A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO Int’l)
Issue: XIII-5 July 15, 2014
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GOPIO ORGANIZES SUCCESSFUL 25th ANNIVERSARY JUBILEE CONVENTION
The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) concluded its 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014 in Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago, with a memorable and successful celebration from 27th May through 30th May, 2014 coinciding with the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day commemoration in Trinidad & Tobago. The convention theme was “Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow”.
The convention was a historic event in the Indian Diaspora, attended by delegates from several countries where GOPIO is prominent – where persons of Indian origin reside in substantial numbers, and many from countries with fewer than 10% of the population. Countries include: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Malaysia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, India, Reunion Island, Mauritius, South Africa, Netherlands and other countries of the European Union (EU), United Kingdom, Canada, USA, the Caribbean region: Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Belize, St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Jamaica, Grenada and St Lucia.
Among the many events of the convention, some of the notable highlights include: A notable welcome reception at the Diplomatic Centre residence of Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minsiter Kamla Persad-Bissessar; GOPIO’s elections for new officers; GOPIO International Council Meetings; an all-day academic conference based on the convention theme of “Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow”; GOPIO delegates as special guests at cultural performances held at National Cultural of Indian Culture (NCIC); and unveiling of a historic arrival monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea marking the first arrivals of indentured Indian laborers in Trinidad on 30th May 1845.
GOPIO 25th Anniversary Convention Team
The convention team organized around the GOPIO chapter in Trinidad & Tobago, worked diligently with dedicated and focused efforts to plan, coordinate and hold a magnificent GOPIO milestone convention in a country distant from the other regular venues which GOPIO has used over the years for its major events. Members of the convention team: Ena Maraj, (Convention Co-Convener, president of GOPIO International chapter of Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Arnold Thomas, (General Convener & Conference Co-Coordinator, GOPIO International Coordinator Caribbean (St Vincent); other convention team members: Ramdai Sookdeo (Convention Secretary); Mahadaye Ramlagan (Registration & Assistant Treasurer); Seeta Sahatoo (Assistant Convention Secretary; Shalima Mohammed (Public Relations Coordinator, (Indian Arrival Monument Co-Coordinator); Navin Rampersad (Treasurer); Geeta Sahatoo (Hospitality Coordinator); Karran Nancoo (Legal Advisor); Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Conference Co-Coordinator); Ramnarine Bissoon (Arrival Project Liaison, Community Coordinator, Conference Site Co-Coordinator); Dr. Indrani Rampersad (Conference Co-Coordinator); Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh (Conference Co-Coordinator); Dr. Visham Bhimull (Youth Program Coordinator); Marilyn Hosein (Events Coordinator & Transportation Coordinator); Molly Mangray, Amanda Gangaram, Rowena Singh and Vanita Rampersad (Administrative and Support Coordinators); Deo Gosine (Grand Patron, Special Projects Coordination and Support); Aleem Mohammed (Community Liaison); Don Khan (Indian Arrival Monument Facilities & Hospitality Coordinator); Ramesh Kalicharan (Souvenir Brochure);Netram Rambudhan (Convention Assistant Treasurer & GOPIO International Treasurer); Seeta Sahatoo & Mahadaye Ramlagan (Delegates’ Souvenir Welcome Kit); Nohar Singh (Delegates’ Travel & Holiday Packages); Munish Gupta (Conference Site Co-Coordinator & GOPIO Jubilee & Life Membership Recognition).
Photo above: Some of the members of the Convention team with GOPIO Officials
Convention Advisors: Sunny Kulathakal; Munish Gupta; Dr. Piyush Agrawa; Umesh Chandra; Dr. Thomas Abraham; Dr. Sai Giridhar; J. Nami Kaur; Amb. R. Dayakar; Netram Rambudhan; Rajindre Tewari; Dr Jagat Motwani; Loshni Naidoo; Dr. Sushila Gidwani-Buschi; Dr. Renuka Misra; Sudha Acharya; Prof. Clem Sankat; Ramesh Kalicharan; Prof. Brindsley Samaroo; Balkrishna Naipaul; Prof. Mahin Gosine; Anita Bhat; Alkesh Sharma; Mahavir Arya; several council chairpersons and co-chairpersons; life members and chapter members.
Grand Patrons & Advisors:
Surichange Bank NV, Suriname (Dr C. Baidjnath Misier, founder & chairman)
Labidco Port Services Ltd – Trinidad & Tobago (Deo Gosine, founder & chairman)
GOPIO International Council Meetings
GOPIO International Council convened at the Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain shortly after the conclusion of GOPIO’ Executive Council meeting on 28th May, 2014. After opening remarks, President Ramsaran reported major activities of GOPIO in his terms which was followed by financial report by Treasurer Netram Rambudhan. GOPIO Foundation report was presented by Executive Trustee Dr. Thomas Abraham which was followed by GOPIO International Coordinators reporting their activities for the regions.
Photo above: GOPIO’s outgoing Executive Council Team
GOPIO Executive Council Elections & New Team
- Nominating Committee headed by Rajindre Tewari conducted the election for the 2014 to 2015 for the various positions in the Executive Council of GOPIO International. The following officials were elected by unanimous vote:
- o President – Ashook Ramsaran
- o Executive Vice President – Sunny Kulathakal
- o Senior Vice President – Dr. Piyush Agrawal
- o International Coordinator North America – Dr. Renuka Misra
- o International Coordinator Caribbean. – Dr. Arnold Thomas
- o Chairman GOPIO International, Inder Singh, was elected for another term.
Photo Above: GOPIO Elected Officials for 2014-2015. GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, President Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President Sunny Kulathakal, Senior Vice President Dr. Piyush Agrawal, International Coordinator North America, Dr. Renuka Misra, and International Coordinator Caribbean, Dr. Arnold Thomas.
All previously appointed positions expired on May 28, 2014 with the end of the previous term and new appointments of suitably qualified candidates will be announced shortly after GOPIO’ Executive Council approval.
GOPIO By-Laws Updates approved:
No changes except corrections of errors, omissions, spelling and nomenclature mistakes –
Per list circulated previously and read by Chairman Inder Singh.
GOPIO International Council circulated 30 days in advance to general membership and life members.
GOPIO to organize membership feedback and commentary via website.
Chapter delegates eligible for voting to be further clarified and defined relative to membership.
GOPIO has not conformed to its mandate in accordance with Clause 1 – Name and Purpose: The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (abbreviated as GOPIO) is a secular, nonpartisan, non-sectarian, not-for-profit global organization engaged in prompting the well being of non resident Indians and people of Indian origin, enhancing interaction and communication between these groups living in different countries and in furthering their linkages with India.
Reception at Prime Minister’s Residence
A highlight of GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014 was the special welcome reception of all GOPIO delegates at the Diplomatic Centre residence of the Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar on 28th May. The reception was hosted by Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration with Minister Dr Roger Samuel making the initial remarks after a welcome prayer by Brother Harripersad Maharaj, followed by remarks by GOPIO International president Ashook Ramsaran and presentation of gifts. Prime Minister Bissessar formally welcomed GOPIO’s delegates, recounted GOPIO’s special reception/dinner during the visit to the Kolkata Memorial on 12th January, 2012 and thanked GOPIO for “holding its 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention in the twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago”.
GOPIO made presentations of gifts and books to Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar: Special Kashmiri shawl by Kedar N. Gupta (India); GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Souvenir Brochure by Ramesh Kalicharan, editor (USA); portrait and tribute to late Nelson Mandela by Rita Abraham (South Africa); books by Dr. Mahin Gosine (USA); Dr Jagat Motwani (USA); Balkrishna Naipaul (Canada); GOPIO 1st convention stamp by Dr. Thomas Abraham (USA); and book presentation by Dr C. Baidjnath Misier (Netherlands).
