOPIO INTERACTS WITH MINISTER ARUN JAITLEY AND MEMBERS OF INDIAN PARLIAMENT IN NEW YORK ON AADHAAR CARD FOR NRIs AND DEMONETIZATION ISSUES
GOPIO officials had an opportunity to meet Minister Arun Jaitley in New York and brought his attention on the demonetization issue which has affected millions of OCI card holders and Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship who are still holding demonetized currencies. When he was told that between 7,500 to 10,000 crores are still lying with OCIs and PIOs, Minister Jaitley was surprised to hear this fact. GOPIO also brought the issue of Aadhar Card and suggested that all Indian citize4nsd irrespective of whether they live in India or outside must be issued an Aadhaar Card.
Presenting a copy of GOPIO book to Minister Jaitley in New York. From l. to r.: GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO Life Member Viresh Sharma and GOPIO-CT President Anita Bhat
MEETING WITH MEMBERS OF INDIAN PARLIAMENT
GOPIO officials including GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, International Coordinator for North America Dr. Rajeev Mehta and GICC Co-Chairman Prakash Shah were in attendance at a one-to-one Interactive Meeting hosted by the Indian Consulate in New York on Friday, October 22nd. Organized by Indian Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty, the following members of Indian Parliament were present.
Mr. T.K.S. Elangovan
Dr, K, Kamaraj
Mr. Rammohan Naidu Kinjarapu
Mr. Raghav Lakhanpal
Mr. Bhatruhari Mahtab
Mr. A.P.Jhiterndra Reddy
Mr. Anil Gulabrao Shirole
Mr. Harshvarsh Narayan Singh
Mr. Kodikunnel Suresh
Deputy Consul General Paramita Tripathi made a presentation of the history and role played by the Indian Consulate in New York, Govt, of India's subcontractor Cox and Kings also made a presentation. In the interactive session, GOPIO brought some of the current issues faced by the Diaspora Indians as follows:
NRI AND PIO ISSUES
Presented by Global Organization of People of Indian Origin to Members of Indian Parliament
1. Demonetization Issue - Millions of OCI card holders and Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship are still holding demonetized currencies (between 7,500 to 10,000 crores) since they were not allowed to deposit them during the extended period of Jan. 1st to June 30th. GOPIO asked a pointed question on what to do with these currencies?
2, On October 21st, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a clarification, saying that the linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts is mandatory under prevention of money-laundering rules. The central bank was responding to news reports that quoted an RTI reply on linking Aadhaar by Dec. 31st, 2017. However, Govt, of India, Ministry of Finance had issued a press release on April 5th. 2017 saying that Aadhaar Card needs to be linked for income tax filing only for those who are eligible to obtain the card. See a copy of the press release below. However, no statement has been issued whether NRIs need to link bank accounts with Aadhaar card.
NRIs are not currently eligible to get an Aadhaar Card. GOPIO suggests that all Indian citizens irrespective of staying in India or outside must be given Aadhaar card similar to the Social Security Number issued to all American citizens living in the US or outside.
Real estate issues - Many NRIs have not been able to get hold off the apartment/house for which they have paid, especially in places like Noida and Gurgaon. Their inherited properties are also being taken over by unsuspecting relatives and others in connivance with local officials.
Readers are welcome to send in any other broad community issues to be taken up with Govt. of India to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO JOINED HANDS WITH CCS UNIVERSITY AND INDIAN POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION ORGANIZING A CONFERENCE ON INDIAN VISION OF POLITICAL THINKING
GOPIO Academic Council joined hands with Chaudhary Charan Singh (CCS) University and Indian Political Science Association (IPSA) for a conference Indian Vision of Political Thinking: Possibilities of Global Alternative on August 12th and 13th at the university. The conference focused on understanding the dynamics of changing academic paradigm emanating from global failure of Western political thinking in providing solutions to international problems of mankind.
Photo above: Inaugural session of the conference: IPSA Secretary/Treasurer Prof. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Shri Rajendra Agarwal MP, Vice Chancellor Narendra Kumar Taneja, GOPIO chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and IPSA President Prof. Sushma Yadav.
The conference continued for the rest of the day and next day. The sub-themes were as follows
Contact: Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Secretary and Treasurer, Indian Political Science Association, Professor and Head Department of Political Science, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut-250 005 (U.P.) India. Email:- email@example.com, Cell:- +91-9412205348
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL TO HOLD BIENNIAL CONVENTION IN BAHRAIN
GOPIO International will hold its biennial conference in Manama, Bahrain, January 7-9, 2018.
Members of GOPIO and leaders of several countries, will be among the 500+ delegates arriving in Manama for the three-day conference, which has the support of the governments of India and Bahrain.
Bahrain's Energy Minister, Dr. Abdul Hussain Mirza welcomed the decision of GOPIO to hold the convention in the Gulf kingdom.
Sunny Kulathakal, GOPIO's Global Ambassador and Chief Convener of the event, appreciated Dr Mirza's support for the global event that brings together delegates from 40 countries.
Dr. Thomas Abraham, the New York based Chairman of GOPIO stated "The overseas Indians' convention also commemorates the return of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to lead the independence struggle on January 9, 1915. Since the Government of India has planned to conduct Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to mark Gandhi's return every alternate year, GOPIO gets that slot for 2018."
Some of the distinguished speakers will be Sam Pitroda, a pioneer in telecommunications and Information Technology, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Indian Parliament and former federal minister, Lord Billimoria,Lord Dilgit Rana. Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, former prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Kamala Persad Bissessar and former prime minister of Fiji, Mahendra Chaudhary.
According to Sunny Kulathakal, "The Bahrain convention will live up to GOPIO's role as a strategic networking platform for Indian businessmen globally."
Photo above: Participants at a meeting organized by GOPIO-Bahrain Chapter with GOPIO's Global Ambassador Sunny kulathakal (third from left), GOPIO International Secretary Dr. Sai Giridhar, Bahrain Chapter President Dr. George Cherian and other members at a lunch meeting at K-Hotel.
GOPIO DELEGATION INTERACTS WITH INDIAN ELECTION COMMISSION ON NRI VOTING
A delegation from the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International headed by its Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham Along with Indian community groups interacted with Indian's election commission at a meeting hosted by Acting Consul General of India Parmita Tripathi in New York at the Indian Consulate. Attended by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha and Deputy Election Commissioner Dr. Sandeep Saxena, who are on a US tour to get feedback from the Indian community. The commissioners explained the Election Commission's plan to implement voting for Indian citizens living outside India. The Election Commission (EC) estimates that there are 16 million Indian citizens living outside of which about 70 percent are eligible to vote. Two current proposed plans for implementing NRI voting in Indian elections are for NRIs to register at the EC website and one way postal voting (i.e. download the ballot and send it by post) or secondly by proxy voting in India.
GOPIO and other community leaders welcomed the effort from EC and agreed to publicize and reach out to the Indian citizens to register for voting. The larger number of Indian citizens living outside are in the US schools as students and IT professionals. The IT company representatives present at the meeting committed to help the EC in this regard to reach out IT professionals.
Many present at the meeting voiced their opinion that Overseas Citizen of Indian (OCI) should be upgraded to Dual nationality. GOPIO had passed resolution for Dual Nationality as early as 1989 at the Frist Global Convention of People of Indian Origin where GOPIO was formed. Voting Rights to NRIs has been another resolution from GOPIO. GOPIO further suggested that a proper representation must be provided to NRIs in the Indian Parliament, may be by abolishing the reserved seats for Anglo Indians since they are already well integrated and settled in the Indian society and those seats are reserved for the unrepresented Indian citizens living outside India.
GOPIO CONDUCTS SUCCESSFUL US LAUNCH OF ITS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN NEW YORK - CHAPTERS TO BE INITIATED ALL OVER THE WORLD
GOPIO, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (www.gopio.net), together with the New York Consul General of India, announced the USA launch of GOPIO's International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) at the Indian Consulate in New York on April 28, 2017. GICC was inaugurated earlier at India's business capital in Mumbai on Jan. 10, 2017 by the Governor of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu Shri Vidyasagar Rao.
Honored chief guest Mrs. Riva Ganguly Das, Consul General of India and GOPIO's elected GOPIO officials hosted this event for the Indian Diaspora of the New York Tri-State region. The inauguration event was attended by approximately 150 members of the NRI (Non-Indian Resident) and PIO (Person of Indian Origin) community. The Networking Cocktail started at 6:30 pm, followed by the Launch Ceremony at 7:00pm and Dinner at 8:15pm.
Master of Ceremony Prakash Shah, Co-Chair of GICC kicked off the event, with introductory remarks, "GOPIO has tapped into a long-felt need for an international networking organization for the business People of Indian Origin. GICC has gotten off to a flying start after the January 10, 2017 global launch in Mumbai (India) by the Maharashtra Governor, with requests from around the world pouring in to open GICC chapters in all the major cities". Shah stated GICC objectives as, "GICC aims to bring together the business people of the Indian Diaspora, providing them the networking opportunity on a common worldwide platform."
Indian Consul General Riva Ganguly Das welcomed the attendees to the Consulate for the US launch of GICC, commenting "GOPIO is the only organization that truly represents the interests of the worldwide 30 million Indian Diaspora." She praised this latest GOPIO venture launch remarking, "GOPIO 's GICC initiative is most timely and very much needed at this time."
Other speakers included H. R. Shah, Chair of the GICC launch; GOPIO Life Member and Parikh Media Chairman Dr. Sudhir Parikh and New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji.
H R Shah, this year's recipient of Padma Shri award from Indian President, who Chairs the GOPIO's Board of Advisors and is Chairman of TV Asia, quoting a number of key statistics on Diaspora businesses explained why an effort such as GICC was very much needed. Mr. Shah also served as the GICC Launch Chair.
Event sponsor State Bank of India (SBI) was represented by senior officers at the launch. SBI's new USA Country Head Ashwini Tewari said that SBI fully supports GOPIO efforts and SBI see great opportunity ahead to work with Indian owned businesses.
Dr. Thomas Abraham Chairman of GOPIO International presented the details of GICC including the genesis of GICC, "The Biennial Convention in 2016 held in New York became a corner stone for GOPIO to be more involved in business, technology, investment and philanthropic activities to mobilize Diaspora resources for the common good. At this meeting, GOPIO General Body decided to initiate GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) as a business platform for the Indian Diaspora."
"GOPIO International is the most networked Indian Diaspora organization which is a brand, and unlike other chambers, GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) will cater to the Indian Diaspora businesses and entrepreneurs and will be the only globally networked Indian Chamber of Commerce," Dr. Abraham added.
Photo above: GICC USA launch with lighting of the lamp, from l. to r.: GOPIO Upper New York President Jhairam Persaud, GOPIO North Jersey Vice President Rajul Shah, GOPIO's Tri-State New York Area Coordinator Lal Motwani, Parikh Media Chairman Dr. Sudhir Parikh, GOPIO Intl. Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO Intl. Coordinator Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Consul General Riva Ganguly Das, GOPIO-New York President Beena Kothari, AIA President Govind Munjal, Assemblyman Raj Mukherjee, GICC Co-Chair Prakash Shah and GOPIO-CT President Anita Bhat
GICC would serve as a non-geographical chapter of GOPIO International and will create worldwide networking opportunity for people of Indian origin in business and professional services. As there are over 3 million businesses owned by People of Indian Origin around the world within the Indian Diaspora of 30 million, GICC provides a great opportunity for one to become a Sponsor Member or Life Member. GICC will encourage and promote increasing levels of business investments by and among NRI/PIOs in various parts of the world.
GICC will reach out and set up chapters in neighborhoods with large number of Indian owned businesses and services. It will also launch chapters in small towns, cities, counties, states/provinces and countries. Hopefully GICC will emerge as the most networked Indian Diaspora business group. Unlike other chambers, GICC's biggest advantage and benefit to its members and chapters will be that it will be the most globally networked Indian Diaspora business group.
The launch program was put together by GOPIO's Tri-State New York Area Coordinator Lal Motwani and GOPIO New York President Beena Kothari and was supported by other GOPIO Chapters in the New York area; GOPIO-Upper New York, GOPIO-Connecticut, GOPIO-Central Jersey and GOPIO-North Jersey. The event was sponsored by the State Bank of India in New York
Photo: GOPIO officers and State Bank of India officers after the GICC launch in New York, from l. to r.: Dinesh Mittal, Dr. Asha Samant, Shailesh Naik, Nami Kaur, Shelly Nichani, Kenny Desai, H.R. Shah, Lal Motwani, SBI Country Head Ashwini Tewari, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Beena Kothari, SBI CEO R. Viswanathan, Varghese Ninan, Rajul Shah, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, GICC Co-Chair Prakash Shah, Meera Banta and Dharmatma Saran
GOPIO HOLDS CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR SRINIVAS KACHIBOTLA
GOPIO-Inland Empire chapter organized candlelight vigil in Riverside, California on March 5, 2017 in memory of Srinivas Kuchibhotla of Kansas. The main organizer was the chapter president Vasu Pawar.
GOPIO CHAIRMAN CONFRONTS RBI GOVERNOR URJIT PATEL FOR DISALLOWING DIASPORA INDIANS TO DEPOSIT THEIR DEMONETIZED CURRENCIES AT NEW YORK MEETING
Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham confronted Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Dr. Urjit Patel at a talk delivered by him at Columbia University on April 24th for not allowing Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship to deposit or exchange their demonetized Indian currencies. GOPIO estimates that over Rs. 5,000 crores of demonetized currencies are in the possession of OCI card holders and those non-OCI card holders with foreign citizenship. Many travelling to India to deposit their currencies were turned away by RBI at five of its branches which still accept the demonetized currencies from NRIs who are Indian citizens.
"This is gross injustice to more than 50% of the overseas Indians who have been deprived of their hard-earned income," said Dr. Abraham.
In January 2017, GOPIO launched a PetitionOnline campaign appealing to Prime Minister of India to allow OCI/PIO card holders as well as Diaspora Indians with Foreign Citizenship to deposit or exchange their demonetized Indian currencies at the Reserve Bank of India. Currently, NRIs holding Indian Passport are only allowed to deposit or exchange the demonetized currencies at five Reserve Bank India branches in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur.
Dr. Abraham presented a copy of the issues and comments raised by Diaspora Indians through PetitionOnline. Several thousands of Diaspora Indians signed the petition which is still going on at www.gopio.net.
"This is a major issue for the Diaspora Indians and it is a created issue and it needs to be resolved," said GOPIO International President Niraj Baxi.
In a letter to RBI Governor Patel, GOPIO noted that It would be unfair of India to treat OCI card holders differently from NRIs for depositing their hard-earned demonetized currencies. Diaspora Indians with Foreign Citizenship, and PIO and OCI card holders be given the same opportunity for depositing old and obsolete currency notes as given to NRIs (Indian Passport holders), allowing them to deposit up to Rs. 250,000 of Indian currency in the Reserve Bank of India instead of notified amount of Rs. 25,000. RBI argument that OCI card holders may be used by those in India to convert their demonetized currencies falls apart since more NRIs have closer contacts with people in India than OCI hard holders, so why discriminate OCI card holders?
The letter further stated that some of the NRIs and PIO/OCI card holders have old currency notes safely kept in their residences in India for reasons such as education of their children in India, supporting old age parents, helping family members, etc., so allow RBI and Banks having NRO accounts to accept the old currency notes up to Rs. 2,50,000;
Dr. Abraham presented a copy of comments and feedback from several thousands of Indians worldwide to RBI Governor Urjit Patel to forward it to Prime Minister Modi
Finally, since all Diaspora Indians with Foreign Citizenship (PIO and OCI card holders) may not be able to visit India prior to June 30, 2017, they should be allowed to deposit old currency notes at either the Reserve Bank of India or in their NRO Accounts up to December 31, 2017.
"Indians who left India to earn their living should not be deprived of their hard-earned money because they were not in India to deposit the demonetized notes when Indian banks were accepting the notes," Dr. Abraham added.
GOPIO has appealed to Dr. Patel to resolve this issue quickly.
GOPIO's online signature campaign is still on. Please visit GOPIO website www.goopio.net and sign the petition at the link provided in the home
Attached herewith, please find feedback from Diaspora Indians on this issue (Appeal to Prime Minister Modi and Feedback from those signed up).
GOPIO'S AFRICA BUSINESS SUMMIT A GREAT SUCCESS WITH A THEME INDIASPORA BUILDING AFRICA THROUGH OPPORTUNITIES BEYOND FRONTIERS
GOPIO International together with the GOPIO Chapter of Durban in South Africa held a very successful and enlightening business conference for 2 and half days where attendees from many countries gathered to network, exchange ideas and come with suggestions to help South Africa progress to greater heights through Cooperation, Guidance and Entrepreneurship.
Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, Convention Convener and International Coordinator along with his team of volunteers did a wonderful job of planning, hosting and welcome of the delegates visiting from many countries. He had a line up of the Royalty and top Government officials who attended the various events and mingled with the guests.
Durban - For the GOPIO visitors from other countries, the convention started right at the airport. A delegation dressed in traditional Indian clothes received us with folded hands saying Namaskar. Pictures were taken in front of the Gopio banners announcing the Gopio convention and creating quite a stir among the onlookers. This was an excellent advertisement besides the television, radio and print ads, which had been running in Durban for weeks ahead of the summit.
Later the same afternoon, Dr. Shashank Vikram, the Consul General of India in Durban, invited the whole international delegation and prominent community members for high tea at the Indian Consulate and met with each one individually and welcomed us to South Africa.
As if that was not welcome enough a reception was held for all GOPIO members and local Indian dignitaries and business people to meet with the GOPIO visitors and local members at the hotel.
Among the many welcome greetings and addresses, the ones that hit the spot were by
a) Mrs. Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi, member of Parliament for Minority Front in Durban, South Africa. She brought forward the point that Indian Diaspora needs to be recognized and appreciated for the success they have achieved in foreign countries. And that GOPIO is a wonderful platform for PIOs/ NRIs for such acknowledgement and appreciation.
b) Dr. Udit Raj, Member of Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha) who was visiting from New Delhi, emphasized that today India is a land of opportunity under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. He also extended the invitation to all Indians living abroad to come to India and his doors will be open to help them.
c) Dr. Thomas Abraham, chairman GOPIO from the US made a power point presentation tracing the journey of GOPIO since its inception 28 years ago mobilizing the community as an activism group looking at the human rights violations to a group which is involved in all aspects of community development and contribution to India and other countries. GOPIO has now launched GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) where the GOIPO members can successfully network and utilize their membership to meet with other likeminded business people and entrepreneurs from all over the world.
d) GOPIO Executive Vice President Noel Lal quoted Prime Minister Modi extolling diaspora Indians to commit and contribute to the countries they live in.
e) Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, Africa International coordinator and convener for the GOPIO Business summit finished off with a very emotional vote of thanks, specially to those who have traveled from far of countries to visit his South Africa. He thanked his team for their tireless work of last few months to put the convention together. He finished off with very important message," Let us all take something from this convention".
The Business Summit was inaugurated on time at 9 am.
