GOPIO-INTERNATIONAL MAKES NEW APPOINTMENTS
GOPIO International has made several new appointments for various positions. Please click the links below:
GOPIO Team Members 2014-'15
GOPIO-VIRGINIA HONORS SEVEN INDIAN AMERICANS
Seven Indian Americans received Congressional recognition and Award of Excellence at GOPIO (Global Organizations of People of Indian Origin) Virginia 5th anniversary for their valuable contributions and accomplishments in five different fields.
Aziz Haniffa, editor of India Abroad, received Lifetime Achievements for Excellence in Journalism, Dr. Partha Pillai received Lifetime achievement award for Community Service. Dr. Korok Ray, Asst. Professor in George Washington University School of Business and former Senior Advisor, White House Council of Economic Advisors received the Award for Excellence in Education and Research in Economics. Dr. C.M. Prasad & Dr. Surya Dhakar for Excellence in Medicine; Ravi Chaudhary, a member of President Advisory board for Asian American & Pacific Islanders, and Natwar Gandhi for Public Service and Finance.
The awards were presented by Deputy Chief of Mission Embassy of India Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Gerry Connolly's Chief of Staff, Mr. James Williamshaw, on behalf of the Virginia Congressman, in the presence of more than 200 prominent Indians and Americans.
Dr. Korok Ray delivered the keynote speech regarding the economies of India and US and what the future holds. Editor Aziz Haniffa highlighted the contributions of Indian youth in America and encouraged them to keep the culture alive. Chief guest Taranjit Singh Sandhu emphasized the India US relations and contributions of Indian Americans in the progress of both the countries and scope of strategic partnership.
President of GOPIO, Mr. Jay Bhandari welcomed and congratulated the award winners. GOPIO is a global organization having chapter in US, Canada, England, Germany, Australia, Nederland, Caribbean and many more countries. The mission of GOPIO is to enhance, educate and empower people of Indian origin, resolve issues of concern and help and support them to grow economically, socially and politically. In Virginia, GOPIO does a lot of charity work including feeding homeless people, free medical service to the poor and financial aid to low income students.
Photo above: From (R to L) Founder President Jay Bhandari, Congressman Rep. James Williamshaw, Aziz Haniffa (Journalism), Chief Guest DCM Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Dr. Korok Ray (Education and Research in Economics), Dr, Parthasarathi Pilai (Community Service), Dr. C.M. Prasad (Medicine), President Appointee Lt. col. Ravi Chaudhary (Politics and Public Service), Dr. Surya Dhakar (Medicine) and Pradeep Kumar.
Program was followed by entertainment program including "Bharat Natyam", Rajasthani folk dance, Bhangra and fusion dance performance, by University students. Program was emceed by Priyal Gandhi and vote of thanks delivered by Pradeep Kumar.
GOPIO-CT HONORS FIVE INDIAN AMERICAN ACHIEVERS AND CONGRESSMAN HIMES AS FRIEND OF INDIA
At a packed Stamford Italian Center, the Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) honored five Indian American achievers and those who provided service to the community or the society at large. Several dignitaries attended the event including India's Consul General in New York Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Rep Jim Himes (D, CT 4th District), Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, New Jersey State Assembly Speaker Upendra Chivukula and Connecticut Assemblyman Dr. Prasad Srinivasan.
The program started with a welcome by GOPIO-CT president Shelly Nichani who said the chapter initiated several new programs including a cancer walk fundraiser, participation in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Stamford, interactive sessions with elected officials in addition to the regular programs such as sponsoring and volunteering in soup kitchens, India Independence Day flag hoisting and Diwali celebration.
Stamford Mayor David Martin extended a warm welcome to everyone and complimented GOPIO-CT for its outstanding community work.
This year, GOPIO-CT had selected U.S. Representative from Connecticut 4th District Congressman Jim Himes as Friend of India. A member of India Caucus, Jim has been a supporter of Indian American community. Congressman Himes had travelled several times to India while working for Goldman Sachs. As a Congressman Himes is committed to provide all children in America, access to a first-rate public school, affordable and effective health care, a decent and safe home, and a supportive community. An undergraduate from Harvard, Jim earned a Rhodes Scholarship, and attended Oxford University in England.
