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March 25, 2018

A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)

Issue: XVI-2March 25, 2018
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You can take an Indian out of India, but, you cannot take away the Indianness from him/her. People outside India are more Indian than people inside India. In fact, the destiny of Indian diaspora is in many ways inextricably intertwined with India." This feeling strongly reverberated at the three-day biennial convention of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) held in Bahrain. The international convention held at Gulf Hotel in Bahrain during Jan 6-8, which drew more than 400 delegates from 40 countries. Besides them, a large number of dignitaries from India, Bahrain and other countries participated in the convention to interact with the PIOs, NRIs and OCIs. The evening signature events were attended a larger number of Bahrain Indian community.
It was a grand coming together of people of Indian origin from around the world - the first GOPIO Convention held in the Middle East saw some fascinating personalities join as delegates. They included people who have made their mark as Ivy Leaguers, surgeons, engineers, entrepreneurs who have started their own multi-million dollar businesses. What was striking was that many of them have channeled their talent, energy and money into projects to serve India. They have built schools, hospitals and colleges in their states and shared their good fortune with their motherland.
Indian Diaspora community is the fastest growing Diaspora community worldwide. Currently it constitutes over 30 million people spread into 160 countries. The largest concentration Indians is in the Middle East with over 6 million people. Overseas Indians have been remitting about $70 billion dollars every year which has helped India to reach a foreign reserve of over $400 billion. In spite of the slow economy in the Middle East, wherein the overall remittance has come done recently, India still holds the highest position in expatriate remittances. With India becoming the fastest growing economy, the theme of the convention was 'India 2030: An Economic Powerhouse'.
The Convention started with a pre-convention meeting on Jan. 4th evening followed by a welcome reception n Jan. 5th evening. GOPIO's General Body meeting was conducted on Jan. 6th followed by the convention inauguration on Jan. 6th evening.

GOPIO Offciers and Convention Inauguration.Bahrain
Photo left: GOPIO officers with Maharashtra Minister Raj Purohit. From l. to r. Noel Lal, Minister Purohit, Niraj Baxi, Sunny Kulathakal and Dr. Thomas Abraham; Photo right: GOPIO Officials and Convention organizers with former BJP MP and Editor of Pioneer lighting the lamp along with Minister Raj Purohit, Lord Diljit Rana and other dignitaries. 

Many prominent names spoke at the convention including Dr. Abdulhussein Mirza, Bahrain Minister of Electricity and Water; Dr Shaikh Mohammed Al Khalifa, the CEO of Banagas; Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, the CEO of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority; Dr Shashi Tharoor, former UN Under Secretary General and Member of Parliament; Dr Sam Pitroda, veteran technology and policy expert; Dr Chandan Mitra, former BJP MP and Minister Raj K. Purohit of Maharashtra and Member of Parliament Udit Raj.

Minister Raj Purohit and Dr. Thomas Abraham with delegation from India
Photo: Minister Raj Puirohit and GOPIO Chairman Thomas Abraham with delegation from India
The highlight of the event was the Middle East debut of Shri Rahul Gandhi, the President of the Indian National Congress. It was Gandhi's first pubic program after becoming President of Indian National Congress.
The convention also hosted a wide range of speakers addressing the audience, book launches and cultural programmes.
The convention inaugurated on Jan. 6th with lighting of the lamp by Minister Raj K. Purohit, who also serves as advisor of GOPIO International and Pioneer Editor Chandan Mitra. Mr. Unit Raj, Member of the Parliament also spoke at the convention on Jan. 7th.
Bahraini businesswoman and BCCI Board member Ahlam Janahi joined a delegation of Bahraini businesswomen to felicitate their Indian counterparts at the ceremony.
"GOPIO is a vibrant platform and in the 30 years since it was founded, the body has succeeded in bringing about very valuable changes in the interaction between the Indian government and the diaspora around the world," said Mr Sunny Kulathakal, "We are honored to organize this prestigious event in Bahrain, which shares a 5,000-year-old historic link of friendship with India."