Many discussion panels were held covering the entire gamut of topics for helping Africa Grow Through Entrepreneurship and helping in the growth of Industries like Hotel and Tourism, Small Scale Industries, Micro Credit Financing to name a few.
Some of the local dignitaries who attended and spoke were Acting High Commissioner of India Dr. S. Janakiraman, Consul General of India Dr. Shashank Vikram, Deputy Mayor of Durban Mrs Fawzia Peer, and Mr. Ravi Pillay, MEC for Rural Development and Public Works.
Photos above Welcoming of KwaZulu-Natal King Goodwill Zwelithini: Left: King Goodwill Zwelithini with GOPIO Intl Coordinator Ishwar Ramlutchman; Right: King conversing with Acting Indian HC Dr. S. Janakiraman, Indian Consul General Dr. Shashank Vikram and GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
In the afternoon, the business summit was honored by the presence of His Majesty the King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuZulu and her Highness. The King was pleased to be attending the summit and to be among Indians in particular. In his speech, he emphasized that ALL RELIGIONS should live together in harmony. South Africa, he said that today his people are called, "The Rainbow Nation".
This GOPIO International Business Summit, having taken place in the City of Durban, South Africa on Saturday, May 20th, 2017, and headlined on the conference theme, "Indiaspora Building Africa Through Opportunities Beyond Frontiers ", and inclusive off women empowerment and skills development in business, hereby resolves:
Proposed by South Africa, Life Member, Marlan Padayachee, seconded by South Africa, Life Member, Michelle Michael, and unanimously passed by delegates.
Proposed by South Africa, Life Member Marlan Padayachee, and seconded by Mauritius delegate and unanimously accepted by the delegates.
Proposed by South Africa, Life Member, Marlan Padayachee, seconded by South Africa, Life Member, Michelle Michael and unanimously passed by delegates.
Resolutions Session was presided by GOPIO International Chairman t Dr Thomas Abraham
VVIP list for the Gala dinner at the conclusion reads like who's who from the Durban area.
His majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini and her Highness, Prince MG Buthelezi MP, A.V. Mohammed of Jumma Masjid Trust and Deputy High commissioner of India Dr. S. Janakiraman and South African Member of Parliament Aumsen Singh.
The Gala dinner was a display of warmth, love and hospitality of the South African Indians. It seems the clock may have stopped for them, 3-4 generations ago when their ancestors landed in Durban as indentured labor on a ship. Today the success and their achievement is noteworthy and something to be proud of.
Photo above: Indian Ladies at the Finale Awards Banquet of GOPIO-Durban Business Summit
From lightening the traditional lamp to welcome speeches to fabulous array of dishes on the buffet table was a sight to be seen. Highlight was the plaques of recognition to professional and business achievers, the host committee team and the people who needed to be recognized for their service to the community and the growth of Indian heritage in general. The King was presented with the Life Time Achievement Award.
His majesty the King Goodwill Zwelithini himself stood on the dais and presented each and everyone with the plaque of recognition with a smile and handshake. He was seen having quite a chat with some of the dignitaries and visitors. In fact, he seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.
In his speech, he again reiterated his comments, "It is a great pleasure to have been invited to express my message of support to such a great celebration of unity among people of Indian origin that is kept intact by the leadership and members of the GOPIO organization of the people of the Indian origin. We are aware that inculcating a culture of unity is difficult enough in a classroom or a community but when unity such as the one achieved by the Indian community on a global scale as pioneered by GOPIO has to be celebrated, Ubuntu dictates that I express my support."
The highlight of the conference was a Visit to Mahatma Gandhi's Phoenix Settlement, hosted by Mrs. Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. The delegates got to see and read information they have heard about from the history books.
Original pictures and depiction of Mahatma Gandhi's life has been recorded chronologically with very nice photographs and inscriptions on the walls. The delegation was served wonderful vegetarian lunch and a plaque of appreciation was given to Mrs. Ela Gandhi by GOPIO team.
GOPIO CHAPTER ACTIVITIES
GOPIO-PARIS FRANCE PARTICIPATE IN AEMISTICE DAY 2017 CEREMONY
Last year, during an excavation in a village 230 km from Paris two human remains were found. On examining their belongings, they were identified as Indian soldiers of the 39th Royal Garhwal Rifles who fought World War I in France
The French Government and the Indian Embassy in France held a burial ceremony on November 12, 2017 at Laventie Military Cemetery, with full military honors and prayers conducted by a Hindu priest.
GOPIO France Paris with Mehen Poinoosawmy and Vimal Khosla of GOPIO France Paris laid a wreath of flowers to pay homage to the dedication, loyalty, courage and sacrifice of the 2 Indian soldiers.
GOPIO-PARIS FRANCE PARTICIPATE IN AEMISTICE DAY 2017 CEREMONY
Brief History: Indian soldiers were present in France during the World War I because the British government declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. Two infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade of the Indian Army were ordered to mobilise and prepare for overseas service.
India had sent more than 140,000 men to the Western Front of Europe. More than 8,550 were killed and as many as 50,000 more were wounded.
Almost 5,000 of the dead have no known grave and are commemorated at Neuve Chapelle Memorial. Last year, members of GOPIO family attending the GOPIO Europe convention came to pay tribute to the Indian soldiers at Neuve Chapelle. Again this year, GOPIO France Paris and its members accompanied His Excellency, Ambassador of India, Mr Vinay Mohan Kwatra to the laying of wreaths ceremony at Neuve Chapelle Memorial.
Contact: Krishna Shivalingayah, President, GOPIO-Paris, Tel: +33 6 78 24 51 63, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO NETHERLANDS ORGANIZES GANDHI PEACE WALK IN EUROPE
GOPIO-Amsterdam in Netherlands has organised the first Gandhi Peace Walk Europe on October 7th starting from the Peace Palace in The Hague where the International Court of Justice is also located. On October 8th the participants arrived at the gates of the European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium) where they handed over their Gandhi Peace manifesto to the representative of a EU-based think tank that advises the parliament and local MLA's.
Photo above:Peace Walk by EU Group at Peace Palace
The Peace Walk has been previously organised in The Hague by a local resident Frank Kanhai who is active in sports walks for a couple of years. GOPIO has acknowledged his enthusiasm and decided to uplift the ambition of peace and non-violence promotion by organising a larger audience of 60 dedicated participants who were willing to walk the 162 kilometers in teams during 2 days to Brussels. The Peace manifest was meant to promote Gandhian philosophy of Swaraj, Ahimsa and Satyagraha in the contemporary debates in Europe on Brexit, migration of labour and refugees, and Eastern European political tension combined with international politics.
Photos: GOPIO-Amsterdam organised the first Gandhi Peace Walk, Oct. 2017, From top left clockwise: Honoring Gandhi at the Peace Palace with Dy Mayor Baldewsing; GOPIO Team preparing for handing over Gandhi Manifesto and Peace Walk Team at the EU parliament.Oct. 2017
The EU commissioner for foreign affairs Mrs. Frederica Mogherini recognised this effort by mentioning this in the EU-India Summit in New Delhi and has applauded GOPIO for using this Peace Walk to promote Gandhian values.
On October 28th, GOPIO Netherlands organized an interactive session with a special speaker from India Dr. Suman Khanna Aggarwal in the Humanity House, The Hague. The theme of the session is: Resolving Conflict in Community Relationships through Nonviolence: Creating harmonious relationships in and between communities through Nonviolence
Dr. Suman Khanna Aggarwal is a Gandhian scholar, peace researcher and Founder President of Shanti Sahyog - a Gandhian NGO & of Shanti Sahyog Center for Peace & Conflict Resolution - a unit of Shanti Sahyog. She has been Associate Professor of Philosophy in Delhi University and has lectured extensively - both in India and abroad and taught courses on Gandhian views in Universities in North America, Japan, Denmark, Middle East and Asia, for instance, in the Universities of John Hopkins, McMaster & Bradford: she also taught in the UK, Scandinavian Universities, and Al Quds University - Palestine/Israel. She has delivered multiple lectures during the International Days for Nonviolence before.
GOPIO-CHICAGO HOSTS 3RD ANNUAL BUSINESS CONVENTION AND GALA
Chicago Chapter of Global Organization for People of India Origin (GOPIO) hosted 3rd Annual Business Convention & Gala on September 17th, 2017 at Rosemont Hyatt Hotel. The event was attended by many corporate executives, State and local Government officials, Asian-American and small & minority business leaders and non-profit organization leaders. The objective of the event was to promote common cultural heritage and create binding relationship among business community.
Chairman and Founder of GOPIO Chicago Gladson Varghese welcomed all the Business Leaders, Political leaders and other esteemed guests. He also stated GOPIO is one of the largest Indian organizations outside India with Chapters in over 20 countries.
President and Founder Hina Trivedi in her Presidential address stated, GOPIO Chicago is in the path of rapid Growth and invited all the business leaders to be part of the organization.
Consul D.B. Bhati representing the Indian Consulate in Chicago, in his inaugural address said that business conference like this is a first step to bring Indian business owners under one umbrella, Indian Americans should expand their businesses to India as well, since India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.'
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi congratulated GOPIO Chicago leadership for hosting a business conference and that he would support the Indian Community and GOPIO Chicago to create a business environment that will help to grow Indian businesses especially the startup companies. Linda Chapa LaVia, said that businesses are failing mainly on account of lack of proper direction to grow and paucity of required funding to launch new technology products. She also presented the Award to Lovely Varughese.
Burr Ridge Mayor Mickey Straub said that GOPIO Chicago created a platform for all the small and large Indian business owners to do business networking and grow their businesses.
Several awards were presented during the event. Business Man of the Year was given to H.R Pundit Corporation CEO Mr. K.K. Reddy' Community leader of the year award was given to Dr. Bharat Barai and Student of the year award was given to Ms. Payal Patel.
Rep. Krishnamoorthi presented the Leadership award to Gladson Varghese, State Representative Linda Chapa Lavia presented Mother's Rights Award to Lovely Varughese. Community service Awards were given for the excellent community service to Consul of India D.B. Bhati, Mayor Mickey Straub, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Consul of India O.P. Meena, Humanitarian Award is given to Zahid Hameed, Sponsorship recognition is given to Lisa Victoria Waller, Syed Hussaini, Avani Trivedi, Abdul Gafoor, Manoj Kumar Singamsetti, Nick Gakhal and Nambirajan Vaithilingam.
Photo above: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi is being hnored at the banquet. From l. to r.: VinozChanamolu, Hitesh Gandhi, Chandrashekar Reddy, Savinder Singh, Laddi Singh, U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Hina Trivedi, Gladson Varghese, Hement Trivedi, Sharan Walia
The event was attended by the following Board members: Savi Singh, Vikrant Singh, Syed Hussaini, Hement Trivedi, Sharan Walia, Nambi Vaithilingam, Vinoz Chanamolu, Chandrasekar Reddy, Manoj Kumar Singamsetti, Hitesh Gandhi and Laddi Singh.
The MC for the evening was Dr. Ajit Pant. President Hina Trivedi thanked all the dignitaries, GOPIO Board members, CEOs of various companies, Media, Sponsors and all the audience for their support for GOPIO Chicago.
The Business Conference ended with Bollywood style entertainment programs including Dances, Music and DJ followed by Indian style Dinner.
Photo above left - Gladson Varghese (Chairman), Sunil Shah, Chandrashekar Reddy, Hina Trivedi (President), D.B. Bhati (Consul of India), K.K. Reddy, Linda Chapa Livia (IL State Representative). Right - Attendees at the conference: Malla Reddy, Chandrashekar Reddy, Jose Manakatt, Sunil Shah, Nisha Mathews, Gladson Varghese, Gurmeet Singh, Aishwarya Sharma, Vibha Dave.
SPECTACULAR "CARING & SHARING" EVENT BY GOPIO-SYDNEY NORTH WEST CHAPTER
"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." John Bunyan
With this motto as an objective, GOPIO-Sydney North West Chapter organized the 8th Annual "Caring & Sharing" event on Sep. 16th, 2017.
The main motto of the team is to help the needy in a transparent and shared way, thus they have been committed to raise funds for the less privileged children in remote areas of India and also for the local community needs.
In a nutshell GOPIO-Sydney North West Chapter's achievements for the last eight years are:
Supported 4000 less privileged school children in Punjab and Haryana by providing winter clothing, shoes, drinking water facilities, ciling fans, furniture, sports items and study materials.
Continuous support to Cancer Council of Australia, Heart Foundation, FoxG1 Foundation.
Provided prosthetic legs to a needy high school student who lost his legs in an accident.
Supported Manmeet Sharma, Captain Shekhwat's family for much needed funds at the time of need.
Blue mountains bush fire, Fiji cyclone and Nepal earthquake victims were also supported during crisis times.
Helped a cancer patient in Punjab to have medication and also donated warm blankets to poor in winter.
Over 450 guests attended the Dance and Dinner evening of "Caring & Sharing" event. The great pomp & show of the night was opened by the colourful Dhama Yoga performance. Scintillating dance performances by CK Performing Arts, Rooh Punjab Di - Bhangra group, Phulkari Gidha group, Shiamak Davar bollywood dance group, Arohana dance group kept the audience spellbound. Magician Manny and Jagpreet Grover also kept the guests entertained with their magical tricks and songs respectively.
Photos above: Dignitaries and GOPIO Sydney North West at Caring and Sharing 2017
MCs Neeru Singh, Aman Singh and Amrit Buttar were the centre of the ceremony who conducted the proceeding with utmost commitment. Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, the chapter president, in his inspiring speech thanked the sponsors and guests for their valuable contributions for the event. Team members Harmohan Singh Walia, Paramjit Multani, Ravi Singh, Sumit Joshi, Rajvinder Mangat, Baljit Pelia, SanjeetHooda and Baljinder Singh passionately worked to make this event successful and value adding.
The main sponsors of the event were Kalra Group of Companies, Ray White Quakers Hill, MyExpert Home loans, Sapphire Function Centre, Ruby Events and Ravi Singh. Fortune Travel, Saree Collection, Gill Transport, G & A Roadline, Bathla Group, Patel Brothers of Wentworthville& Harris Park, SarjitRahi, Tahar Mohammed, ParmajitMultani, Gurcharan Sandhu and Shaggir Khan supported the event with their contributions. GOPIO team also acknowledged Pannu Lawyers and Prime Protection Security services for their unconditional support.
Photo: Dancers at Caring and Sharing 2017 by GOPIO Sydney North West
Evergreen Memories, ARR DEE Photography and Roa Srini captured the precious moments of the event. Desi Australia, Punjab Times, Punjab Herald, Public Telegraph, Punjabi Tribune and Ajit were the media partners.
Contact: Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, President, GOPIO-Sydney North West, email@example.com.
GOPIO-CT ORGANIZES SEMINAR ON "EMERGIN INDIA: VIEW FROM BELOW"
GOPIO-CT organized a seminar on "Emerging India: View from Below," on September 29th in Stamford, CT. The speaker was Dr. George Mathew is the Founder Director and currently the Chairman of the Institute for Social Sciences in New Delhi. India @ 70 is progressing, and India today is way ahead of many countries in the world. Not only economy, but sports, art and culture, education, Information Technology and so on. Dr. Mathew spoke on the reality on the ground, specially with regard to poverty, hunger, malnutrition, rural development, women, health, quality of education in the villages and slums in the urban areas and so on.
According to Dr. Mathew, Indian reality is complex and multiple. It combines the most modern with the most archaic, the first world and the fourth world living together. Perhaps that itself is the best narrative. Here is a country which has not only preserved democracy, it has contributed immensely to the refinement of democracy.
The Indian model has demonstrated that democracy and development can go hand in hand. Unlike East Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America, that followed a model-"democracy through economic growth", India has exemplified a promising model-economic development through democracy; reaching 9 % growth in 2011.
Photo top: Dr. George Mathew of Institute of Social Service speaking at a meeting organized by GOPIO-CT. Bottom: Dr. George Mathew with GOPIO-CT officials, from l. to r.: Shailesh Naik, Ravi Dhingra, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. George Mathew, Prasad Chintalapudi, Meera Banta, and, Mangala and Arun Dongre
India, with its impressive growth story, had become an international flavour; from a land of "million mutinies", it has become a land of billion aspirations.
But the other side of the story; that of Bharat, is different. The trickledown model that India has followed since 1991 has made little impact. There are about 350million people below poverty line and 500 million are marginalised and deprived.
Contact: Anita Bhat, President, GOPIO-CT, Tel: 203-524-2935, firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO INTL. COORDINATOR FOR AFRICA ISHWAR RAM LUTCHMAN HONORED BY NATAL PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
GOPIO International Coordinator for Africa Ishwar Ramlutchman was honoured by KwaZulu Natal Provincial Government for his initiative in Unveiling Heritage Monument of His Majesty TheKing, King Goodwill Zwelithini. Wreath laying at the Monument and Grave of King Shaka Zulu and the unveiling of a bronze bust of His Majesty, kicked off an all-inclusive Shaka's Day and Heritage Day celebrations held in KwaDukuza.
Described as a first of its kind in this country, the bronze bust is an initiative of the world-renowned philanthropist Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu. Mabheka Zulu as he is affectionately known has embraced the Zulu culture and heritage having been mentored by His Majesty over the past 15 years.
Mabheka Zulu commissioned this bronze bust which is located at KwaDukuza Museum in honour of His Majesty for his contribution towards nation building.
An excited KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu paid tribute to Mabheka Zulu stating that he was instrumental in promoting peace and social cohesion in line with the teaching of His Majesty.
Mchunu remarked: "His Majesty has over the years been the advocate of peace and reconciliation. When intolerance threatened the fragile peace that had been achieved after years of political violence here in the province, Isilo meticulously brought together leaders from all political parties."
"He has showed determination to instil a patriotism culture that emphasises the importance of putting all South Africans first in anything leaders of government do."
"We are heartened by His Majesty's dedication towards the creation of sustainable livelihoods and his message that people should be an integral part of the fight for the eradication of poverty rings very loud."
"As the custodian of the Zulu traditions and customs, ISILO's service has underlined how tradition serves as a source of unity in our society and as a tangible proof of the common values which bind our community together. In fast-changing times, the King has been a steady compass point as he has consistently upheld the timeless values upon which our province and the country are built."
"His passionate love for the people gives us hope that he will continue to be a tireless campaigner for the development of the people of KwaZulu-Natal."
"As we celebrate both King Shaka Day and Heritage Day we want to reiterate our determination to create an equal society where values identified in the country's constitution are enjoyed by all."
"We have reiterated in many platforms that the unity of all the people of this province can be achieved if we celebrate together national days such as Reed Dance, Diwali, Rosh Hashan, Eid, UmkhosiWokweShwama and Ramadan."
"His Majesty, as our father will lead some programmes of social cohesion and moral regeneration- especially focusing on our culture to revive Ubuntu. We value the support from traditional leaders and other leaders of society including religious leaders and captains of industry. We all have a responsibility to build a stronger KZN through strong families with community leaders playing their role."
"Working together to build a stronger province economically and socially will be the fulfillment of the dreams of the pathfinders of this freedom who are too many to mention."
