September 20, 2016
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
|Issue: XIV-7||September 20, 2016|
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|GOPIO EUROPEAN CONVENTION TO BE HELD IN PARIS ON NOV. 10 TO 13, 2016|
US POSTAL SERVICE TO ISSUE DIWALI STAMP
Since 2000, Indian-Americans have been asking the United States Postal Service (USPS) to issue a stamp commemorating Diwali, the festival of lights that Indians worldwide observe. Now on August 23, 2016, the USPS said it would recognize Diwali with a stamp that will feature a traditional 'diya', or oil lamp, and it will be a 'Forever' stamp.
Dr. Shailendra Kumar, anurologist and a philatelist, felt that the USPS had issued stamps on the festivals of all religions except Hinduism. After he mentioned this to other Indian-Americans, a Committee for Diwali Postage Stamp was formed. This committee approached numerous channels, wrote several letters to the USPS and many volunteers worked to create awareness about this issue.
With the rising influence of the Indian-American community in the administration and in political circles, several U.S. lawmakers Reps. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, Paul Sarbanes, D-Maryland, Al Wynn, D-Maryland, leaders of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, like Frank Pallone, D-N.J., Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and more recently Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Ami Bera, D-California, and Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., joined the cause. Grassroots organizations from coast to coast carried on efforts including the Indiaspora of California, the Hindu American Foundation, and the Diwali Stamp Project in New York chaired by Ms. Ranju Batra.
For many years, Ms. Batra had felt that in spite of a large Indian-American population in the US, Diwali was not given adequate importance nor celebrated, unlike the festivals of other major religions. During her tenure as the Culture Chair for the Diwali celebration in New York City and the president of AIA-NY, she uplifted the Diwali celebration in New York to such heights that the New York Times recognized her efforts and reported that over 200,000 people attended the celebrations in 2011.
Although she learnt that many Indian-Americans had tried to get a Diwali stamp issued by the USPS and failed, she was determined to make this stamp a reality. She approached Rep. Carolyn Maloney and together they focused on getting paper petitions for this stamp.
Indiaspora also launched an online campaign via www.diwalistamp.com, encouraging Indian-Americans to call and write to their elected officials on this subject. Along with the members of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), Indiaspora volunteers met with elected officials and staff members at several hundred congressional offices, and convinced many of them to sign on to the congressional resolutions supporting the Diwali Stamp.
In conjunction with HAF and other organizations, Indiaspora also hosted a Diwali celebration in 2015 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, where more than 50 Senators and Congressmen mingled with over 1,200 influential Indian-Americans. However, this cause took several years to fructify but at the 2014 White House Diwali dinner, Democratic activist Shekar Narasimhan, asked President Obama about the stamp and the goal of this Diwali stamp came closer to reality.
This Aug. 23, when Rep. Carolyn Maloney was joined by Consul General of India in New York Riva Ganguly Das, Ms. Batra and others, it was the culmination of a long and arduous campaign. The Indiaspora founder, MR Rangaswami lauded Rep. Maloney for introducing House Resolutions in Congresses to urge USPS to release the Diwali stamp. He felt that this stamp showed the maturation of the three million-strong Indian-American Community. Kumar added that this stamp not only recognized the contributions of Indian-Americans but also propagated universal ideas, such as the victory of good over evil, light over darkness.
Photo above: Diwali Stamp Organizers with dignitaries and media at the unveiling ceremony on the steps of New York City Hall. Seen in the center are Mrs. Rsanju Batra, Chair of the Diwali Stamp Project in New York, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Consul General Riva Ganguly Das, Attorney Ravi Batra and Sudhir Vaishnav.
Congratulations poured in from numerous lawmakers who were part of the campaign and recognized the grassroots efforts of the community. Rep. Bera, co-chair of the India Caucus said he was 'thrilled" with the stamp announcement. "Nearly a billion people around the world celebrate this Festival of Lights, including 2 million right here in the U.S., and this stamp represents the hard work and achievements of all Indian Americans," Bera added.
