March 25, 2009A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
||March 25, 2009
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MOIA AND OIFC DELEGATIONS VISIT USA TO PROMOTE TWO NEW GOI INITIATIVES
MOIA Secretary K. Mohandas, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, headed a delegation to visit New York, San Francisco and Houston to meet Indian American community leaders and other key people in the community to interact with them on the two new initiatives from Govt. of India. The two initiatives are Global Indian Network of Knowledge (Global-INK) and India Development Foundation (IDF) for Overseas Indians. The delegation included OIFC CEO Harmit Singh Sethi: Ms. Preeti Basil of Tata Consultants and Mr. P. Kishore of Everon Systems India Limited, the later two providing support services to the new initiatives.
The meetings were organized at the Indian Consulate in New York on March 8th and at the Indian Community Center in the Silicon Valley on March 11th and O.P. Jindal India House in Houston on March 13th. Mr. Mohandas spoke on the new initiatives in each of these cities. Dr. Thomas Abraham, an OIFC trustee also spoke in New York and Houston meetings. The meetings were highly interactive where the audience brought attention to the delegation several issues of interest to NRIs/PIOs in these meetings.
GOPIO ENGAGES MOIA DELEGATION IN NEW YORK AND SAN FRANCISCO
GOPIO hosted a delegation from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and Overseas Indian Facilitation Center (OIFC) on Monday, March 9th with a luncheon meeting at the Bombay Palace Restaurant in New York city.
The interactive session attended by over 60 community representatives was chaired and moderated by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO. In his welcome remarks, Dr. Abraham said that the overseas Indian community welcomes the new initiative announced by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the last Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and that if implemented India can leapfrog into the next generation technologies as well as help in India's development especially to uplift the lowest strata of the society. He called upon the community to interact with MOIA and OIFC in these two initiatives.
Photo above - From L. to R.: GOPIO-New York President Lal Motwani, Secretary K. Mohandas, India's Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and GOPIO Academic Council Chairman Dr. Jagat Motwani
The Indian Consulate was represented by Consul General Prabhu Dayal, Deputy Consul General Dr. Ajay Gondane and Consul for Visa & Passport and Community Affairs Mr. P.S. Sasi Kumar. In his address, Consul General Dayal said that the government of India wants to engage the community and Indian Consulate is reaching out to the community for its participation in the new initiatives.
Secretary Mohandas said that the government of India gives great importance to the views and involvement of overseas Indian community in India's development. The government has accorded several demands of the overseas Indian community including the PIO Card, Overseas Indian Citizenship and recently announced decision to allow overseas Indian professional practitioners to practice in India.
"Three new initiatives, OIFC, Global-INK and IDF, have been launched to involve overseas Indians to engage the overseas Indian community," said Secretary Das. "We need your participation in successfully implementing these initiatives to benefit our nation," Mohandas added.
GOPIO chapter in Northern California, headed by Jeevan Zutshi organized a luncheon reception for the MOIA delegation. GOPIO International President Inder Singh specially went from Southern California to the event which was facilitated by Consul Ashok Sinha of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.
|GOPIO-CT TO HONOR THREE AT ITS AWARDS BANQUET
When GOPIO-Connecticut celebrates its third anniversary at the Italian Center of Stamford, two Indian Americans and Stamford mayor will be honored by the organization for their outstanding achievements and contributions at an Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 26, 2009 starting at 5:00 p.m.
They are: Dr.Priyamvada Natarajan, Associate Professor at Yale University for her accomplishments and contributions to astro-physics, Dr. Ajay Kapur, Director of Music Technology at California Institute of the Arts for his accomplishment as "Young Person of the Year" and Mayor Dan Malloy of Stamford who will be inducted by the organization as "Friend of GOPIO".
The evening's program will include a cocktail reception, awards ceremony, entertainment by local performers, dinner, dance and music.
Photo Above: Award recipients, from L. to R.: Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, Dr. Ajay Kapur and Mayor Dan Malloy
Over the last three years, GOPIO-CT has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, as well as health awareness workshops.