Photo above: from l. to r. MEC for Arts and Culture, Mrs Sithole Molio, His Worship the Mayor of Kwa Dukuza, Cllr RichardoMthembu, MEC for human settlments, Mr Ravi Pillay, Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Mr TW Mchunu, Consul General of India, Dr Shashank Vikram, Mr Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu, His Majesty The King, King Goodwill ZwelithiniKaBhekuZulu, Prince MG Buthelezi , Treasurer General of the African National Congress, Dr Zweli Mkhize, Queen Sibongile Dlamini, Queen ButhleMathe, Queen Thandi Ndlovu
GOPIO'S PRESENCE NOTED AT CONFLUENCE, THE FESTIVAL OF INDIA IN SYDNEY
Confluence, the Festival of India was launched on 18 September 2017 in Sydney by Indian High Commissioner to Australia Dr. A. M Gondane. This year, India's cultural diversity, both contemporary and classic, encompassing dance, music, theatre, puppetry, and cinema journeys will showcase across seven Australian cities including Brisbane, Bundaberg, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Townsville during the festival between September 23 and October 29, 2017.
GOPIO International's "Global Indian Diaspora" coffee table book was presented to High Commissioner Dr. A.M Gondane by GOPIO Life Member, Harmohan Singh Walia during the launch of Confluence in Sydney.
Photo above: GOPIO Life Member Harymohan Sngh Walia presenting the book Global Indian Diaspora to H.C. Dr. A.M. Gondane
Contact: Harmohan Singh Walia, email@example.com
GOPIO-TRIOLET NORTH CELEBRATES GANDHI JAYANTI
GOPIO-Kochi organized a forum to discuss issues of returned NRIs in India on Monday, August 21st at the Bharat Hotel, Ernakulam.
On 2nd October 2017, the GOPIO-Triolet North Mauritius celebrated the 148th Birthday of the Great Mahatma Gandhi also known as Bappu. This celebration was done at the Social Welfare Centre of Triolet together with the SSR Disability services centre. Mrs Kritilata Ram, the President emphasized on the Gandhian Philosophy for Poverty Eradication, Education and People's Empowerment. She said that these three main issues are very important for the proper development of a country - socially and economically.
Mrs Ram also quoted what Shakespeare said, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." But for the case of this great man was that he was neither born great nor was greatness thrust upon him. He genuinely achieved greatnessas a result of associating himself with the massesof his selfless and dedicated service to human being. MrsBoolauky, the secretary focused on the importance of the core values of Truth and non-violence in our today's society.
Photo: Gandhi Jayanti Celebration by GOPIO Triolet N.Mauritius
After a prayer, the garlanding ceremony of the bust of the Mahatma Gandhi was done by those present.
Contact: Kritilata Ram, President, GOPIO-Triolet North Mauritius, firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO-NEW YORK ORGANIZES SEMINAR ON "WOMEN IN INDIA: CHALLENGES THEY FACE AND OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD"
GOPIO-New York and the Indian American Kerala Center joined hand to put together the seminar titled "Women in India: Challenges They Face and Opportunities Ahead at the Kerala Center on Sept. 30th. The speaker was Dr, Geroge Mathew, Chairman of Institute of Social Sciences.
According to Dr. Mathew, women's empowerment is the buzzword of the global political discourse today. The Indian politics underwent a sea change after the introduction of the new Panchayati Raj system and Municipalities by the Constitution (73rd and 74th) Amendment Act 1992, providing for reservation of 33% seats in the rural and urban local bodies. It laid a strong foundation for their participation in decision making at the local levels.
The presence of over a million women in local government bodies has changed the very grammar of Indian politics. Over the years, April 24 is elaborated as women's political empowerment day. It creates a sense of solidarity among elected women representatives and also they learn from each other's experiences to promote effective advocacy, partnerships and coalition-building. Every year, the elected women representatives to local bodies come to the National capital, discuss and exchange views about their achievements, problems, trials and tribulations. Awards are presented to outstanding women panchayat leaders. Successful women leaders are those who take personal interest in planning and implementation of development projects, help strengthen the institution of panchayat, fight for women's rights related issues and develop a sense of self-reliance in the village through their leadership.
The Indian society which is still patriarchal, witnesses violence against women. Since the above mentioned 1993 Constitution Amendment, nearly 2000 women and Scheduled Caste local government elected members and aspirants have lost their lives.
Contact: Beena Kothari, email@example.com
GOPIO-INLAND EMPIRE ORGANIZES A SPIRITUAL EVENT
GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter organized a spiritual talk by an author, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur and humanitarian Srinivas Arka. Attended by about 100 people, the talk was organized at the Radha Krishna Mandir, Norwalk, CA. The event was introduced by Ms. Vasu Pawar, President of GOPIO-Inland Empire. She mentioned that the Divine Satisfaction comes from our purpose in life and our purpose in life is to Free People from their problems, concerns, and their struggles.
Arka He has developed human potential programs for the benefit of mankind and is a fascinating speaker, who took the audience into the depth of our souls and inspired everyone to embrace spirituality. We also did the launch of his Book "Bright Moon" which speaks about his own experience in life. Some of his other books and spiritual music CD's were displayed at the event.
Photo: GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter officials with spiritual leader Srinivas Arka
Contact: Ms. Vasu Pawar, President, GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter. Tel: 909-389-8262, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TWO NEW GOPIO CHAPTERS IN INDIA ARE IN THE OFFING
GOPIO launched two new chapters in Noida and Meerut, August 2017. GOPIO Chairman, Dr. Thomas Abraham, who attended both meetings, recognized the enthusiasm of the participants.
The Noida meeting was organized by Mr. Sandeep Jain, while the Meerut meeting was organized by Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma at the University Meerut.
While GOPIO is established very well outside India, GOPIO wants to bring the NRI/PIO community closer to people in India so as to form partnerships for mutual benefit and India's development. In the last two decades, many NRIs and PIOs have retuned back to India and are settling in various cities. In addition, many in India have connection with NRIs/PIOs through their children and siblings settled outside India. They are GOPIO's natural constituency with common interest along with businessmen and professionals who want to reach out NRIs/PIOs for comment interest. Through GOPIO chapters in India we are trying reach them out and involve them for the larger interest of our communities and India.
A planning meeting to launch GOPIO-NOIDA was held at Hotel Golf View in Noida, near Delhi. An LOI has been filed with GOPIO International. GOPIO-Noida chapter is expected to be inaugurated in January 2017.
Photo above: Indravandan P. Shah, GOPIO Delhi/NCR President Dhiraj Ahuja, Meeting organizer Sandeep Jain, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, GOPIO Chairman, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Former Indian ambassador Ashok K. Attri, former Navy Commander Vijay Kapil, Dinesh Jain, Vijay K. Srivasatava and Ajay Goyal
Contact Sandeep Jain at 09810356126, E-mail: email@example.com.
GOPIO-Meerut Chapter launch was held on August 12th at the Seminar Hall, Department of Political Science, CCS University, Meerut. Attended by over 100 people, GOPIO International was represented by Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO Academic Council Chair Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, GOPIO-Delhi/NCR President Dheeraj Ahuja and GOPIO-Sydney Southwest President Joseph Thomas.
Photo above: from L. to R.: Dhiraj Ahuja, Prof. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Dr. Yhomas Abraham, Joseph Thomas and Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta
Contact Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Head Department of Political Science, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut-250 005 (U.P.), Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell:- +91-9412205348
GOPIO-NORTH JERSEY CELEBRATES INDIA'S 70TH INDEPENDENCE DAY
At a ceremony attended by over 350 Indians, the Mayor of Clifton James Anzaldiand members of Clifton Councils, GOPIO North New Jersey Chapter celebrated India's 70th Independence Day.GOPIO International Vice President Ram Gadhavi talked about the Revolutionary wars waged by the largest democracy, India and the oldest democracy, USA.
GOPIO North Jersey Chapter President Rajul Shah was pleased that many women were now participating in the celebration while GICC Vice Chair Prakash Shah introduced the GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce and explained how it will help Indo-USA trade.The Mayor of Clifton and Council Members praised the contributions of Indian immigrants to American society in the field of medicine, engineering, and education.
Photo above: Bharat Rana, Ram Gadhavi, Mayor of Clifton James Anzaldi, Rajul Shah, Prakash Shah, Pravin Gadhavi and Gaurang Mehta
The Indian Flag raising ceremony was followed by the singing of the Indian and American National Anthems and light Indian refreshments.
Contact: Rajul P. Shah, President, GOPIO North Jersey Chapter, email@example.com
GOPIO FRANCE PARIS WOMEN'S COUNCIL CELEBRATES MOTHER'S DAY
GOPIO-Paris organized a Mother's Day celebration on June 1, 2017.
Melanie Baumgartner, co-vice president of GOPIO France, lauded the role that mothers play and Padmini Ayassamy, the Women council coordinator read a message sent by Rita Abraham, Chairperson of GOPIO International Women's council.
Helene Khim-Tit, who initiated the Sunrise School in Agra with our GOPIO Chapter, spoke about the progress that this school has made and the GOPIO Women Council conducted a fundraising program to celebrate Mother's Day for this school.
Shri Dhiraj Mukhia honored this function and the chief guest, Shri Ashutosh Shukla, Manager of Jet Airways-France distributed gold and blue traveler's cards to our GOPIO members.
Photos top left to right: HelèneKhim-Tit, Manisha Warnakulasuriya, Melanie Baumgartner, MaguieLanglier, Padmini Ayassamy, Nandita Ramlogun, Manisha Warnakulasuriya and Wendy Ayassamy
Photos bottom from left to right: Mr Dhiraj Mukhia, First Secretary Embassy of India, Manisha Warnakulasuriya, Mehen Poinoosawmy (GOPIO France Paris), Mr Ashutosh Shukla (Jet Airways), Grand Mother, Baby Esperanza, Anamika and Vikas Talwar (Secretary Gopio France Paris)
Contact: Mehen Poinoosawmy, President, GOPIO-Paris Nord, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO-CT ORGANIZES FLAG HOISTING AND INDIA FESTIVAL TO CELEBRATE INDIA'S 70th ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE
More than 300 people gathered to celebrate the first ever Stamford India Independence Day Celebration Festival in Stamford's Mill River Park on August 13, 2017. The celebrations organized by GOPIO-CT included flag-hoisting, dance performances by children and vendors selling Indian jewelry and clothes. Two restaurants - Stamford's Tangra Biryani Point and Greenwich's India Avenue - sold food at the Brown Selkowitz Carousel Pavilion.
Mr. K. Devadasan Nair, Indian Consul for Community Affairs, NYC was the chief guest along with Mayor David Martin and other officials. Also present were CT Assembly man from Glastonbury Dr. Prasad Srinivasan. The American, Indian and Connecticut flags were hoisted by Satish and Shobha Adige.
GOPIO-CT president, Mrs. Anita Bhat welcomed all the guests and Mr. Nair made a passionate speech. Dr. Beena Ramachandran served as the Master of Ceremonies. The program included the song "Saare Jahan Se Accha" sung by Sonali Gannu and a violin rendition of "VandeMataram" by Anjo Therattil. Following this, Mr. Ashok Nichani and Mr. Arun Dongre were commemorated with awards for their contribution to the community.
Photos from top clockwise: GOPIO-CT officials with dignitaries at the Stamford Govt. Center; Satish and Shobha Adige family hoisting Indian flags
While the morning program was taking place, Mr. Shelly Nichani, past President of GOPIO and Ms. Amanda Keith, Manager of the Mill River initiative were busy coordinating the vendors, restaurants and activities taking shape at Stamford's Mill River Park. Both Shelly and Amanda along with others were a big part of the planning for this huge event.
After the flag-raising at the Government center, people gathered at the park to enjoy the beautiful day; flying kites, enjoying delicious Indian food and watching the colorful dance performances by Indian children. Some of the performances were by children from two dance schools - Mauyra Dance Academy led by Ramya Gunashekar and Dance X Studios led by Jayashree Shrikanth. Nupur Daptardar and Mahika also danced to their favorite dance tune "Udi Udi Jaye." In between people enjoyed a quiet session of "mindfulness and meditation," under shady trees while a gentle breeze swayed around them.
The aromas of Indian food wafting in the air lured the audience to the restaurant booths, while vendors lined one side and did a brisk business selling Indian jewelry and clothes. The children also enjoyed face painting and henna designs on their hands.
Photos above: India Independence Day Festival at Mill river Park
Overall, the celebration of India's Independence Day was a very successful event.
OPIO FRANCE JOINS TOWN OF VAL DE REUIL TO CELEBRATE BASTILLE DAY
GOPIO, France organized an Indian Cultural event to celebrate Bastille Day on July 14, 2017.
Along with the traditional French military and civilian parades and the dances and fireworks that celebrate the core beliefs of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity", GOPIO also held an Indian Cultural and Bollywood style show in Val de Reuil, a town near Paris.
Anwar Hussain and his group of Franco-Indian musicians entertained a crowd of 4000 with Bollywood songs that were enjoyed by all.
Photo from l. to r.: Flyer with GOPIO logo displayed in Val de Reuil, Bollywood show with Anwar Husain and his Franco-Indian musical group followed by huge fireworks to close the event
Contact: Mehen Poinoosawmy, President, GOPIO-Paris Nord, email@example.com.
GOPIO-KOCHI DISCUSSES RETURNED NRI ISSUES
GOPIO-Kochi organized a forum to discuss issues of returned NRIs in India on Monday, August 21st at the Bharat Hotel, Ernakulam. Chaired by GOPIO-Kochi President Kurian Abraham, the meeting was addressed by past president P.C. Syriac, GOPIO Human rights Council Chair Advocate Sivan Madathil, GOPIO International Coordinator for South Asia Shaji Baby John, GOPIO Central Jersey Life Member Alex Vilanilam, and Industrialist George Paulose who is President and CEO of Ames International. Chief guest for the evening was Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO.
Most speakers brought out the issues of increasing number of NRIs being laid off in The Middle East creating larger issues for the states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and other states which have sent large number of people to The Middle East.
Dr. Abraham gave an update of GOPIO programs and upcoming Biennial Convention in Bahrain in January 2017. Dr. Abraham also gave an update about the GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) and details of its launch in the USA after its inauguration in Mumbai on January 10, 2017. He called upon to GOPIO-Kochi to initiate the GICC activities at Kochi at the earliest and suggested a tentative inauguration in January 2018.
Photo above: GOPIO-Kochi officials with speakers at the meeting on August 21st
GOPIO-CT TO HONORS FIVE DISTINGUISHED INDIAN AMERICAN ACHIEVERSAT ITS 11TH ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET
"This country is the greatest nation in the history of the world because of our diversity," Sen. Richard Blumenthal
"This country is the greatest nation in the history of the world because of our diversity," Richard Blumenthal, the senior United States Senator from Connecticut, told a packed audience at the 11th annual Gala and awards nite organized by GOPIO-CT at The Hilton Stamford Hotel on Saturday, July 8th, 2017. "We have become a great nation because of your contributions. We have welcomed talent, energy and dedication. There is no greater example of this than our relationship with India; two great democracies on earth. Our nation faces biggest challenge to rule of law today than ever before."
The sold out and much anticipated event was attended by over 250 guests from across the state of Connecticut, including community leaders, elected officials, and honorees and their families. The gala included a cocktail reception, dinner, music, live DJ and dances by participants, eloquent speeches, touching life-stories and inspiring narratives on the lives of the five distinguished honorees. The program was compered by Gayatri Mahesh.
Prominent among those who had attended and spoke at the annual gala included, Congressman Jim Himes, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Connecticut State Senators Tony Hwang and Toni Boucher and CT State Assemblymen Dr. Prasad Srinivasan and William Tong.
In her presidential address, Anita Bhat described the mission and vision of GOPIO-CT under her leadership to actively participate in the local community through involvement in community events and by providing services to the Indian community at large and the society. Describing some of the programs GOPIO-CT initiates, Bhat said, GOPIO members serve in local soup kitchens, do walkathons to support cancer patients, and jointly celebrate Diwali and India's Independence Day with the members of multiple Indian groups in our community.
Congressman Jim Himes, who represents Connecticut's 4th District in the United States House of Representatives, said he was delighted to be at the event to honor the accomplishments of so many talented individuals. Congressman Jim Himes, in his felicitations, "This is the largest ever dinner you I have ever attended of GOPIO. We are experiencing one of the backsliding moments in the history of the where the core strength of this nation, the immigrants, are being threatened. There is no bigger rebuttal than the people in this room. You are scientists, educators, engineers, entrepreneurs, community activists, philanthropists, who represent the success and contributions of immigrants to the country"
Riva Gaangulay Das, Consul General of India, in her address, "The Indo-US relationship has been strengthened by who you are; your accomplishments. Though you are only 1% of the US population, you have excelled in education, income level, economic standing and contributions to the society, you are the model for all other immigrant communities." Describing the partnership as strategic, she pointed out to the fast growing and maturing of collaboration between the two nations.
Photo - GOPIO-CT President Anita Bhat, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Jim Himes, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, Deputy Consul General of India Parmita Tripathi and GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President of GOPIO International who is also a Trustee of GOPIO-CT, chairman of the Awards Committee, said, "The evening is a celebration - a celebration not just of the accomplishments of our awardees, but also a tribute to a strong and vibrant Indian-American community in Connecticut."
"You are the community. You are not part of the community," Mayor David Martin told the Indian Americans. Pointing to the historic nature of the upcoming general elections in November, Mayor Martin urged the members to register and vote, and thus become ensure that your voices are heard."
Mayor Harry Rilling said, "I am honored to be here to celebrate among friends and am thankful for the warm welcome the Indian community has always extended to me and my family." He also congratulated GOPIO-CT for its 11 years of service and bringing the Indian community together.
The founder and CEO of T V Asia, H. R. Shah, a charismatic Indian American, who is a well-known entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader who endeared himself as a close friend of who's who of the world, and was honored for his receiving Padma Bhushan from Govt. of India.
Ila Paliwal was honored for her contributions in the field of Performing Arts. A classically trained Indian vocalist, songwriter and producer based in New York, Paliwal released her album NAVARATNA in 2015 at the Carnegie Hall to a sold-out audience. NAVARATNA celebrates India's secular and festive spirit and is executive produced by legendary music composer AR Rahman. In 2015, She also released a video, HOLI celebrating the Indian ancient phrase Vasudev Kutumbakam.
Dr. Draupathi Nambudiri was honored for her accomplishments in the field of Medicine and Health Care. Currently serving as the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Stamford Hospital, Dr. Nambudiri is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and has been practicing psychiatry for over 30 years.
Dr. Rupendra Paliwal, who was honored for his accomplishments in the field of Education, currently serves as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Sacred Heart University. Prior to coming to Sacred Heart, he was a senior officer of the National Stock Exchange of India.