"I'm thrilled that Diwali will finally be recognized for the important role it plays in the fabric of our nation," said Rep. Meng in a statement.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the only Hindu Congresswoman, congratulated the grassroots efforts. "This has been a long and arduous process but this act by the U.S. Postal Service to recognize this special day and to further increase and enrich our nation's tapestry of religious and cultural diversity will be greatly appreciated by many," Gabbard said.
Sally Andersen-Bruce of New Milford, Conn., photographed the Diya. Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, Va., designed the stamp and William J. Gicker of Washington, D.C., served as the project's art director, the USPS said in its press release.
"This year, Diwali came early!" concluded MR Rangaswami.
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|GOVT. OF INDIA ANNOUNCES PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIVAS 2017|
GOVT. OF INDIA ANNOUNCES PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIVAS 2017
The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the State of Karnataka, have announced the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention from 7 to 9 January 2017 in Bengaluru, Karnataka and are inviting Non-Resident Indians (NRI) and Persons-of Indian Origin (PIO) to the meet. Please see more details below or at https://pbdindia.gov.in/.
FOR MORE INFO:
SESSIONS ON YOUTH PBD
GOPIO MEMBERS TO GET 50% DISCOUNT ON REGISTRATION
(c) Members of Global organization of persons of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
50% discount for Indian Origin Registrants if Number of members registering is more than 50.
REGISTRATION DETAILS WHICH HAS SPECIAL MENTION & RATES FOR GOPIO
GOPIO CHAPTERS CELEBRATE 70TH INDIA INDEPENDENCE DAY
GOPIO-CT JOINS HANDS WITH STAMFORD CITY GOVT. TO CELEDRATE INDIA INDEPENDENCE DAY
Indians everywhere commemorate the country's independence from British rule, a long, non-violent struggle headed by Mahatma Gandhi, on August 15th. In Stamford, CT, Mayor David Martin hosted the 70th Indian Independence celebration at the Stamford Government Center. The Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT) organized the event on Saturday, August 13th. Indian Consul Sandeep Kumar was the chief guest who delivered the Independence Day message emphasizing the importance of India's independence and its adoption of democracy. He complimented Stamford Mayor Martin and GOPIO-CT for the celebration.
The program began with the singing of the national song Vande Mataram, followed by a welcome address given by GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani. Program Coordinator Santosh Gannu introduced and thanked Mayor Martin for hosting the event. Mayor Martin spoke on the diversity of the City of Stamford and said it enriched the whole city. Congressman Jim Himes and State Representative William Tong complimented the Indian American community for its contribution not only to Connecticut, but to America as well.
Photo above: GOPIO-CT officials and dignitaries at the India Independence Day Celebration at Stamford Govt. Center ion August 13th. From l. to r. GOPIO Founder and Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. Ravi Dhingra, Bhavna Jhuneja, Santosh Gannu, GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani, Mayor David Martin, Indian Consul Sandeep Kumar, Congressman Jim Himes, CT State Assemblyman William Tong, Louella D'Dilva, Amarjit Singh, Deepender Gupta and Srinivas Akarapu
The celebration included speeches, children singing patriotic songs, a colorful folk dance and the honoring of recent high school graduates. Ms. Namrata Gannu served as the MC. American and Indian flags were hoisted with the singing of both countries' national anthems. The program concluded with refreshments and lunch at Tangda Indian Restaurant in Stamford.
"By celebrating India Independence Day in America, we are celebrating the success of the democratic institutions of USA and India, the oldest democracy and largest democracy respectively," said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder and Chairman of GOPIO International.
Photo above clockwise from top left: Children Singing Sare Jahan se Acha, Indian Consul Sandeep Kumar raising Indian flag, India's Tri-color flying high along with US and Connecticut flags and Folk dancers at the India Celebrations.
