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GOPIO NEWS
January 1, 2009
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: VII-14 January 1, 2009
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In This Issue
GOPIO TO RECOGNIZE FIVE WITH COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS
PBD2009 TO ATTRACT 1500 DELEGATES
GOPIO OFFICIALS TO PARTICIPATE IN PBD2009 AS FEATURED SPEAKERS
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
NRIs/PIOs ACHIEVE
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs and PIOs
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
EDITORIAL BOARD
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Chief Editor's Note
 
Since most of the GOPIO rank and file will be in Chennai to attend GOPIO Convention 2009 and PBD 2009, the next issue will be published in February 2009. Thank you for your support of GOPIO to make it a dynamic and vibrant community based organization.
 
We wish you Happy and Prosperous New Year.
 
Thomas Abraham
GOPIO TO RECOGNIZE FIVE WITH COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS
 
The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has scheduled its Convention 2009 in Chennai on January 6th and 7th at the Trident Hotel immediately preceding Pravas Bharatiya Divas 2009. The conference will be formally inaugurated on January 6th at 7.00 pm by Honorable Minister Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs
 
On January 7, 2009, GOPIO has planned an all day conference with a theme,
Critical Issues of Interest and Concern to NRIs and PIOs
 
Specifically, the summit will include the following conference sessions:
 
       NRI/PIO Parents Coping at Home and Abroad
       NRI/PIO Contributions to Homeland Projects
       Business and Investment Challenges and Opportunities in a Global Financial Crisis Scenario
       Current Economic and Non-Economic Issues and Concerns of Confronting NRIs and PIOs
 
Prominent speakers who are quite experienced on the topics will make presentations on the sub-themes, including active audience participation.
 
On January 6th evening, GOPIO will hold it Annual Awards Banquet at 7:00 P.M. at the Trident Hotel with Minister Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs as the chief guest. GOPIO COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS which were established to recognize and honor those NRIs and PIOs who have provided significant community and public service or done philanthropic work for the Indian Diaspora and/or to India will be presented and honored at the banquet.  

In addition to Minister Ravi, other dignitaries at the GOPIO Awards Banquet include Minister G. K. Vasan, Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation, and former Governor and Minister M. M. Jacob who also serves as GOPIO advisor. 
 
Dignitaries at GOPIO Convention 2009 in Chennai
Photo Above: Minister Vayala Ravi, Minister G.K. Vasan and former Governor and Minsiter M.M. Jacob
 
"We at GOPIO feel privileged to recognize some NRIs/PIOs who have contributed significantly to the countries of their adoption as well as to India, and have added a special glitter to the resurgence of India," said Inder Singh, President of GOPIO.
 
Since its inception in 1989, GOPIO has been organizing conferences and conventions in different parts of the world to mobilize the global NRI/PIO community. During the last few years alone, GOPIO has organized ten international conferences. Besides providing a globally recognized platform for dialogue and discussion to the worldwide Indian Diaspora, GOPIO's conferences and conventions continue to help bring the Indian Diaspora closer to mother India and strengthen the inherent bonds between mother India and the globally spread Diaspora. The convention in Chennai on January 6th and 7th, 2009, is another of its continuing efforts to mobilize the global Indian community and facilitate their networking.
 
GOPIO believes that the destiny of the Indian Diaspora, in many ways, is intertwined inextricably with India. The NRIs/PIOs, individually and collectively, certainly have made numerous, significant achievements in their adopted lands but they are bound to India by the umbilical cord of history, culture, heritage, and tradition.
 
GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said, "By honoring those who have worked selflessly for Indian Diaspora causes and India, we are providing exposure of such role models to the next generation." "This will motivate more NRIs and PIOs to volunteer their time for community causes," Dr. Abraham added. 
 
The awardees for this year are Baroness Shreela Flather of UK's House of the Lords , Ambassador Albert Ramdin of Suriname, community activist and leader Chandru Advani of Japan, Assemblyman and Deputy Speaker of New Jersey State AssemblyUpendra Chivukula of USAand Durban Deputy Mayor Loganathan Naidoo of South Africa.