Captain Alpa Ladani, a distinguished 20-year Veteran of the Connecticut Army National Guard, was honored for her services to the nation. Captain Alpa Ladani was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Germany and Bahrain in a number of different capacities. Most recently, Captain Ladani served as the Executive Officer for Forward Support Base, Headquarters Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Photo above - GOPIIO-CT Awardees with Dignitaries and GOPIO officials. From l. to r.: Banquet sponsor Hasu Patel, H.R. Shah, Dr. Rupendra Paliwal, Dr. Draupathi Nambudiri, Captain Alpa Ladani, Ila Paliwal, Nitesh Banta, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO-CT President Anita Bhat and Gayatri Mahesh
GOPIO-CT President's Young Professional Achiever Award was given to Nitesh Banta. A Harvard alumni, Banta was selected for the well-known Forbes 30 Under 30 List in the New Venture Category. He is an active angel investor and is the CEO and co-founder of B12 which has been recognized as the hottest emerging startup by Nasdaq at the Founders Forum.
For the third year in a row, GOPIO-CT Scholarship for College Tuitions were given to four young students from Connecticut towards their higher education. The recipients are Praneetha Desu (Indiana University), Vivek James (University of Pennsylvania), Arjun Ahuja (University of Connecticut) and Ruhi Patel (Norwalk Community College), GOPIO-CT Scholarship Committee consisted of Shelly Nichani (Chairman) and Shobhna Bhatnagar.
Photo Top - GOPIO-CT 2017 awardees, scholarship recipients with GOPIO Officials and dignitaries; Bottom - A section of the audience at the 11th annual gala of GOPIO-CT
Contact: Anita Bhat, President, GOPIO-CT, Tel: 203-524-2935, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO-LA ORGANIZES BLOOD DONATION CAMP IN BUENA PARK
GOPIO - Los Angeles (GOPIO-LA) Chapter organized a blood donation camp through the Red Cross in coordination with Rajput Association of America and Apna Punjabi Group at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Buena Park on June11.
This camp was a huge success as it exceeded the expectations of the organizers. More people than the Red Cross expected attended and volunteered to donate blood. Unfortunately, many of them had to be turned away since Red Cross did not have resources to draw blood from all of them owing to time constraints and other limitations. Even with these restrictions, 32 vials of blood were drawn that exceeded the minimum required by the Red Cross.
Photo above: Shaila Patankar, Kalika Gupta, Navin Gupta, Baljinder Tahim, Ashley Brown (Red Cross), Rajinder Dhunna, Kewal Kanda
Members of Red Cross team were grateful to the Gurdwara Singh Sabha management and the volunteers who helped them organize and helped them to set up the camp. GOPIO-LA members Kewal Kanda, Rajinder Dhunna, and Baljinder Tahim assisted the Red Cross team and the Red Cross Team-lead Ashley Brown offered to hold future Blood Drives later.
Contact: NavinGupta, President, GOPIO-Los Angeles, email@example.com
GOPIO-TRIOLET NORTH MAURITIUS CELEBRATES WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
GOPIO-Triolet North (GTN) in collaboration with the Consolidated Fabrics Limited (CFL) of Solitude, celebrated World Environment Day on June 3, 2017 with the children, parents, staff, members and workers of the CFL factory.
Several activities were organized by the chapter's Youth Wing under the chairmanship of Miss Rachna Tashali Ram and committee members. The activities included wall paintings, cleaning, tidying, repairing and maintaining the children's park, as well as planting decorative and medicinal plants.
Miss Rachna spoke about creating an awareness among young people to protect the environment, water resources, coastal zones and wetlands. She said that GTN and our schools need to instill a responsibility in the children to protect the environment.
Photo - GOPIO-Triolet N.Mauritius Celebrates Environment Day, Top photo - Volnteers engaged in projects, Bottom photo - Volunteers and organizers
Mrs. Kritilata Ram, President of GTN sent a strong message to the youth and students urging them to create an environmentally conscious nation.
Contact: Kritilata Ram, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO INTL. CAPITAL REGION ORGANIZES SUCCESSFUL MENTOR ON ROAD SEMINAR
GOPIO International Capital Region organized a highly successful event at Bombay Tandoor at Vienna, VA on June 11th.
Mr. Jagat Shah from India who is on a mission of a Mentor on Road program in USA spoke about how India is changing under Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi's vision of a new Digital India. He talked about all the programs launched by Government of India such as, Smart City and Smart Village, Digital India, Online Portal, Adhaar Card, Startp-up India, Women's Empowerment, etc.
Photo: Mentor on Road program speaker Jagat Meha, Mrs. Mehta and Jay Bhandari and other officials at the seminar
The program began with a welcome speech by organizer Mr. Jay Bhandari, Washington DC Area Coordinator for GOPIO who spoke about GOPIO chapters, life membership programs and GOPIO's presence in more than 30 countries.
Mr. Jagat Shah shared the success stories of New India 3.0 and was confident that most participants will spread the word and have villages adopted.
There also was a presentation by Etihad Airways who offered two free tickets through a raffle draw on 19 Sept 2017 to all participants who attend the Mentor on Road, USA events.
Contact: Jay Bhandari, email@example.com.
GOPIO-LOS ANGELES AREA AND NFIA CELEBRATE AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY
Indian American Heritage Foundation, GOPIO-LA, GOPIO-OC, GOPIO-IE, and NFIA jointly organized an American Independence Day celebration on July 4 at Tara's Himalayan Restaurant in Artesia. They also paid tribute to Indian pioneers and patriots who started India's independence movement in the USA in the early 20th century.
The celebration included a seminar that covered topics, such as America's war for Independence, Early Indian Immigration and Settlement, Struggle for US citizenship, Fight for Indian Independence (Gadar Movement), Indian Americans Philanthropic Contributions to India and USA and Indian Americans who have made India and Indian Americans Proud.
Inder Singh, in his welcome remarks, talked about Americans' sacrifices to gain freedom from the British. He also spoke about the hardships, racial violence, bigotry, and discrimination that early Indian immigrants faced in the USA.
Vasu Pawar, President, GOPIO Inland Empire, gave a detailed account of the American War for Independence while Dilip Butani, GOPIO Area Coordinator, Southern California, spoke about Early Indian Immigration and Settlement problems.
Kewal Kanda, Treasurer, GOPIO International, spoke about the Struggle of Indians for US citizenship. He said early Indian immigrants could not find good jobs, had to live in shanty homes, and were not allowed to buy property. Some of them became US citizens but the US Supreme Court ruled that Indians were not white and therefore not eligible for US Citizenship. After a long struggle, a bill was passed in US Congress in 1946 allowing 100 Indians to become US citizens annually.
Photo above: Audience at the American Independence Day Seminar. Front Row, from l. to r. Front Row, L-R: Sasha Singh, Artesia mayor Ali Taj, Cerritos City Councilman Naresh Solanki, Ashok Madan, Dilip Butani, Mrs and Mr Uka Solanki, Inder Singh
Navin Gupta, president of GOPIO-LA, explained how the Indian Independence Movement, known as Gadar Movement was started in US to free India from the yolk of British rule. Several thousand overseas Indians left their businesses and jobs and went to India to free their motherland from the British.
Ashok Madan, former NFIA President, talked about the philanthropic contributions of Indians, which far outweigh those by any other recent immigrant community to the USA.
Photo above: Amrit Bhandari, Rajinder Dhunna, Aparna Hande, Kewal Kanda, Vasu Pawar, Mohammad Yacoob, Inder Singh, Abdulgani Shaikh, Rani Kuusto, Dilip Butani, Smita Das, Ashok Madan, Navin Gupta, Baljinder Tahim, and Ajmer Singh.
Contact: Dilip Butani, GOPIO Los-Angeles Area Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO PARIS NORD CELEBRARES "INDIA AND THE FRANCOPHONIE"
GOPIO Paris Nord celebrated "India and the Francophonie" on the 15th of April 2017 at Maison de l'Inde in Paris. This is a yearly event in the agenda of GOPIO in France.
The word "Francophonie" was used for the first time by a French geographer Onésime Reclus in 1880 to refer to all persons and countries beyond the borders of France using the French Language.
This event on "India and the Francophonie" was articulated around three core themes:
"La Francophonie": Its impact on Education and Indian Youth" was showcased by three French-speaking youngsters of Indian origin. Nisha Dhingra, Anahat Kaur and Innimei Tiroumale Chetty. Since all of them grew up in Indian cultures, they described how "Francophonie" has helped them. They highlighted the advantages for young people to have bilingual and multilingual identities because it would help them in intergroup interactions within the "Francophonie" space.
In the second part of the program, Shri Baradane Anandane, Shri Tettiravou Jean Louis and Shri Deva Koumarane spoke about the "
History of the Ancient Trading Posts of France in India." During the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1815 with the British, France had the control of the five trading posts in India: Chandernagor, Yanaon, Pondicherry, Karaikal and Mahé. Of this colonial time, there remains a French Lycée, the French Institute of Pondicherry and an Alliance Française. French is still spoken by few people here but Tamil and English are the dominant languages.
Photos - Left, Nisha DHINGRA (Jaipur), Anahat Kaur (Chandigarh) and Innimei Tiroumale Chetty (Mauritius): Middle, Nisha Dhingra, GOPIO-Paris Nord Youth Council Coordinator & Deva Koumarane speaking; Right, Etienne Dabeedin, President GOPIO French Guyana & Baradane Anandane speaking.
The last part of the program was on the "Cultural Diversity across La Francophonie" with Mr. Freddy Dominique ZANGA (Cameroun), Mr. Krishna Bagadiya (India) and Mr. Etienne Dabeedin (Guyana). It is essential in our increasingly diverse societies to ensure harmonious interactions among people of different cultures and the willingness to live together. GOPIO France firmly believe that India with its historical ties with France, is qualified to be part of the "Francophonie" since it is an opportunity for multilateral cooperation through the French language.
Contact: Mehen Poinoosawmy, Presdient, GOPIO-Paris Nord, email@example.com
YOGA DAY CELEBRATED BY GOPIO-TRIOLET NORTH
GOPIO Triolet North celebrated International Yoga Day on June 21, 2017 at the Le Nid Primary School. This celebration was attended by more than five hundred and fifty children and other participants.
The Yoga Session was led by Guru Nursimooloo, who demonstrated various postures of yoga and explained the benefits of Yoga. He stressed on the point that Yoga is not meant for only a certain community but is a universal philosophy that can be practiced by everyone.
Mrs Aryawattee Boolauky, the Secretary of GOPIO Triolet North (GTN) talked about the word "YOGA" which comes from the word "YOG" meaning the meeting of our soul to the absolute. Thus this session attempted to make the participants realize the mental, physical and spiritual balance through Yoga, bringing joy and contentment to themselves.
Photo - GOPIO Triolet N.Mauritius Yoga Day. President Kriti Lataram with speakers
GTN President Kritilata Ram focused on the various benefits of Yoga and she stated that there are now 5000 such events organized across the world. She appealed to the participants to keep practicing Yoga regularly to enjoy all its benefits.
According to Mr Gangulee, CEO, LIC of India, Mauritius since Yoga transforms our lives, we should keep practicing it not only on the International Yoga Day but daily.
GOPIO - TRIOLET NORTH OFFICERS VISITS SEWA ASHRAM
It is with great pride that Triolet (Rural community in the North of Mauritius) has opened its GOPIO Chapter on 23rd of September 2016. The Chapter is known as GOPIO TRIOLET NORTH MAURITIUS (GTNM). Its objectives will be in line with the GOPIO International which approved the chapter last year. The new officers are:
President: Mrs Kritilata Ram, Vice President: Mrs Bharatee Awotar, Secretary: Mrs Aryawattee Boolauky, Assistant Secretary: Mrs Gomatee Ramyead, Treasurer: Mrs Kheshi Pooja Bhujun and Assistant Treasurer: Mr Ashish Kumar Ramyead.
Besides the above six established main objectives, the GTNM strives hard to promote the Indian diaspora of Mauritius, nationally and internationally through cultural, economic engagements, educational, social and humanitarian undertakings. We also promote all means of expression and communication, meetings and exchanges between the Indian diaspora of Mauritius both Regional and National levels and the rest of the world. To meet the above objectives the GNTM has constituted small committees which will be called 'CELLS'. Each cell will have a Chairman or Chairperson who will take over explicit activities which re-join the objectives of the GTNM. The chairperson of these committees are: Culture/Tradition - Mrs Vidya Sookun, Academic/Educational/Vocational, Medical/Health - Dr Rajeev Samjhu, Social/ Charity/Entrepreneur - Mr Sachidanand Boolauky, Youth/Sports - Miss Rachna Tashali Ram and Women's Council - Miss Zaahirah Mahamode.
Photo: GOPIO Triolet North Mauritius officers at a recent meeting: From l. to r. Front row: Poonam Mootia (Public Relation Officer), Kritilata Ram (President), Amita Boolauky (Secretary), Dr Ally Aullear (Member), Kalianjali Bhoyroo (Member); back Rao, from l. to r.: Sudhish Boolauky (Chairperson Social Cell), Kesheerai Seebaruth (Member), Lekha Vidushi (Member), Rachna Tashali ( Chairperson Sport Cell) & Prerna Ramcharitur (member).
The officer visited the inmates of Calebasse, the Krishnanand Sewa Ashram and celebrated Christmas. Present at the visit were President Mrs. Kritilata Ram, some members and the Ramyead family. The visitors from the GOPIO Triolet.North Muaritius distributed gifts and Christmas cake to the inmates who thanked them and conveyed their blessings to the families of the GOPIO members. Mrs. Ram and the others were encouraged by the experiences of the inmates and wished them a long and healthy life.
Contact: Mrs Kritilata Ram, President GOPIO-Triolet North Mauritius, firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO UPPER NEW YORK COMMEMORATES "INDIAN ARRIVAL" WITH DINNER AND DANCE
GOPIO's Upper New York Chapter held its Ninth Annual Dinner and Dance on April 29, 2017, to celebrate the arrival of Indian Indentured Laborers to Guyana. This program was held at Starlite Pavilion, Richmond Hill, Queens, New York and was coordinated by Mr. Jhairam Persaud, President of the GOPIO Upper New York Chapter.
Mr. Jhairam Persaud's, welcome address was followed by two speeches and a book launch.
Dr. Sharla ShiromieKargi spoke on "Mental Health issues in Guyana and the Caribbean" with emphasis on suicide rates in those areas. Mr. Dennis Ramdin spoke about the "Vihara Poverty Project ".
Dr. BasdeoMangru, a prominent author and historian, launched his book, "Champions of Indo-Guyanese Welfare, 1838-1938". His book concentrates on the individuals and groups who championed the welfare of Indian workers in the 100 years following their landing in Guyana in May1838.
Later, Dr. Leslie Ramasammy, the son of an immigrant, spoke about "Adversities and Continued Rising of Indian Immigrants". Dr. Ramasammy is the former Minister of Health and Minister of Agriculture and he referred to indenture-ship as a form of re-engineered slavery and his words resonated very well with the audience.
The GOPIO Service Awards were presented after the book launch and the former Test Cricketer and coach, Mr. Joseph Stanislaus Solomon won the Community Service Award. Mr. Solomon is currently involved in the selection process of the West Indies team and was coaching a local team in his native Guyana until retiring in 2005.
Photo above: From L to R: Mr Jhairam Persaud, Mr Martin Lalsingh, Hon. Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Dr Ivan Shivcharran, Miss Ann Lutchmidat, Mrs. Savi Narain, Mr. Premnauth Singh, Mr. Dev Chedda, Pt. Gurdatt Jagnanan, Mr. Tony Rupnarain, Miss Patsy Leopold and Mr. Netram Rambudhan
Mr. Martin Lalsingh concluded the event by thanking the presenters and attendees.
Contact: Jhairam Persaud, President, GOPIO-Upper New York, 917-748-2430 email@example.com
GOPIO-PARIS CELEBRATES HOLI IN GRAND FERVOR
GOPIO Paris North coordinated with Le Jardin d'Acclimatation to celebrate Holi on March 19 and Shri Manish Prabhat, Deputy Chief of Mission in Paris honored this event.
Around 25000 visitors, French and Indian origins shared this great moment of happiness with colors in a spirit of love, friendship and brotherhood. Many people got a good glimpse of the rich and diverse cultures of India.
Photo above: Dancers at the Holi Festival 2017 by GOPIO-Paris Nord
Holi, the festival that rejoices over the triumph of good over evil and the onset of spring, was celebrated by the Indian Diaspora with Bangra dances and Rajasthani music. This helped to create a festive atmosphere and people of French and Indian origins shared this great moment of happiness with traditional Holi colors in a spirit of friendship and brotherhood.
With the success of this event, GOPIO, Paris now looks forward to celebrate Holi, annually in Paris.
Photo top left: Mr Countcham of Indian Cook, Miss India France 2016 Narmade Madavane, Mrs Shreevalli Countcham, GOIO-Paris Nord President Mehen Poinoosawmy. Other photos: Dancers and people playing with colors.
See more photos of the event at https://www.facebook.com/Gopio-France-351192008380501/
Contact: Mehen Poinoosawmy, President, GOPIO Paris Nord, France, firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO INLAND EMPIRE CHAPTER CELEBRATES VALENTINE'S DAY
Valentine's Day was celebrated by the GOPIO Inland Empire Chapter at the Bombay Restaurant Cuisine of India in California.
While addressing the guests, the chapter president, Ms. Vasu Pawar emphasized the need for GOPIO to not only contribute towards the needs of the Indian Community in the US but also to focus on creating solidarity among Indians and promote world peace, progress, and ecological harmony.
Around 160 guests braved the inclement weather to attend this spectacular event. They were entertained by outstanding singers and entertainers who performed in an elegantly decorated hall.
The president, Ms Vasu Pawar and a team of dedicated volunteers organized this very successful event.
Photo above: GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter team at Valentine's Day 2017 Dinner and Dancing program
Contact: Ms. Vasu Pawar, President, GOPIO Inland Empire Chapter, Tel: 909-389-8262. Email: email@example.com
INDIAN AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY COMPLIMENTS GOPIO BERLIN FOR CONTRIBUTING TO GERMANY-INDIA RELATIONS
In a letter to GOPIO-Berlin President, Barjinder Sodhi, the Indian Ambassador to Germany, Gurjit Singh wrote that GOPIO-Berlin has become an important link to better German-India relations.
"I wish to thank you for your tremendous nobility of spirit and community service that you render in Germany" said Ambassador Singh.
Mr. Singh commended GOPIO's efforts to promote a better understanding of India and its people in Germany. The GOPIO Berlin chapter was formed in 2006 and Mr. Singh stated that since then, GOPIO has created many opportunities for Indians in Germany to meet German leaders and this has created an improved awareness about India in Germany.
He felt that GOPIO's commitments to Indian festivals and National Days has encouraged the Indian community in Germany who have benefited from this link to their homeland. Mr. Singh recognized that the work that GOPIO is involved in not only benefits the Indian community but also forges good Indo-German relations.
GOPIO-DELHI/NCR HOSTS PADMASHRI AWARDEE H.R. SHAH
GOPIO Founder Member H.R. Shah who is also Chairman of TV Asia was honored by GOPIO Delhi/NCR Chapter on April 13th, 2017 at the Habitat Center in New Delhi, after he received Padma Shri Award from President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier in the day. Many dignitaries were present at the reception including Mr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Secretary (CPV and OIA) and Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, Director (Estt) at MEA,New Delhi. The program was organized by GOPIO-Delhi/NCR Chapter President Dhiraj Ahuja.