INDIA'S 70TH INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATED BY GOPIO CENTRAL JERSEY
On August 20, 2016 GOPIO of Central Jersey celebrated India's 70th Independence Day in Monmouth Junction, NJ. Among the invited guests were Mr. Frank Gambatese, Mayor of South Brunswick, Mr. Peter Cantu, Mayor of Plainsboro, Mr. Gerald W. Tamburro, Mayor of Monroe, Mr. Upendra J. Chivukula, Commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Mr. Rajiv Prasad, Franklin Township Councilman, Mr. Joe Camarota, South Brunswick Councilman, Mrs. Azra S. Baig and Mr. Deven M. Patel, South Brunswick School District board members, Mr. Jaswant Modi, Advisor to GOPIO Central Jersey for Community Affairs, and Dr. Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO International's Coordinator for North America. The flag-hoisting ceremony was attended by approximately 200 people of Indian origin from both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The program began with the singing of Vande Mataram, India's National Song, followed by The Star Spangled Banner, American National Anthem, and was highlighted by the singing of Jana Gana Mana, Indian National Anthem. The Indian flag was hoisted and unfurled by the Honorable Mayors of South Brunswick, Plainsboro and Monroe Counties. Included in the cultural program was a performance of Indian dances by the children from the Dance4Ever dance school. Sachin Ravindran, Om and Surbhi Guha, and children from Hindi USA of North Brunswick, courtesy of Mr. Vijay Garg of GOPIO Central Jersey, sang patriotic Indian songs. The program was enjoyed by all the attendees. All State Lenders Corp was the venue host, and refreshments were provided for all the guests courtesy of Cici's Pizza and Suma Foods of North Brunswick.
Mr. Dinesh Mittal, the out-going President of GOPIO Central Jersey, gave a brief introduction regarding GOPIO and its role in supporting the needs of the Indian Diaspora. Mr. Mittal introduced GOPIO Central Jersey Chapter's new board members and invited the attendees to help strengthen GOPIO's mission and benefit from its initiatives by joining the organization.
Mr. Tushar Patel, an active community member, encouraged everyone to participate in future GOPIO events and become members of GOPIO Central Jersey. Mr. Patel deemed the event a great success and suggested that GOPIO Central Jersey should consider events such as a parade in the future.
Mr. Suresh Reddy helped in coordination of the media and keeping the dignitaries occupied.
Mr. Gagan Deep, the in-coming President of GOPIO Central Jersey, and his wife Mrs. Anupama Gupta thanked the attendees, Actor Patel of New York Life who provided the Audio-Visual services, and 8K Radio EBC for their participation in the event. They also spoke of the various programs that GOPIO Central Jersey will be undertaking in the near future.
Photo left: Indian flag being hoisted; Officers of GOPIO-Central Jersey, from r. to. l. Gagan Deep, Anu Gupta, Dinesh Mittal, Hemal Dhavalikar, Tushar Patel, Dr. Rajeev Mehta and Vijay Garg
GOPIO-METRO WASHINGTON DC CELEBRATES ITS 9TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH MUSHAIRA-KAVI SAMMELAN
On the afternoon of August 20th GOPIO Metro Washington celebrated its 9th Annual celebration of Indian Independence Day. While it was a day filled with a number of social and community events in the metropolitan Washington area, more than 120 literary connoisseurs flocked into the Auditorium of Arlington Central Library to be the part of the Annual Yaum-e-Azadi (Independence Day) Mushaira-Kavi Sammelan. This annual event has been a part of Washingtonians' literary life for the last eight years.
The event was organized by the Washington Chapter of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in collaboration with the Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington (AAA-DC Chapter). The main goal of this program was to provide a forum where diverse people could gather transcending political, religious, regional, and geographical boundaries thereby promoting the Ganga-Jamuni culture of the Subcontinent. In addition to sharing poetry this event also recognizes local poets and authors by releasing their recently published books.
In the recent past a number of poets and authors have released their books through the Mushaira-Kavi Sammelan program. Included in that group are Professor Satyapal Anand, Professor Asghar Wajahat, Dr. A. Abdullah, Dr. K. Mohan, Mr. Raj Kumar Qais, Mr. Anadi Naik, Mrs. Rashmi Sanan, Mrs. Daler Deol Aashna, and Mr. Surender Deol. This year recently published books by three poets, namely, Dr. Astha Naval, Ms. Daler Deol Aashna, and Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar, were released. Commenting on Ms. Aashna's book Tu Hi Tu: Rumi and Tagore, Dr. Harswarup Singh, a former Vice-Chancellor and Ambassador, said that Ms. Aashna has done a great service as she introduces these two great poets in a language that appeals to the reader. Dr. Moazzam Siddiqui, who is regarded a "walking and talking library," discussed Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar's books, Lambi Udan Tak and Adhkhuli Khirkiyan. He commented, "Dhananjaya Kumar's poetry captures large meanings in very few words". Remarking on Dr. Astha Naval's book Visthaapit Man, Ms. Sukesh Chopra recognize the blooming of a young poet.