Three Indian Americans were honored for their achievements in business and profession. Dr. Subbarao Bollepalli, MD FAPA, was honored for his achievement in medicine. Dr. Bollepalli is a leading psychiatrist in the State of Connecticut. He retired as a Colonel from United States Army Reserve, which was activated during the Iraqi War. He is a member of the Governing Council of Connecticut Medical Society (CSMS). He is currently the President of Connecticut Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (CAPI). His interests include philanthropy, social service, spiritual reading and playing tennis.
A husband and wife team in business, Ashok and Meera Vasudevan, were selected to receive entrepreneurship award. Ashok is 'corporateur' turned entrepreneur who has co-founded with his wife Meera, Preferred Brands International, which makes Tasty Bite, a leader in the specialty food industry. He is the CEO of Tasty Bite and serves also on the Board of several NGOs both in India and the US. He is the Adjunct Professor of International Entrepreneurship of Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, India. Ashok attended the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Bajaj Institute Bombay and the Harvard Business School. Meera Vasudevan is a co-founder and Principal of ASG-Omni, a strategy-consulting firm that designs and develops entry strategies for large US corporations looking to do business in India. She has also worked closely on social research projects with the Indian government and UNICEF. She has a Bachelor in English with
post-graduate qualifications in Marketing from the University of Madras and INSEAD, France.
Arati Sureddi received an award for young achievers. Arati is the Founder of Lotus Alliance, a social enterprise addressing human trafficking and forced labor through the responsible tourism industry. She has also helped in launching the Not My Life Awareness Initiative, whose goal is to increase awareness of human trafficking among individuals who are in a position to influence policy and advocate for change. She is a graduate of Boston University's School of Management.
Prasad Chirnomula, an avid restaurateur, received a special award for promoting India cuisine to American society by helping community groups through media.Chirnomula creates delectable and imaginative food in each of his four Thali restaurants and Mexican in his latest venture - Oaxaca Kitchen. In addition to running his five restaurants, Chef Prasad leads tasting tours of India, hosts private tasting dinners, teaches cooking classes and offers his services at multiple charity events for such groups as the American Liver Foundation, Varli, James Beard House, the American Red Cross, Share Our Strength, the Connecticut Food Bank and the Food Bank for New York City. He has studied at the Food Craft Institute of Poona, including culinary arts and hotel management.
Connecticut Senator Blumenthal in a message complimented GOPIO-CT for its outstanding community service and advocacy work and presented certificate of appreciation to all award recipients.
The program ended with an entertainment by Bollywood dancers, dinner followed by DJ Tony.
Attached Photo: GOPIO-CT award recipients, from l. to r.: Prasad Chirnomula, Congressman Jim Himes, Dr. Subbarao Bollepalli, Arati Sureddi, Meera Vasudevan and Ashok Vasudevan
GOPIO-QUEENSLAND CONDEMNS RACIST ATTACKS
GOPIO Queensland president, Mr. Yousuf Alikhan has strongly condemned the recent racist attacks on staff and owner of an Indian restaurant in Ipswich. He said acts like these have no place in our multicultural, multi-racial Australia that we all love and cherish.
Alikhan said that stray incidents like these committed by some misguided, ill-informed lowlifes not only create discord and disharmony in the community but tarnish the image of Australia overseas. It also negates the good work done by community leaders like Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Mr. Glen Elmes.
GOPIO Queensland has applauded the authorities for acting swiftly and apprehending the miscreants. He urged the authorities to punish the guilty with the full force of the law.
Alikhan also called upon the good people of Ipswich to show their disapproval to such despicable acts by patronising the effected restaurant.