Photo above: GOPIO-Delhi/NCR Reception for H.R. Shah (in dark suit in the middle) on April 13th at the Habitat Center. To his right is MEA Secretary Dnyaneshwar Mulay. GOPIO Chapter President Dhiraj Ahuja is the extreme left.
Contact: Dhiraj Ahuja, President, GOPIO Delhi/NCR Chapter, Tel: +91 9717112272, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO-SYDNEY NORTHWEST SUPPORTS NEEDY STUDENTS IN INDIA
The GOPIO Sydney North West chapter who had earlier provided basic amenities to disadvantaged children in Punjab and Haryana will now support the students of Sainik Institute, Hoshiarpur.
GOPIO Life Member Mr Harmohan Singh Walia of the GOPIO Sydney NW chapter conducted a seminar on "Personality Development, Job Hunt and Interview Skills and Quality Education" at the Sainik Institute at Hoshiarpurin February 2017 organized by Col. (Rtd) Dalvinder Singh, Campus Director and Prof. Parminder Kaur Saini. Such seminars were conducted earlier also by Mr Walia with the students of Punjabi University, Patiala and Sainik Institute, Hoshiarpur.
Mr Walia also provided financial help to seven needy students of the Sainik Institute on behalf of GOPIO Sydney NW chapter.
This seminar addressed the need for deserving but financially strained students to develop their academic, interpersonal and communication skills in order to have successful careers.
Photo above left: Harmohan Singh Walia's visit to Sainik Institute, Hoshiarpur, from l. to r.: Mrs. Neelam Walia, Mrs. Manbeen Walia, Harmohan Singh Walia, Col. (Rtd) Dalvinder Singh (Campus Director) & Prof. Parminder Kaur Saini (Head of Department, Computer Science). Photo right - Harmohan Singh Walia conducting a seminar Sainik Institute, Hoshiarpur.
GOPIO-SUVA CHAPTER LAUNCHED
The GOPIO-Suva (Fiji) chapter was launched in Suva on March 19th, 2017.
At the inauguration, GOPIO Oceania International Coordinator Suman Kapoor emphasized how this organization has created awareness and promoted understanding of the issues of People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
Minister for Education Dr. Mahendra Reddy stated that GOPIO has nurtured ethnic bonding and has fortified the integral bond between India and its Diaspora.
Photo above: Mr. Anil Sharma from the Indian High Commission, Mr. Vinod Patel, Mr. Vimal Deo, Mr. Viswas Sapkal (High Commissioner of India to Fiji Islands, Mr. Mahendra Reddy (Fiji Education Minister), Mr Ramesh Chand (President, GOPIO Suva Fiji), Mrs. Suman Kapoor (International Coordinator, Oceania), Mr. Vishal (Director of studies)
See Minister Dr. Mahendra Reddy's speech and GOPIO-Suiva Chapter inauguration at the YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHAtI1jXOdc
Contact: Ramesh Chand, President, GOPIO-Suva (Fiji), Tel: +6799346067, Email: email@example.com
GOPIO SYDNEY PRESENTS A CHECK TO INDIAN SUPPORT CENTER
Mr. Subbarao Verigonda, President of Indian Support Center (ISC), was honored by GOPIO Sydney, NSW to recognize this organization's work to combat Domestic Violence. GOPIO, Sydney had adopted "Domestic Violence as its annual signature event, GYAAN 2017.
At a ceremony, Verigonda was presented with a check for $1,500 that had been raised by GOPIO, Sidney. This ceremony was attended by representatives of GOPIO Sydney and ISC, along with prominent community members including Balvinder Ruby, President, GOPIO Sydney and others.
While appreciating the help received from GOPIO, Sydney, Verigonda, spoke about the services that ISC offered and the road map ahead of them. Mr. Ruby presented trophies to the volunteers for their work to promote this cause. A male victim of domestic violence also shared his experience and the help received by him from ISC.
FoxGI, a rare genetic disorder was also highlighted by Vivek Singa of FoxG1 who discussed the work needed to be done to combat it.
Photo above: Balvinder Ruby, Amarjit Dhot and Anju Kalra, President, Vice President & Treasurer respectively of GOPIO Sydney chapter presenting a cheque for $1500 to Subbarao Verigonda, President of ISC in recognition of their work for domestic violence.
The audiences were entertained by Shoba Inglesher who sang some Bollywood songs.
Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney members present at the check presentation to Indian Support Centre (ISC)
GOPIO-CT OFFICIALS MEET NITI AYOG CHAIRMAN DR. ARVIND PANAGARIYA
GOPIO-CT officials were invited by Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) to a lecture by India's Niti Ayog Vice Chairman Prof. Arvind Panagariya on February 6th at the Italian Academy at Columbia University. GOPIO-CT President Anita Bhat, Immediate Past President Shelly Nichani, Treasurer Biru Sharma and Trustees, Dr. Thomas Abraham and Sanjay Santham interacted with Prof. Panagariya before and after the talk. Prof. Panagariya, holder of Jagadish Bhagvati Chair at Columbia University, is currently on leave of absence from Columbia since he took up the position in India. GOPIO-CT had hosted Prof. Panagariya earlier in 2008 after his book "The Indian Emerging Giant" was published.
Photo above: From l. to r.: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Sanjay Santhanam, Anita Bhat, Dr. Panagariya, Biru Sharma and Shelly Nichani
GYAN 2017 AT GOPIO SYDNEY
Global Young Achievers Awards Night (GYAAN) a signature event of GOPIO Sydney was organized on Feb 11, 2017 at Castle Grand Function Centre, Castle Hill to recognize and honor students of Indian origin for their outstanding performance in HSC exams.
The students, whose Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) was more than 97% included Rohan Krishnaswamy (ATAR 99.95); Pritham Kadappu (ATAR 99.95) Jash Vanjara (ATAR 99.85); Kabir Agrawal (ATAR 99.70); Sahil Arora (ATAR 99.55); Srichakra Motamarri (ATAR 99.55); Sagarika Dey (ATAR 99.45); Vanishka Virmani (ATAR 99.00); Seethal Bency (ATAR 98.40); Karthik Subbana (ATAR 98.40); Harjap Singh (ATAR 98.35) and Sunaina Salgame (ATAR 97.20).
Balvinder Ruby, President, GOPIO Sydney, congratulated the students on their outstanding performances.
Besides this academic category, two individuals of Indian descent, Prof. Vijay Kumar and Vinay Kolhatkar along with the FoxG1 Foundation Australia were recognized for their community service work.
Prof. Vijay Kumar (Community Service- Nuclear Medicine) was appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to Medical research in Nuclear Medicine and biology, and to the community. He is a Clinical Professor at Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney and was the President of Australia & New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine.
Vinay Kolhatkar (Community Service - English Literature) is the author of The Frankenstein Candidate. He is also the author of A Sharia London and the editor of The Savvy Street.
FoxG1 Foundation Australia (Community Service-Health) is a Health Promotion Charity with a mission to provide hope and support to individuals diagnosed with FoxG1 and to fund research and clinical trials to find a cure for this disease.
Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney officials with dignitaries at GYAN 2017. From l. to r.: Chapter Secretary Manish Gaur; President Balvinder Ruby; Prof. Michelle Simons, Dean of Education, University of Western Sydney; Kevin Conolly MP; Noel Lal, Executive Vice President. GOPIO International. Chapter Treasurer Anju Kalra; India's Consul General B Vanlalvawana; Praful Desai President Council of Indian Australians and Shail Wadhwa
This year GOPIO Sydney focused on the theme of Family Violence and the Indian Support Center, that champions the causes of the family violence, along with other concerns, was selected and $1,330 was raised for this cause.
Although the gravity of family violence is recognized and many women seeking help from the National Family Violence helpline are Indians, most of the associations concentrate only on victim support. Balvinder Ruby emphasized the need to also identify the root causes, such as working on preventive measures through community consultation.
Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney officials with dignitaries at GYAN 2017. From l. to r.: Chapter Secretary Manish Gaur; President Balvinder Ruby; Prof. Michelle Simons, Dean of Education, University of Western Sydney; Kevin Conolly MP; Noel Lal, Executive Vice President. GOPIO International. Chapter Treasurer Anju Kalra; India's Consul General B Vanlalvawana; Praful Desai President Council of Indian Australians and Shail Wadhwa
This year GOPIO Sydney focused on the theme of Family Violence and the Indian Support Center, that champions the causes of the family violence, along with other concerns, was selected and $1,330 was raised for this cause.
Although the gravity of family violence is recognized and many women seeking help from the National Family Violence helpline are Indians, most of the associations concentrate only on victim support. Balvinder Ruby emphasized the need to also identify the root causes, such as working on preventive measures through community consultation.
Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney team with awardees and VIPs
Prof. Michelle Simmons Dean of Education, presided as chief guest and thanked the sponsors for the generous support, the media for spreading the message and the performing artists to make this occasion colorful and entertaining.
Contact: Balvinder Ruby, President, GOPIO Sydney, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO DELHI/NCR CHAPTER LAUNCHED
Under the leadership of Mr. Dhiraj Ahuja, the GOPIO Delhi/NCR chapter was launched on December 23, 2016 at the India International Centre in New Delhi. The chief guests were Mauritius High Commissioner Jagdishwar Goburdhan and GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. In his remarks, High commissioner Goburdhan called upon all Indians to visit Mauritius.
Photo above: GOPIO-Delhi/NCR being inaugurated by lighting of the lamp by High Commissioner Jagdishwar Goburdhan as other dignitaries and GOPIO officials look on.
Chairman Abraham said that GOPIO chapters in India will serve to bring the Diaspora Indians closer to India by providing people to people contact. GOPIO Academic Council Chairperson Dr. Neerja Arun said that chapters in India can host Diaspora youth during their trips to India. GOPIO's officer for Liaison with Govt. of India Mr. Sunil Rawla was also present at the chapter inauguration. Also present was Ms. Alka Parekh, Board member of Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
Attended by over 100 people, the occasion also saw the installation of the members of the Executive Committee for this new chapter headed by Dhiraj Ahuja as its president. Other officers are: Vice President Girish C. Gupta, Secretary Harish Aneja, Treasurer Sunil Garg.
Photos topmost: The head table at GOPIO-Delhi/NCR Inauguration showing Chapter officials with dignitaries; from l. to r.: GOPIO-Delhi/NCR Vice President Dr. Girish C. Gupta, Indian Oil Refinery Director Rajesh Ahuja, Chapter President Dhiraj Ahuja, High Commissioner Goburdhan, GOPIO Intl. Chairman Dr. Abraham, Ms. Alka Parekh and Dr. Neerja Arun; middle photo: chapter officials are being inducted with Oath of Office by Dr. Abraham; bottom photo: audience at the launch.
GOPIO officers also called on Niti Ayog Vice Chairman Dr. Arvind Panagariya and discussed on how GOPIO can help mobilizing resources of Diaspora Indians for India's development.
Photo: GOPIO officials with Niti Ayog Vice Chairman Dr. Arvind Panagariya at the Yogna Bhavan, from l. to. R.: Sunil Rawla, Dr. Panagariya, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Neerja Arun and Dhiraj Ahuja
Contact: Dhiraj Ahuja, President, GOPIO Delhi/NCR Chapter, Tel: +91 9717112272, E-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO SYDNEY-NW CHAPTER JOINS IN WELCOMING DR. A.M. GONDANE, INDIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER TO AUSTRALIA
Mr. B. Vanlal Vawna, Consul General of India, Sydney introduced the new High Commissioner to community leaders of Sydney including GOPIO Sydney and Sydney NW Chapter leaders. Dr. Ajay M. Gondane addressed the community leaders, expressed goodwill and cooperation from all community members. Dr. Gondane specifically requested for a copy of "Global Indian Diaspora" coffee book during the introductory session.
Dr. Ajay M. Gondane joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1985. He worked in various capacities in the Indian Embassies & Consulates including in Damascus, Baghdad, Vienna, Ankara and New York. He was High Commissioner of India to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu. He also worked earlier in SAARC, West Asia North Africa, Bangladesh-Myanmar Divisions. He was the Coordinator for the XIV SAARC Summit in New Delhi, 2007.
He was Officer on Special Duty with Dy. Speaker, Lok Sabha and a Research Fellow at the Stimson Centre, Washington D.C. He is a Doctorate in Sociology.
Photo - Dr. A.M. Gondane with some community leaders of Sydney.
GOPIO SAN FRANCISCO-REDWOOD CITY JOINS HANDS WITH AMERICAN RED CROSS FOR FLOOD RELIEF
GOPIO SFO Redwood city joined hands with American Red Cross to respond quickly and effectively to a series of severe storms that pounded Northern California. They manned especially in San Jose and many parts of Alameda and San Mateo counties in California.
The Northern California Coastal Region teams opened six different shelters that provided a temporary haven for families displaced from their homes by local flooding. GOPIO SFO Redwood City team members provided much-needed meals and snacks, distributed relief supplies through bulk distribution efforts, and continued to meet one-on-one with affected individuals and families.
Photo: Rini Johar, President of GOPIO SFO/Red Wood City with American Red Cross volunteers Ken Burns and Janice Kent.
Contact: Rini Johar, President of GOPIO SFO/Red Wood City, firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO-TRIOLET NORTH MAURITIUS CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY OF INDENTURED IMMIGRANT'S ARRIVAL
Gopio Triolet (North Mauritius) President Kritilata Ram, Assistant Secretary Ramyead and some other members participated in the annual Yaj ceremony organized by the Apravasi Ghat Indian Indentured Immigrants Arrival Celebration Committee.
This was chaired by Mrs Sarita Boodhoo at the site of the Apravasi Ghat. Two officers from the Indian High Commission attended this ceremony, along with members of the Apravasi Ghat Trust Fund Committee and officials of various non-governmental organizations.
This Yaj, held on November 2nd commemorates the landing of the first indentured laborers in Port Louis. The first Indian immigrants arrived in Mauritius on 2nd November 1834, were later followed by around 462,000 immigrants who conquered the Apravasi Ghat to change the country's history, which forever altered its demography, economy and politics.
The Yaj (sacrifice) commemoration symbolizes the sacrifices made by these immigrants. The participants paid homage to their forefathers and to Chacha Beekrumsing Ramlallah, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Mauritius Times and a leader who worked for the recognition of the Apravasi Ghat as a historical monument. This commemoration was followed by Bhopuri songs and dances. The Bhojpuri song, Geet Gawai has been sent for inscription on the world list of intangible heritage of UNESCO for 2016, by the government, so that it is recognized as a Mauritian Cultural Patrimony.
Photo: Arrival Day by GOPIO Triolet North, Officers at the Apravasi Ghat
In her speech, Mrs. Sarita Boodhoo emphasized how in 1987, the "coolie ghat" or "immigration depot" became known as Apravasi Ghat and was established as a National Monument. Later in 2006, the Apravasi Ghat became the first Indenture Site in the world to be inscribed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. This is the only place outside India where descendants of Indian Immigrants have created a pilgrimage spot, such as Grand Bassin or the Ganga Talao where annually, almost half a million Indo Mauritians worship. The Apravasi Ghat, Grand Basin or the Ganga Talao, and the Indian Immigration Archives at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, make the Mauritian experience unique in the history of Indian Diaspora.
GOPIO-CT ELECTS NEW TEAM FOR 2017
GOPIO-CT held its Annual General Body Meeting and Holiday Party on Friday, December 9th at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Stamford, CT. President Shelly Nichani in his report said that GOPIO-CT had its most active year in 2016 with its Awards Banquet attended by US Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rillings and several other CT state legislators. GOPIO also hosted US Senator Chris Murphy. Consul General Riva Ganguly Das, Congressman Himes and Mayor Martin with interactive sessions.
GOPIO-CT also increased the scholarship from one in 2015 to four in 2016 and hope to increase it further in 2017.
The election followed at which a new team was elected unanimously. The new team is as follows:
President - Anita Bhat, Exec VP - Pradeep Govil, VP - Bhavna Jhuneja, Secretary - Prasad Chintalapudi, Treasurer - Biru Sharma, Trustees: Sanjay Santhanam and Varghese Ninan
Photo: GOPIO-CT's newly elected team for 2017 taking tghe Oath of Office, From l. to r.: Bhavna Jhuneja, Biru Sharma, Prasad Chintalapudi, Anita Bhat, Pradeep Govil, Varghese Ninan and Sanjay Santhanam
The Holiday Party followed which was also a fundraiser for Women's Mentoring Network. A sum of $2,000 was donated to this organization which does mentoring service to single woman.
Contact: Anita Bhat, President, GOPIO-CT, TeL: 203-324-2935, e-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO SYDNEY-NW CHAPTER DELIVERS BASIC AMENITIES TO DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN
After holding the 7th annual Caring & Sharing fundraiser event in November 2016 in Blacktown, GOPIO Sydney North West chapter's active member Neeru Singh distributed basic amenities to disadvantaged children in January 2017 in Zira (Punjab) during her visit to Punjab, India. Basic amenities include warm clothes, shoes, socks, ceiling fans, stationary, furniture, sports items etc. as per the requirement of the schools.
Around 4000 children have benefitted so far under Caring & Sharing project in the last seven years and more children will benefit when Harmohan Singh Walia visits India in February 2017.
Events like Caring & Sharing are the result of spirit we all carry to care for those in need of love and support. It's not how efficient GOPIO Sydney North West chapter is in raising funds or generating any profit, it's all about how effective we are in igniting a candle of compassion in each and every heart that support the event like this. This event wouldn't have been possible without each and every individual's contribution, especially those who attended the event, the rocking performers, generous sponsors and a team of GOPIO Sydney North West chapter.
Photo: GOPIO-Sydney NW official Neeru Singh distributes clothes, socks and shoes to school children in Zira in Punjab
GOPIO Sydney North West chapter's team include Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Harmohan Singh Walia, Neeru Singh, Aman Singh, Paramjit Singh Multani, Amrit Butter, Ravi Singh, Sumit Joshi, Baljit Singh Pelia, Raj Singh, Baljinder Singh, Sanjeet Hooda, Tia Singh and Vinod Daniel, who worked tirelessly to make the Caring & Sharing event a grand success.
GOPIO - WASHINGTON, DC REGION WELCOMES NEW US AMBASSADOR NAVTEJ SARNA
GOPIO Washington DC region joined with other Indian American community groups to organize a welcome reception on December 4th in Fairfax, VA for the newly appointed Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna and farewell to Deputy Chief of the MissionTaranJit Singh Sandhu.
Over 350 people packed the elegant ballroom of the Waterford at Fair Oaks on a Sunday evening for a sparkling community reception spearheaded by activist Dr. Yogendra Gupta. Ambassador Sarna extolled the Indian-American community which he noted forms only one percent of the US population, but its members make up 9 percent of physicians, 30 percent of start-up founders in Silicon Valley, and 50 percent of the hospitality industry. These are awe-inspiring figures given the size of the community.