On 28th May, a Business-to-Business seminar featuring prominent scholars and business leaders was held at the Radisson Hotel. It was sponsored by Trinidad & Tobago’s Ministry of Trade & Investment with focus tohighlight the many economic opportunities of the Caribbean region at this convention.
- o Investment & Trade Opportunities in Trinidad & Tobago;
- o Investment & Trade Opportunities in St Vincent & Grenadines;
- o Investment & Trade Opportunities in Guyana;
- o Success Stories of Doing Business in the Caribbean;
- o Free Enterprise, Market Economy and Business Successes;
- o The Growth of Education and Medical Services for Bi-Lateral Trade;
- o Media as Marketing Tool in Emerging Economies
Speakers and presenters were: Dr. Chan Misier (Chairman, Surichange Bank NV, Netherlands & Suriname); Dr Yesu Persaud, Chairman Demerara Bank, Demerara Distilleries (Guyana); Deo Gosine (Founder & President of Labidco Port Services, Trinidad & Tobago), Dr. Sid Gautam (Center for Entrepreneurship, USA), Ishwar Ramlutchman (Founder & Chairman, AC Industrial, South Africa); Ashok Motwani (DNN News, India).
Romanee Kalicharran (USA) made a special film presentation of “The Voyage”.
“Indian Diaspora Today and Tomorrow”
The Academic Conference segment of the convention was a full 1-day event held on 29th May at the Radisson Hotel. There were several sessions designed round the convention theme of “Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow” The chief guest at the Inaugural Session was Indian High Commissioner HE Gauri Gupta and the keynote speaker Dr Mahin Gosine, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at State University of New York, USA. Dr. Kumar Mahabir, Assistant Professor at University of Trinidad and Tobago, concluded the session.
Inaugural Session I: Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow
Session II: The Indian Diaspora: Issues, Challenges & Opportunities
Session III: Global & Regional Diaspora Investments & Economic Opportunities
Session IV: Diaspora’s Youth, Children, Gender & Inter-Generational Issues
Session V: Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-Ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora
Session VI: Education, Science & Technology as Significant Assets in the Indian Diaspora
Session VII: Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora
Session VIII: GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Resolutions
Session IX: Wrap-up & Conclusion
Inaugural Session I: Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow
Session Chairperson: Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)
Session Co-Chairperson: Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Introductory Remarks: Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)
- o Welcome: Ena Maraj (Convener, Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Remarks: Inder Singh (Chairman, GOPIO International, USA)
- o Remarks: Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO International, USA)
- o Remarks: Dr. Jagat Motwani (Founding Life Member, GOPIO International, USA)
- o Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Deo Gosine (GOPIO Life Member, TnT)
- o Keynote Speaker: Dr Mahin Gosine, Prof of Sociology and Anthropology at SUNY, USA
- Focusing on the Indian Diaspora and the story of “From Scars to Stars”
- o Introduction of Indian High Comm.: Ms. Mahadaye Ramlagan (GOPIO Chapter TnT)
- o Remarks by Indian High Commissioner Gauri S. Gupta
- Focusing on the progress of the Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean Region
- o Presentation of Tokens: Ms. Shalima Mohammed (GOPIO Chapter Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Book Releases (Listed above): Moderator: J. Nami Kaur (Secretary, GOPIO Int’l, USA)
- o Conclusion: Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Co-Chairperson, Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Thanks & Appreciation: Dr. Arnold Thomas (Chairperson, St Vincent)
Photo above: GOPIO Officials with Indian High Commissioner Gupta
The Indian Diaspora: Issues, Challenges & Opportunities
Session Chairperson: Umesh Chandra (International Coordinator, Oceania – Australia)
Session Co-Chairperson: T. Ramappa (GOPIO Chapter of Bangalore, India)
Speakers & Program:
- o Dr. Winston Tolan (Jamaica, West indies)
- o Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Prof. Parmatma Saran (USA)
- o Q/A: Moderator – Umesh Chandra (Session Chairperson, Australia)
- o Conclusion: T. Ramappa (Session Co-Chairperson, GOPIO of Bangalore, India)
- o Presentation of Tokens: Ms. Nadira Narine & Ms. Camelia Singh (GOPIO of Guyana)
Global & Regional Diaspora Investments & Economic Opportunities
Session Chairperson: Jeevan Zutshi (GOPIO Regional Coordinator, USA)
Session Co-Chairperson: Gem Madhoo-Nascimento (GOPIO of Guyana)
Speakers & Program:
- o Dr. Sid Gautam (USA)
- o Mr. Munish Gupta (USA/India)
- o Dr. Yesu Persaud (Guyana)
- o Conclusion: Ms. Gem Madhoo-Nascimento (Session Co-Chairperson, Guyana)
- o Presentation of Tokens: Lucienne Sacarbany (GOPIO Martinique)
- o Thanks & Appreciation: Marilyn Hosein (GOPIO chapter of TnT)
Diaspora’s Youth, Children, Gender & Inter-Generational Issues
Session Chairperson: Ishwar Ramlutchman (South Africa)
Session Co-Chairperson: Jagdish Lodhia (GOPIO chapter Sydney NW, Australia)
Speakers & Program:
- o Dr. Kamla Tewarie (Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Rita Abraham (GOPIO’s Women’s Council, South Africa)
- o Sudha Acharya (SACSS, USA)
- o Tivesh Nair (Youth – GOPIO Cape Town, South Africa)
- o Uresha Moodley (Youth – GOPIO Cape Town, South Africa)
- o Dr. Bisham Bhimull (GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Conclusion: Jagdish Lodhia (Session Co-Chairperson, Australia)
- o Presentation of Tokens: Tara Gosine (USA/Trinidad and Tobago)
Photo above: Conf. Panel Family and Youth – Jagdish Lodhia concluding the session
Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-Ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora
Session Chairperson: Krishen D. Needar (Trinidad and Tobago)
Session Co-Chairperson: Romanee Kalicharran (USA)
Speakers & Program:
- o Balkrishna Naipaul (Canada)
- o Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)
- o Keith Compton (St Lucia)
- o Romanee Kalicharran – A special presentation of “The Voyage”
- o Shadel Nyack Compton (Grenada)
- o Conclusion: Romanee Kalicharran (Session Co-Chairperson, USA)
- o Presentation of Tokens: Elie Shitlou, Claude Sheikboudhou (Guadeloupe)
Photo above: Conference panel on Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora
Education, Science & Technology as Significant Assets in the Indian Diaspora
Session Chairperson: Ashok Motwani (India)
Session Co-Chairperson: Deo Gosine (Trinidad and Tobago)
Speakers & Program:
- o Dr. Thomas Abraham (USA)
- o Dr. Clem Sankat (University of West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Dr. Gary Brar (AUB, Barbados)
- o Ashok Motwani (India)
- o Kewal Kanda (USA)
- o Conclusion: Deo Gosine (Session Co-Chairperson, Trinidad and Tobago)
- o Presentation of Tokens: Inder Singh (USA)
Photo above: Conf. Panel Science and Tech Panel – Dr. Thomas Abraham Speaking
Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora
Session Chairperson: Dr. Renuka Misra (USA)
Session Co-Chairperson: Dr. Ramesh Pandey (USA)
Speakers & Program:
- o Dr. Vivian Rambihar (Canada)
- o Swami Chidananda (India)
- o Dr. C. Baidjnath Misier (Netherlands)
- o Dr. Rini Johar (USA)
- o Conclusion: Dr. Ramesh Pandey (Session Co-Chairperson, USA)
- o Presentation of Tokens: Sylvia Perez (Belize); Yamonee Barbaro (USA)
Photo above: Conference session on Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora. Dr. Renu Misra chairing the session,
Session VIII: GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Resolutions
Session Chairperson: Dr. Piyush Agrawal (USA)
Session Co-Chairperson: Harbachan Singh (USA)
Thanks & Appreciation: Farouk Samaroo (USA)
Session IX: Wrap-up & Conclusion
Session Chairperson: Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)
Speaker: Ashook Ramsaran (USA)
Thanks & Appreciation: Ena Maraj (Trinidad and Tobago)
On 28th May at Session VII “GOPIO Resolutions- GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014″, chaired by Dr. Piyush Agrawal, the following resolutions were adopted for action by GOPIO and advisory/notification to respective government and agencies:
- o Salutations to Indian Democracy & Fair General Elections in India
- o Enhancing the Relationship between India & its Diaspora
- o Streamlining the process of Indian Consular Services
- o Review of OCI/PIO/OIC Policies Needed
- o Proposal for International Indian Emigration Day
- o India’s Opportunity to Engage the Diaspora
- o GOPIO’s Continuing Efforts at Outreach to the Diaspora
- o Limitations on Import/Export of Indian Currency on NRIs/PIOs
- o Towards a More Peaceful Co-Existence of PIOs in Multi-Ethnic Societies
- o Indian Visas On Arrival Program
- o Addressing Human Rights Violations in the Diaspora
These resolutions titled “GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014″ are posted on GOPIO’s website at www.gopio.net.