Contact: Ashutosh Raina, Media Coordinator and PRO, GOPIO Queensland, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO-UPPER NEW YORK ORGANIZES NEW YORK BOOK LAUNCH 'REACHING FOR THE STARS"
The Global Organization of Indian Origin Upper New York Chapter (G-UNY), in collaboration with the Association of Artists & Writers (AAW), organized a very successful New York book launch of "Reaching for the Stars - The Life of Yesu Persaud", the autobiography of Dr. Yesu Persaud of Guyana. The event was held on
Saturday, June 28 starting at 6:00pm at the Royal India Palace, in Richmond Hill, New York. Dr Yesu Persaud is a founding life member of GOPIO at its inception in 1989, served as President of GOPIO of Guyana chapter and as Executive Vice President of GOPIO International. Dr. Persaud was accorded honorary doctorate degrees from
University of Warwick (UK) and University of West Indies (Trinidad), the prestigious Government of India Pravasi Samman Award and recently GOPIO's Jubilee Recognition at GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Convention in Trinidad & Tobago.
The event was sponsored by: Zara Realty (George Subraj), supported by Demerara Distilleries Ltd (Nalini Tewari, DDL-USA area manager), and emceed by prominent radio and television producer Richard Mahase. In attendance were several GOPIO members: Ashook Ramsaran, president of GOPIO International; Ramesh Kalicharan (founding life member of GOPIO); Nohar Singh (gold life member of GOPIO) and Naidoo Veerapen (life member of GOPIO), Dev Chedda (vice president of G-UNY); Patsy Leopold (secretary of G-UNY); Premnauth Singh (vice president of G-UNY); Swami Askernanda, Swami Doobay and several other prominent members of the Indo-Caribbean community. Many former staff members of DDL-Guyana assisted in the planning and coordination: Mohan Budhia, Savitri Persaud, Kavita Sookraj, Nadia Ganesh. Netram Rambudhan (treasurer of GOPIO International) coordinated the registration; program and brochure printing were done by Louie Arjun. The
event was well attended by family, friends, associates and well wishers.
Rev Seopaul Singh (Secretary General of AAW) and Jhairam Persaud (president of G-UNY) welcomed the attendees, followed by remarks by Ken and Tony Subraj (Zara Realty), prominent historian Dr. Basdeo Mangru (CUNY). Dr. Tyran Ramnarine (AAW), himself a well known historian and writer, gave wonderful critique, with reading of excerpts and selected passages of the book. After which Dr. Persaud spoke on his life from humble beginnings and "reaching for the stars", the book was formally launched and book singing took place. Roopnaraine Persaud (AAW) expressed thanks and appreciation, followed by dinner and special El Dorado cream with dessert.
Photo above: l to r, Jhairam Persaud (president of GOPIO Upper New York), Rev Seopaul Singh (Secretary General of AAW); Dr. Yesu Persaud; -UNY); Swami Askernanda; Dr. Basdeo Mangru; Dr. Tyran Ramnarine (AAW)
GOPIO-LA HELD WOMEN'S AWARENSS SEMINAR IN ARTESIA, CA
GOPIO-LA organized a women oriented seminar called Women's Awareness at Haveli restaurant in Artesia, CA on Sunday August 3rd 2014. The seminar attracted over 100 people, mostly women. The seminar theme was 'Health and Wealth' and was organized to share information and create awareness, particularly among women, in the areas of nutrition and finance.
Five speakers Aparna Hande (RN), Deepi Singh (Former Director of Nutrition at Kaiser Permanente), K. Shivaprakash (Manager of State Bank of India CA), Anne Tahim (CPA), and Anju Garg (Joint Secretary of GOPIO-LA and an Entrepreneur) were the main speakers for the event. The topics included Diabetes, Nutrition in Diabetes, Banking and Women, Check list of Financial Do's and Don'ts, and Improving Protein Quality in Vegetarian Diet. All speakers gave very informative and impressive presentations and the program culminated with live cooking demo by Anju Garg and assisted by Shana Rajput. The live cooking demo included healthy recipes like low fat Paneer veg. fajitas, and quinoa and kale salad.