GOPIO's Washington DC Regional Coordinator Jaisingh Bhandari, in his welcome speech, complimented the outgoing DCM Sandhu and his contribution to strengthening relations between US and India. A plaque was presented to Ambassador Sandhu and well wishes for his tenure at SriLanka High commissioner.
Photo: Top - GOPIO Coordinator Jay Bhandari welcoming Ambassador Sarna. Sitting from l. to r.: DCM Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador Navtej Sarna and Dr. Yogendra Gupta; Bottom" Some of the organizers with Ambassadors Sarna and Sandho. From l. to r.: Sunil Singh; Satish Korpe; Jay Bhandari; Indian Ambassador Navtej Sarna; Dr. Yogendra Gupta; Kumar Singh; Ashok Batra; and DCM Taranjit Singh Sandhu
Mr. Bhandari speaking at the occasion emphasized how Indian community supported the embassy in many occasions to bring both countries together. He further assured the Ambassador that Indian community will support, cooperate and do everything to make efforts in strengthening US-India relations.
GOPIO-CT ORGNIZES YOUTH AND YOUNG PROFESSIONALS NETWORKING
The GOPIO-CT Annual Youth and Young Professionals Networking Luncheon and Holiday Party was held on December 24th, 2016 at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Stamford, CT. The guest speaker at the event was Mr. Nitesh Banta, Co-Founder and CEO of B12, Forbes 30 under 30, who shared his path of career and his experiences in the business world.
Several young achievers including college students were also present and shared their experiences in college admissions. Speakers were Priya Gada (George Washington University), Mahir Nichani (Wake Forest University), Ashish Ramachandran (New York University) and Sanjana Chintalapudi (Lehigh University).
Photo above: Networking Party organizers, speakers and some attendees, from l. to r.: Ashwin Mathur, Pailyn Tayjasanant , Pongsa Tayjasanant, Megha Gupta, Vedant Gannu, Priya Gada, Siyan Shaikh, Pratyusha Chintalapudi, Nitesh Banta, Sanjana Chintalapudi, Rahat Nichani, Yuv Nichani, Amit Ramachandran, Ashish Ramachandran
The event was organized by the Youth Coordinator, Siyan Shaikh along with the youth co-coordinators, Rahat Nichani, Amit Ramchandran, Vedant Gannu, Rahul Kahurana and Yuv Nichani. The next annual youth networking event will take place on December 24th, 2017.
Contact: Louella D'Silva, Youth and Young Professional Coordinator, GOPIO-CT, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo - GOPIO Triolet N.Mauritius Yoga Day.participants
Contact: Kritilata Ram, email@example.com.
GOPIO HAS GOT TALENT - MISS INDIA FRANCE 2017 & MISS TALENT 2017
The Miss India France 2017 election, held on the 13th of May 2017, under the patronage of the Indian Embassy in France, was an exceptional event in the Franco-Indian community.
Miss India France 2017 is selected by the votes of the public and also by a board of several French and Indian personalities, from the world of fashion, beauty, arts and media. She is expected not only to have physical beauty but also good culture, knowledge about India and have the ability to communicate well.
Manisha Warnakulasuriya (N° 5 in the photo below) was crowned Miss India France 2017. Leena Doolee, the vice secretary of GOPIO France Paris also participated in this famous event. She was crowned as the 2nd runner up "Miss 2nd Dauphine 2017".
Photo - Vikas Talwar, Secretary General and Madevi Baumgartner, Vice President of GOPIO France Paris with Leena Doolee after her election
GOPIO-PARIS NORD ORGANIZES WELCOME DAY 2016 FOR INDIAN STUDENTS IN PARIS
GOPIO-Paris Nord organized Welcome and Integration Day for new students from India joining various institutions in the Paris area.
"Home is where your heart is, home is where our story begins, there's no place like home and it takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home," said GOPIO Paris Nord President Mehen Poinoosawmy.
It's very hard for young students to leave their homeland and come to adapt to a new way of life in Paris. In the past 5 years students leaving India for higher studies to France have increased skyrocket. A lot of exchange programs have been developed between India and France. Newly arrived students used to attend events and social gatherings to get and to find answers to their questions and make new friends.
In order to give a warm welcome to the students from India for the academic year 2016-2017, the GOPIO France Paris thus organized the "WELCOME DAY" on the Saturday 17th September 2016 with the help of Director of Maison de l'Inde, Shri Rakesh Sharma and supported by the DCM of Embassy of India in Paris, Shri Mahesh Bhatt.
Photo: Students Welcome - GOPIO-Nord officials with speakers and guests: From l. to r.: Shri Rakesh Sharma, Director of Maison de l'Inde; Nisha Dhingra, GOPIO Youth Europe coordinator; Mehen Poinoosawmy, President GOPIO France Paris; Manish Bhatt, DCM Embassy of India; Dr Vimal Khosla, Honorary President GOPIO France Paris; Krishna Shivalingaya, Vice President; and Dhiraj Bhatia, GOPIO Science Council
The students were welcomed by Mehen Poinoosawmy, President of GOPIO France Paris and Honorary President Dr Vimal Khosla who are both settled in France since long time after having studied and joined French companies for their careers. The event allowed students to understand the French administration system as well as job & internships process in France. Panelists shared their experience and valuable ideas with the students: GOPIO Youth Council Europe Coordinator Nisha Dhingra, Dhiraj Bhatia from the Centre de Recherche Institut Curie, Krishna Shivalingaya (Capgemini) , Vikas Talwar (Accenture) and Jonathan Sinivassane ( Paris and Co, Invest). Since all of them were students in India and France, they clearly give a lot of hints and ideas for the way to success in France.
Since very long time ago, France has been a favorite destination for scientists, artists, writers from all over the world and many have made it their home. France is the 4th most popular destination for international students and its high quality of education makes it an attractive destination for Indian students.
Photo: Indian Students of Maison de l'Inde attending Welcome Day with GOPIO-Nord Chapter organizers
This "Welcome Day" was organized for the first time and GOPIO France Paris promised to make it an annual event and has suggested it be organized GOPIO chapters in other countries.
Contact: Mehen Poinoosawmy, President, GOPIO Paris Nord and GOPIO Intl. Life Member, Tel: +33 670468885, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO SYDNEY-NW TO ORGANIZE ANNUAL CARING AND SHARING EVENTG
The 7th annual "Caring & Sharing" event of GOPIO Sydney North West chapter will be held on November 19th, 2016 at Bowman Hall, Blacktown (Sydney).
GOPIO Sydney North West chapter provides basic amenities to disadvantaged school children in remote areas of Punjab and Haryana (India) with the help of funds raised in "Caring & Sharing" events to bring a smile on the faces of the kids. Over 3000 children have benefitted in the last seven years. Locally GOPIO Sydney North West chapter has donated money to Australian Heart Foundation, Cancer Council, victims of floods in Fiji, for the improvement of facilities for seniors in Sydney, for fire victims and many other places where natural calamity has occurred such as the Nepal earthquake. The chapter also provides financial assistance to individuals, who need help in crisis.
Photo: GOPIO Sydney-NW chapter team members at its 2015 program held at Bowman Hall, Blacktown, Australia. L-R: Baljit Pelia, Sumit Joshi, Sanjeet Hooda, Baljinder Singh, Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Harmohan Singh Walia, Tia Singh, Amrit Buttar, Paramjit Multani, Aman Singh, Ravi Singh and Neeru Singh.
GOPIO DURBAN AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (DDP) ORGANIZE SEMINAR ON RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
GOPIO Durban chapter joined hands with Democratic Development Program (DDP) organized a seminar on Rights Violations on September 17, 2016 in Durban, South Africa with Dr Rama Naidu as facilitator and Dr Krishna Naidoo as speaker. The fact that 75 people attended the GOPIO / DDP meeting in wet, miserable weather conditions was a clear indication of the desire to discuss and explore issues concerning Indians in South African and the need to be proactive and constructive in plotting a path forward towards a more democratic, non-racial, non-sexist South Africa. GOPIO Durban has had many such events or had joined other organizations on occasions to march against on Human Rights Violations or added value to a specific issue.
The PIO community members have been very concerned about a specific issue regarding Indians in SA at the moment. A young African named Phumlani has been causing problems of racial divide through his organization and targeting Indians more specifically.
The Convener Dr. Krish Naidoo and panelists spoke about the art of constructive dialog and conversation, after which the participants were split into groups. The participants in each group practiced the art of listening, sought clarification, (if needed) and then commented on what was discussed. Since each person was asked for an opinion, not only were everyone's opinions obtained but each person had to take ownership of their feedback.
Many genuine and valid concerns were raised in these discussions, such as the prevalence of crime, educational concerns, tender allocations, concerns, etc.
The participants learnt that incomplete information can lead to faulty perceptions. For instance, the perception that African children are not as committed as Indian children, does not consider other factors, such as socio-economic challenges, lack of resources at schools, child-headed households, etc.
Photo above: Speaker and participants at the seminar
As a result of these discussions, the participants realized that effective dialogue helped to eliminate misconceptions and generalizations. Many of them realized that each person could contribute as an individual, as well as through organizational activities. After attending this program, they were inspired to further explore the benefits of constructive and meaningful dialogue in all spheres of their live.
GOPIO-SYDNEY NW JOINS SYDNEYSIDERS PAYING TRIBUTE TO MANMEET SHARMA "ALISHER"
A large number of Sydneysiders gathered at Robin Thomas Reserve, Parramatta on Wednesday, 2 November 2016 to pay tributes and hold a candle light vigil for Manmeet Sharma "Alisher" , 29, a young aspiring writer, singer, actor, active community member and a proud Australian citizen, was brutally set ablaze last Friday, 28 October at Moorooka in Queensland.
There were thoughts, prayers, grief and tears as the community mourned the loss of a young life by a senseless attack. There was nothing more painful than this incident and the whole community stood united as if Manmeet was their blood and soul.
GOPIO Sydney North West chapter and GOPIO Brisbane chapter have pledged to donate $1000 each to the family of Manmeet Alisher. GOPIO was represented by Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, president GOPIO Sydney North West chapter, Harmohan Singh Walia, Sumit Joshi, Ravi Singh and Neeru Singh.
The attack was strongly condemned and prayed for Manmeet's soul to rest in peace, and May God give strength to his family and friends to bear the loss. One minute silence was observed and ardas was performed. As this was a horrendous crime in anybody's language, the community demanded full justice with sign boards in their hands as the culprit should be punished with full force of the law.
The first news flash in the media on the day of the incident was that Anthony O'Donohue, the suspect, who burned the Queensland bus driver to death at the wheel was just sitting at the scene, casually saying absolutely nothing other than "I want a lawyer".
The defense lawyer Adam Magill said, he held concerns for his client's mental health. "He's numb, I don't think he's feeling anything at this point in time," Mr Magill said as per the news. Mental health issue was raised by the lawyer Adam Magill only.
The community is asking questions that if Anthony O"Donohue is mentally sick, then how could he plan such a heinous crime, where no other person was attacked except the young Indian. Is it a sign of a mentally sick person? If he has mental health issues, then why was he not under supervision.
Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney NW participates in memorial tribute to Manmeet Sharma "Alisher"
Many migrants shared their anger and frustration at comments made on them in their day to-day life, such as "Go back to your country" etc., while going to work, in trains or in shopping centers. The common consus was that the Australian government should amend their laws to deal with such situations, so that hate crime can be stopped.
GOPIO-CT JOINS HANDS WITH STAMFORD CITY GOVT. TO CELEDRATE INDIA INDEPENDENCE DAY
Indians everywhere commemorate the country's independence from British rule, a long, non-violent struggle headed by Mahatma Gandhi, on August 15th. In Stamford, CT, Mayor David Martin hosted the 70th Indian Independence celebration at the Stamford Government Center. The Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT) organized the event on Saturday, August 13th. Indian Consul Sandeep Kumar was the chief guest who delivered the Independence Day message emphasizing the importance of India's independence and its adoption of democracy. He complimented Stamford Mayor Martin and GOPIO-CT for the celebration.
The program began with the singing of the national song Vande Mataram, followed by a welcome address given by GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani. Program Coordinator Santosh Gannu introduced and thanked Mayor Martin for hosting the event. Mayor Martin spoke on the diversity of the City of Stamford and said it enriched the whole city. Congressman Jim Himes and State Representative William Tong complimented the Indian American community for its contribution not only to Connecticut, but to America as well.
Photo above: GOPIO-CT officials and dignitaries at the India Independence Day Celebration at Stamford Govt. Center ion August 13th. From l. to r. GOPIO Founder and Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. Ravi Dhingra, Bhavna Jhuneja, Santosh Gannu, GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani, Mayor David Martin, Indian Consul Sandeep Kumar, Congressman Jim Himes, CT State Assemblyman William Tong, Louella D'Dilva, Amarjit Singh, Deepender Gupta and Srinivas Akarapu
The celebration included speeches, children singing patriotic songs, a colorful folk dance and the honoring of recent high school graduates. Ms. Namrata Gannu served as the MC. American and Indian flags were hoisted with the singing of both countries' national anthems. The program concluded with refreshments and lunch at Tangda Indian Restaurant in Stamford.
"By celebrating India Independence Day in America, we are celebrating the success of the democratic institutions of USA and India, the oldest democracy and largest democracy respectively," said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder and Chairman of GOPIO International.
Photo above clockwise from top left: Children Singing Sare Jahan se Acha, Indian Consul Sandeep Kumar raising Indian flag, India's Tri-color flying high along with US and Connecticut flags and Folk dancers at the India Celebrations.
See India Independence Day Celebration photos at https://goo.gl/photos/sUa9QskabVymWrQi9
Contact: Shelly Nichani, president, GOPIO-CT, Tel: 203-550-7747, email@example.com
INDIA'S 70TH INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATED BY GOPIO CENTRAL JERSEY
On August 20, 2016 GOPIO of Central Jersey celebrated India's 70th Independence Day in Monmouth Junction, NJ. Among the invited guests were Mr. Frank Gambatese, Mayor of South Brunswick, Mr. Peter Cantu, Mayor of Plainsboro, Mr. Gerald W. Tamburro, Mayor of Monroe, Mr. Upendra J. Chivukula, Commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Mr. Rajiv Prasad, Franklin Township Councilman, Mr. Joe Camarota, South Brunswick Councilman, Mrs. Azra S. Baig and Mr. Deven M. Patel, South Brunswick School District board members, Mr. Jaswant Modi, Advisor to GOPIO Central Jersey for Community Affairs, and Dr. Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO International's Coordinator for North America. The flag-hoisting ceremony was attended by approximately 200 people of Indian origin from both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The program began with the singing of Vande Mataram, India's National Song, followed by The Star Spangled Banner, American National Anthem, and was highlighted by the singing of Jana Gana Mana, Indian National Anthem. The Indian flag was hoisted and unfurled by the Honorable Mayors of South Brunswick, Plainsboro and Monroe Counties. Included in the cultural program was a performance of Indian dances by the children from the Dance4Ever dance school. Sachin Ravindran, Om and Surbhi Guha, and children from Hindi USA of North Brunswick, courtesy of Mr. Vijay Garg of GOPIO Central Jersey, sang patriotic Indian songs. The program was enjoyed by all the attendees. All State Lenders Corp was the venue host, and refreshments were provided for all the guests courtesy of Cici's Pizza and Suma Foods of North Brunswick.
Mr. Dinesh Mittal, the out-going President of GOPIO Central Jersey, gave a brief introduction regarding GOPIO and its role in supporting the needs of the Indian Diaspora. Mr. Mittal introduced GOPIO Central Jersey Chapter's new board members and invited the attendees to help strengthen GOPIO's mission and benefit from its initiatives by joining the organization.
Mr. Tushar Patel, an active community member, encouraged everyone to participate in future GOPIO events and become members of GOPIO Central Jersey. Mr. Patel deemed the event a great success and suggested that GOPIO Central Jersey should consider events such as a parade in the future.
Mr. Suresh Reddy helped in coordination of the media and keeping the dignitaries occupied.
Mr. Gagan Deep, the in-coming President of GOPIO Central Jersey, and his wife Mrs. Anupama Gupta thanked the attendees, Actor Patel of New York Life who provided the Audio-Visual services, and 8K Radio EBC for their participation in the event. They also spoke of the various programs that GOPIO Central Jersey will be undertaking in the near future.
Photo left: Indian flag being hoisted; Officers of GOPIO-Central Jersey, from r. to. l. Gagan Deep, Anu Gupta, Dinesh Mittal, Hemal Dhavalikar, Tushar Patel, Dr. Rajeev Mehta and Vijay Garg
GOPIO-METRO WASHINGTON DC CELEBRATES ITS 9TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH MUSHAIRA-KAVI SAMMELAN
On the afternoon of August 20th GOPIO Metro Washington celebrated its 9th Annual celebration of Indian Independence Day. While it was a day filled with a number of social and community events in the metropolitan Washington area, more than 120 literary connoisseurs flocked into the Auditorium of Arlington Central Library to be the part of the Annual Yaum-e-Azadi (Independence Day) Mushaira-Kavi Sammelan. This annual event has been a part of Washingtonians' literary life for the last eight years.
The event was organized by the Washington Chapter of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in collaboration with the Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington (AAA-DC Chapter). The main goal of this program was to provide a forum where diverse people could gather transcending political, religious, regional, and geographical boundaries thereby promoting the Ganga-Jamuni culture of the Subcontinent. In addition to sharing poetry this event also recognizes local poets and authors by releasing their recently published books.
In the recent past a number of poets and authors have released their books through the Mushaira-Kavi Sammelan program. Included in that group are Professor Satyapal Anand, Professor Asghar Wajahat, Dr. A. Abdullah, Dr. K. Mohan, Mr. Raj Kumar Qais, Mr. Anadi Naik, Mrs. Rashmi Sanan, Mrs. Daler Deol Aashna, and Mr. Surender Deol. This year recently published books by three poets, namely, Dr. Astha Naval, Ms. Daler Deol Aashna, and Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar, were released. Commenting on Ms. Aashna's book Tu Hi Tu: Rumi and Tagore, Dr. Harswarup Singh, a former Vice-Chancellor and Ambassador, said that Ms. Aashna has done a great service as she introduces these two great poets in a language that appeals to the reader. Dr. Moazzam Siddiqui, who is regarded a "walking and talking library," discussed Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar's books, Lambi Udan Tak and Adhkhuli Khirkiyan. He commented, "Dhananjaya Kumar's poetry captures large meanings in very few words". Remarking on Dr. Astha Naval's book Visthaapit Man, Ms. Sukesh Chopra recognize the blooming of a young poet.
The metropolitan Washington area is fertile in producing high caliber literary personalities. The challenge remains providing sufficient time to listen to each of the poets in detail. This year the following poets shared their poetry with the audience: A. Abdullah, Abdur Rahman Siddiqui, Astha Naval, Bina Goindi, Daler Doel Aashna, Dhananjaya Kumar, Khurram Yousuzai, Qaisar Abbas, Rashid Jamal, Saqiq Bajwa, Sukesh Chopra, Vandana Singh, Vipin Tripathi, Vishakha Thakar, and Yousuf Rahat. The poetry recitation session was presided by a senior poet Mr. Abdur Rahman Siddiqui.