The metropolitan Washington area is fertile in producing high caliber literary personalities. The challenge remains providing sufficient time to listen to each of the poets in detail. This year the following poets shared their poetry with the audience: A. Abdullah, Abdur Rahman Siddiqui, Astha Naval, Bina Goindi, Daler Doel Aashna, Dhananjaya Kumar, Khurram Yousuzai, Qaisar Abbas, Rashid Jamal, Saqiq Bajwa, Sukesh Chopra, Vandana Singh, Vipin Tripathi, Vishakha Thakar, and Yousuf Rahat. The poetry recitation session was presided by a senior poet Mr. Abdur Rahman Siddiqui.
Dr. Renuka Misra of GOPIO-DC and Mr. Masood Farshori, AAA President, welcomed both the participants and the audience on behalf of their associations. Dr. A. Abdullah conducted the program and Dr. Zafar Iqbal, coordinator of this annual event, thanked everyone for their continued support for the program.
Photo above: GOPIO-Washington DC and AAA-DC Chapter organizers with poets who participated at the Mushaira-Kavi Sammelan to celebrate India Independence Day
Contact Zafar Iqbal, president, GOPIO-Metro DC, firstname.lastname@example.org
|GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS|
GOPIO-RICHMOND, VIRGINIA CHAPTER KICK-OFF MEETING
GOPIO's Washington DC Regional Coordinator Jay Bhandari visited Richmond, Virginia to attend the Kick off meeting of GOPIO Greater Richmond chapter. More than 30 members gathered at the residence of Mr. Goutam Gandhi.
Photo above: Participants at GOPIO-Richmond, VA launch
A power point presentation about GOPIO prepared by Mr. Gandhi was presented to explain the history, purpose, activities and achievements of GOPIO. Jay Bhandari answered the questions and quarries about GOPIO's achievements as well as present and future activities including GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce being launched. President of Virginia GOPIO President Pradeep Sharma was also present. The following people were elected for EC with the consensus of members present at the meeting.
EC Committee Members are as follows: Founding Member and Adviser: Dr. Surya Dhakar, President Goutam Gandhi, Vice President: Praveen Gupta, Joint Vice President: Vikas Kapil, Secretary: Atulya Tiwari, Joint Secretary: Aekta Chawla. Treasurer: Dr. Ram P. Gupta
Photo above: GOPIO-Richmond Officers with GOPIO Intl. representatives at the launch, Sitting the front raw from l. to r. GOPIO-Richmond VP Praveen Gupta, GOPIO-Richmond Treasurer Dr. Ram Gupta, GOPIO-Virginia President Pradeep Sharma, GOPIO's Washington DC Regional Coordinator Jay Bhandari, GOPIO-Richmond President Goutam Gandhi, Advisor Dr. Surya Dhakar, GOPIO-Richmond Secretary Atulya Tiwari and others.
Bhandari congratulated the newly appointed EC members and presented the Gadar book and GOPIO pin to Goutam Gandhi and to Dr. Surya Dhakar as a token of appreciation. Program ended with lunch.
Contact: Goutam Gandhi, President, GOPIO-Richmond, 804-360-5324, E-mail: email@example.com
|NRIs AND PIOs ACHIEVE|
DR. RENU KHATOR INDUCTED INTO TEXAS WOMEN'S HALL OF FAME
Dr. Renu Khator will be inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame for making significant contributions towards the benefit of Texas. She will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Texas Women's University of Denton on October 21, 2016.
Khator, the first Indian-American to lead a major research university in the US, is also the president of the University of Houston's (UH) main campus. During her tenure at UH, she has improved the university's sluggish graduation rate and is credited with pushing the UH towards the nation's top-tier research universities.