Kewal Kanda, president of GOPIO-LA welcomed and thanked the audience for their participation. GOPIO-LA Vice President Navin Gupta and treasurer Rajinder Dhunna introduced the speakers. The audience feedback was extremely positive. The audience feedback suggested organizing more seminars with variety of themes and GOPIO-LA plans to do just that in future for community enrichment and community development.
Photo above: Seminar speaker Anju Garg who is also joint secretary of GOPIO-LA and audience at the GOPIO-LA program.
GOPIO SYDNEY ORGANIZING HERITAGE INIDA FESTIVAL IN SEPTEMBER
GOPIO Sydney Inc is organizing an event, "Heritage India Festival 2014" to showcase the rich and diverse Indian culture by way of Indian Arts, Music, Dance, Culture and Cuisine to promote the cultural identity of Indian Diaspora as well as cultural diplomacy for better Indo-Australian relations. As part of this festival, the chapter will honour people who have made outstanding contribution to Indo-Australia relations by way of culture, trade, social, political or diplomacy.
Besides their strategy of showcasing the art forms from most states, Bhupinder Chhibber, the president of GOPIO Sydney feels exuberant while emphasizing the fact that they are involving and sourcing the upcoming local talent and not bringing any established artists from overseas. The local talent is encouraged to participate and invited to contact for participation, rehearsal and or audition. Their sponsors who run their arts academy have taken the cudgels on themselves to take care of this aspect
This event is being organized for September 7, 2014 at Sydney Baha's Centre, 107 Derby St Silverwater 2128. A plethora of cultural activities are arranged by various cultural and linguistic groups of Diaspora, most of these have either regional or Bollywood tones, none of them have really tried to embark on the idea to showcase rich and diverse cultural forms and ethos from most of the states of India. GOPIO Sydney has taken a lead in this direction.
This event will have different dance forms like kuchipudi, bharatnatayam, odissi, garba, kathak, peacock dance, rajasthani, lavni, sikkim, gidha and bhangra. Sumptuous Indian meals and snacks will be on sale by independent caterers to appeal to the taste buds of the attendees.
The tickets have been made available from major Indian grocery outlets across Sydney. Many prominent ethnic Indian media have joined hands as media partners to spread the word. The support from the business community is encouraging - they are vying with each other to extend their support and asking for sponsorship opportunities.
GOPIO SYDNEY NORTHWEST HELPS TO LAUNCH BOOKS ON INDIAN ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIA
On the evening of the 14th of August 2014, GOPIO Sydney North West Chapter was privileged to arrange the launch of books on the first arrival of Indians in Australia at the Parliament House of NSW. The history was researched and written by Len Kenna & Crystal Jordan. The four volumes of the series titled "Are Indians an Ethnic Minority" launched by the Consul General of India, Sydney, Mr. Sunjay Sudhir, were as follows:
1. Volume Two: Camels & Trailblazers
2. Volume Three: Horses & Walers
3. Volume Four: Hawkers
4. Volume Five: A Pictorial History
The books hold a collection of independent research conducted by Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan over 25 years. They have combined an incredible amount of information and photos on Indians in Australia since their first arrival in Australia. National Anthem of both Australia and India were played before starting the book launch event.
In attendance were a mixed audience of members of GOPIO, several members of the New South Wales Parliament, descendants of Indian Hawkers and members of the general public. Ms. Aman Singh served as the MC.
Mr Harmohan Singh Walia, Chairperson, GOPIO's Bylaws, Policies & Procedures said in his opening comments, "It is an inspiring story that needs to be told, a story, a history really, about the first arrival of Indians in Australia. These books provide a compelling inside account of the unique founding history of first arrival of Indians in Australia."
The Hon. Peter Primrose MLC spoke to the audience followed by Len Kenna, one of the authors, who spoke about the early history of Indians in Australia. Len presented books to Bhago Shergill, the daughter of Gunda Singh Bains, an Indian Hawker at Mildura, Victoria, whose family history is mentioned in the books. Len included a request for the Australian Indian Community to embrace their rich history in Australia. Then the Consul General spoke at length about the contents of the books. Another descendant, Baljinder Singh Nanda, spoke about his grandfather, Mehnga Singh (Indian Charlie), whose family history is also mentioned in the books.