At the conclusion of Inaugural Session I: “Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow”, the following books were released:
Balkrishna Naipaul (Canada): Sangam: The Jhansi Legacy
Indina High Commissioner Gauri Shanker Gupta: Unraveling Mysteries of Life
Dr. Yesu Persaud (Guyana): Reaching for the Stars – An Autobiography
Dr. Mahin Gosine (USA):
Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Trinidad & Tobago): Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean
Dr. Chan Misier (Netherlands): Spiritual Management and Road to Eternity
Ramesh Kalicharan, Editor (USA): GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention Souvenir Brochure
The Moderator of the “Book Releases” segment was J. Nami Kaur, Secretary of GOPIO International
above: Book Release – GOPIO International Coordinator Caribbean, Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent); Balkrishna Naipaul (founding Life Member, Canada); Dr. Yesu Persaud (founding Life Member, Guyana); Dr Kumar Mahabir (Co-Chair, GOPIO Academic Council, Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Jagat Motwani (founding Life Member, USA); Shri Gauri Gupta, Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Mahin Gosine (Co-Chair, GOPIO Academic Council, USA); J. Nami Kaur (Secretary, GOPIO International, USA)
Jubilee Recognition Awards Gala
The Jubilee Recognition Gala was another highlight of GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014, held on 29th May, 2014 in the Grand Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain. In attendance was Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago, Shri Gauri Gupta; Trinidad & Tobago’s Minister of Trade & Investment, Dr. Vasant Bharath; and Min. Ramona Ramdial, Minister in the Ministry of Environment & Water Resources. The event was emceed by prominent radio and television host Zelisa Boodoosingh and was broadcast live courtesy of Dr Hans Hanoomansingh (Heritage Radio).
Photo above: GOPIO Jubilee Recognition Awardees with Minister Dr. Vasant Bharath, Min Ramona Ramdial, Indian High Commissioner Shri Gauri Gupta and GOPIO Officials
GOPIO’s Jubilee Recognition for outstanding achievements in selected categories were accorded to several persons “who contributed to the betterment of people of the Indian Diaspora. The Jubilee Recognition recipients achieved significant and prominent levels of stature and recognition in their respective fields of endeavor and have served interests of people in their respective countries of domicile and others as well, in addition to generating pride and respect among the Indian Diaspora and others in country of birth or domicile”. Each GOPIO’s Jubilee Recognition awardee (or representative for posthumous recognition) was presented with a GOPIO Jubilee award.
Posthumous Recognition:Henri Sidambaron (Guadeloupe); Dr. Najma Sultana (USA); Baleshwar Agrawal (India); Lall Paladee (Trinidad & Tobago); Dr Cheddi Jagan (Guyana).
Friends of GOPIO: HE Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent & Grenadines; Hon Albert Ramdin, Deputy Secretary General of Organization of American States (USA); Hon. Chandrikapersad Santokhi Chairman of Progressive Reform Party (Suriname).
Professional, Civic, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Media, Philanthropy: National Indian Cultural Centre – NCIC (Trinidad & Tobago); John Barath (Trinidad & Tobago); Brenda Gopeesingh (Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Hans Hanoomansingh (Trinidad & Tobago); Sattaur Gafoor (Guyana); Dr Yesu Persaud (Guyana); Chancellor of Judiciary & Chief Justice Carl Singh (Guyana); Dr C. Baidjnath Misier (Netherlands); Dr. Lakshmi Persaud (United Kingdom); Ishwar Ramlutchman (South Africa); Nicole Vaitylingon (Guadeloupe); Kamaludin Mohammed (Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Vivian Rambihar (Canada); Ashok Motwani (India); Dr. Parmatma Saran (USA); Dr. Sudhir Parikh (USA); TV Asia H R Shah (USA); India Abroad (USA); Kedar N. Gupta (India); Israel Khan (Trinidad & Tobago).
In addition to recognition of those who contributed to GOPIO’s formation in 1989. The First Convention Convener Dr. Thomas Abraham introduced co-conveners Sudha Acharya and Dr. Jagat Motwani and other founding life members and invited them to the stage.
Above: Some GOPIO Founding Life Members at GOPIO inception in 1989 who were present at the Jubilee Convention
GOPIO also recognized the newest life members since 6th January, 2014 in attendance, with plaques and new life membership lapel pins: They included Yamonee Barbaro (USA); Balkrishna Naipaul (Canada); Deo Gosine (Trinidad & Tobago); Sasenarine Sankar (Guyana); Claude Sheikboudhou (Guadeloupe); Elie Shitalou (Guadeloupe); Shaji SM Alex (India); Shaji Baby John (India).
Photo above: GOPIO Life Members in 2014
Special recognition was accorded to GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014 grand patrons: Surichange Bank NV (Dr C. Baidjnath Misier, Netherlands) and Labidco Port Services Ltd (Deo Gosine, Trinidad & Tobago).
Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea
The Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea was unveiled on 30th May 2014, the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad & Tobago, another significant and historic marker of the journey of Indian migration to other lands for better livelihood. The monument is another commemorative milestone marker in honored tribute and well deserved recognition of the first arrivals of indentured Indian laborers in Trinidad & Tobago. This project was initiated by GOPIO president Ashook Ramsaran in similar manner as with the Kolkata Memorial in India (2011) and Indian Arrival Monument in Guyana (2013). It was supported by the Indian High Commission of Trinidad & Tobago and the Ministry of Local Government – Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation.
The site at Waterloo-by-the-Sea was selected as an appropriate setting for the tribute to first arrivals of Indian indentured laborers to the shores of Trinidad & Tobago. The unveiling was attended by Trinidad & Tobago’s Minister Dr. Suruj Rambachan MP (Works and Infrastructure), Minister Ramona Ramdial (Minister of State in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources), Counselors Abdool and Seepersad, Couva Regional Chairman Henry Awong, among many others officials. GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran and Indian High Commissioner HE Gauri Gupta unveiled the monument in the presence of hundreds of people including several “legacy generation” persons, a few over 100 years old. This was followed by an authentic Indian lunch served Caribbean style.
Among the many legacy honorees were: Samoondarie Doon; Sewdass Sadhu (builder of Temple by the Sea), Samdaye Sewdass (wife of Sewdasss Sandhu) and 110-years old Sughari Jattan.
The inscription, patterned after the Kolkata Memorial in India and Indian Arrival Monument at Highbury in Guyana, read as follows: In honour of Indian indentured labourers whose arrival in Trinidad and Tobago began on 30th May 1845. In recognition of their pioneering spirit, sacrifices, endurance and determination to seek better livelihoods for themselves and their descendants. In gratitude for their invaluable contribution to the social, spiritual, cultural, economic and political development of Trinidad and Tobago”.