Sangeeta Ahuja the chapter's president said "We at GOPIO-CT salute the awardees of 2009. They have enriched our lives and the community we live in with their dedication, contributions and the passion for what they do and have accomplished." Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan
- Indian American Achiever Award - Priya Natarajan is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. Her recent discovery with a collaborator of the existence of an upper mass limit for black holes in the Universe has opened up new ways to constrain the mass growth history of black holes and has important consequences for galaxy formation. She was awarded the Radcliffe fellowship for 2008-09. Priya completed her undergraduate education at MIT and was also a graduate student there in the Program in Science, Technology and Society. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge (England) in theoretical astrophysics. She was elected a fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale in 2006-2007 and was recently admitted as a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Mayor Dan Malloy
- Friend of GOPIO Award - In 2005, Dannel P. Malloy was elected to his fourth term as Mayor of Stamford, Connecticut. Mayor Malloy is the longest serving mayor in the history of Stamford. Throughout his tenure, he has earned people's respect for his genuine commitment to managing a city government that takes great pride in the citizens it serves and protects. Mayor Dannel has been a agreat supporter of diversity and has been a friend all ethnic groups in Stamford. Every year, Mayor Malloy raises the Indian flag in front of Mayor's office to celebrate India's Independence Day. Dr. Ajay Kapur
- Young Person of the Year Award - Ajay Kapur is the Director of Music Technology at California Institute of the Arts as well as a Professor of Sonic Arts at the New Zealand School of Music. While juggling two academic positions, he also finds time to lead his Multimedia Consulting Company, KarmetiK, designing custom technology solutions for the entertainment industry. He received an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in 2007 from University of Victoria combining Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Music and Psychology with a focus on Intelligent Music and Media Technology. While growing up in New Canaan, CT, Ajay was always a musician at heart. His work revolves around one question: "How do you make a computer improvise with a human?" Using the rules set forth by Indian classical tradition, Ajay has strived to build new interfaces for musical expression by modifying the tabla, dholak and sitar with added micro chips and sensor systems, while building robotic musical instruments which can be programmed to perform along with the human performer.
This award is sponsored by Mr. Sameer Ahuja - recipient of GOPIO-CT 2008 Young Person of the Year Award.
For more information and tickets, contact: Sangeeta Ahuja (203) 329-9744 or visit www.gopio-ct.org or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
|GOPIO ORGANIZES MEETING WITH HIGH COMMISSIONER MALAY MISHRA FOR TRINIDADIANS IN NEW YORK
An Indian American Task Force comprising of nine organizations (NFIA, USINPAC, IAFPE, IAFF, GOPIO, IAFPAC, USIF, AIA, NCINPAC) descended to Washington DC on January 27, 2009. There were more than 175 people coming from all across the United States converge to the Capital Hill to advocate a strong action on the part of US Congress to help eliminate all terrorist activities in the world. The brutal attack by terrorists on Mumbai on January 26, 2007 prompted the formation of this Task Force.
GOPIO International organized and hosted a group of New York-based Trinidadians on Sunday, February 28, 2009 at a luncheon for the new Indian High Commissioner to T&T, Ambassador Malay Mishra, in Queens, New York. High Commissioner Mishra stopped in New York en route to Trinidad and Tobago. He is expected to arrive in Port of Spain today to take up official duties tomorrow.
Organized by GOPIO International's Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran, the luncheon was attended by leaders of several organizations in the T&T community in New York, USA "to meet and greet the new Hich Commissioner and establish a rapport with him as well as to offer their inputs on how to better relations between T&T and India. Deo Gosine, a New York based engineer from Penal, Trinidad, chaired the event and welcomed the Ambassador on behalf of the community. Photo above - High Commissioner Malay Mishra being greeted in New York by Trinidadians
Ambassador Mishra is a career diplomat who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1979. He served at Indian Missions overseas in France, Senegal, Mauritius, USA, Iran, Germany and Seychelles in different capacities before returning to Delhi headquarters in June 2004. In his brief remarks, he said he was familiar with T&T, having visited previously, and that he had also traveled to St. Vincent, Suriname and Guyana.
He said he was honored to be among Trinidadians in NY and was looking forward to taking up his posting. "I am happy with the appointment," he said.
Ambassador Mishra said his primary task in T&T would be to work on policies that would benefit both T&T and India. He said he was interested in expanding trade which was currently of a small volume. India has a lot to offer T&T in the fields of technology, industries, pharmacy, and agriculture, he said. Ambassador Mishra also said that a trade delegation from India will visit Trinidad in June.
|GOPIO METRO DC CO-SPONSORS WELCOME RECEPTION FOR DCM ARUN K. SINGH
GOPIO Metro-Washington together with other major area Indian-American Organizations hosted a reception for Ambassador Arun Kumar Singh, the newly appointed Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the Embassy of India, Washington DC. Ambassador Singh comes to US from Israel where he was India's ambassador.
The event held on January 25 at the Indian Experience restaurant in Washington DC was attended by over 160 people. Former Ambassador Dr. Har Swarup Singh coordinated the program. Dr. Renuka Misra, GOPIO Metro-DC President, in her welcome remarks, appraised the audience with the activities of GOPIO-International and GOPIO Metro-DC. Dr. Misra informed that the GOPIO Metro-DC has in recent past hosted receptions for top Indian dignitaries including former President, late Dr. K.R. Narayanan, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vaylar Ravi, fund raising dinner/seminar for the Hyderabad based Thakur Hari Prasad Institute (THPI) for the Mentally Handicapped and felicitations for Indian American Political Appointees in the Montgomery county government, Maryland.