GOPIO Convention 2009 Awardees - 2009 
Photo clockwise from top left: Ambassador Albert Ramdin, Baroness Shreela Flather, Chandru Advani, Loganathan Naidoo and Upendra Chivukula
 
Conference Sponsors

 
Dr. Mani Bhaumik is a physicist, internationally bestselling author, celebrated lecturer, entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. His early contributions to laser technology are exemplified in the development of the excimer laser at the Northrop Corporation Research and Technology Center in Los Angeles. His discovery found extensive use as the type of laser that made possible the immensely popular Lasik eye surgery, eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses in many cases requiring vision correction. Dr. Bhaumik had the opportunity to live and labor with Mahatma Gandhi in his camp. He has a Ph.D in Physics from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) and a Sloan Foundation Fellowship for his post doctoral work at UCLA. He has been elected by his scientific peers to be a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
 
Hirco Group -Building Quality Through Excellence
Hirco Group is India's largest residential builder and leading developer of mixed-use townships for the country's increasingly affluent middle class. Hirco's master planned communities feature modern residences; world-class office parks for Indian and international companies; exciting retail and entertainment destinations; 5-star hotels and convention centres; recreational facilities; schools; hospitals; supermarkets; and restaurants and cafs - all set in an attractive, green environment and developed to the highest standards of global best practice. Hirco currently has 66.4 million square feet in development at our Hiranandani Palace Gardens mixed-use township projects in Chennai in southeast India and Panvel in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
 
For enquiries, contact - US Sales Office: 888-628-4080 Email - us.sales@hirco.com
 
Conference Registration

GOPIO Convention Registration Fee: Rs. 1,000. Waived for those who register prior to December 31, 2008. Prior registration is recommended as total registration will be limited to 150 delegates. Limited number of Jan. 6th banquets only registration available at Rs. 500 per person.
 
To register, send an E-mail to GOPIO Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran at ramsaran@aol.com or call him at 718-353-1900. Registration to attend conference proceedings and lunch on January 7th is FREE. Last minute, on site registration shall be available.
 
The conference in Chennai is coordinated by Conference Chair Americai V. Narayanan, Tel: 91-98410-46342, e-mail: narayanan@icmindia.com and K.N. Gupta, GOPIO-India president K.N. Gupta, Tel: (91) 11-4164-2066/9811131588, e-mail: knguptas@hotmail.com.

Hotel Arrangements

GOPIO has negotiated with Trident Hotel, Chennai, a special rate starting at INR 7750 SGL / INR 8250 DBL + tax inclusive of breakfast and airport transfers by car.  When booking, mention code "GOPIO". Hotel contact: Jaspreet Singh, Director of Sales, Tel. 91 44-22344747, 91 44-22428500 (Direct),  Mobile: 91 9884301102, Fax: 91 44-22344555,  Email: jaspreet.singh@tridenthotels.com,  website: www.tridenthotels.com
 
For more information on GOPIO Convention 2009, please contact: GOPIO President Inder Singh in USA at 818-708-3885, E-mail: gopio-intl@sbcglobal.net or Munish Gupta, Chairman, GOPIO Media Council 91-9818631588 or E-mail at munish@piotv.com or Convention 2009 Chair Americai V. Narayanan, Tel: 91-9841046342, e-mail: narayanan@icmindia.com

GOPIO-CHENNAI TO BE LAUNCHED
 
At the GOPIO Convention in Chennai, GOPIO International will launch its Chennai Chapter. NRIs/PIOs living in and around Chennai who would like to be part of this chapter may contact the Chapter Coordinator V. Narayanan at 91-98410-46342, E-mail: narayanan@icmindia.com.
PBD2009 TO ATTRACT 1500 DELEGATES
 
The 7th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is scheduled to be held at the Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai from 07-09 January 2009. Organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) in partnership with the State Government of Tamil Nadu and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), it would be the first PBD Convention organized in Chennai. Last week, MOIA officials said at a press conference that over 1500 delegates are expected to attend the convention.
 
PBD Conventions provide a platform for exchange of views and networking to the Persons of Indian Origin settled all over the world on matters of common interest. Such Conventions have helped the Government to better understand the expectations of the Overseas Indian Community from the land of their ancestors and acknowledge the important role played by it In India's efforts to acquire its rightful place in the comity of nations.
 