Photo above: Some of the Legacy Generation Residents of Trinidad & Tobago with GOPIO officials, Indian High Commissioner Gauri Gupta, Trinidad & Tobago’s Min. Dr. Suruj Rambachan, Min. Ramona Ramdial, Counselors Abdool & Seepersad, Couva Regional Chairman Henry Awong. Unveiling of Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea
Hosting of GOPIO Delegates by NCIC
The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) hosted GOPIO delegates at its major events held at its Diwali Nagar complex in Chaguanas. NCIC president Dr. Deokinanan Sharma and Mr Surujdeo Mangaroo welcomed GOPIO delegates as NCIC’s special guests. Special events were: 27th May: Concert — famous Bhojpuri singer, Kalpana Patowary from Assam, India; 29th May – 169th Indian Arrival Day commemoration with a special treat of music, songs, dances, recitals and authentic Caribbean and authentic Indian foods with Caribbean styles and flavors. GOPIO’s president Ashook Ramsaran and chairman Inder Singh presented its Global Indian Diasporabooks to Dr. Deokinanan Sharma and Mr Surujdeo Mangaroo, while Dr C. Baidjnath Misier (Chairman of Surichange Bank NV, a grand patron of GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014, presented his book Spiritual Management and Road to Eternity to both Minister Dr. Suruj Rambachan and Indian High Commissioner Shri Gauri Shanker Gupta in attendance at the 169th Indian Arrival Day commemoration.
NCIC was highly supportive of GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014 by providing specially inscribed GOPIO Jubilee mementos to all speakers at GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary conference held on 29th May, 2014 at Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain.
Photo L-R: GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh; NCIC Vice President Surujdeo Mangaroo, GOPIO President Ashook Ramsaran; NCIC President Dr. Deokinanan Sharma
GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Souvenir Brochure
GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014 souvenir brochure is a full color, 112-page bound, elaborately well designed, comprehensive keep sake publication distributed to all convention delegates and visitors, as well as mailed subsequently to worldwide officials, businesses, organizations. The brochure includes messages of congratulations and well wishes, articles and poems on GOPIO, the Indian Diaspora, issues of interest and concern, the convention program details, the convention and international team members, facts about GOPIO, its formation and history, as well as an extensive photo gallery.
Ramesh Kalicharan (USA), founding life member of GOPIO was the editor and Thomas Ittycharia of NC Production (New York, USA) was the designer and publisher.
Release of GOPIO Jubilee Convention Souvenir Brochure at the opening plenary conference session by Indian High Commissioner Gauri S. Gupta. Souvenir brochure editor Ramesh Kalicharan is in the left.
School of Interdisciplinary and Trans-Disciplinary Studies at Indira Gandhi National Open University in Maidan Garhi, New Delhi reported that “GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Jubilee ignited the Diaspora Spirit”. Umesh Chandra, GOPIO International Coordinator, Oceania (Brisbane, Australia): “Indeed a very successful convention, organisers did a wonderful job, coinciding with Indian arrival day added to the event”. Kewal Kanda, president of GOPIO Los Angeles, USA: “Very successful, well arranged and well coordinated convention. Enjoyed the whole convention. Many thanks to the GOPIO leaders and Convention conveners (TT Team). Beautiful host country”. Bhupinder Chhibber, President – GOPIO Sydney: “Our compliments & thanks to organisers of this great event. They did a great job. Well done”. T. Ramappa, GOPIO Bangalore Chapter: “My trip was wonderful and I really enjoyed the hospitality and the warmth of Trinidad with the GOPIO events being fulfilling, thanks to your and team’s organization”.
At the conclusion of the GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014, GOPIO International Chairman Inder Singh remarked that, “this is the best GOPIO convention since its formation in 1989″. GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran added that, “this silver jubilee convention is unparalleled in historical significance, with the special welcome, warmth and hospitality of the people of Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean region”.
Message from GOPIO’s President
It has been twenty five years of remarkable and unprecedented achievements by GOPIO with its expansive efforts to connect and interact with the global Indian community to monitor and address issues of interest, benefit and concern. GOPIO has become prominently established as the premier global advocacy organization of the Indian Diaspora. GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014 is a continuation of GOPIO’s efforts towards that objective with its focus on “The Indian Diaspora: Today and Tomorrow”.
The year 2013 has seen a remarkable level of GOPIO’s outreach, growth, expansion and progress at all levels as we continue to “embrace, engage and enhance the Indian Diaspora”. GOPIO’s progress is evident at the international, regional, country and chapter levels; at the executive and council levels; with GOPIO addressing issues of interest and concern to the Indian Diaspora; GOPIO’s close collaboration with governments (India and Diaspora countries), international agencies; GOPIO’s planning and holding seminars and conferences in various parts of the Indian Diaspora; as well as GOPIO embarking on several significant and visionary projects of interest to our global Indian community. The objective for following two years is to build on the progress to date with more significant and meaningful achievements.
We look forward to continuing support, collaboration and cooperation from all of GOPIO’s membership and others to make more progress in our efforts to address matters of interest and concern to the global Indian community. On behalf of GOPIO International and all who contributed time, talent, effort and resources towards a successful convention, I join in conveying our sincere thanks and appreciation to all GOPIO delegates, participants, officials, attendees and well wishers of this grand jubilee commemoration.
Patrons & Supporters
While the convention team organized around the GOPIO chapter in Trinidad & Tobago with support from all levels of GOPIO International, there was crucial support from private and public sources which contributed to the success of the convention. The convention was endorsed and supported by a wide cross section of public and private sectors as well as civic and cultural organizations, academicians and academic institutions, media and others. In addition, prominent persons of Indian origin and several Pravasi Samman Awardees also participated in the convention. The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) and attorney Karan Nancoo provided meeting facilities during the planning stages. There was special support by various ministries of the Government of Trinidad & Tobago as well as organizations, individuals and businesses. These include:
- Office of the Prime Minister HE Kamla Persad Bissessar
- Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration headed by Minister Dr Roger Samuel.
- Ministry of Trade & Investment headed by Minister Dr. Vasant Bharath
- Ministry of Arts and Multi-Culturism headed by Minister Lincoln Douglas
- Ministry of Housing and the Environment headed by Minister Dr. Roodal Moonilal
- Hon. Chandresh Sharma, MP, Government of Trinidad & Tobago
- Public Transport Service Corporation (General Manager Ronald Forde)
- The Indian High Commission to Trinidad & Tobago, in particular Shri Gauri Gupta
- National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) headed by Dr. Deokinanan Sharma and Surujdeo Mangaroo.
- Demerara Bank Ltd and Guyana Distilleries Ltd (Guyana)
- Helen Bhagwandinsingh and Brenda Goopesingh of Trinidad & Tobago
- Media: PIO TV, WIN TV, Diaspora News Network, Heritage Radio Network
- LaserCuts Ltd. for the design, fabrication and installation of the Indian Arrival Monument
- Ramesh Kalicharan and Thomas Ittycharia for GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee souvenir brochure
- Radisson Hotel of Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
- Messages of congratulations and good wishes from officials, organizations and individuals
- GOPIO worldwide chapters, GOPIO councils, Life Members, delegates and membership
Besides their high level of financial support, the 2 grand patrons have also provided enormous assistance with consultation advice and logistics for several of the programs of the convention:
Grand Patron: Dr. C. Baidjnath Misier – founder, chairman Surichange Bank NV, Suriname.