Photo above - Welcome reception for DCM Arun K. Singh, FRom L. to R.: Sunny Wycliffe, Dr. Ram Singh, Alka Batra, Dr. Renuka Misra and Gisela Ghani. Behind, from left: Dr. Sambhu N Banik, Dr. Om Sharma, Dr. Har Swarup Singh, Kaleem Kawaja, Satish Gupta, Ambassador Arun K. Singh, Sanjay Sinha, (Minister of Community Affairs), Dr. Rajan Anand, Kumar Singh, Sunil Singh, Dr. Parthasarathy Pillai and Benoy Thomas
Other Indian American leaders representing various area organizations including Kumar Singh (ICCC); Arvind Solanki (RANA); Dr. Rajen Anand & Parthasarathy Pillai (NFIA); Ravi Sakhuja (IAFPE-National, Boston) Kaleem Kawaza (AIM); Sunny Wycliffe (FOKANA): Benny Thomas (KAGWA); Alka Batra (Chetna); and Sunil Singh (NCAIA) spoke briefly to welcome Ambassador Singh.
Ambassador Singh expressed his strong desire to work closely with the Indian Community in Metro-DC area in improving US-India bilateral relations, trade and cultural activities between the two largest democracies. "There is a certain pride in what you have achieved in this country", added Singh. He said the community has played a very important role in consolidating the US-India relationship and India recognized the community's contribution to the US -India Civil Nuclear deal.
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO OCEANIA ASSISTS IN FIJI FLOOD RELIEF
GOPIO Oceania headed by Regional Vice President Noel Lal organized a cash drive and distributed funds to the victims of floods that ravaged parts of Fiji in early January, 2009. The relief funds were raised by GOPIO Sydney, individuals and other well wisher in Melbourne, Australia. Organizations from around Australia, New Zealand and Fiji collected clothing, food and school stationary and distributed it to the victims.
GOPIO SYDNEY CHAPTERS ORGANIZE DINNER NIGHT WITH INDIAN WOMEN CRICKET TEAM
Noel Lal said that "those most affected by the floods need cash assistance to purchase things that were not being donated. We delayed the hand outs so as to not clash with other donations being handed out. I could see some of the people had gone through uttermost hard times yet were cheerful and thankful for the support given to them. We are grateful to all those who contributed to this relief effort" The assistance were distributed to Fijians and Indo-Fijians in Lovu Seaside in Lautoka; Talayia, Nasolo and Varoko in Ba.
GOPIO SPONSORS EVENT FOR NEW YORK CITY IMMIGRANT HERITAGE WEEK 2009
GOPIO continues its annual support of New York City Immigrant Heritage Week by initiating and sponsoring a dynamic day-long event on Saturday, April 18, 2009 in Queens, New York. The event theme is: The Continuing Legacy of Latin American & Caribbean Immigrants to New York City. It is being held at the campus of St John's University whose Center for Caribbean & Latin American Studies (CLACS) is a sponsoring partner with GOPIO for this annual event recognizing the importance of the contributions of immigrants to the city's vibrancy and successes.
The event includes symposium, displays, exhibits, art, music, foods and performances to highlight the many contributions of Caribbean and Latin American immigrants to add to the fabric of New York City.
Contact: Satruhan Sukdeo, President of GOPIO Upper New York at email@example.com
GOPIO NEW ZEALAND TO HOLD FREE DIABETES CHECK UP AND SERVICES
GOPIO New Zealand has set to organize its first Diabetes Awareness Project for members of our Indian Community in Greater Auckland area.. It will be held on Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 from 10.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. at the MT Roskill Medical & Surgery Centre, 445 Richardson Road, Mt Roskill, Auckland. Dr. Rajiv Sood and his staff will be in attendance to provide services, which include check up on blood pressure, blood sugar and advice on diet, exercise and healthy living.
Contact: Harish Bajaj, President, GOPIO New Zealand, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]
GOPIO organized a dinner night to meet the visiting members of the Indian Women Cricket Team at Parramatta. The evening event was attended by several Indian dignitaries including Mr. Gautam Roy Consul, Indian Consulate in Sydney, representatives and presidents of Indian organizations --, VHP, BVB, UIA, FAIA and others from the local Indian community, members of the press/media and many GOPIO members and their guests.
GOPIO Regional Vice President Mr Noel Lal thanked the team for attending the function. GOPIO National Coordinator Mr Amarinder Bajwa, Chapter Presidents Mr. Harmohan Singh Walia, Dr Rohitas Batta and Mr Jagdish Lodhia joined hands together to make the evening a huge success. The team liaison for GOPIO was done by Mr Amit Pall for the night.
GOPIO NEW ZEALND TAKES UP ISSUES OF HARRASSMENT OF INDIAN STUDENTS
Some time back, there was media report that some Indian students in Invercargill, New Zealand faced racial abuse. GOPIO New Zealand President Harish Bajaj promptly followed up the issue with the Race Relations Commissioner of New Zealand.