Among the decisions taken by the Government of India as a result of wider consultations held at these Conventions, are formulation of the Overseas Citizenship of India, establishment of Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, Conceptualisation of PIO University, formation of Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin, and the proposed India Development Foundation. A series of Programs e.g. Know India Program and Scholarship Program for Diaspora Children are also designed specifically for Diaspora youth.
 
Among other things, the 7th PBD Convention would have sessions on the preservation of Diaspora language and culture and the importance of Diaspora as facilitators and bridge builders. The highlights of PBD 2009 include an Exhibition on Trade & Industry, live demonstrations by craftsmen, cultural evenings and post convention tours.
 
The Convention would be inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India on 8th January. The President of India would deliver the valedictory address and also confer Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards for 2009 on 9th January. 
 
REGISTRATION
  
The online Registration for PBD-2009 is open through the website www.pbdindia.org or go directly to the registration page To register, visit: http://www.pbdindia.org/registration/registration.aspx. Early registration discount has been extended till December 31st, 2008.
 
Contact: N. Balasubramaniyan, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, Akbar Bhawan, Chankyapuri, New Delhi - 110021, Tel: + 91-11-24197910, Fax: + 91-11-24197942, Website: www.moia.gov.in or Madhu Pillai, Director, Confederation of Indian Industry, The Mantosh Sondhi Centre, 23, Institutional Area, Lodi Road, New Delhi - 110003, Tel: + 91-11-24629994 - 7, Fax: + 91-11-24601298, Email: pbd2009@ciionline.org.

GOPIO OFFICIALS TO PARTICIPATE IN PBD2009 AS FEATURED SPEAKERS
 
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas PBD 2009 being held in Chennai on Jan 8 -9, 2009 features prominent GOPIO persons as speakers.
 
GOPIO International Chairman Dr Thomas Abraham is a featured speaker at the Regional Working Session, United States of America.
 
GOPIO International President Inder Singh is a panelist in the breakout session, Building Bridges: Diaspora Philanthropy
 
GOPIO International Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran is Chairperson of Working Session "Caribbean" on Jan 9, 2009. Speakers at this session include Amb Albert Ramdin (Suriname); Dr Prem Misir (Guyana); Dr. Philomena Ann Mohini Harris (Barbados); Anand Ramlogan (Trinidad & Tobago). Shri G. K. Vasan, Minister of State for Statistics & Programme Implementation is the Chief Guest.
 
Prof Mohan Gautam, Co-Chairperson of GOPIO's Academy Council is also scheduled to be a speaker at a PBD2009 session. Other featured speakers from GOPIO are GOPIO Executive Vice President Lord Diljit Rana, GOPIO's former Chairman Ram Lakhina and GOPIO European Coordinator Raj Loomba.

GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS

 

 
GOPIO T&T CALLS FOR URGENT GOVERNMENT ACTION TO DEAL WITH FELICITY LEUKEMIA OUTBREAK
 
GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago is calling for immediate action by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to help the victims of leukemia in Felicity, Chaguanas. The President of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Deosaran Bisnath,  is urging the government to set up a Committee to deal with the leukemia outbreak in Lyle Lane, Felicity where one child has died and three others have contracted this dangerous disease.
 
Mr. Bisnath has suggested that members of the Committee should include representatives from the University of the West Indies, the Ministries of Health, Education, and Social Development, and the private sector, and that the Committee should be mandated, as a matter of urgency, to investigate the possible cause(s) of this disease and provide recommendations to treat current and future victims.
 
Mr. Bisnath is requesting the Government to act immediately since it is possible more children, and possibly adults, may have already contracted the disease or will be affected in the near future if the cause or source of this leukemia outbreak is not discovered as soon as possible. If the relevant skills and expertise to handle this situation are not available locally, Mr. Bisnath is exhorting the Government to obtain foreign expertise to help in identifying cause(s) and providing solutions.
 
Furthermore, Mr. Bisnath is calling upon the Government to provide immediate assistance to the victims and their families and friends, particularly those who need counseling and financial help to cover medical expenses.  
 
GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago is reiterating the need for immediate Government action in order to minimize the possibility of further fatalities and occurrence of additional cases of leukemia at Lyle Lane Street and adjacent areas in Felicity. The Government is obligated to move swiftly to help the citizens of this community who are in immediate danger and need help urgently.
 