Dr. Renuka Misra of GOPIO-DC and Mr. Masood Farshori, AAA President, welcomed both the participants and the audience on behalf of their associations. Dr. A. Abdullah conducted the program and Dr. Zafar Iqbal, coordinator of this annual event, thanked everyone for their continued support for the program.
Photo above: GOPIO-Washington DC and AAA-DC Chapter organizers with poets who participated at the Mushaira-Kavi Sammelan to celebrate India Independence Day
GOPIO-RICHMOND, VIRGINIA CHAPTER KICK-OFF MEETING
GOPIO's Washington DC Regional Coordinator Jay Bhandari visited Richmond, Virginia to attend the Kick off meeting of GOPIO Greater Richmond chapter. More than 30 members gathered at the residence of Mr. Goutam Gandhi.
Photo above: Participants at GOPIO-Richmond, VA launch
A power point presentation about GOPIO prepared by Mr. Gandhi was presented to explain the history, purpose, activities and achievements of GOPIO. Jay Bhandari answered the questions and quarries about GOPIO's achievements as well as present and future activities including GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce being launched. President of Virginia GOPIO President Pradeep Sharma was also present. The following people were elected for EC with the consensus of members present at the meeting.
EC Committee Members are as follows: Founding Member and Adviser: Dr. Surya Dhakar, President Goutam Gandhi, Vice President: Praveen Gupta, Joint Vice President: Vikas Kapil, Secretary: Atulya Tiwari, Joint Secretary: Aekta Chawla. Treasurer: Dr. Ram P. Gupta
Photo above: GOPIO-Richmond Officers with GOPIO Intl. representatives at the launch, Sitting the front raw from l. to r. GOPIO-Richmond VP Praveen Gupta, GOPIO-Richmond Treasurer Dr. Ram Gupta, GOPIO-Virginia President Pradeep Sharma, GOPIO's Washington DC Regional Coordinator Jay Bhandari, GOPIO-Richmond President Goutam Gandhi, Advisor Dr. Surya Dhakar, GOPIO-Richmond Secretary Atulya Tiwari and others.
Bhandari congratulated the newly appointed EC members and presented the Gadar book and GOPIO pin to Goutam Gandhi and to Dr. Surya Dhakar as a token of appreciation. Program ended with lunch.
GOPIO OPENS CHAPTERS IN MAURITIUS AND REUNION ISLAND
On July 16, 2016, Dr. Pradip Sewoke, International Coordinator Europe and executive member of GOPIO International and Mr. Vasant Rambojhun launched the GOPIO Quatre-Bornes under the presence of his Excellency S.E. Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, acting President of the Republic of Mauritius.
One of the main objectives of the island of Mauritius, also known as the "Chota Bharat" or Little India, is to transform itself into a globally competitive economy with comparatively low custom duties and no trade barriers while attracting foreign investors. It is the only country in the world which has the highest percentage PIO's/ NRI's from India among all other ethnic communities.
Dr. Pradip Sewoke, executive member of GOPIO International, advocated for a GOPIO chapter in Mauritius. With the help of Mr. Hirenduth ( Vasant) Rambojhun, founder-president and ex-director of the Architecture Division of the Governmental Department of Urbanism, and Mr. Shami Sewoke, international businessman and the first Life Member from Mauritius, Dr. Sewoke effort became fruitful.
Photo above: GOPIO Mauritius Quatre Bornes team: From l. to r.: Treasurer Avinash Boodhoo, Assistant Secretary Somah Waani Seetaram, Assistant Treasurer Lajput (Ramesh) Bundhoo, General Secretary Essoda (Sheila) Bundhoo, ,Vice President Shami Sewoke, Founder President Hirenduth (Vasant) Rambhojun
A foreign delegation of GOPIO officers was in attendance to support the launching of the first chapter in Mauritius. Dr. Pradip Sewoke represented the executive committee of GOPIO International based in New York, USA. Mr. Mehen Poinoosawmy, President of GOPIO France Paris chapter, Ms. Rita Abraham, Chairperson of Women Council of GOPIO International, Mrs. Michelle Mickael, life member and five other new life members from South Africa: Mrs. Yasmin Sanglae, Dr. Terrence Kommal, Mrs. Sherita Kommal, Mrs. Pratibha Naidu and Mr. Jay Naidu.
In his welcome address President of GOPIO Mauritius Quatre Bornes, Mr. Hiren Rambhojun said, "The steps taken today will be highly beneficial to the Diaspora in the further enhancement of education, health-care, culture and socioeconomic status."
Dr. Pradip Sewoke elaborated on the future evolutions of GOPIO International (New York) and the creation of the GOPIO International chamber of commerce. GOPIO will move mainly towards business and other activities will follow as usual thus increasing the interactions between Indians of resident countries and India.
Ms. Rita Abraham illustrated the importance of the GOPIO Women's Council which is an ideal platform for women to work on local and international issues.
His Excellency Mr. Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, acting President of the Republic of Mauritius congratulated Mr. Hirenduth Rambojhun and Dr. Pradip Sewoke for launching of Quatre-Bornes, the first island chapter. He praised the notable achievements of GOPIO throughout the world: Fiji Indians human rights Issue, PIO/OCI Card, filing case on human rights violations at the UN Human Rights Commission.
Also included in the event was a performance by the dancers from Gopika Academy of Performing Arts (GAPA).
News of the launching ceremony news was successful with many people interested in joining GOPIO International as members.
Before the close of the event, acknowledgements were made of the donations given to four institutions, namely Ti Diams, Ranger Foundation Centre and Sookhun Gaya Government School and SACIM.
Media Coverage:Gopio Quatre Bornes Mauritius - French MBC TV News : https://youtu.be/vrUdRj3r-OA
Samachar - MBC TV News Hindi Version - Launching of Gopio Quatre Bornes Mauritius: https://youtu.be/97i2n6xCIQs
Contact: Hiren Rambhojun, President, Gopio Quatre Bornes Mauritius, +230 5258 6819 firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO REUNION ISLAND INAUGURATED
On July 14, 2016 Ms. Rita Abraham, Chairperson of the Women Council of GOPIO International, Dr. Pradip Sewoke, International Coordinator Europe and executive member of GOPIO International and Mr. Mehen Poinoosawmy, President of GOPIO France, Paris chapter, launched GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis. Reunion Island has around 250,000 PIO (People of Indian Origin) among its population but until now there was no GOPIO chapter affiliated to USA, New York.
The event was highlighted by the presence of the General Consul of India in Reunion, Shri Sanjeev Bhati, who commended GOPIO on the progress in different issues regarding the welfare of Indians residing abroad.
The mayor of Reunion, Saint Denis, Mr. Gilbert Annette, whose great grandmother is of Indian origin, expressed his full support of the launch of the new GOPIO chapter and appreciated the hard work of Chapter President Jean Regis Ramsamy.
Photo above - GOPIO International delegates welcomed in Reunion Island by the chapter officials: from l. to r.: GOPIO International Coordinator of Europe Dr. Pradip Sewoke, Mrs Katty Carpaille, GOPIO Paris NC President Mehen Poinoosamy, GOPIO Intl Women's Council Chairperson Rita Abraham, Saint Denis Mayor Gilbert Annette, GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis Assistant Secretary Roselyne Moutoussamy, President Jean Regis Ramsamy and Vice President Jean-Max Govindassamy
Dr. Sewoke welcomed GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis into the worldwide GOPIO family. He explained the GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce and its contributions in terms of business and relationships with India, something GOPIO can bring to Reunion Island.
Mr. Mehen Poinoosawmy explained GOPIO's achievements in Paris, France thanks to GOPIO. Youngsters, ages 18 to 26 years, of Indian origin from France, Guadeloupe and Martinique have been reconnected to India through programs such as KIP (Know India Programme) and SIP (Study India Programme). Paid internships have been made possible to qualified interns of the Diaspora to join any international company in India. These young people are the best ambassadors of these Indian companies in their countries of residence. Ms. Rita Abraham initiated the Women's Council of the chapter where a group of women vowed to work with GOPIO International to facilitate friendships and exchange ideas to develop project opportunities on both the local and international level.
President Jean Regis Ramsamy, who is a reporter, writer and historian, showered praises on the first Indians who arrived on Reunion Island and their contributions to society. He noted that July 14th is celebrated as Bastille Day and going forward it will also be remembered as the day the GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis Chapter was launched.
Contact: Jean Regis Ramsamy, President, GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis, +262 692 64 66 77, email@example.com
INDIA CAUCUS OF THE US SENATE TO GET A BOOST WITH BOTH US SENATORS FROM CONNECTICUT COMMITTED TO JOIN
Two US lawmakers from Connecticut, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have publicly committed to join Senate India Caucus at community meetings organized by the Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) last month. Senate India Caucus was started in 2004 at the initiative of the Indian American community with former Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton and Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who continues to serve as its Co-Chair. Senator Mark Warner is now the Co-Chair from the Democrat side. As a bipartisan body, Senators Cornyn and Warner have been working to engage Indian Americans and Indian government officials to expand cooperation between the United States and India, the world's largest democracy.
At an interactive breakfast meeting organized by GOPIO-CT last month in Stamford, CT, Senator Murphy noted the increasing cooperation between the USA and India in defense, containing terrorism, trade and commerce, education, IT and technology areas. Addressing GOPIO-CT Annual Banquet held last month, Senator Blumenthal thanked the Indian American community for its enormous contribution to America. Both Senators made their commitments in public at separate meetings hosted by GOPIO-CT.
"We want a strong set-up in the US Capitol for India which could bring more synergy in the next level of cooperation between the two largest democracies of the world," said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO who had initiated the effort with both the Senators.
Photo above: Connecticut's senior Senator Richard Blumenthal with GOPIO-CT Treasurer Biru Sharma and GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
"With Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a joint session of both houses in June, there is much more awareness of India among the lawmakers and this is the right time for the community to reach out lawmakers who are still not yet members of the India Caucus and GOPIO will continue to do such effort," Dr. Abraham added.
Photo above: GOPIO-CT officers with Senator Chris Murphy at the community reception and interactive meeting held in Stamford, CT, From l. to r.: Srinivas Akarapu, Shaielsh Naik, Sangeeta Ahuja, Biru Sharma, GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani, Sanjay Santhnam, Senator Murphy, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Varghese Ninan, Bhavana Jhuneja, Santosh Gannu, Louella D'Silva, Meera Banta and Anita Bhat
Contact: Shelly Nichani, President, GOPIO-CT, Tel: 203-550-7747, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO-CT HONORS FIVE INDIAN AMERICANS AND AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS TO STUDENTS AT THE 10TH ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET
It was a memorable evening in every possible way. The Ballroom at The Hilton Hotel in Stamford, CT was filled with more than 200 invited guests from across the state of Connecticut, including community leaders, elected officials, and honorees and their families last month. The event was the 10th annual Gala and Awards Nite organized by GOPIO's Connecticut Chapter honoring five for their achievements and contributions to the community: The gala included a cocktail reception, dinner, music, live DJ and dances by participants, eloquent speeches, touching life stories and inspiring narratives on the lives of the five distinguished honorees.
Prominent among those who had attended and spoke at the annual gala included, US Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Connecticut State Senators Tony Hwang and Carlo Leone and CT State Assemblyman Dan Carter. Earlier in the day, Connecticut's junior senator Chris Murphy addressed GOPIO-CT members.
Sachin Lawande, President and CEO of Visteon Corporation (Van Buren, MI), was recognized for his achievement as a Corporate Leader. Visteon is one of the world's leading suppliers of vehicle cockpit electronics, serving auto manufacturers around the globe. Sachin was described to be leading a rapid evolution of electronics technology and software to meet the demands of the connected car era. In his response, Lawande, while thanking GOPIO-CT, he said, "May this award given to me today be an inspiration to the younger generation."
Anjali Sharma, a Greenwich resident, was honored for Community Service and promoting philanthropy. Anjali, a Trustee of AIF, has worked tirelessly to as a humanist and philanthropist to promote India's development. She won the loudest applause from the audience for her simple narration of the many effort she and her organization do to bring a little cheer in the lives of hundreds of people in India she has been instrumental in touching with her monetary help. While acknowledging the award, Sharma applauded GOPIO and said, "Your efforts show that you are working to have our community integrated with the mainstream world.
Annapurna Duleep, a former Norwalk Councilwoman, was recognized for her contributions and achievements in Political Involvement. Anna is the first woman and South Asian to be elected Sheriff of Norwalk City in 2014. She is an ardent proponent of gun control. Duleep urged the participants and the larger Indian American community to "Join with me in the effort to take the community to the next level."
GOPIO-CT President's Young Professional Achiever Award was given to Roopa Modha of Shelton, who has been working tirelessly to promote women's issues using her legal expertise to further women's causes. Her commitment is to empower women and bring the issues of domestic violence and rape into the public domain. A lawyer by profession, She attended the White House's United State of Women Summit in 2016.
GOPIO-CT 2016 awardees, from l. to r.: David Smith, Anjali Sharma, Sachin Lawande, Annapurna Duleep and Roopa Modha
Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President of GOPIO International who is also a Trustee of GOPIO-CT, while introducing, David Smith of Stamford Hospital as the recipient of the Friend of GOPIO and the Indian American community award, said, "For the first time, GOPIO-CT is recognizing an employee of an institution. Mr. Smith currently serves as Senior Vice President, Strategy and Chief Strategy and Network Development Officer at Stamford Health, Stamford, Connecticut. He has worked in the Health Care Sector for over 35 years. He is an ardent supporter of good health and healthy food habits. David has supported Indian American community for many years." In his response, shared with the audience as to how he developed an increasing taste for India and the people from this large nation. He spoke about his close association with many people of Indian origin in the US.
GOPIO-CT President's Young Professional Achiever Award was given to Roopa Modha, who has been working tirelessly to promote women's issues using her legal expertise to further women's causes. Her commitment is to empower women and bring the issues of domestic violence and rape into the public domain. In her passionate address, Modha hoped that "this award will inspire many more to join in the efforts to make a just world." She urged the audience to "be passionate about making a positive impact on others."
For the second year in a row, GOPIO-CT Scholarship for College Tuitions were given to Gunja Shah, a prospective student at Massachussetts College of Pharmacy; Tanusri Balla, entering University of Pennsylvania; Nikita Jaaswal, who has enrolled to begin her studies at University of California; and Sirin Vahora, another of two, who has been accepted into Norwalk Community College's Nursing Program. GOPIO-CT Scholarship Committee consisted of Sanjay Santhanam (Chairman), Hari Srinivasan, Tara Sharma, and Priya Easwaran coordinated GOPIO-CT efforts and led the fundraising at the event to expand the scholarship to other parts of Connecticut in the coming years.
Proclamations from Governor Malloy, Mayor David Martin, and US Senator Richard Blumenthal to the awardees were read out at the awards ceremony. In welcoming the guests and dignitaries, Shelly Nichani, President of GOPIO-CT said "We are celebrating the achievements of five distinguished individuals and the award is a reflection of their remarkable accomplishments and commendable services." He said, over the last ten years, GOPIO-CT has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future.
Congressman Jim Himes, who represents Connecticut's 4th District in the United States House of Representatives, where he is serving his fourth term, said he was delighted to be at the event to honor the accomplishments of so many talented individuals. He complimented the Indian American community as the highly educated 3.2 million strong, making tremendous contributions to the economic quality of this country.
"You are the community. You are not part of the community," Mayor David Martin told the Indian Americans. Pointing to the historic nature of the upcoming general elections in November, Mayor Martin urged the members to register and vote, and thus become ensure that your voices are heard."
Photo: GOPIO-CT 2016 awardees with dignitaries and GOPIO-CT officials
Mayor Harry Rilling said "I am honored to be here to celebrate among friends and am thankful for the warm welcome the Indian community has always extended to me and my family." He also congratulated GOPIO-CT for its 10 years of service and bringing the Indian community together.
Senator Blumenthal commented GOPIO-CT for its varied services to the community.
Niraj Baxi, the President of International GOPIO congratulated the awardees for "bringing honor to your Indian heritage. We are all very proud of you." He said he was "delighted to be part of the celebration in Connecticut honoring distinguished Indian Americans and David Smith, a Friend of GOPIO."
GOPIO OCEANIC REGION CHAPTERS CELEBRATE YOGA DAY
GOPIO Waikato Inc. marked the second International Day of Yoga in Hamilton. The day was celebrated on 19th June 2016 with great enthusiasm at the Hamilton Council Reception Lounge, under the guidance of High Commission of India Wellington. Kirikiriroa Multicultural Council Inc., GOPIO Waikato Inc., Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Life International Trust, and Art of Living all participated and will collaborate to mark the celebration each year in Hamilton.
Following a welcome message by Mr. Pradeep Kapoor, President GOPIO Waikato Inc., guests were treated to a movie sent by the Ministry of External Affairs India. The movie, a pictorial narration of the first celebration of International Yoga Day 2015, was full of messages by renowned yoga experts from around the globe and scenes of great celebrations in various countries.
Mrs. Suman Kapoor, GOPIO International Coordinator of the Oceanic Region, led a well received warm-up session in which a laughing yoga technique was used. A Seniors Well-Being talk was given by Roselyn Pillai Chitty, a cardiac nurse at Waikato Hospital. The distinguished guests, which included yoga teacher Mr. Matthew Smart of Iyengar Yoga, gave live demonstrations to a multicultural group of youth and seniors. Aloka Peacock commented, "Many participants will join regular classes soon and I came with a lot of anticipation and left with the feeling of joy, peace, and the love of life after witnessing Matthew Stewart's demonstration of yoga."
Photo 1: People assembling at the reception lounge in Waikato; Photo 2: Yoga day basket winners Rosy and Manjit with GOPIO Intl Coordinator Suman Kapoor Yoga teacher Matthew; Photo 3: Participants in yoga postures
In addition to the live demonstrations the day was filled with prayers in the Gurdwara, lunch, a tour of Korean Tea Garden at Gordonton, a raffle drawing and fruit distribution to all of the participants. The free event welcomed approximately 110 individuals from Hamilton, Morrinsvelle, Matamata and Auckland. With the presence of senior citizens from Auckland & local dignitaries the day was nothing short of a great celebration of life, peace, and harmony.
Similarly, the Canberra chapter of GOPIO organized a program on June 21st to observe the second International Day of Yoga. The evening included a key note speech "Yoga Today and in its Beginnings" and a panel discussion on the topic, "Yoga: More than Physical." The event was held in collaboration with the High Commission of India (HCI), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), the Yoga Mandir (BKS Iyengar Institute, Canberra) and the South Asia Research Institute of the Australian National University (ANU).
Dr. Rakesh Malhotra, President of the Canberra chapter, in his opening and welcome speech, emphasized the significance of the chapter facilitating the partnerships with the HCI, the UNIC Canberra, the Yoga Institute and the ANU, thus enabling Canberra to embrace the second International Day of Yoga. Included in the commemoration were free yoga lessons throughout the city, and a panel discussion in the evening reflecting on the topic, "Yoga: More than Physical," with an emphasis on benefits of and the future of yoga for generations.