Khator earned her Bachelor's degree from Kanpur university in 1973; she is the eighth chancellor of the UH system and the 13th president of the UH.
INDIAN-ORIGIN SCIENTIST DESIGNS CHIP THAT DETECTS HARDWARE VIRUSES
Indian-origin scientist, Dr. Siddarth Garg and his team have designed a novel chip that can ward off hardware viruses from sabotaging healthcare devices, public infrastructure and financial, military or government electronics.
Dr. Garg is an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer engineering at the New York University's Tandon School of Engineering. He and his team are developing a chip with an embedded module that proves that its calculations are correct and an external module that validates the embedded module's outputs.
According to Dr. Garg, this feature provides a safety net for the chip maker and the end user. Also, this chip built by the external foundry is smaller, faster, and more power-efficient.
TWO BRITISH INDIANS IN THERESA MAY'S CABINET IN BRITAIN
Priti Sushil Patel, former Employment Minister, has been appointed Secretary of State for International Development. She is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for the Witham constituency in Essex since 2010.
Ms Patel will be in charge of the Department for International Development (DfID), which leads the UK's work to end extreme poverty and building a safer, healthier world. Her responsibilities will also include managing the International Aid budget.
She has campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union and while accepting her new role said, "I am delighted to have been appointed International Development Secretary by the Prime Minister and will make sure we invest UK aid firmly in our national interest, while keeping the promises we've made to the world's poorest people. Successfully leaving the European Union will require a more outward looking Britain than ever before, deepening our international partnerships to secure our place in the world by supporting economic prosperity, stability and security overseas."
Despite accepting the new role, Ms. Patel suggested replacing her new department with a department for international trade and development. She felt that this would enable UK to focus on enhancing trade with the developing world and seek out new investment opportunities in the global race.
Another Indian-origin MP Alok Sharma has been included as a junior minister in Theresa May's Cabinet. British lawmaker Sharma, has been named Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), becoming the second Indian-origin minister in Prime Minister Theresa May's Cabinet.
Sharma had previously served in a special role of Infrastructure Envoy for India. In his new role in the FCO, Sharma will work closely with newly-appointed foreign secretary, Boris Johnson and is likely to be in charge of Indian affairs. Unlike Priti Patel, the new Secretary of State for International Development, Sharma has campaigned for UK to remain in the European Union and has even set up a cross-party group called British-Indians for IN.
The presence of Sharma and Patel in the Cabinet reflects May's broader attempt at balancing her Cabinet with pro and anti-Brexit campaigners as her government begins the process of UK leaving the economic bloc.
INDO-CANADIAN SIKH MP IS FIRST WOMAN LEADER OF THE HOUSE
An Indo-Canadian Sikh Cabinet Minister Bardish Chagger, was sworn in as the new leader of the government in the House of Commons, becoming the first woman to hold this position in the Canadian parliament.
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau expressed his confidence that Chagger will be "a worthy successor" to former House Leader, Dominic LeBlanc. Chagger will continue to retain her portfolio as Small Business and Tourism minister, in addition to her new role.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science, she worked as an assistant to former Kitchener-Waterloo MP, Andrew Telegdi before becoming a community organizer in 2009. Chagger also worked as a volunteer on Trudeau's leadership campaign.
INDIAN-AMERICANS SELECTED FOR PRESTIGIOUS POET PROGRAM
The White House has announced that two Indian-American teens, Maya Eashwaran and Gopal Raman are among five students selected for the prestigious National Students Poets' Program. This is the first time that Indian Americans have made it to this program.
Since its inception in 2011, the National Student Poets' Program has showcased the essential role of writing and the arts in academic and personal success for audiences across the country. Each year, the five National Student Poets are chosen from a pool of outstanding writers, grades 9-11, who have received a national Scholastic Art and Writing Award for poetry.