Contact: Deosaran Bisnath, President, GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago, E-mail: GopioTT@gmail.com
 
GOPIO-NORWAY CELEBRATES FIFTH ANNIVERSARY
 
GOPIO-Norway celebrated its fifth anniversary in November 2008.  GOPIO-Norway Founder President Mohan Singh Varma welcomed the members and guests including Indian Ambassador Banbit Roy and Head of the Chancellery Shrilanji. Many organization head and community leaders participated including the president of Oslo Gurudwara Sahib Gurudyal Singh, Shanti Doo Editor Amit Joshi, Editor of Speil Suresh Shukla, Triveni Editor Kailash Rai. Varma emphasized GOPIO's role within the community living in world's highest pr capita country and stressed further cooperation with the Indian Diaspora.
 
GOPIO-Norway President Balwinder Jossan thanked Ambassador Roy for his leadership, dedication and commitment in initiating excellent triangle cop-operation between Norway, India and its Diaspora in Norway.  He also thanked Rajesh Bhatnagar, a very high ranking personal from  TINE (the main sponsor of the event) for his organizational co-operation and the pre-planned famous factory tour, in which all the participant of the event took part preceding the event.

GOPIO-Norway Celebrates Fifth Anniversary in Oslo 
Photo above: GOPIO-Norway members and Oslo community leaders with Ambassador Banbit Roy at the Oslo Celebration
 
Ambassador Roy in his remarks praised the GOPIO-Norway's efforts to maintain  good relation between Indian Embassy Oslo and the Indian Diaspora In Norway.

At the interactive session followed, there have been great demand from the participants to hold  GOPIO's international conference in Oslo in near future.
 
Contact: Mohan Singh Varma or Balwinder Jossan, Email: gopio.norway@yahoo.no

NRIs/PIOs ACHIEVE
  
GOPIO-IRELAND PRESIDENT RECEIVES CHEMCIAL INDUSTRY'S LAMPITT MEDAL
 
GOPIO Ireland President Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni was presented the prestigious Lampitt Medal in recognition of his service to the UK based 125 year old International Society of Chemical Industry (SCI).  The Award was presented at black tie Dinner held in Society's head quarters in Belgrave Square in London on October 30th, 2008.
 
The SCI was founded in 1881 to advance scientific knowledge to the general Public (www.soci.org ). Several leading people of that period, from Britain and former British Empire, including J. R.D. Tata of India, were involved in foundation of the Society of Chemical Industry. The Society has over 5000 members in 105 countries and very active sections in USA, Canada, Australia and India.

GOPIO-Ireland President Prabhu Kulkarni receives Lampitt Medal 
Dr. Kulkarni receives Lampitt Medal from the President of International Society of Chemical Industry
 
The Lampitt Medal was established in 1956 to commemorate the SCI President in 1940 and the first medal awarded in 1958. It is given annually in recognition of outstanding service by a member to the Society towards achieving the aims and objectives.  Prabhu is first person o Indian Origin to receive this Award.
 
Dr. Kulkarni has held several positions in the SCI including present as a Member of the Board of Trustees and Chairman, Health and Safety Group. Previous posts have included, member of the Environment Group, Executive Committee, Publication Committee and the Council. He was Secretary, Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Irish section over the period 1983-1991. Prabhu was awarded the SCI Distinguished Service Medal in 2004.
 
It is the first time the Lampitt Medal has been awarded to the Republic of Ireland Branch member.
 
DR. PRAKASH NARAIN ELECTED AS MAYOR PRO-TEM IN CYPRESS CITY IN CALIFORNIA
 
Cypress, a city of 50,000 people in Orange County, Southern California elected Dr. Prakash Narain M.D and Doug Bailey as Mayor Pro-Tem and Mayor respectively on December 8, 2008.
 
The city of Cypress is 65% Caucasian and 21% Asian with only 0.2% South Asians.
 