Indian High Commissioner Navdeep Suri addressed the gathering on how the initial resolution by the UN General Assembly to adopt the International Day of Yoga received more sponsors than any prior resolution thus recognizing the global appreciation of the benefits of yoga. He noted that many events were being held in Fiji, Australia and across the world on that day to mark the day.
In prefacing the message of the UN Secretary-General, UNIC Canberra Director, Mr. Christopher Woodthorpe spoke of the universal support for the promotion of yoga. With its holistic nature, yoga received universal commitment by the nations to new Sustainable Development Agenda, which also is holistic in character as it charts the way to a better world for all.
Photo above: Yoga day seminar audience
Following his keynote speech 'Yoga Today and in its Beginnings', Dr. Greg Bailey from La Trobe University, joined the panel debate, with Dr. Shameem Black of the ANU, Mr. Alan Goode, Director of Yoga Mandir, and Ms. Leanne Davis, President of Yoga Australia. Dr. Shameem Black facilitated the panel discussion through many questions ranging from the influence of yoga as religious practice to yoga's contribution to health and wellness, as well as the evolving challenges in teaching yoga in the future with expectations of more than just physical benefits. While the panel recognized the growing influence of yoga across the world, as many see it as a physical activity, all three argued for the importance of yoga teachings staying firmly planted in its cultural roots.
Photo above: GOPIO Canberra EC members with partners and key speakers - Mrs Sneh Dang (Director, Women), Mrs Shilpi Bindra (MC), Dr Mohan Singh (Director, Health and Ageing) , Mr Ashok Jain (Treasurer), Mr Anil Gupta (Secretary), Dr Shameem Black (ANU), Dr Greg Bailey (Key Speaker - LaTrobe University), Dr Rakesh Malhotra (President), Mr Alan Goode (Director, Yoga Mandir), Ms Leanne Davis (President, Yoga Australia) and Mr Christopher Woodthorpe (Director, UNIC Canberra)
GOPIO's Oceania International Coordinator Suman Kapoor congratulated the chapter on having successfully met another milestone. She sent her regrets for her inability to join the event in Canberra.
Photos of the event can be viewed at the link: GOPIO Canberra - IYD 2016.
Contact: Dr Rakesh Malhotra, President, GOPIO Canberra Inc., Tel: 0402 202 312; email@example.com
COMMUNITY CELEBRATES AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE AND INDIAN AMERICAN HERITAGE
California: America's Independence was celebrated by the Indian American community of Southern California on July 4th at the Amaya Lounge in Buena Park. With over 120 people in attendance, the celebration included a seminar paying tribute to pioneers, patriots, and Gadar heroes. The event was sponsored by the Indian American Heritage Foundation in a joint effort with GOPIO-Los Angelea, GOPIO-Orange County, GOPIO-Inland Empire, NFIA, Rajput Association of America, India Association of Inland Empire, India Association of Los Angeles, Apna Punjabi Group, and UFICA.
Inder Singh, former Chairman of GOPIO Int'l, shared the history of America's independence from the British which resulted in the signing of The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. He also detailed the suffering and hardship which the 56 people who signed the declaration had to endure. Those in attendance were appreciative to learn of early US history. Other topics covered included, "Early Indian Immigration and Settlement Problems", "Fight for India Independence (Gadar Movement)", "Struggle for US Citizenship", "Indian Community Contributions to India and the USA", and "Indian Americans Who Made India and Indian Americans Proud."
GOPIO International Treasurer Kewal Kanda, speaking on the settlement problems of early immigrants, said that most Indians, primarily Punjabis, came to the United States in search of better economic opportunities. However, they experienced discrimination and racial prejudice from the American people. Upon graduation Indian students were not able to get jobs commensurate with their high qualifications. Indian community activists began lobbying elected representatives for the grant of citizenship. It was a long, hard struggle, however in 1946 the US Congress passed a bill granting the right of citizenship to 100 Indian nationals annually. President Truman signed the bill into law on July 2, 1946.
Navin Gupta acknowledged the contributions of Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon who gifted $100 million to NYU's School of Engineering in 2015, Dr. Amar Bose, founder of the Bose Corporation, who gave a majority of company stock to MIT in 2011, and Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with net worth of $2.8 billion, who has signed the Giving Pledge dedicating 80% of his wealth towards philanthropy.
Inder Singh also mentioned Nobel Prize winners Har Gobind Khorana, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, Amartya Sen and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. He acknowledged the contributions of political leaders Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Dalip Singh Saund and Ami Bera, and many others in various fields.
The celebration ended with a vote of thanks by Abdulgani Shaikh.
Contact: Navin Gupta, President of GOPIO-Los Angeles, Navin.Gupta.firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO INVESTIGATES ON THE COMPLAINTS ON CONVERSION OF PIO CARD TO OCI CARD
As per GOPIO Life Member Mr. Santosh C. Verma (Diamond Bar, CA), author of 'How to Achieve Worldwide Prosperity and Peace,' Govt. of India had announced through gazette notification that the PIO Card was now deemed as an OCI. Despite that, many PIO card holders are suffering as unnecessarily complicated requirements have been set in place for converting PIO cards to an OCI.
Mr. Verma said that Mr. B.C. Joshi, Vice Consul (OCI) at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco had told him that as of now, the existing PIO Cards were valid for the life of the holders. They can get an endorsement placed in the PIO Card, and if there is any change in the rules of OCI/PIO Cards, the same will be notified in the Websites of the Ministry of Home Affairs/Embassies/Consulates.
As per Mr. Verma's understanding, PIO cards will be considered equivalent to an OCI, and that when a PIO card holder would land at the Indian airport, a lifelong stamp would be affixed on his/her PIO card and passport.However, that does not happen. Mr. Verma says that there is a deadline, but no one seems to know about it.When he went to the CKGS web site, the instructions were very complex, the print was too small, and the application had to be completed online. He says that before CKGS was contracted to do the work, the Consulate was doing it, a VISA camp was held in Los Angeles almost every month, and paper forms were readily available. Today, there are many PIOs who have still not received there OCI for after a year, and their applications are being rejected again and again. They have paid money three times but have not received any refunds. If one searches on HELP for complaints against CKGS, they will find many complaints. Even Cox and Kings (CKGS) has many complaints about the process, they do not even refund the money, and are un-responsive to inquiries.Moreover,Mr. Verma is not aware of a channel where one can submit a complaint.
Dr. Manoj K. Mohapatra, Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of India in New York responded as follows:
The deadline for receiving application for conversion of PIO to OCI has been extended to December 31, 2016. Only the copies of the original passport and PIO card are required for this conversion.
There is no fee except the processing and courier fees charged by CKGS. Dr. Mohapatra also mentioned that the Consulate General of India, New York would be the first Consulate where the OCI card in lieu would be printed at its own facility.
Contact: Dr. Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO's International Coordinator for North America, email@example.com
GOPIO PARTICIPATES IN INDIAN AMBASSADOR'S VISIT TO GUADELOUPE AND MARTINIQUE
Indian Ambassador to France, Dr. Mohan Kumar, accompanied by his wife Mala Kumar and Minister Consul at the Indian Embassy in France, Shri Jaiswal, made a visit in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint-Martin in late February and early March, 2016.
Ambassador Kumar met authorities in Guadeloupe including Prefect, Conseil Generale, Conseil Regional and some mayors of different municipalities. He attended a conference with a theme 'Made in India.'
According to the newly appointed GOPIO International Coordinator for Caribbean Region, Claude Sheikboudhou, the immediate impact of this conference and the other meetings was that the authorities are planning now to create a Guadeloupe house in India.
GOPIO Guadeloupe Chapter also passed a resolution to open a liaison office in India to help all the investors from India and to provide information on the island country. Another outcome was that Pole Emploi (Unemployment Government agency) asked the GOPIO Chapter to study a way where the agency can send people to those companies who have a new business project.
In Martinique the delegation was welcomed at Saint Pierre, a famous town, on Wednesday, March 2nd 2016. The delegation with the Ambassador was welcomed on the steps of the Town Hall by the Rainbow Robert folkloric ballet in a special presentation of Martinican tradition. In his speech, Saint Pierre Mayor Mons. Christian Rapha recalled the Indian dimension in this Martinican culture.
Photos above: Martinique Indian Community Reception for Ambassador Kumat and Mrs. Mala Kumar
The sub-prefect Etienne Guillet said that in his district of TrinitésurMer, there was a strong presence of people of Indian origin among the local population.
Ambassador Kumar was delighted with his visit to Saint Pierre. He felt it was a very beautiful city, with impressive sceneries and a group of dynamic Indo-Martiniquaise population. He was very touched by the reception from all in Martinique.
The Mayor presented to Ambassador Dr. Kumar, the medal of the city as an official invitation to commemorate the 163rdanniversary of the arrival of the first Indian immigrants to Saint Pierre on May 6, 2016. At the end of this meeting, Dr. Mohan Kumar and Mr. Christian Rapha planted a small tree of South Indian origin called "Vêpelé" in Tamil, in the courtyard of Town Hall. The delegation then visited the museum of St. Pierre.
This visit is the first step in the preparation of the festivities planned on the 6th of May 2016 to commemorate the 163rd anniversary of the first arrival of the Indians in the Island of Martinique. Indeed on the 6th of May 1853, a boat named "Aurelie" with 314 Indian immigrants onboard landed in Saint Pierre to work in the sugar plantations.
Compliments are due to GOPIO Guadeloupe and Martinique for GOPIO's active participation in making the visit of the Ambassador of India to the French Antilles, a great success.
Contact: Claude Sheikboudhou, GOPIO International Coordinator for Caribbean Region, Tel: +590690350840 pr +91-9894057333, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO VICE PRESIDENT RAM GADHAVI FELICITATED AT GUJARAT VIDYAPITH
Newly elected. GOPIO Vice President Ram Gadhavi who is also President Gujarati Literary academy of North America was felicitated at Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad on March 8th, 2016. At the program organized at the seminar hall of Vidyapith, Gadhvi delivered a lecture on "American Gujarati Diaspora Literature: Conservation, Preservation and Evaluation." The program was organized by Gujarat Literary Academy of Gandhi Nagar.
A renowned writer and retired IAS Officer, Mr.Bhagyesh Jha, Chairman of the Gujarat Sahitya Academy delivered the presidential address. At this occasion Prof. Balvant Jani, Ex. Vice-Chancellor and Ex. Dean of Faculty of Arts at Saurashtra University (Rajkot), as well as Director of Gardi Research Institute for Diaspora Studies (GRIDS) and Editor of Gujarati Diaspora Literature, honored Gadhavi with a shawl and a citation. Prof. Jani gave a brief introduction of Gadhvi's contributions abroad and said that he has been a cultural ambassador of Gujarat. Jnanpith award winner and Gujarati writer Shri. Raghuvir Chaudhri also spoke about Gadhvi's work in literature. After the felicitation, program continued with performances by musicians, singers and folk artists.
Photo top: GOPIO VP Ram Gadhavi speaking at Gujarat Vidyapith. Seated from l. to r.: Prof. Kanu Nayak, Trustee of Gujarat Vidiyapith, Bhagyesh Jha and Prof. Balvant Jani; Photo bottom: Participants at Gujarat Vidyapith meet
GOPIO TRI-STATE NEW YORK GROUP MEETS WITH INDIAN CONSUL RIVA GANGULY DAS AND OTHER OFFICERS
GOPIO officers, chapter delegates and a selected group of GOPIO Life Members from the Tri-State New York area met India's new Consul General in New York Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das and other Consuls on March 30th at the Indian Consulate and had a fruitful interactive session on community issues and how the Indian American community can effectively be involved in India's development. In addition to Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, other officials present from the Consulate at the meeting were Deputy Consul General Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, Consul Sandeep Kumar (Passport and Visa), Vice Consul Sandeep Grover (OCI) and Passport Officers Devvrat Chakravarthy and Suman Bala.
Consul General Das welcomed the GOPIO delegation and said that GOPIO is an important organization to interact, since GOPIO reaches out to all sections of our community. Dr. Mohapatra explained on the current consular services provided by the Consulate and steps taken to improve and make it easier for the community.
Photo above: Consulate Officials and GOPIO Delegation at the Meeting
The meeting was organized by GOPIO's Tristate New York Coordinator Lal Motwani and was attended by the newly-elected International Coordinator for North America, Dr. Rajeev Mehta and delegates from GOPIO-New York, GOPIO-Upper New York, GOPIO-Connecticut and GOPIO-Central Jersey and many Life Members who have served in various capacities in the past. Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO Founder President and Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation highlighted some of the community issues and many avenues where the community and the Consulate could cooperate for mutual benefits. These included the following:
Increased cooperation with the Consulate and Indian Community (Consulate celebrations of national events and festivals, consulate representation at Indian community meetings, participation in Consulate's lecture/seminar series, meetings with the Indian delegation, etc.); Utilizing community contacts with elected officials for promoting Indians' causes; Reaching out to next generation Indian Americans and involving them for India's causes; Issuance of Visa and Passport in emergencies; Improving consular services and shortening delays in OCI card issuance; Improving services by Cox and Kings and BLS International; Emergency help for Indian citizens in time of distress, death, etc.; Reaching out and interacting with the PIO communities in the New York area (large Indo-Caribbean community); and promoting India to the general American public.
GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham presenting a bookGlobal Indian Disapora - 'GOPIO Making an Impact to Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das. From l. to r. Photo: GOPIO Central Jersey President Dinesh Mittal, GOPIO International Coordinator Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO Upper New York Secretary Patsy Leopold, Dr. Abraham, Ambassador Ganguly Das, GOPIO Tri-State Area coordinator Lal Motwani, GOPIO New York President Anand Ahuja and Dr. Parveen chopra
Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das reinforced the importance of the community reaching out to the elected officials and interacting with the new generations of Indian Americans. Dr. Mohapatra said that the passport services from BLS International will be taken over by Cox and Kings and he would make sure the transition is smooth. He also suggested that the community should write to email@example.com for any visa, passport and OCI issues.
For more information on GOPIO, contact Lal K. Motwani, GOPIO Coordinator for New York Tri-State Area. Tel: Tel: 516-581-3332, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO BERLIN PRESIDENT BARJINDER SODHI HELPS REFUGEES IN BERLIN
Europe is currently undergoing a massive influx of migrants trying to escape from the instability and conflicts between rival groups in their country. Germany has been at the receiving end of a large influx of these refugees. Congratulations and cheers to the Chapter President of GOPIO Berlin, Mr. Barjinder Sodhi and his wife who have done commendable work and set an example of courage and solidarity in helping these migrants. Sodhi organized food for these refugees from his restaurant, Neumann's in Berlin. This symbolizes the values that GOPIO sends to the whole world.
Please see the YouTube Video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm8.
GOPIO - NORTH JERSEY IN THE OFFING
Congratulations to GOPIO Vice President Ram Gadhavi for taking the initiative of launching GOPIO-North Jersey in his area. GOPIO life members and others interested in GOPIO were invited to a meeting held at the Jyoti Indian Restaurant Banquet Hall in Wayne, New Jersey on Sunday, April 10th.Gadhavi welcomed everyone on behalf of GOPIO International.
GOPIO Founder President, Dr. Thomas Abraham provided an overview of GOPIO objectives and how GOPIO took up a major campaign for OCI cards, eliminating large penalties for passport surrender and a separate ministry for Overseas Indians. Dr Abraham further talked about GOPIO's mission and vision to serve the community as one voice for assisting and resolving complex issues and challenges by thinking globally and acting within local communities through local regional chapters.
Dr. Abraham further said that with the large Indian Diaspora population in New Jersey, GOPIO will have at least three chapters to serve the community, i.e. GOPIO Central Jersey (already in existence), GOPIO-North Jersey and GOPIO-South Jersey.
Passaic County Freeholder John W. Bartlett said that there is a sizable Indian community population in North Jersey and he welcomed the news of GOPIO starting its chapter in New Jersey.
Mr. Ashok Bhat, President of GOPIO Silicon Valley Chapter and provided some examples on how GOPIO assists in connecting political leaders across U.S and India to help start a dialogue on issues at hand.
Immigration attorney Michael Phulwani mentioned his involvement with GOPIO since its inception and also shared a few instances of immigration issues that he has been involved in to help the community. Phulwani also brought a major issue of Govt. of India not issuing/renewing passports for those Indian citizens in the U.S. who are no longer legal residents. A large number of Indian citizens are affected by this decision of the Indian government.
People assembled at the meeting unanimously decided to form chapter and elected the following persons as its office bearers.
President - Dhiraj Solanki
Vice President - Rajul Shah
Secretary - Abhi Adukia
Joint Secretary - Nitin Shukla
Treasurer - Gaurang Mehta
A letter of intent was prepared to send to GOPIO International. The chapter will be formally inaugurated on May 22nd at a luncheon meeting.
Photo above: GOPIO North Jersey Chapter officials with GOPIO International officers and other participants. Sitting from l. o r.: Gaurang Mehta (Treasurer), Abhi Adukhia (Secretary), GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for North America Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Dhiraj Solanki (President), GOPIO Intl. VP Ram Gadhavi, Rajul P. Shah (Vice President), GOPIO Founding President Dr. Thomas Abraham and Nitin Shukla (Jt. Secretary)
Contact: Dhiraj Solanki, Tel: 873-714-5249, E-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO-CONNECTICT CONDUCTS ELECTION AND ORGANIZES TAX SEMINAR
GOPIO-CT conducted its annual election at its annual general body meeting in conjunction with its annual holiday part held at Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford.
The following persons are elected for 2016.
Varghese Ninan - Vice President Bhavna Juneja - Secretary
Board of Trustees
In addition to many other celebrations around the year, GOPIO--CT organizes informative seminars and panel discussions on topics of interest to the larger Indian community three times in a year. Last month, the chapter organized seminar 2015/'16 US Tax Planning and Tax Saving Tips - International Tax Session, India-US Tax Issues, Financial Planning and Regulatory Issues Impacting Businesses. The speakers were: Cecil Nazareth (Nazareth CAs & CPAs), Shiva Bhashyam (Certified Financial Planner) and Steve Fusco (Senior Consultant with Paychex). Sponsored by Paychex, the seminar was fully subscribed.
GOPIO-CT Youth meets at least once in a year and coordinate their own activities separately including GOPIO-CT sponsored soup kitchen for the homeless six times in a year. Early this year, the chapter's youth wing served at the soup kitchen at the New Covenant Soup Kitchen in Stamford and fed over 100 people for a special meal on February 27, 2016. GOPIO-CT youth coordinator Siyan Shaikh organized this event. Volunteers present were Avi Mukherjee, Bay Hodge, Siyan Shaikh, Junaid Shaikh and Louella D'Silva.
Photo: GOPIO-CT volunteers at the soup kitchen in Stamford. From l. to r. Bay Hodge, Siyan Shaikh, Junaid Shaikh and Avi Mukherjee