An unexpected surprise was the presence of Mr. Daryl William Maguire, MP for Wagga Wagga, and Parliamentary Secretary NSW, who spoke at length of his family history which included his Great Grandfather Sunda Singh, who was a Hawker in Australia and later a successful farmer and businessman in Swan Hill, Victoria.
Photo: GOPIO-Northwest Sydney officials with authors and Consul General Sunjay Sudhir at the book launch. From l - r: Harry Walia, HE Sunjay Sudhir, Consul General of India, Sydney, Len Kenna, Crystal Jordan and Aman Singh
The ceremony concluded with people viewing and purchasing the books and a social gathering with a cup of tea and light refreshments.
GOPIO-METRO DC SPONSORS ODISSI-STYLE YOGA DANCE PROGRAM
The Metro Washington, DC, Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-Metro DC) sponsored a Yoga in Dance program at a capacity filled auditorium of a community center in Rockville, MD on Saturday, July 26, 2014. It was a real delight to watch the strenuous, yet highly precise sequences of dances with facial expressions and movements of hands and feet with music.
Classical dance in India has traditionally been viewed as a form of Yoga. Yoga, is one of intense Sadhana, or spiritual discipline, which demands complete physical and mental concentration for the practitioner. These dance forms are rooted in spirituality, the ultimate goal being Mokshya, or spiritual liberation for the performer and the audience alike. When examining a traditional Odissi repertoire, one can see the process through which the artists achieve their ultimate goal of spiritual liberation.
Ten members (five male dancers, three female dancers, Guru Bichitrananda Swain and Jaydev Das) of The Rudrakshya Institute of Art and Dance, Orissa performed Indian Classical Dances in Odissi style for over two hours presenting seven different items. These items included: Mangalacharan, Chandrika Kamodi, Mohan Murali Chhailo, Taal Tarang, Shiva Panchal, Samudita Madane Abhinaya, and Mokshya.
On behalf of the organizers, Dr. Renuka Misra, GOPIO International Coordinator for North America, presented bouquets to the troupe members. The program was organized by Mr. Pratap Das, president of the Indian Performing Arts Promotions (IPAP). The APAP was established by members of the GOPIO-Metro DC in 1996 to promote performing arts activities in Metropolitan Washington area.
Photo above: Dr. Renuka Misra (standing 4th from left) and Dr. Zafar Iqbal (standing last from left) with troupe members
GOPIO SYDNEY NORTH WEST CHAPTER MEETS INDIAN CONSUL GENERAL SUNJAY SUDHIR IN SYDNEY
A delegation of GOPIO Sydney North West chapter was led by Harmohan Singh Walia, met with new Consul General Sunjay Sudhir to share chapter's success in the last few years. The delegation included chapter team members Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Ravi Singh, Sumit Joshi, Baljit Pelia and Neeru Singh.
Mr. Walia gave a presentation on the computer and explained previous activities of the chapter and GOPIO International. The team of the chapter has been working together for over five years now and in that time the chapter had provided basic amenities, such as warm clothes, shoes, uniform etc. to over 1000 unprivileged school children and also installed clean water facilities at two remote schools in India. The team has also supported a local old-age facility 'RAINS', gave donations for the victims of 2013 Blue Mountains Bush fire and provided financial assistance to a widow in Sydney.
Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney Northwest officials with Consul General Sunjay Sudhir. Grom l. to r. Sumit Joshi, Ravi Singh, Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Consul General Sudhir, Harmohan Singh Walia, Neeru Singh & Baljit Pelia
In the meeting, Mr. Sudhir discussed the team's vision/goals and also stressed on building a consensus about burgeoning community needs of Indians living in Sydney. They agreed that Indians in Sydney should get-together on important community issues; and organisation like GOPIO can help to raise awareness through their events and social networking. That's why social get-togethers through community events are very important.
GOPIO Sydney North West chapter is organizing 5th Annual Caring & Sharing Dinner n' Dance event on 20th September 2014 at Roselea Community Centre at Carlingford.