A first generation Indian-American, Eashwaran writes about foreigners, often incorporating personal experiences dealing with assimilation in the modern age. For Raman, poetry distills images and emotions into a form that brings people together. He cites poets such as, Billy Collins, Wallace Stevens, and Walt Whitman as his inspirations.
|NRIs and PIOs NEWS FEATURES|
FOUR INDIAN-AMERICANS AND ONE INDIAN IN THE 35 INNOVATORS UNDER 35 LIST OF MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW
Four Indian-Americans have been included in the MIT Technology Review's Prestigious 35 Innovators Under 35 List for 2016. They are: Dinesh Bharadia, Jagdish Chaturvedi, Maithilee Kunda and Sonia Vallabh. SamayKohli of India and Bangladeshi-American Ehsan Hoque were also on the list.
The MIT Review described these young achievers as " inquisitive and persistent, inspired and inspiring." The following are the brief bios of these young achievers, as published by MIT Review:
Dinesh Bharadia, 28 - MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Bharadia invented a radio design that doubles wireless capabilities by simultaneously transmitting and receiving data on the same frequency.
Since the signal from broadcasting a radio transmission can be 100 billion times louder than the receiving one, it was always assumed that outgoing signals would invariably drown out incoming ones. Typically radios send and receive on different frequencies or rapidly alternate between transmitting and receiving.
Bharadia developed hardware and software that selectively cancel the louder outgoing transmission, so that a radio can decipher the incoming message. This full-duplex radio can later be incorporated into cell phones and it should effectively double the available wireless bandwidth, thereby benefiting both telecom companies and consumers.
Samay Kohli, 30-GreyOrange
E-commerce companies in India are currently using warehouse automation technologies developed by Samay Kohli and his team at the robotics firm GreyOrange. This helps them to reduce prices and delivery times. Kohli and his cofounder Akash Gupta launched this company in 2011, after developing India's first humanoid robot.
GreyOrange sells many "Butler" robots, which store products and bring shelves to human workers, and "Sorters," which automatically scan and sort packages of any size or shape. This company currently controls 92 percent of India's warehouse automation market andnow plans to expand into the Middle East and China. Later, Kohli expects to export warehouse robots to Europe.
MaithileeKunda, 32 - Vanderbilt University
MaithileeKunda was inspired by autistic people to design a novel approach to create Artificial Intelligence (AI). Reading Temple Grandin's "Thinking in Pictures" prompted Kunda to feel that though most AI systems use variables, numbers, lists, etc. and reason using mathematical and logical operations, effective AI systems can also be created using visual operations, such as rotating or combined images. She felt that if Grandin (an autistic person) could do amazing things with her visual thinking, AI systems could do the same.
Kunda stated that the visual abilities of many autistic people could be built into AI systems. She felt that several AI tutors (some of them visual) could demonstrate to students various methods of solving the same problem. Similarly, multiple AI analysts could help doctors to find patterns of disease outbreaks by sifting through the data, using different styles of pattern finding.
JagdishChaturvedi, 32 - InnAccel
According to JagdishChaturedi, his observational skills helped to invent Entraview, a low-cost ear, nose and throat (ENT) imaging device. As a trainee doctor, he saw that there were no proper imaging systems available in rural areas and felt that this problem could be solved by attaching endoscopes to small cameras.
The Stanford-India Biodesign program helped Chaturvedi to hone his invention and helped him to arrange a pitch with Medtronic. Although his invention originally focused only on imaging ears, it later advanced and now Chaturvedi has contributed to 18 medical-device inventions. Currently, he is the clinical lead at InnAccel, where he helps startups, as well continuing to practice medicine.
Sonia Vallabh, 32 - Broad Institute
For Sonia Vallabh, it was a personal diagnosis that led her to find a cure. Her healthy, 51-year old mother had a particular gene that caused fatal genetic prion disease that led to dementia and death. A test revealed that Vallabh had inherited this genetic mutation and would eventually fall victim to the same disease.
This made Vallabh, who worked at a small consulting company after graduating from Harvard Law School, to change her course completely. Today, she and her husband work in a lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and have published research showing a possible cure for this disease.
Vallabh educated herself by taking night classes, attending conferences and working in research labs and is currently developing therapeutics to counter this disease. She says "We know the road ahead is uncertain-no amount of hard work can guarantee there will be a treatment for me when I need one. We are going to do everything we can, hand-in-hand with creative allies from every sector, to build this bridge as we walk across it and develop a treatment that could save my life, and the lives of many others."