Initially an exchange office, Surichange NV worked its way up to a solid bank. On 9 September 2010, Surichange Bank NV (SCB NV) commemorated its fifth anniversary. The bank has been growing steadily. The aim of the bank is to offer the right financial quality products to everyone. The SCB NV offers a coherent package of innovative banking investment and insurance products. Annually the SCB NV processes tens of millions of Euros from the Netherlands, which enter the country through our bank. These remittances / transfers are an important supplement to the income of many Suriname families. The counterpart of SCB NV in the Netherlands is Suri-Change BV, which is considered to be the biggest actor as regards remittances among the Suriname-Dutch community.
Surichange Bank NV
Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat nr 71, Paramaribo-Suriname
Ph: (597) 471-151/F: 474-554
E -mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Patron: Deo Gosine – founder, president, Labidco Port Services Ltd, Trinidad & Tobago
“Labidco Port Services Ltd has opened our New Port and Logistic Facility at Dock 3, National Energy Company Industrial Estate, La Brea, Trinidad. Our port is a privately operated free enterprise driven facility. Labidco Port Services Ltd and our associate companies are engaged in providing facilities and services for the Oil & Gas Service Industry in Trinidad & Tobago, the Southern Caribbean and parts of Latin America. We also operate a deep water (12.8 metre) International seaport with ISPS/ISM/HSE/OSHA compliance and is an authorized port of entry to Trinidad & Tobago with custom, immigration and health services on request. We are service oriented and sensitive to our industry needs and look forward to hearing from you so that we can tailor our services to meet your company’s demand. Our company is staffed with personnel experienced in the Oil & Gas Service Industry and our principal has more than 40 years experience in serving the Oil & Gas Industry internationally”.
LABIDCO PORT SERVICES LTD.
National Energy Co. Industrial Estate, Dock 3, La Brea, Trinidad W.I.
868-651-1100 Tel, 868-648-8873, 868-651-1016 Fax
July 4 American Independence Day – Tributes paid to American and Indian pioneers and patriots
India Association of Los Angeles (IALA) in collaboration with Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) organized a tribute function on Jul 4, 2014 at India Oven Restaurant, 10110 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Chatsworth,celebrating American Independence and Indian American Heritage and paid tribute to the American and Indian Pioneers and Patriots. Inder Singh, Chairman GOPIO Int’l who co-coordinated the seminar emphasized, “If we, Indian Americans, want others to know about us, then we must first know who we are.”
First speaker, V.J Singh talked about the Americans’ fight for independence from the Britishers and recalled the sacrifices of American heroes and patriots. Mini Guleria gave a brief account of problems which early Indian immigrants encountered. They had come to the United States either as students or for economic opportunities but faced discrimination, bigotry and racial violence in the USA. Baljit Toor gave detailed account of sacrifices of Indians who went back to free India from the British. In their fight for the independence of their motherland, known as Gadar movement, several Gadarites were taken captives, some were hanged to death while others were imprisoned for varying terms of imprisonment. Vineet Puri spoke about Indian Americans’ struggle for India’s independence after the failure of Gadar Movement. He said that there were still many Indian Americans who had the burning desire to liberate India. He mentioned the names of Indian community activists, Lala Lajpat Rai, J. J. Singh, Anup Singh, Haridas Muzumdar, Taraknath Das and Krishanlal Shridharani who demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm and abundant energy for the cause of India’s freedom.
Inder Singh talked about the many contributions of Indian Americans to their motherland, India as also to the country of their adoption. He mentioned the names of several Indian American philanthropists who have donated millions for various causes in India and the US. Pritam Singh spoke on the importance of remembering the sacrifices of pioneers and patriots. He quoted Marcus Garvey, National hero of Jamaica, who said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
The seminar was followed by a lively interactive Q&A segment.
Raman Chadha moderated the seminar. He, on behalf of IALA, thanked the attendees and speakers. He said that it is important that Indian Americans should learn history of Indians in the United States. Since it is not taught in American schools, it should be learnt through such seminars. He reminded the audience by citing a quotation, “If the history and achievements of a society are obliterated, then its coming generations are doomed to mediocrity for lack of inspiration needed for greatness.”
|GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO-SYDNEY SOUTHWEST ORGANIZES GOLF MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
GOPIO Sydney Southwestorganized “GOPIO MASTERS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP” Tournament last month in Sydney. The games were played at two different golf courses “The Ridge Golf Course – Barden Ridge” and “Camden Lakeside Country Club – Catherine Field” in New South Wales for two days over the Easter long weekend. A grand gala evening dinner followed the tournament where the prizes were given to all the different category winners.
The event was a great success and everyone enjoyed both the golf and the gala dinner. The gala evening was attended by all players along with their spouses and friends.
The “GOPIO MASTERS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP” Winner was Mr. Vishnu Deo playing on 10 Handicap and the runner-up was won by Mr. Anil Gangaram playing on 14 Handicap.
The stroke event winner was Mr. Nitya Narayan playing on 10 handicap. Various novelty prizes such as Longest Drive, Drive-and-Pitch and Nearest-to-The-Pin were given on different holes for both days’ events.
The following individuals and business supported the event: Citizen Watches Australia, James Gangaram of Australian Automotive Enterprise, Muttu Menon of Travelworld Epping, Russell and Robin Gramme of The Water shop and Lord Jewellers.
The organizing committee included Tournament Organizing Committee Chairman Raj Maharaj (Secretary, GOPIO-Sydney Southwest), Tournament Finance committee Chairman Neel Maharaj (Treasurer GOPIO Sydney Southwest), Tournament Handicapping Committee Chairman Suraj Maharaj, Tournament Rules and Disciplinary Committee Chair Sada Reddy, Awards Function committee Chair Sunil Anand and GOPIO International Life Member Mahavir Arya.
Partnering with GOPIO Sydney Southwest was ‘NSW-Fiji Golfers Association.’
Photo Above: GOPIO-Sydney Southwest Golfers
Contact Jagdish Lodhia, President, GOPIO Sydney Southwest, email@example.com, Tel: +61 296011999.
GOPIO-KOCHI MEETING DISCUSSES NRI ISSUES BEFORE THE ELECTION
The welfare of the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) who sent home 75 billion USD last year should be given priority by the new government at the centre, opined experts. Participating in a discussion on ‘what NRIS demand from the new government’, organized by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in Kochi, leading NRIs, professionals, social activists and legal advisors pointed out the various problems faced by Indians, especially Malayalis, living and working abroad , and how and why they need the government’s immediate intervention.
K V Shamsudheen, chairman of Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, delivered the keynote address, and highlighted the financial chaos in the lives of many Malayalis who have spent decades in the Gulf countries. “Keralites contribute 19 percent of the total remittance made by NRIs, but only a part of it is deposited in banks. There has not been any concrete measures by the government to tap this immense potential of Malayalis working and living abroad. Instead, there are a number of rules and regulations that discourage investments by NRIs,” he said.
From restrictions on buying farm land, excess tax on bank deposits, outdated baggage rules and lack of support for children’s education, to high flight charges and absence of online voting system, the problems plaguing NRIs are endless, said Shamsudheen.
While C J George, MD, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, said that the government should extend all possible help to increase NRI investments, Abraham Tharyan, executive director of South Indian Bank, that a corruption-free country would invite more participation from NRIs in development issues.
P C Cyriac, president of GOPIO, Kochi, who was the moderator at the panel discussion, said that the government should sort out confusions regarding policy making and implementation, and provide the best infrastructure facilities to attract genuine investors from abroad.
Jose Kannamthanam, senior advocate, C T Kuruvila, president, World Malayalee Society, K S R Menon, author, and Adv Sivan Madathil, social activist, participated in the discussion. GOPIO-Kochi Vice President Kurian Abraham and Secretary Jose Thomas were also present. Anita Pratap, contestant in Ernakulam Parliament constituency, also took part in the program.