Dr. Narain is a physician by profession and has been actively involved in the community, which led him to win a seat on the city council on his first attempt. He is currently chairman of the governing Board of Directors of Los Alamitos Medical Center in Los Alamitos, California.
Dr. Narain is originally from Bihar, India and immigrated to the United States in 1980.He is married with two children and has been living in Cypress for the past 21 years. For more information on Dr. Prakash Narain, see the city of Cypress website at www.ci.cypress.ca.us
 
INDIAN AMERICAN STUDENTS BAG BIG AWARDS AT SIEMENS SCIENCE COMPETITION
 
The winners of 2008-09 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology were announced on December 8th. The nation's brightest minds and the innovators of tomorrow bravely took on groundbreaking research of life-threatening infections and deadly side effects of chemotherapeutics. As a result, Wen Chyan and the team of Sajith M. Wickramasekara and Andrew Y. Guo were named $100,000 Grand Prize winners in the 2008 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. The prestigious Siemens Competition, a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College Board. The tenth annual awards were presented at New York University, host of the Siemens Competition National Finals.
 
Wen Chyan, a senior at Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science in Denton, Texas, won the $100,000 scholarship in the individual category for chemistry research on combating hospital-related infections. Sajith M. Wickramasekara and Andrew Y. Guo, both seniors at North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, North Carolina, won the $100,000 prize in the team category, which they will share equally, for genetics research of chemotherapy.  
 
Sajith Wickramasekara and Andrew Guo won the team category and will share a $100,000 scholarship for their genetics research that has the potential to easily identify new chemotherapeutic drugs and greatly improve existing ones. Their project is entitled, A Functional Genomic Framework for Chemotherapeutic Drug Improvement and Identification.
 
"Mr. Wickramasekara and Mr. Guo used a modern way of screening for drugs with yeast to address an important problem regarding the limitations of chemotherapy including resistance, toxicity and discrimination," said Dr. Jeffrey Pollard, Louis Goldstein Swan Chair in Women's Cancer Research, Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a competition judge. "The project required a very large amount of work, organization, and discipline to obtain and then fully verify these results, which the team did in three ways. Sophisticated, innovative bioinformatics also enabled them to identify new therapeutic targets and potential drugs. Not only is this a process currently done by many large pharmaceutical companies, with much more resources, but my own graduate students have done similar work for their graduate theses."
 
Mr. Wickramasekara is the team leader and heard about the Siemens Competition in 2006 when seniors from his high school were selected as Regional Finalists. Mr. Wickramasekara is Captain of his school's Science Bowl and has participated in various science competitions including the 2008 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the North Carolina State Science and Engineering Fair as well as the North Carolina Junior Science Humanities Symposium. He is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and dreams of one day owning his own biotech startup, specializing in personalized medicine.
 
Both team members co-founded the Student Journal of Research of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics; they both serve as Editors of the publication. Additionally, Mr. Wickramasekara and Mr. Guo were recently named 2009 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists.
 
The national finals were judged by a panel of nationally renowned scientists and mathematicians headed by lead judge Dr. Joseph Taylor, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Princeton University. Eighteen national finalists competed in this year's national finals, including six individuals and six teams. The finalists previously competed at one of six regional competitions held at leading research universities throughout the month of November.
 
Other Indian American national winners of the 2008-09 Siemens Competition include the following high school students:
 
-- $40,000 scholarship - Nityan Nair, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
-- $20,000 scholarship - Ashok Cutkosky, Columbia, Missouri
 
FOUR INDIAN AMERICANS RECEIVE MARSHALL SCHOLARSHIPS
 
Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission has announced the winners of the 2009 Marshall Scholarships chosen by the eight regional committees. These were confirmed at the meeting of the Ambassador's Advisory Council on 8 December 2008. Four Indian Americans have been selected to Marshal Scholarship for 2008.
 
The scholarships were founded by an Act of British Parliament in 1953 and commemorate the humane ideals of the European Recovery Programme (Marshall Plan). They are funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and administered by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission in the UK (for which the Association of Commonwealth Universities provides the Secretariat). The selection process in the US is managed by the British Council, on behalf of the British Embassy in Washington DC, and the regional Consulates-General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco
 
Among the forty recipients this year, the following are the Indian American winners, with their current affiliation, the school they plant to join in UK and the field they plan to pursue.
 