Ehsan Hoque, 34 - University of Rochester
The need to excel in social settings and develop confidence has been addressed by Ehsan Hoque, a researcher at the University of Rochester. Hoque is the primary caregiver for his brother, a teenager with Down syndrome and realizing his brother's difficulties with social interactions, he developed a tool to address these communication problems.
This program has a virtual businesswoman who recognizes expressions and statements, so that she can nod, smile and prompt with further questions as the subject chats with her. Later, this person gives feedback on interpersonal performance, body language, intonation, and eye contact.
Hoque has also designed a simplified version that is free for anyone with Internet access. It records the subject's conversation and performance and later sends a report on the subject's speech patterns, word-usage, voice timbre and facial expressions. Hoque hopes his tools will be useful not only to people with Down's or Asperger's syndromes but also to anyone who needs to gain confidence by communicating more effectively.
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
DISTRESSED INDIAN WORKERS IN SAUDI ARABIA HAVE ONLY TWO OPTIONS
Indian workers in Saudi Arabia retrenched by three Saudi companies have only two options left -- either to return to India or to relocate to another company in the Gulf.
Explaining the situation faced by the retrenched Indian workers of Saudi Oger, Saudi-bin Laden and Saad Group, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Vikas Swarup said that Saudi authorities have offered to facilitate speedy repatriation of those seeking to return home or to assist those wishing to relocate.
According to the Minister of State, V.K. Singh, there are no other options for the retrenched workers from these companies. However, Singh faces an uphill task in convincing some of the workers to return home and wait for their pending arrears. He informed these workers that it was not in their interest to stay for an indefinite time and wait for their claims and the aggrieved workers demanded that the officials give them a time-bound period in writing, regarding their due arrears.
In Riyadh, Indian Ambassador Javed Ahmed met with Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel Al Jubeir and discussed the welfare of Indian workers in the Gulf kingdom but did not specify details.
INDIA GOT 72 PERCENT OF THE US H1B VISAS THIS YEAR
According to an US official, the US issued more than a million visas this year in India, which also accounts for 72 percent of all H1B visas issued worldwide. Michele Bond, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs stated that Indian workers received 30 percent of all L1 visas and long term business travel visas that the US has issued worldwide.
Ms Bond said while there is no limit for issuing tourist visas, it was for the US Congress to decide to increase the number of HIB and L1 visas for India. She felt that US officials understood the Indian companies' concern about the higher fee for H1B and L1 visas but clarified that this fee hike is not targeted at India. She stated that this hike was result of the legislation that was passed and she hoped that Indians would continue to apply for business visas to work in the US.
According to Ms Bond, the number of Indian students in the US increased to more than 132,000 last year and the US Consulate General in Hyderabad issued the largest number of student visas in India. She said the work on the new consulate building in Hyderabad will begin next year and it is scheduled to be completed in 2020.
|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 2/3 of 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 with people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have a chapter in your city, please visit the GOPIO website (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visit http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). This process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:
GOPIO Chairman - Dr. Thomas Abraham, Stamford, Connecticut, USA, Tel: +1-203-329-8010, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO President - Niraj Baxi, San Jose, California, USA, Tel: 408-307-9845, E-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO Executive Vice President - Noel Lal, Sydney, Australia, Tel: +61 417448293, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO Vice President - Ram Gadhavi, Wayne, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-973-699-8582, E-mail: email@example.com
Execuitve Trustee of GOPIO Foundation - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO's Global Ambassador - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, +973-39441956, India +91-9845756692, E-mail: email@example.com
Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur (New York, USA)
Associate Editors: Layla Matthew (Bangalore, India), Ila Rosengarten (Denver, CO, USA) and Harry Walia (Australia)
Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)
Contributors of this issue: Dr. Pradip Kumar Sewoke (International Coordinator for Europe, Belforte, France); Mehen Poinoosawmy (President, GOPIO France Paris Nord, Paris, France), Ranju Batra (Diwali Stamp Project Coordinator, New York, NY, USA); Dr Rajeev Mehta (GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for North America) and Zafar Iqbal (President, GOPIO-Metro DC)
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