GOPIO-SYDNEY NORTH WEST PROVIDES FINANCIAL HELP TO A STUDENT FOR PROSTHETIC LEGS
The president of GOPIO Sydney North West chapter received a charity request from a boy who lost his legs in an unfortunate accident in January 2013. The boy’s school principal, Mr Jaskaran Singh Kahlon got GOPIO’s contact from the Principal of another school of Gurdaspur, where GOPIO Sydney North West chapter had helped through Caring & Sharing event and provided warm clothes, uniforms, shoes to all students and fans in all classrooms.
The plus 2 student, Abhinav Mahajan, son of Ashwani Kumar Mahajan, of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Dinanangar, Gurdaspur slipped from the train on 9th January 2013 while he was getting off the train at Dinanagar railway station. The train crushed both his legs. As a result of this accident an immediate operation was necessary, where the doctors had no other option but to cut his legs from the knees down as seen in the picture.
Abhinav Mahajan belongs to a poor family. His father died 8 months before his accident and there is no source of income to the family. The family approached the school principal for help to provide prosthetic legs, so that he can resume his normal life.
Upon receiving a request from the school principal, GOPIO Sydney North West chapter members contributed for the asked amount for the expenses of Abhinav’s prosthetic legs. The money is being sent to the school principal by the Treasurer of the chapter.
Photo left: Abhinav Mahajan with Mr. Amrik Singh Pelia on the left and Jaskaranjit Singh Kahlon (Principal of Govt. Model Senior Secondary School, Dinanagar, Gurdaspur) on the right.
GOPIO QUEENSLAND BUSINESS COUNCIL NETWORKING MEET
A new initiative by GOPIO Queensland is the Business Council and the Women Council, led by Ramanathan K and Amy Jaggesar respectively.
Business Council intends to cater to the business opportunities and networking, while Women Council looks after the needs and active participation from the community’s women folks, across the state. Business Council endeavors to create and support a platform for all businesses, services and professional practices for people of Indian origin.
As a part of Business Council, the first event as a part of multiple interactions in the coming time, “A Night of Motivation and Leadership”, was organized by the chapter on Wednesday, 7th May. The guest speaker was Pele Ramdhani, National Sales Manager for Good Life Health Clubs. A well-known presenter and a champion of business, marketing and human resources development among the international Entrepreneurs, Pele is a renowned name in the industry.
Pele talked about the leadership qualities and what it takes it to reach the next levels of success. Partnership and unity are the key drivers for the growth of any society. Talk on philosophy of Tagore on reaching the next level of success was a great path-shower. One of the best lines from the night which most of the participants were talking about was “You can get a hand over a season, but heart is for a lifetime”.
Ramanathan opened the event with a rousing welcome to the guest speaker, Pele, Freya Ostapovitch, sponsors and all the participants. He said, “It takes a life time to be an achiever but to learn from their stories in an hour or two is what this event is all about”.
Yousuf Alikhan, the president of GOPIO Queensland chapter while addressing the audience appreciated the active participation of the audience and the effort put in by the committee members and the volunteers. He welcomed everyone and gave an overview of GOPIO and its chapters to the audience. Yousuf mentioned the inclusive growth of Queensland chapter in the last 5 years and how it has helped in fair representation of Indians living in the region.
The event was attended by a good gathering from the business fraternity of Brisbane.
Chapter to Organize Multicultural Festival on August 10th
Thousands from the multicultural communities in Brisbane will come together to celebrate the iconic “India Day Fair 2014″ on Sunday, the 10th of August 2014, at Roma Street Parklands. There will be parades from various Indian communities, Indian music, dance and cultural items running throughout the day, Indian henna – hand painting – will be available and the event will conclude with a mammoth fireworks.
GOPIO with the support of Federation of Indian Communities Queensland (FICQ) and other Indian associations celebrate India Day Fair every year with real vigour, charm and an abundance of colours. The event has been well attended by dignitaries in the past.
Contact: Ashutosh Raina, PRO – GOPIO Queensland, +61-4-0320-8908 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW TEAM FOR GOPIO SYDNEY SOUTHWEST
GOPIO-Sydney Southwest organized a evening cocktails reception welcoming the new executive committee which will take over from the present committee in July 2014.It was held at the Himalaya Function Center in Liverpool in Sydney Southwest. The new team is headed by Joseph Thomas as President.
Contact: Jagdish Lodhia, President, GOPIO Sydney Southwest, email@example.com, Tel: +61 296011999 or Incoming President Joseph Thomas, Tel: +61-404 053 186
GOPIO WOMEN’S COUNCIL CHAIR SUMAN KAPOOR HONORED BY TIMES INDIA
GOPIO Life Member and Chairperson of GOPIO International Women’s Council Suman Kapoor of New Zealand received NRI OF THE YEAR 2014 (Philanthropy) award conferred by Times Now at the channel’s NRI of the Year awards recently in Mumbai. The NRI of the Year awards aim to acknowledge non-resident Indians who have achieved succes
TWO INDIAN AMRICANS WIN GUGGENHEIM AWARDS
For Ashvin Vishwanath, a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, winning a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship represents more than just a validation of his research.
As would be expected, the Indian American physics professor was very happy about winning the prestigious award, announced April 10 along with 176 other fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
“On the practical side, this will allow me to devote a semester entirely to research,” he told India-West. “But what is special about the Guggenheim is that it is awarded to individuals working across a wide range of human endeavors, and for the first time I find myself grouped not just with other scientists, but, for example, with writers and filmmakers whose day-to-day work could not be more different from my own.” “But I find myself thinking,” he added reflectively, “that although we are trying to understand and express very different things, maybe deep down our goals are not that different. Perhaps emphasizing this unity within the diversity of human endeavors was one of the objectives of the foundation.”
The South Asian Guggenheim Fellows named in the U.S. and Canada this year certainly showcase the overall diversity of grantees honored in the creative arts, humanities, social and natural sciences.
In addition to Vishwanath, South Asian winners of grants of various amounts include British Indian novelist Hari Kunzru of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Bangladeshi American filmmaker and visual artist Naeem Mohaiemen of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Sri Lankan-born science writer Ray Jayawardhana of Toronto, Canada; and Indian American mathematics professor Kiran Sridhara Kedlaya of the University of California at San Diego.
The son of a Kashmiri Pandit father and a British Anglican Christian mother, Kunzru has written four novels, a collection of short stories and does travel writing for U.K. newspapers such as The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.
His fourth novel, “Gods Without Men,” a mysterious metaphysical story set in California’s Mojave Desert at Pinnacle Rocks National Park, was well-received by critics.
He told India-West, “I feel honored to be named a Guggenheim Fellow. As the foundation puts it, this is a ‘mid career’ award, and it feels like a staging post, a recognition that the work I’ve done so far is of value, and that I have the potential to do more and better in the future.” He added, “For me, as a writer who moved from the U.K. to the U.S. six years ago, it’s a particular validation – I feel that my work, which has lately centered around understanding American history and culture, is considered worthwhile by the intellectual community here.”
Kunzru studied English at Wadham College, Oxford, and then received an M.A. in philosophy and literature from the University of Warwick, U.K. His wife is novelist Katie Kitamura. From 1999-2004 he was music editor of “Wallpaper” magazine and since 1995 he has been a contributing editor to “Mute,” a culture and technology magazine.
Mohaiemen, a graduate of Oberlin College in 1993 with a B.A. in economics and a concentration in history, describes himself on Twitter as “a writer and visual artist, working in New York and Dhaka, researching borders, wars and belonging through essays, photography and film.”
He directed “Muslims or Heretics,” a documentary about struggles between moderate and radical Islamists in Bangladesh; directed and co-produced “Rumble in Mumbai,” a documentary on globalization; and directed “United Red Army, The Young Man Was, Part 1,” about the 1977 hijacking of Japan Airlines Flight 472 by the Japanese Red Army.
He also co-founded Visible Collective, a collective of New York-based artists and lawyers investigating security panic. Visible’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at the 2006 Whitney Biennial of American Art.