Audience at the GOPIO Conv. Inauguration
Photo Audience at the GOPIO Conv. Inauguration
GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said that since 1989, GOPIO has grown bigger and better in mobilizing the community for common causes by bringing a sense of friendship and community spirit and serving the global Indian community by taking up their issues to various governments and international agencies.
GOPIO President Niraj Baxi complimented the Bahrain team for putting together the massive convention.
Minister Purohit in his inaugural outlined how India has progressed over the years. He lauded the progress under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"GOPIO has done a great job in providing a united forum for the Overseas Indian community," Minister Purohit added.
The convention also saw the recognition of the Women Achiever's Samman organized by NRI Achiver's Magazine after the Convention inauguration on January 6th.  
It was a dream come true for the International magazine 'NRI Achievers' which publishes from New Delhi, India connecting India with Indian Diaspora. Editor & Publisher of the magazine Mr. Rajeev Gupta said, "when we started this magazine, we always wanted to honor Indian Achievers living in all parts of the world & making India proud by their achievements but due to various reasons it couldn't take shape until 2018."
NRI Achievers magazine joined hands with GOPIO International to honor 13 Indian women worldwide for their outstanding work in the communities and social service as well as those who have made outstanding achievements.
Among those honored at the ceremony were dancer & Padamshri Ms. Geeta Chandran. community service provider Sudha Acharya, scientist Dr. Vibha Dhawan,  businesswoman Shraddha Agrawal, philanthropist Parull Mahaajan, non-resident Indian lobbyist Arathi Krishna, Penguin-Random House top editor in chief Milee Ashwarya, US based entertainment & radio host Shabnam Modgil, Bahrain chief executive Kanika Dewan, Canada based radio host & charity worker Molly Banerjei, beauty Queen Mrs. United Nations 2017 Roshini Hassan, entrepreneur Shivani Malik & rural activist Smita Shrivastva.
Editor & Publisher of NRI Achievers, Mr. Rajeev Gupta, speaking on the occasion in Hindi said,' people says 'sky is the limit' lekin jab koi unchi udaan bharne ki than leta hai to sky limit.... Unlimited ho jati hai. Aj hamare beech maujood ladies ne bhi aakash ki sabhi seemayon ko langhte hue is paribhasha ko badal diya aur apni mehnat, lagan and purush pradhan samaaj se kashmakash karte hue poori duniya may apna ek alag mukam bana liya hai.'
Gopio president Sunny Kulathakal said, "it's a great occasion for all of us that we all have gathered here to celebrate the success of women achievers."
GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and President Niraj Baxi also spoke on the occasion along with other dignitaries who were present during the gala evening.  Others present at the Awards Gala were Maharashtra Minister Raj Purohit, Bahrain businesswoman & Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry Board Member Ms. Ahlam Janahi, UK House of Lords member & GOPIO former President Lord Diljit Rana, organizing committee chairman Varghese Kurian, reception committee chairman Soman Baby.

NRI Women Achievers Awardees at GOPIO Conv.Bahrain
Award recipients with GOPIO and NRI Achievers Magazine officials, dignitaries and sponsors. From l. to r: Sunny Kulathakal (GOPIO President), Ahlam Janahi (Businesswoman & Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry Board Member), Kerala MLA Hibi Eden, Maharashtra Minister Raj Purohit, NRI Women Achievers Roshni Hassan, Arathi Krishna, Milee Ashwarya, Geeta Chandran, Sudha Acharya, Shivani Malik, Parull Mahaajan, Shabnam Modgil, Smita Srivastva, Kanika Dewan, Molly Banerjei, Dr. Vibha Dhawan, O P Khanduja (Business Head, DS Group (Catch Masale)), Babbar (CMD, Ramson Prime) and Rajeev Gupta (Publisher, NRI Achievers)
Three-day event featured discussions about India, its economy and people, with many well-known personalities from India participating. The opening session was attended by delegates including Shri Raj Purohit, Cabinet Minister of Maharashtra and Dr Chandan Mitra, Editor of The Pioneer. Apart from these addresses, delegates participating in the convention got an opportunity to discuss various issues facing them in different countries. In different sessions, they also pondered over the issue of contributing in development of their country of origin. Indian organizations as well as politicians also availed of this great opportunity of interacting with the Indian diaspora at one place
The conference sessions included a series of discussions on topics such as 'India 2030: An Economic Powerhouse', opportunities for Business and Investment in India', 'India: The Healthcare Destination' - 'India Healthcare Challenges & Opportunities', 'Health and Wellness of the Indian Diaspora,' 'Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Start-Up India', Empowering Women Globally', Rehabilitation of Returning NRIs' and many more.
His Excellency Shaikh Khalid bin Daij Al Khalifa, President, Court of the Crown Prince was the chief guest at the session on January 7.

GOPIO Conv. Inauguration Dignitaries and GOPIO and Convention officials
Photo: GOPIO Convention Plenary Session and Inauguration conferences - Dignitaries and GOPIO and Convention officials
Dr. Mirza, in his speech, welcomed the holding of the conference in Bahrain and stressed the keenness of the government to strengthen and further deepen relations with India, especially in the fields of electricity, water and renewable energy.
Shaikh Khaled said, "We are proud to participate in the first GOPIO conference which is being held in the Middle East for the first time and which will serve to promote Bahrain in India, further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
"Through our representative office in India, we have been able to successfully promote Bahrain as well as collaborate with Indian travel agencies to create inbound packages into the Kingdom."
Reception Committee Chairman Soman Baby said, "We are grateful to the President of the Court of the Crown Prince Shaikh Khalifa bin Duaij Al Khalifa, Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza and the CEO of BTEA, Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa."

On January 7th evening, Global Indian Businessmen Awards were presented by Business India Magazine, a 37-year-old publication from Delhi, in collaboration with GOPIO. Winners of the award included Bahrain's Mohammed Dadabhai, Dr. K. Kishore Mathur, Babu Rajan and Razak Muzhikkal.