In a letter to Harish, the commissioner has informed that harassment of this nature is a criminal offence and an investigation into this incident is the responsibility of the Police. He also informed that after 9/11, Sikh taxi-drivers and Sikh men wearing turbans were mistaken for Muslims and subjected to harassment. However, Police has changed their procedures and also allowed Sikh policemen to wear turbans on duty. Several universities which enroll international students have launched a Safer Students campaign. Students are encouraged to report harassment incidents and choose to have them followed up through the partner organizations. The Race Relations Commissioner has offered to participate in a meeting with the local mayor, university people and head of the Police in Invercargill to address student safety and racial harassment in the same way as he has already been done in other university towns.
PRESIDENT OBAMA NAMES VIVEK KUNDRA CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
Indian American Vivek Kundra is the new Federal Chief Information Officer. Appointed by President Obama, directs the policy and strategic planning of federal information technology investments and is responsible for oversight of federal technology spending. The Federal CIO establishes and oversees enterprise architecture to ensure system interoperability and information sharing and ensure information security and privacy across the federal government. The CIO will also work closely with the Chief Technology Officer to advance the President's technology agenda.
President Obama said, "Vivek Kundra brings a depth of experience in the technology arena and a commitment to lowering the cost of government operations to this position. I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations. As Chief Information Officer, he will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible."
Vivek Kundra formerly served in Mayor Fenty's cabinet as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia, responsible for technology operations and strategy for 86 agencies. He has been recognized among the top 25 CTO's in the country and as the 2008 IT Executive of the Year for his pioneering work to drive transparency, engage citizens and lower the cost of government operations.
COLUMBIA PROFESSOR SOMASUNDARAN HONORED AT DENVER SYMPOSIUM
Columbia University professor Dr. P. Somasundaran was honored at the 2009 Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Annual Meeting from February 22-25 held in Denver, Colorado through the Symposium "Innovations in Minerals Research, Operations and Education for Sustainable Development." Scientists from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Mexico, India, Spain, France, S. Africa, Turkey, New Zealand, USA etc. presented papers that covered the topics of: fundamental research, applied research, and plant practice in mineral resource recovery and processing during the 8 sessions. All papers focusED on sustainability. The response was so overwhelming that the organization had to adopt the strategy of parallel sessions, unusual for a symposium honoring a person. Professor Somasundaran was further honored with an award by SME during the luncheon on February 25. While presenting the award, SME's Mineral processing Division (MPD) Chair Prof. Jon J. Keller said, "Professor Somasundaran is recognized as an international statesman in our field and his technical accomplishments are unparalleled, particularly his contributions to the fundamental understanding of flotation and colloid chemistry."
The award plaque read, "On behalf of Dr. Ponisseril Somasundaran's colleagues and students, the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration presents this honor, in recognition of his life-long dedication and achievement in mineral process engineering and education of generations of the world's finest engineers."
Professor P. Somasundaran received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, a Bachelor of Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, and a Bachelor of Science from Kerala University. Professor Somasundaran was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, the highest distinction an engineer could receive at that time. In 2006, Professor Somasundaran was awarded the AIME Mineral Industry Education Award. In 2007 he received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement and Commitment to Excellence from the Columbia Alumni Association and the Asian Columbia Alumni Association. Also in 2007, he received the Engineer of the Year Award from the MEANA.
Professor Somasundaran is the author/editor of 21 books and close to 600 scientific papers and patents. He is the honorary Editor-in-Chief of the international journal "Colloids and Surfaces," and editor of the "Encyclopedia of Surface and Colloid Science.". He is currently the co-chair of the 13th International Conference on Surface and Colloids Science, to be held in June 2009 and sponsored by the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists, and the National Colloid Division of the American Chemical Society.
GUYANESE PIO CRICKETER AWARDED HIGH HONOR BY GUYANA PRESIDENT JAGDEO
West Indies batting star 34-year old Shivnarine Chanderpaul was awarded the Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH), Guyana's third highest award, by President Bharrat Jagdeo at a function at State House in Georgetown in Guyana.
In making the announcement, President Jagdeo described Chanderpaul as an outstanding citizen and a true role model for young persons all around the world. "Chanderpaul has been a beacon of persistence, dedication and hard work and an example to many of our young people and young cricketers, not just in Guyana and West Indies, but all over the world," Jagdeo said.
In accepting the special honor, Chanderpaul said his aim is to continue to do what he does best, make big scores and also be an ambassador for Guyana and the West Indies. ( I feel delighted," said Chanderpaul who is the ICC's International Cricketer of the Year and also Guyana's Sports personality of the Year 2008." Every award is special and this one is quite special. It is always great to be recognized by your own people," said Chanderpaul.
Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green has also renamed the section of New Garden Street in the capital of Georgetown as the Shiv Chanderpaul Drive. The West Indies is currently playing a five-game series against England on home soil. Chanderpaul scored a century (112) at the One Day International (ODI) against England at the Guyana National Stadium on Saturday 21st March, reaching his tenth ODI hundred. He became the third West Indian batsman to score over 8,000 runs in ODIs behind Brian Lara and Desmond Haynes. He has 21 centuries and currently averages 50.01 in Test cricket. DR. WINSTON TOLAN HONORED IN JAMAICA
The National Council for Indian Culture in Jamaica gave due recognition to Dr. Winston Tolan for his achievements as well as outstanding contributions to Indian culture in Jamaica. Dr Tolan was presented with the Order of Distinction (Officer Class). He was honored at a gala event held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
Dr. Tolan received an award from the Indian government to study after completing his local tertiary schooling medicine in Jaipur, India. He returned in 1983 and has served diligently in the accident and emergency department at the Mandeville Regional Hospital. However, his contribution to the preservation and promotion of Indian culture is equally impressive. The roots of his love for the music were evident from childhood, as he would lead the other children in Hindu prayers; pieces of tin his only instruments. Performing with the Naya Zamana band, he spread the Indian culture to diverse audiences as well as serving as a resource person for cultural development at the national level. His citation also mentioned his service while epitomising his spirit of service, volunteerism, patriotism and humility. NEW ZEALAND DOCTOR RECEIVES SERVICE MEDAL FROM THE QUEEN
Dr. Kanitlal Patel started as a one-man medical practice in East Tamaki, South Auchland in 1977 has grown into a 12-clinic business employing 42 doctors. Dr Patel has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to community medicine and the Indian community. Satellite clinics were established so patients did not have to travel as far, hours were extended and accident and emergency facilities were added to some clinics.
East Tamaki Healthcare was the first mainstream non-ethnic Primary Health Organisation in South Auckland, and is now the largest healthcare provider for Maori and Pacific Island people in the country. Dr Patel was made a fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners in 1998. Under his guidance, seven GPs at his clinics have also become fellows of the college.
Wife Ranjna has also been awarded a QSM in the New Year Honours, for services to the Indian community. Mrs Patel is a JP and has worked as practice manager at East Tamaki Healthcare for over 30 years. She has a very deep involvement with Indian community groups, including women's groups, healthcare concerns and cultural and language assistance. EIGHT INDIAN AMERICANS REACH AS WHITE HOUSE FELLOWS FINALISTS
Eight Indian Americans are among the 108 regional finalists to the prestigious White House Fellows for the year 2009-2010. White House Fellows Program is the most prestigious program for leadership and public service in the US.
The regional finalists would be interviewed for the final list of about 30 outstanding women and men, who would then be appointed as a White House Fellow for one year by the US President, Barack Obama.
The Indian Americans who have made it to the list include Komal Bazaz Smith from Arlington in Virginia; Sudip K Bose (Chicago); Sreekanth K Chaguturu (Boston); Amar A Desai (Westlake Village, California); Anish P Mahajan (Los Angeles); Manish K Sethi (Brookline, Massachusetts); Minesh Shah (Bronx, New York) and Raj M Shah (Philadelphia). FAREED ZAKARIA IS INDIAS ABROAD PERSON OF THE YEAR 2008
The India Abroad newspaper selected as its person of the year for 2008. Fareed Zakaria has an established reputation as one of the most thoughtful, articulate, nuanced voices on American television a rare voice, what is more, that can take America out of its self-absorption and focus its attention on what is going on in the rest of the world.
The annual India Abroad Person of the Year awards gala was held on March 20 in New York City. Others honored at the banquet were, Sameer Mishra, who won the iconic Scripps National Spelling Bee; Akshay Rajagopal, the 11-year-old from Nebraska who at his very first attempt won the National Geographic Bee; and Shivani Sud, winner of the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search that recognizes the most outstanding young talents. They were named joint winners of the Young Achievers Award. Dr. Manjul Bhargava, one of the youngest tenured math professor at Princeton was honored with Face of the Future award.
The India Abroad Gopal Raju Award for Community Service was shared by Preeta Bansal, now General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama administration; Hrishi Karthikeyan and Dave Kumar, co-founders of South Asians for Obama; Democratic party strategist and Communications Director for Campaign for America's Future Toby Choudhuri; founder of the Indian American Leadership Initiative Varun Nikore; newly-installed chair of the Indian American Republican Council Dino Teppara; SAFO's National Outreach Director and Director of the Office of Inter-Governmental Affairs in the Obama White House Nick Rathod.
India Abroad honored Zubin Mehta with its Lifetime Achievement Award -- presented to the maestro by previous winners Salman Rushdie, Professor Jagdish Bhagwati and Professor Padma Desai. Also honored was Jhumpa Lahiri -- born Nilanjana Sudeshna -- with the Publisher's Special Award for Excellence.
|NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
GLOBAL HEART HOUR LAUNCHED BY GUYANESE PIO IN CANADAA NEW SEMINAL BOOK ON PRAVASIS' LIVES AND VALUE SYSTESM PUBLISHED
A new concept called the Global Heart Hour was launched by Guyanese born PIO cardiologist Dr. V.S. Rambihar, University of Toronto medical students, and others, on February 12, 2009, to start and sustain a global heart movement and network to make a better world. Speakers at the Event: Dr. Catharine Whiteside, Dean of Medicine, University of Toronto: Dr Peter Liu, Scientific Director, Canadian Institute of Health Research, Cardiac and Respiratory Health: Dr. Anne Dipchand, Head of Heart Transplant Program, Hospital for Sick Children Toronto: Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, Member of Ontario Parliament and a physician writer; and medical students and residents with global health experience. Just as we turned lights off for Earth Hour and climate change, now we can turn on hearts for Global Heart Hour, needed now more than ever with the global crises we now face.
This idea builds on 25 years of a Valentine's Day for Heart Health, and 4 years of a Global Heart project. A 21st century complexity based organizational method of networking will be used, both centralized and distributed like the Obama campaign, suited for our rapidly changing, interconnected instant communication world. You are invited to use creativity and ingenuity to design your own event or action around Valentine's Day, or use our ideas like a Global Heart themed fundraising party on Friday 13th, a heart health event on Wednesday 11th, or using money saved from buying less cards and flowers to help those in need.
Contact info: Dr. V.S. Rambihar, Cardiologist Toronto email@example.com.
NEW UK VISA RESTRICTIONS ON INDIAN PROFESSIONALS
Amidst rising unemployment, Britain is putting in place new immigration restrictions on professionals from India and other non-EU countries so that existing jobs are first offered to local workers.
From April, the basic requirements to enter Britain under the Tier 1 category of the points-based immigration system will be raised. Over 25,000 people, including many from India, entered Britain under Tier 1 last year.
The qualification and minimum levels for Indian and non-EU professionals will be raised to masters degree and 20,000 pounds from the current requirement of undergraduate degree and 17,000 pounds.
Home secretary Jacqui Smith is expected to announce the new measures soon as part of a 10-point plan which aims to cut overall levels of immigration by next year.
Back on June 15, 2008, the Indian Union Pravasi Minister, Dr Vayalar Ravi, launched a major pioneering and insightful research volume on migrants' experiences and their modes of thought and behavior while living in foreign lands.Entitled "Striped Zebra: The Immigrant Psyche," the book is a rare volume of scholarly research presenting an innovative hypothesis explaining migrants' lives abroad, yet making joyful reading for the non-professional, enlightened reader as well.
Its authors, Dr. Uday C. Naval and Dr. Soofia K Hussain, are Indian expatriates settled in the USA for 4 decades, both being university professors with 30 or 40 years of teaching experience.
The book's unique contribution to the migration theory lies in its paradigm of "Striped Zebra." This paradigm is in stark contrast to the two existing paradigms of the "Melting Pot" and the "Salad Bowl." The first suggests that after a period of time immigrants get "assimilated" in the mainstream society. The second paradigm claims that migrants never become homogenized with the host society, but maintain forever their independent identity.
In contradistinction to these, the "Striped Zebra" model proposes a middle way, i.e., that immigrants prefer to tenaciously hold on to a number of their native values, while also adopting some of the host society's values. The book terms these as "Seed Values" and "Feed Values," respectively.
The authors claim that the book epitomizes over 5 years of intense scholarly research and that, in addition, the "Striped Zebra" paradigm has been empirically validated by an extensive research component. This entailed a questionnaire of 60 items administered to 700+ newly immigrant students. Then run through advanced computer analyses, its over 500 tables were found to exhaustively support the Zebra model.
Yet, despite its theoretical "coloring," the book's breezy, refreshing prose makes it a favorite of educated curious readers. In fact, one could say that it reads almost like a "novel," for it graphically describes immigrants' initial struggles and travails - as well as their later successes and achievements - in a bracing style. Furthermore, its nearly three-score (60) real-life episodes, gathered from all continents of the globe, provide profound human interest. Finally, its lucid and imaginative illustrations impart added charm and explications.
The book can be obtained from the publishers, Rupa & Co., 7/16 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi. Phones: 91-11 2327-8586/2161/0260. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Price: Rs. 595.
SOUTH AFRICAN INDIAN FILMMAKER TO PRODUCE OBAMA DOCUMENTARY
Award-winning South African Indian filmmaker Anant Singh said he would produce a documentary feature on the first black president of the United States of America. The film, titled Barack Obama: People's President, is written, produced and directed by Danny Schechter, who was involved in "Weapons of Mass Deception" and "Viva Madiba: A Hero For All Seasons", which told the tale of Nelson Mandela.
Singh said he was partnering Schechter to produce and direct the film. Singh also said that negotiations were currently underway with South African and US networks for the broadcast rights.
"This is the story of how Obama inspired and organized millions of new voters to support him, and how brilliantly the Internet was used as a communications and networking tool as part of the campaign.