Asked to comment on receiving the fellowship, he told India-West, “While marking the specific (geographic, and otherwise) context of the research many of us are doing, it’s necessary to also note the wider interpretative possibilities. “If you consider the recent scholarship on Haiti’s slave rebellion as the inspiration for ‘universal history,’ I would argue that Bangladesh’s trajectory before and after 1947 (as East Bengal, East Pakistan and finally Bangladesh) can be a template for understanding the conditions, and possibilities, of post-liberation disenchantment.”
Kedlaya, holder of the Stefan E. Warschawski Endowed Chair at U.C.-San Diego, has a B.A. in mathematics and physics from Harvard University, an M.A. in mathematics from Princeton University and a doctorate in mathematics from MIT.
After receiving his Ph.D., he held postdoctoral posts at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at U.C.-Berkeley and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and taught at MIT.
The Indian American mathematics professor is known for his work related to arithmetic algebraic geometry and number theory, especially p-adic cohomology, p-adic Hodge theory and computational number theory.
The author of 49 research papers, Kedlaya is a winner of National Science Foundation five-year Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and Sloan Research and Clay Liftoff fellowships.
Vishwanath, who lives in Berkeley with his wife, Rashmi, and their two young sons, told India-West that he grew up in Bangalore, where his parents still live. He attended IIT-Kanpur, “which has a world class physics program,” he said. “Our entire class consisted of only about 10 students a year, and we got a lot of attention from the many strong physicists on the faculty. We were a small minority in many ways – not just that we were in a science department in what was predominantly an engineering institute, but also that we had decided to pursue a subject that we were passionate about, when the norm was to pick an engineering major dictated by one’s entrance exam rank.
The Indian American received a Ph.D. from Princeton, did postdoctoral work as a fellow at MIT and has taught physics at U.C.-Berkeley since 2004.
“My work centers on understanding phenomena such as superconductivity, magnetism and other remarkable properties of matter, starting from basic theories like quantum mechanics,” he explained. “Historically, my area of inquiry, which is called condensed matter physics, has also led to numerous important applications, such as the transistor, magnetic memories and magnetic resonance imaging, which have automatically emerged as we deepened our understanding of fundamental principles.” He added. “I am a theorist – which means I have trouble explaining to people exactly how I do my research. Most of my work gets done with pencil and paper, sometimes with a computer but always with a lot of talking with my collaborators.”
“The goal of my Guggenheim project is to move towards a physical realization of interesting states of matter that have been predicted in my recent theoretical work. One of them is termed a ‘Weyl semimetal,’ which can be thought of as a three-dimensional analog of grapheme,” he said.
Grapheme is a super strong, light crystalline form of carbon.
NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMS MEERA JOSHI AS HEAD OF NYC TAXI COMMISSION
The New York City Council has confirmed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s nominee to head the agency that oversees taxis and car services.
Meera Joshi was unanimously confirmed April 10 to serve as chairwoman and CEO of the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Joshi has worked in city government for more than a decade. The Indian American served most recently as general counsel to the taxi commission.
Mayor De Blasio announced her nomination in March, saying she oversaw initiatives that brought better service to thousands of taxi riders.
She also prosecuted financial injustices against victimized taxi drivers.
FOUR PIOs RECEIVE SOROS FELLOWSHIPS FOR NEW AMERICANS
Four Indian-Americans are among recipients of this year’s Paul and Doris Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Each year, the fellowships honor and support the graduate education of 30 New Americans, permanent residents or naturalized citizens if born abroad; otherwise children of naturalized citizen parents.
Arnav Chhabra, Sundeep Iyer, Ramya Parameswaran and Sana Raoof were selected from more than 1,200 applicants, and will each receive tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education, according to the fellowship website.
Also selected is Indonesia-born Salmah Y. Rizvi, the daughter of a Pakistani father and Guyanese mother and will use the award to support work toward a JD at the New York University School of Law.
Chhabra’s fellowship will support work toward a PhD in medical engineering and medical physics. Coming to the U.S. as a teenager, Chhabra began working as a researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas in high school.
His work there was so impressive that he was asked to lead a project investigating chemotherapy resistance, and in 2009, he was first author on a paper in the Anticancer Research Journal, according to his bio data on the fellowship website.
Chhabra’s interest in medical technology led him to the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Texas-Austin, where he investigated nerve regeneration and biomedical polymers. After achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA, he began a PhD in medical engineering at Harvard Medical School and MIT.
In graduate school, Chhabra is creating an on chip model of the liver which will replicate the pathophysiology of human livers, thereby enabling a noninvasive study of liver function. He is concurrently funded by the National Science Foundation.
Iyer, who will use his fellowship toward a JD, was born in New Jersey. After graduating from Harvard, Iyer worked for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, a non-partisan think-tank where he directed statistical research to evaluate democratic reforms, his bio data on the fellowship website says.
His research was used in several federal voter rights cases, and his work has been cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico and National Review. In 2011, he founded the Statistical Reform in Redistricting Project, whose data have been used by the Sunlight Foundation and Georgia’s Legislative Black Caucus.
Currently Iyer is studying for a JD at Yale Law School. By integrating academic research with real-world litigation, Iyer hopes to become an effective voice in safeguarding democracy, the website said.
Parameswaran, who grew up in the Bay Area in California, will use her fellowship to support work toward an MD and PhD in biophysical science. A gifted violinist and Bharatha Nataym dancer, Parameswaran got her first exposure to scientific innovation during a summer internship at NASA while in high school, her bio data says. A few years later, as an undergraduate at Stanford University, her study of cancer in genetically engineered mice earned her the Firestone Medal, given to Stanford University’s top undergraduate theses.
Her love for science and her concern for women’s health issues influenced Parameswaran’s decision to pursue a dual career as a research scientist and practicing physician. Now an MD/PhD student at the University of Chicago, she combines her research in nanoscale biomaterials that can interface with immune cells, with time spent volunteering at the Maria Shelter for women and children on Chicago’s South Side.
Raoof, who ran track at school and university in a boy’s uniform, will use her fellowship to support work toward an MD and a PhD in molecular oncology. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Raoof was raised on Long Island, N.Y. After studying knot theory at MIT, she won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2008 and the Taiwan International Science Fair in 2009, her bio data says. Hoping to teach kids the chemistry of smoking versus running, Raoof created a class, BreatheStrong, in 2010, and also became editor-in-chief of the Harvard Science Review and the youngest keynote speaker for the American Mathematical Society. Her published thesis, which used statistical mechanics to model protein interactions, illuminated the process of antibody optimization.
She represented Harvard at the World Debate Championships in Botswana, hoping to sharpen her persuasive skills to eventually fight tobacco-related illness through policy. Her mother’s battle with breast cancer inspired Raoof to enroll in Harvard-MIT’s MD/PhD program. She will study resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer.
INDIAN AMERICAN VIJAY SESHADRI WINS 2014 PULITZER PRIZE
India-born poet Vijay Seshadri has won the prestigious 2014 Pulitzer Prize in the poetry category for his collection of poems “3 Sections.”
The 98th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music were announced on Monday by Columbia University here.
Seshadri’s ’3 Sections’ is a “compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless,” the announcement said.
The prize for the poetry category was given for a “distinguished volume of original verse” by an American author. A Columbia University alum, Seshadri would receive $10,000 reward.
According to Seshadri’s biography on the Pulitzer website, he currently teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at liberal arts college Sarah Lawrence in New York. Born in Bangalore in 1954, Seshadri came to America at the age of five and grew up in Columbus, Ohio.
His collections of poems include James Laughlin Award winner The Long Meadow and Wild Kingdom (1996). His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in prestigious publications including the American Scholar, the Nation, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Yale Review, the Times Book Review, the Philadelphia Enquirer and in many anthologies, including Under 35: The New Generation of American Poets and The Best American Poetry 1997 and 2003.