Dhananjay Jagannathan - University of Texas - Austin
University of Oxford, Ancient Philosophy
 
Rishi Mediratta - Johns Hopkins University
School of Oriental and African Studies, Medical Anthropology
 
Sheela Ramesh - Carnegie Mellon University
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Opera Studies
 
Anjali Tripathi - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Cambridge, Astronomy
 
INDIAN AMERICAN TO CONDUCT CHARITY CONCERT AT CARNEGIE HALL TO BENEFIT CHILDREN OF AIDS
 
George Mathew, a Singapore-born Indian-American conductor of Western classical music, will be back on stage to use his talents and to benefit charities. Three times in four years, he has used his talents and connections to help worthy causes. On Jan. 23, 2006, he organized and conducted "Beethoven's Ninth for South Asia" - a major Carnegie Hall fundraiser for the 2005 Kashmir quake. On Jan. 22, 2007, he organized and conducted "Requiem for Dafur," Another Carnegie Hall concert, this time for the victims of the awful atrocities in Darfur.
 
On Monday, Jan. 12, 2009, Mathew is back with the biggest of his charity concerts. "Mahler for the Children of AIDS," at Carnegie Hall, will, "raise funds and public awareness for pediatric AIDS and the Prevention-of-Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV worldwide but especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The evening will serve as a memorial for the millions of mothers and children who have lost their lives, a tribute to the resilience of the survivors, and an urgent call for help to the global community.
 
The performance, organized and led by Mathew, will feature some of the finest orchestral musicians from every continent, which include principal artists from: the New York Philharmonic; The MET Orchestra; The Philadelphia Orchestra; Orchestra of St. Luke's; Buffalo Philharmonic; Minnesota Orchestra; Brooklyn Philharmonic; Emerson String Quartet; students, graduates and faculty of The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music; and other major international orchestras and ensembles.
 
Mahler for the Children of AIDS is presented by Catholic Medical Mission Board (www.cmmb.org), a leader in the global HIV/AIDS and humanitarian health care arena.
George Mathew graduated in 2003 from Manhattan School of Music with the Postgraduate Diploma in Conducting after studies under Czech conductor Zdenek Macal and George Manahan.  Mr. Mathew served on the conducting staff at the Manhattan School of Music from 2003 - 2006, and has been assistant conductor for the Brooklyn Philharmonic since January 2007.

CHANDERPAUL COPS THE "CRICKETER-OF-THE-YEAR" AWARD AGAIN!
 
Guyana's internationally-acclaimed prolific middle order batsman Shivnarine 'Tiger' Chanderpaul carted off the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) "Cricketer of the Year" award for the second consecutive year. Chanderpaul, a third generation PIO who played for the West Indies and Durham, was recognized for his outstanding contribution to world cricket at the GCB 2008 Annual Awards ceremony at the Umana Yana

NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
 
SIKH INAUGURAL BALL TO BE HELD IN WASHINGTON
 
A Sikh and Indian American inaugural ball will be held for the first time in Washington, DC to celebrate the presidential inauguration on January 20th, 2008 from 7 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Ascot, I-The Indian Experience Restaurant in downtown Washington, DC, just a few blocks from the White House. It is being organized by Sikh Community Center in Washington, SC. Visit http://www.sikhinauguralball.com/ for more details.
 
KERALA OFFERS LAND TO NRIs TO START INDUSTRIES
 
Kerala will offer industry-specific land to prospective non-resident Indian (NRI) investors, an official statement recently. According to the scheme, land developed by government agencies like Kerala Industrial Development Corp (KSIDC), Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corp (Kinfra) and Directorate of Industries and Commerce (DIC) will be made available to prospective NRIs.
 
KSIDC has released a long list of available land for the NRIs. Interested NRI, entrepreneurs or firms based in the Middle East can apply online by logging on to www.ksidcinvest.org.
 
All the details of the available land, including the price, were provided on the website and those interested can choose the desired location and submit applications online by Jan 31, 2009.
 
Kerala now has over two million of its people settled abroad, with close to 90 percent of them working in the Middle East. Over the years, the remittances made by them have kept the state economy afloat.
 
In the last fiscal, Kerala received Rs.245.25 billion in remittances - about 20 percent of the state's net state domestic product and 30 percent more than the state's annual receipts.
 
CANADA RATED AS THE MOST WELCOMING NATION FOR IMMIGRANTS
 
According to a survey done by Forbes magazine (February and April 2008), 95 percent of the immigrant respondents surveyed said they were able to befriend locals in Canada, followed by Germany.A federation comprising 10 provinces and three territories, Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The Indo-Canadians constitute the fastest growing ethnic group in Canada, with its population reaching as much as one million in 2008.
 
INDIANS CONSTITUTE THE LARGEST RECIPIENTS OF UK CITIZENSHIP IN 2006
 
In view of rising incidents of Indian brides being deserted by their NRI husbands, the Government of India has decided to shortly put in place a system of uniform marriage registration process to curb the practice that has ruined the lives of thousands of women. The registration form is being introduced to easily track overseas grooms who desert their wives and for initiating legal action against them. It will be applicable for marriages registered across the country under any of the three marriage registration acts.
 
According to figues released by Eurostat, EU's statistics body, more foreigners were granted citizenship in Britain than in any other European Union country in 2006. Of the 154,000 foreign nationals granted British citizenship in 2006, Indians accounted for 15,125, largest from Asia. Pakistan nationals granted British citizenship numbered 10,260. Only a fraction of new Britons came from other EU states.
 
According to a research based organization, foreigners coming to Britain will account for the bulk of the increase in population, which is expected to rise from 60 million this year to 67 million in 2031. However, it is very likely that thousands of high-net worth people of Indian and other foreign origin will quit Britain following UK policy to levy tax on people with non-domicile status. About 42% of South Asian high-net worth individuals considered nondomicile in the UK are preparing to leave once the change takes effect.
 
AN AMERICAN IN GANDHI'S INDIA PUBLISHED
 
 "AnAmerican in Gandhi's India. The Biography of SatyanandStokes,"   was published recently by Indiana University Press. It has a Foreword by the Dalai Lama and advance comments by Rajmohan Gandhi and Dr. Shashi Tharoor.
 
The book is the life story of an American, Samuel Evans Stokes who went to India in the early part of the  last century and left an indelible impact on the social and economic life.of the people among whom he settled. Often called the Johnny Appleseed of India, Stokes is a legendry figure in North India.He brought the American delicious apples to India all the way from Pennsylvania in 1916, distributed free saplings to poor local farmers and helped them grow and nurture them thereby transforming the entire economy of the Western Himalayas. And even today Himachal with its flourishing horticulture-based economy, acknowledges Stokes contribution to its remarkable progress. 
  
A scion of a distinguished family of Philadelphia, Stokes, went to India in 1904 at the age of 21 to work in a leper home in Subatu in the Himalayan foothills. During the following years he worked in the devastated Kangra earthquake of 1905, in smallpox camps and in cholera infested villages. He also started a Franciscan Order, "The Brotherhood of Imitation of Jesus."
 
He finally settled in Kotgarh, a village deep in the Himalayas beyond Simla, and spent his life in fighting against social injustices and working for the economic uplift of the local people. The 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in the Punjab drew Stokes into India's struggle for freedom from the British. He became a close associate of Gandhi and actively participated in the non-cooperation movement and was a member of the decision-making All India Congress Committee.
 
In 1921, he was arrested along with other national leaders, refused to defend himself and was sentenced by the British to six-month imprisonment. He was the only American who went to jail for his role in India's freedom struggle and led Gandhi to remark," As long as we have an Andrews, a  Stokes, a Pearson in our midst, so long it will be ungentlemanly on our part to wish every Englishman out of India."
 
The book was first published in India in 1999 by Penguin Books under the title, "An American in Khadi." It was received very well and there were several reviews in the Indian Press by eminent journalists and authors.
 
The book was a landmark for while Stokes' name continued to be associated with the prosperity of the hill regions, little was known of his other contributions to India.

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 (visit http://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 President - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: 818-708-3885, E-mail: gopio-intl@sbcglobal.net

GOPIO Executive Vice President - Lord Daljit Rana, UK, Tel:  +44 28-9807-8787, Email: dsrana@andrashouse.co.uk

GOPIO Secretary General - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail: ramsaran@aol.com

 

To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit http://www.gopio.net/membership_form.htm, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.

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EDITORIAL BOARD

 

Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO General Secretary (New York, USA); and Munish Gupta, GOPIO Media Chair (Los Angeles, Calif)

Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (USA), Deosaran Bisnath (Trinidad & Tobago), Bina Mahabir (USA), Deni Thomas (USA), Mohan Singh Varma (Norway), Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni (Ireland)
 
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: gopio@optonline.net.

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Visit GOPIO's Official site at www.gopio.net or www.gopio.com