NRI FIRM TAKES OVER GERMANY CLOTHING STORE
German business circles were startled when a small NRI-owned textile importing company took over the financially troubled German clothing chain store Wehmeyer that is a household name for the country's lower and middle-class consumers.
The man behind the takeover of Wehmeyer is Rajive Ranjan, Techno Lifestyle GmbH's managing director, who recently signed a deal for taking over 28 of its stores in the states of North Rhine Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate and Lower Saxony.
Though accustomed to witnessing takeovers of major European and American corporate assets by big Indian conglomerates such as Reliance, Tata, Essar, Mahindra and others, Germany's business community is now also taking cognizance of takeover bids by smaller and less known Indian companies that are increasingly becoming players in the global mergers and acquisitions game.
REVISED BAHRAIN EDITION OF GULF WHO'S WHO DIRECTORY 2009-2010 LAUNCHED
The revised Bahrain edition of Gulf Who's Who Directory 2009-2010 was launched yesterday by Oil and Gas Affairs Minister and National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga) chairman Dr Abdulhussain Mirza. The minister presented the first copy to Bahrain Management Society president Dr Adel Hamad Abdul Rahman Hamad.
The ceremony held at the Noga headquarters was attended by Indian Ambassador Dr George Joseph, business leaders Jawad Al Hawaj, Khamis Al Muqla, Mohammed Yateem, Mohammed Al Khaja, Nevin Meghchiani and Kishore Mathur. Senior officers of Noga also attended.
Directory managing editor Sunny Kulathakal who also serves as the Middle East Regional Vice President of GOPIO and project manager Elizabeth Sunny presented the replica of a snake boat as a memento to the minister and the Indian Ambassador handed over a similar memento to Dr Hamad. Dr Mirza lauded the efforts of Mr Kulathakal and Sunliz Publications for the past 30 years in promoting Bahrain globally.
The 600-page directory is a comprehensive publication on Bahrain containing its rules and regulations to start business activities and with an assessment of the present economic situation in the kingdom. '
NEW VISA RULES ON INDIA-FRANCE PROFESSIONAL MOVEMENT
France has introduced new rules for work and residence permits to facilitate professional mobility between India and France and Indian students keen on working in France.
According to Jean-Yves Lavoir, Chef de La Mission for Professional Immigration, French Ministry of Immigration, who is here to create awareness about the rules, the 'Skills and Expertise' residence permit is a temporary permit, valid for up to three years at a time, on a renewable basis.
It is directly delivered by French consulates and enables the holder to engage in a salaried or business activity in France. It is designed for foreign nationals who have the potential to carry out a professional project, in areas spread across a vast canvas that encompasses scientific, industrial, commercial, cultural and humanitarian activities.
The 'Intra-company transfer' permit has been created to facilitate intra-group mobility within international company groups or establishments. This gives its holder permission to work and is valid up to three years at a time, on a renewable basis, for employees expatriated by their company to a French subsidiary or reassigned within the same group, Lavoir said.
INDIANS IN UK AND WALES AT GEATER RISK OF DRINK-RELATED DEATHS
Men born in India, but living in England and Wales, are twice as likely to die alcohol-related deaths as the rest of the population, according to a new study led by an Indian-origin scientist. Conducted by the University of Edinburgh and the Office for National Statistics, the research also found that an equal number of alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales were reported among people born in Scotland or Ireland.
The findings also showed that people born in parts of Asia or Africa were at greater risk of dying from liver cancer, but generally had lower rates of alcohol-related deaths. On reason for the higher rate of death from liver cancer could be because viral hepatitis is more common in ethnic minority communities.
For the study, the researchers used information on deaths for England and Wales from 1999 to 2003 and figures from the 2001 census to quantify the link between a person's country of birth and the likelihood of dying from an alcohol-related condition.
The difference in alcohol-related deaths rates could be explained by cultural differences in rates of alcohol consumption. For example, adults who are Scottish or Irish have been shown on average to drink more than the recommended limit of alcohol.
The study comes in line with recent reports that alcohol-related hospital admissions in the over 65s are rising.
"Deaths from alcohol-related conditions, liver disease and liver cancer are increasing in the UK, but little is known about the role of ethnicity or country of birth. Some ethnic groups appear to be setting an example for the population as a whole with very low rates of liver disease, almost certainly as a result of low alcohol consumption," said Dr. Neeraj Bhala, who led the study.
He added: "These findings show significant differences in death rates by country of birth for both alcohol-related deaths and liver cancer. We now need to focus on developing new policy, research and practical action to help address these differences."
The study has been published in the Journal of Public Health.
US H-1B VISA RESTRICTIONS TO END IN TWO YEARS
As part of a stimulus package passed last month for revival of the economy, President Barack Obama signed a new law, named "Employ American Workers Act", which makes it difficult for the companies having received government bailout funds to hire H-1B foreign workers.