Seshadri has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been awarded the Paris Review’s Bernard F Conners Long Poem Prize and the MacDowell Colony’s Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement.
Seshadri is the fifth person of Indian origin to bag the prestigious award, the first being Gobind Behari Lal in 1937. Lal, a science editor, was awarded the Pulitzer in the reporting category for his coverage of science at the tercentenary of Harvard University when he was working for Universal Service. He died of cancer in 1992.
Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri got Pulitzer for fiction in 2000 for her collection of stories “Interpreters of Maladies”.
Journalist-writer of Indian origin Geeta Anand was the next to get the award. Anand was the investigative reporter and feature writer for the Wall Street Journal and won the award in 2003 for “clear, concise and comprehensive stories that illuminated the roots, significance and impact of corporate scandals in America”.
Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee’s acclaimed book on cancer, ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,’ won the 2011 Pulitzer prize in the general non-fiction category.
THREE PERSONS OF INDIAN ORIGIN RECOGNIZED AS FELLOWS OF SOCIETY OF INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY
The Society of Interventional Radiology added 29 fellows to the Fairfax, Va.- national organization’s roster during SIR’s 39th annual scientific meeting March 22-27 in San Diego, Calif.
The honor, achieved by fewer than 10 percent of the SIR membership, goes to members who have demonstrated excellence in research and published works or teaching and leadership within the field of interventional radiology and/or the society.
Among the 29 fellows named this year are three Indian Americans: Dr. Rajesh I. Patel, of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, N.Y.; Dr. Aalpen A. Patel of Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.; and Dr. Shawn N. Sarin, of George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Interventional radiologists are physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments using X-rays, MRIs and other imaging technologies.
SEVEN INDIAN AMERICANS NAMED 2014 BARRY GOLDWATER SCHOLARS
Seven Indian American college students have been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship that would fund their educational expenses in the coming years, a media report said Tuesday.
Of the over 1,660 students who applied for the award this year, 283 were selected, making this one of the most competitive years for the award, American Bazaar online reported Tuesday.
The Indian American students selected this year are: Swati Sureka, a biology and chemistry double-major at Cornell University; Radhika Agarwal, a biochemistry and biology double-major at Indiana University in Bloomington; Adam Ramsaran, a neuroscience major at the University of Delaware; Sivabalan Manivasagam, a chemistry major from the University of North Texas; Tushar Swamy, an electrical engineering and physics double-major from Northeastern University; Loveprit Singh, a chemistry and applied mathematics double-major from the University of Oregon and Nitin Anantha Krishna, a mathematics and computer science double-major at Western Kentucky University.
Established in 1986 and named after former Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, the scholarship seeks to award individuals who are pursuing high-level careers in the hard sciences.
The scholarship given by The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, has been one of the most prestigious undergraduate award given in the sciences.
The scholars include undergraduate sophomores (second-year students) and juniors from the US.
The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
TWO INDIAN AMERICANS ELECTED FELLOWS OF MICROBIOLOGY ACADEMY
Fellows of microbiology academy in America select its followers annually after a thorough selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that individual have made in advanced microbiology.
In more than 50 years, 2,700 scientists have been elected to the Academy. Recently, 88 microbiologists were elected as the Fellows of the academy, out of which two are Indian Americans and a Bangladeshi microbiologists.
Two Indian Americans are Dr. Hiten D. Madhani of the University of California, San Francisco and Dr. Siba Samal, of the University of Maryland, College Park, while Dr. Firdausi Qadri, of the International Center for Diarrhoeal Diseases in Dhaka, Bangladesh is Bangladeshi fellow.
Dr. Hiten D. Madhani is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. Madhani has earned his degree in medicine in 1995 and his Ph.D. in genetics in 1993 at UCSF itself. Later, he received postdoctoral degree in signal transduction from the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass.
Dr. Siba Samal, who is a recognized expert on three important animal viruses that are namely Newcastle disease virus, bovine respiratory syncytial virus, and avian metapneumovirus, was an associate dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Samal’s work on the Newcastle disease virus, which is a contagious bird disease was very good and fruitful. As, the expertise on this virus has involved establishing a molecular basis for how it causes disease, engineering improved vaccines. Also, he developed new vaccines against other human and animal diseases using the virus.
Scientific achievements in enteric and diarrheal infections and vaccines are achieved by Dr. Firdausi Qadri. Apart from this, Qadri led his studies the immune response in H.pylori infected people in Bangladesh and the responses in patients with typhoid fever as well as vaccines.
|NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
FIJI REGIME TO SHUT DOWN 14 POLITICAL PARTIES
Fourteen of Fiji’s 17 political parties are being closed down after failing to apply for registration under restrictions imposed on opposition groups last month, the military regime said Tuesday, according to the Times of India.
The move means the Pacific nation will potentially have only three political parties involved in elections scheduled for next year, the country’s first move toward democracy since a military coup in 2006.
Fiji’s registrar for political parties, Mere Vuniwaqa reported that 14 parties did not meet the deadline for registration last week, hence, they would be wound up, and all their assets will be forfeited by the government.
“By law, I am mandated to make an application to the High Court to wind up the rest of the existing parties that did not apply by the deadline,” she told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.
“We are now working in the Solicitor General’s office to put together the relevant applications for the winding up in the High Court.”
Under a decree passed last month, the membership threshold for registering a political party was lifted 40-fold from 128 to 5,000, a major hurdle for opposition groups in Fiji, which has a population of about 870,000.
Trade union officials were also banned from political parties in a move the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said was “an affront to democratic principles”.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has described the conditions imposed on Fiji’s political parties as “onerous” and “unjustified,” adding that this has threaten to undermine the confidence in next year’s elections.
After the 2006 coup, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama initially promised to hold elections in 2009 but then he tore up the constitution in favor of rule by decree, arguing that the country was not ready for democracy yet.
He states that elections will be held in 2014 but has made clear that it will be on terms set by the military, which has been a key player in the four coups the country has endured since 1987.
While Bainimarama has not yet announced if he will stand in the elections, he is widely expected to seek office in the poll and the ITUC has accused him of seeking to minimize opposition though the decree on political parties.
Carr is expected to visit Fiji this month as part of a delegation from the Pacific Islands Forum, which expelled Fiji in 2009 for failing to restore democracy.
UAE, SAUDI ARABIA HAVE MAXIMUM INDIAN WORKERS
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) account for the largest number of Indians working in the Gulf, the GOI has revealed. Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Mr. Vayalar Ravi told the Lok Sabha that a total of two million Indians live and work in Saudi Arabia, followed by 1.8 million in the UAE. Kuwait is home to an Indian working population of 641,062 followed by Oman (581,832), Qatar (500,000) and Bahrain (400,000). Iraq has 16,000 Indian workers, Lebanon 10,000, Jordan 9,000 and Libya 1,800.
|GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visithttp://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:
GOPIO Chairman – Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO President – Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York, USA, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO Executive Vice President – Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, Tel: +973 39441956 or +91 9845756692, E-mail: Kulathakal@yahoo.com
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To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at
http://gopio.net/online_membership.htm or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.
| Chief Editor:
Dr. Thomas Abraham,
Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York, USA)
Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)
Contributors of this issue:
Contributors of this issue: Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO International),
Dr Arnold Thomas (International Coordinator, Caribbean Region), Ena Maraj (Convention Convener), Dr Kumar Mahabir, Dr Jerome Teelucksingh and Shalima Mohammed (Convention PRO)
Harmohan Singh Walia (GOPIO’s Committee on Bylaws, Policies and Procedures, Sydney, Australia), Jagdish Lodhia (President, GOPIO Sydney Southwest, Australia), Ashutosh Raina (PRO – GOPIO Queensland)
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter.
Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: email@example.com.
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter.