GOPIO VICE PRESIDENT RAM GADHAVI FELICITATED AT GUJARAT VIDYAPITH
Newly electedwho is also President Gujarati Literary academy of North America was felicitated at Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad on March 8th, 2016. At the program organized at the seminar hall of Vidyapith, Gadhvi delivered a lecture on "American Gujarati Diaspora Literature: Conservation, Preservation and Evaluation." The program was organized by Gujarat Literary Academy of Gandhi Nagar
A renowned writer and retired IAS Officer, Mr.Bhagyesh Jha, Chairman of the Gujarat Sahitya Academy delivered the presidential address. At this occasion Prof. Balvant Jani, Ex. Vice-Chancellor and Ex. Dean of Faculty of Arts at Saurashtra University (Rajkot), as well as Director of Gardi Research Institute for Diaspora Studies (GRIDS) and Editor of Gujarati Diaspora Literature, honored Gadhavi with a shawl and a citation. Prof. Jani gave a brief introduction of Gadhvi's contributions abroad and said that he has been a cultural ambassador of Gujarat. Jnanpith award winner and Gujarati writer Shri. Raghuvir Chaudhri also spoke about Gadhvi's work in literature. After the felicitation, program continued with performances by musicians, singers and folk artists.
Photo top: GOPIO VP Ram Gadhavi speaking at Gujarat Vidyapith. Seated from l. to r.: Prof. Kanu Nayak, Trustee of Gujarat Vidiyapith, Bhagyesh Jha and Prof. Balvant Jani; Photo bottom: Participants at Gujarat Vidyapith meet
GOPIO TRI-STATE NEW YORK GROUP MEETS WITH INDIAN CONSUL RIVA GANGULY DAS AND OTHER OFFICERS
GOPIO officers, chapter delegates and a selected group of GOPIO Life Members from the Tri-State New York area met India's new Consul General in New York Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das and other Consuls on March 30th at the Indian Consulate and had a fruitful interactive session on community issues and how the Indian American community can effectively be involved in India's development. In addition to Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, other officials present from the Consulate at the meeting were Deputy Consul General Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, Consul Sandeep Kumar (Passport and Visa), Vice Consul Sandeep Grover (OCI) and Passport Officers Devvrat Chakravarthy and Suman Bala.
Consul General Das welcomed the GOPIO delegation and said that GOPIO is an important organization to interact, since GOPIO reaches out to all sections of our community. Dr. Mohapatra explained on the current consular services provided by the Consulate and steps taken to improve and make it easier for the community.
Photo above: Consulate Officials and GOPIO Delegation at the Meeting
The meeting was organized by GOPIO's Tristate New York Coordinator Lal Motwani and was attended by the newly-elected International Coordinator for North America, Dr. Rajeev Mehta and delegates from GOPIO-New York, GOPIO-Upper New York, GOPIO-Connecticut and GOPIO-Central Jersey and many Life Members who have served in various capacities in the past. Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO Founder President and Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation highlighted some of the community issues and many avenues where the community and the Consulate could cooperate for mutual benefits. These included the following:
Increased cooperation with the Consulate and Indian Community (Consulate celebrations of national events and festivals, consulate representation at Indian community meetings, participation in Consulate's lecture/seminar series, meetings with the Indian delegation, etc.); Utilizing community contacts with elected officials for promoting Indians' causes; Reaching out to next generation Indian Americans and involving them for India's causes; Issuance of Visa and Passport in emergencies; Improving consular services and shortening delays in OCI card issuance; Improving services by Cox and Kings and BLS International; Emergency help for Indian citizens in time of distress, death, etc.; Reaching out and interacting with the PIO communities in the New York area (large Indo-Caribbean community); and promoting India to the general American public.
GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham presenting a bookGlobal Indian Disapora - 'GOPIO Making an Impact to Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das. From l. to r. Photo: GOPIO Central Jersey President Dinesh Mittal, GOPIO International Coordinator Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO Upper New York Secretary Patsy Leopold, Dr. Abraham, Ambassador Ganguly Das, GOPIO Tri-State Area coordinator Lal Motwani, GOPIO New York President Anand Ahuja and Dr. Parveen chopra
Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das reinforced the importance of the community reaching out to the elected officials and interacting with the new generations of Indian Americans. Dr. Mohapatra said that the passport services from BLS International will be taken over by Cox and Kings and he would make sure the transition is smooth. He also suggested that the community should write to email@example.com for any visa, passport and OCI issues.
For more information on GOPIO, contact Lal K. Motwani, GOPIO Coordinator for New York Tri-State Area. Tel: Tel: 516-581-3332516-581-3332, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO BERLIN PRESIDENT BARJINDER SODHI HELPS REFUGEES IN BERLIN
Europe is currently undergoing a massive influx of migrants trying to escape from the instability and conflicts between rival groups in their country. Germany has been at the receiving end of a large influx of these refugees. Congratulations and cheers to the Chapter President of GOPIO Berlin, Mr. Barjinder Sodhi and his wife who have done commendable work and set an example of courage and solidarity in helping these migrants. Sodhi organized food for these refugees from his restaurant, Neumann's in Berlin. This symbolizes the values that GOPIO sends to the whole world.
GOPIO - NORTH JERSEY IN THE OFFING
Congratulations to GOPIO Vice President Ram Gadhavi for taking the initiative of launching GOPIO-North Jersey in his area. GOPIO life members and others interested in GOPIO were invited to a meeting held at the Jyoti Indian Restaurant Banquet Hall in Wayne, New Jersey on Sunday, April 10th.Gadhavi welcomed everyone on behalf of GOPIO International.
GOPIO Founder President, Dr. Thomas Abraham provided an overview of GOPIO objectives and how GOPIO took up a major campaign for OCI cards, eliminating large penalties for passport surrender and a separate ministry for Overseas Indians. Dr Abraham further talked about GOPIO's mission and vision to serve the community as one voice for assisting and resolving complex issues and challenges by thinking globally and acting within local communities through local regional chapters.
Dr. Abraham further said that with the large Indian Diaspora population in New Jersey, GOPIO will have at least three chapters to serve the community, i.e. GOPIO Central Jersey (already in existence), GOPIO-North Jersey and GOPIO-South Jersey.
Passaic County Freeholder John W. Bartlett said that there is a sizable Indian community population in North Jersey and he welcomed the news of GOPIO starting its chapter in New Jersey.
Mr. Ashok Bhat, President of GOPIO Silicon Valley Chapter and provided some examples on how GOPIO assists in connecting political leaders across U.S and India to help start a dialogue on issues at hand.
Immigration attorney Michael Phulwani mentioned his involvement with GOPIO since its inception and also shared a few instances of immigration issues that he has been involved in to help the community. Phulwani also brought a major issue of Govt. of India not issuing/renewing passports for those Indian citizens in the U.S. who are no longer legal residents. A large number of Indian citizens are affected by this decision of the Indian government.
People assembled at the meeting unanimously decided to form chapter and elected the following persons as its office bearers.
President - Dhiraj Solanki
Vice President - Rajul Shah
Secretary - Abhi Adukia
Joint Secretary - Nitin Shukla
Treasurer - Gaurang Mehta
A letter of intent was prepared to send to GOPIO International. The chapter will be formally inaugurated on May 22ndat a luncheon meeting.
Photo above: GOPIO North Jersey Chapter officials with GOPIO International officers and other participants. Sitting from l. o r.: Gaurang Mehta (Treasurer), Abhi Adukhia (Secretary), GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for North America Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Dhiraj Solanki (President), GOPIO Intl. VP Ram Gadhavi, Rajul P. Shah (Vice President), GOPIO Founding President Dr. Thomas Abraham and Nitin Shukla (Jt. Secretary)
GOPIO-CONNECTICT CONDUCTS ELECTION AND ORGANIZES TAX SEMINAR
GOPIO-CT conducted its annual election at its annual general body meeting in conjunction with its annual holiday part held at Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford.
The following persons are elected for 2016.
Shelly Nichani - President
Pradeep Govil - Exec. Vice President
Varghese Ninan - Vice President Bhavna Juneja - Secretary
Deepender Gupta - Jt. Secretary
Viresh Sharma - Treasurer
Shailesh Naik - Immediate Past President
Sanjay Santhanam (Chair)
Priya Easwaran (Exec. Director)
Board of Trustees
Anita Bhat - Chair
Dr. Thomas Abraham - Secretary, Comptroller
Shelly Nichani - Ex-Officio
In addition to many other celebrations around the year, GOPIO--CT organizes informative seminars and panel discussions on topics of interest to the larger Indian community three times in a year. Last month, the chapter organized seminar 2015/'16 US Tax Planning and Tax Saving Tips - International Tax Session, India-US Tax Issues, Financial Planning and Regulatory Issues Impacting Businesses. The speakers were: Cecil Nazareth (Nazareth CAs & CPAs), Shiva Bhashyam (Certified Financial Planner) and Steve Fusco (Senior Consultant with Paychex). Sponsored by Paychex, the seminar was fully subscribed.
Photo: GOPIO-CT officials with seminar speakers: Photo top from l. to r.: Shailesh Naik, Sanjay Santhanam, Shelly Nichani, Meera Banta, Steve Fusco, Cecil Nazareth, Shiva Bhashyam, Deepender Gupta and Dr. Thomas Abraham; Photos bottom: Participants a the seminar
GOPIO-CT Youth meets at least once in a year and coordinate their own activities separately including GOPIO-CT sponsored soup kitchen for the homeless six times in a year. Early this year, the chapter's youth wing served at the soup kitchen at the New Covenant Soup Kitchen in Stamford and fed over 100 people for a special meal on February 27, 2016. GOPIO-CT youth coordinator Siyan Shaikh organized this event. Volunteers present were Avi Mukherjee, Bay Hodge, Siyan Shaikh, Junaid Shaikh and Louella D'Silva.