However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in a circular issued with its invitation of H-1B applications for the next fiscal, has now made it clear that the EAWA requirements are not permanent and would "sunset two years from the date of enactment."
EAWA, which prevents a company from displacing US workers when hiring H-1B specialty occupation workers if the company received stimulus funds, took effect on February 17, 2009 and it applies to any "hire" taking place before February 17, 2011.
The Act defines "hire" as an employer permitting a new employee to commence a period of employment; that is, the introduction of a new employee to the employer's US workforce.
USCIS has said that it would begin accepting H-1B visa applications from April 1 for the next fiscal and would subject the applications to various terms and conditions related to EAWA.
SIKH GURUDWARA IN LONDON GUTTRED IN A RACIST ATTACK
One of London's most important Sikh Temples, Gurdwara Sikh Sangat in Bow, was gutted in an alleged racist attack. The Gurdwara was built in East London in 1979 and it also housed priceless religious books. The suspected arson took place during a women-only prayer session on March 16, 2009. More than 50 fire fighters battled the fire for almost eight hours. Most of the Gurdwara's roof collapsed and about 75 percent of the building had been damaged. The Metropolitan Police has launched a criminal investigation into the incident.
Worshippers congregated at midday on Sunday, March 22 at the Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, on Roding Lane, to perform religious rites for the damage done to the Gurdwara.
CONTROVERSY OVER NAMING 'LITTLE INDIA' IN MALAYSIA
A controversy over re-naming "Little India" is brewing in the Malaysian city Klang where ethnic Indians have been living in large numbers and have historic and sentimental ties, dating back to the days when the British declared Penang as a trading post in the 18th century. It draws shoppers by the thousands and is an important income generator for Klang.
Little India in Klang is located 45 km from Kuala Lumpur. The Klang Municipal Council wants to change the name of Little India to Medan Kelana although elected representatives, businessmen and tourists have been opposing the name-change. Legislator Ng Suee Lim said he would bring this matter to the state executive council (cabinet) because it was "wrong to simply change the name of a place that could affect tourism".
Little India is home to many traditional Indian traders and has rows of Indian shops selling all sorts of Indian traditional wares like saris, Punjabi suits, stainless steel wares, accessories and handicrafts. Spicy Indian food is available at several restaurants and road-side stalls. Lot of hard work had gone into building Little India into a tourist icon, and the move to change its name would erase the identity of the area.
AUSTRALIA WANTS MORE STUDENTS FROM INDIA
Australia has launched a multi-million-dollar campaign to woo Indian students to seek admission for higher studies in Australian institutions of higher education, as they have been doing in recent years.
During the first eleven months of 2008, an estimated 95,000 Indian students were enrolled in Australian institutions of higher education. They form the second highest population of overseas students in Australia, after the Chinese. Education is the third largest export industry after coal and iron ore for Australia. The country is worried about a potential slowdown in enrolments and hence would target India, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to ensure that it continues to get students from these countries. Renowned Australian academics would participate in seminars and special global events to lure overseas students and train education agents to counsel overseas students in a more competent manner.
CANADA WANTS MORE STUDENTS BUT FEWER WORKERS FROM INDIA
Canadian universities have higher fee structure for international students, so the foreign students are a huge source of income for the universities. Thus Canada wants more foreign students to seek admission in their universities. It is looking to India for potential students who could seek work permit and later permanent residence upon completion of their graduation.
Canada has been liberal in admitting permanent and temporary residents in 2008. However, during the current year, there could be 'significant reduction' in the number of temporary foreign workers because of the on-going economic crisis.
GERMAN COURT CONVICTS SIX FOR ATTACK ON INDIANS
In August, 2007, eight Indian migrants suffered bruises and cuts while attending a festival in the eastern town of Muegeln in Germany. Some German men, after a dance-floor brawl, resorted to violence and yelled racist insults against the Indians who fled from the scene. The Indians took shelter in a pizza parlour across the street from the festival venue. The police quickly intervened but some policemen were also injured as they drove back the mob.
The incident caused shock in the Indian community in Germany. GOPIO Berlin President, Barjinder Sodhi organized a community demonstration and demanded a legal action against those who assaulted the Indians. Indian diplomats also protested to German authorities.
Last month, a German court convicted one man, aged 22, a suspended, 20-month jail term after he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, another man, 24, received a suspended term of 14 months for causing grievous bodily harm, another was found guilty and was ordered to do community service. Three more men received similar punishment in connection with the 2007 attack on Indian migrants.
|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: email@example.com
GOPIO Executive Vice President - Lord Daljit Rana, UK, Tel: +44 28-9807-8787, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO Secretary General - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail: email@example.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.
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), Bina Mahabir (USA), Renu Mishra (USA), Noel Lal (Australia), Harish Bajaj (New Zealand), Amarinder Bajwa (Australia), Sangeeta Ahuja (USA), Sunny Kulathakal (Bahrain)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit GOPIO's Official site at www.gopio.net or www.gopio.com