GOPIO-Business World Awards Night
 Photo GOPIO-Business World Awards Night
The Valedictory Session was addressed by Minister Raj K. Purohi, Shri Udit Raj and former NRI Commissioner from UP Madhukar Jaitley, who endorsed their full support for GOPIO to build it as an organization to represent all section of the Diaspora community. 

GOPIO Convention Bahrain Valedictory Session
Photo: Valedictory session - From l. to r. GOPIO Chairman Dr. thomas Abraham, Shri Udit Raj MP, Minister Raj K. Purohit, GOPIO Treasurer Kewal Kanda, former Chief Secretary and Minister of Karnataka Dr. J. Alexander, former NRI Commissioner from UP Madhukar Jaitley. Akash Purohit and GOPIO Exec. Vice President Noel Lal

GOPIO also presented its Community Service Awards at the session. The following were recognized with community service awards:
Dr. Madhavan Anirudhan, President of Essen Nutrition (Chicago Illinois, USA), as an outstanding entrepreneur with social responsibility
Mahendrasinh C Jadeja, Businessman (Leicestershire, UK), as businessman promoting Indian community and social service groups
Pramod Kamdar, Pharmaceutical Industry Consultant (San Diego, California, USA) as an outstanding professional with social responsibility
Dr. Sapta Giri Varma Mundunuru, Physician (Enid Village, Rio Claro, Trinidad & Tobago) as an outstanding physician with social responsibility
Kamal Vachani, Group Director, Al Maya Group (Dubai, UAE) as business professional promoting India's exports to the Middle East
Shri Rahul Gandhi, President of Indian National Congress addressed the convention in the concluding session of the event. He was accompanied by Sam Pitroda, Chairman, Overseas Indian Congress of AICC, Shri Milind Deora, Ex Minister, Govt. of India. The visit was coordinated by Dr Arathi Krishna, Deputy Chairman, NRI Forum, Govt. of Karnataka and Shri Madhu Yaskhi, Secretary, AICC".
Describing himself as a 'bridge' between the NRI community and India, Mr Gandhi said to a fully-packed house at the Gulf International Convention, "People forget this. But our greatest leaders, whether it is Mahatma Gandhiji, whether it is Jawaharlal Nehruji, whether it is Mr. Ambedkar, all of them were once NRIs, all of them were once what you are now!"

Shri Rahul Gandhi at the Finale Session of GOPIO Convention in Bahrain
Photo: Shri Rahul Gandhi speaking at the Finale Session of GOPIO Convention in Bahrain, Sitting from l. to r. Soman baby, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Sunny Kulathakal, Sam Pitroda, Niraj Baxi and Issac John

Welcoming Shri Rahul Gandhi Mr. Kulathakal said, "We left the shores of India, but India has not left us. That is why Rahul Gandhi, the AICC President is with us today. This is his first overseas visit after taking over as the President of AICC."
Mr. Kulathakal asserted that GOPIO represents the largest vibrant Indian Diaspora. GOPIO's future endeavors will further the bridges of friendship with India & their adopted countries. He also said, 'The world knows India mostly through its expatriate's diaspora who are looked at as epitomes of tolerance, loyalty & trust.

GOPIO Convention Finale Audience
Photo: GOPIO Convention Finale audience

GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said there are vast resources from the 30 million strong Indian Indian Diaspora, both professional and financial, which should be utilized for India's development. 

Dr. Abraham said, "It is Indian Diaspora's turn to be the most active and dynamic Diaspora in this centurty,"
Rahul Gandhi in his address appreciated the efforts of GOPIO in uniting and giving a common forum to the diaspora spread across five continents. He said, it is a great service to the diaspora- even to those who might have merged well with their newly found nations in the course of the time. He felt that the NRIs settling in other countries in past 70 years are culturally still in the process of assimilating with the culture of their adopted society and need a lot of psychological support from the people who could understand their pangs and travails. He supported Kulathakal's observation that India doesn't leave Indians even when they are far off the Indian shores.

hri Rahul Gandhi being honored
Photos - Left: Shri Rahul Gandhi being honored by GOPIO Bahrain Convention officials, Right - Rahul Gandhi's delegation with Bahrain officials at the conclusion of the GOPIO Convention
Praising outstanding achievements of NRIs, OCIs and diaspora as India's most authentic representatives in the world, he said the people and governments of India have always been sensitive and sentimentally attached with them. The Congress president also said that the NRIs are the true representatives of our soft power. Admitting the impact of diaspora's opinion on Indian politics, he appealed to the delegates to extend their support to any political party keeping in view their conformance to Indian value system.
YouTube Videos of GOPIO Convention
Rahul Gandhi Speaking and Interacting at the GOPIO Convention in Bahrain -
Rahul Gandhi Interacting with Audience -
Dr. Shashi Tharoor speaking at the Convention

In the last two years, GOPIO had organized conferences, public platforms on issues, community celebrations and social service and philanthropic activities. The Biennial Convention held in New York in June 2016 has become a corner stone for GOPIO to be more involved in business, technology, investment and philanthropic activities. GOPIO decided to initiate GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) which was officially launched on January 10th, 2017 in Mumbai. In the last two years, GOPIO organized conventions in Paris, Bangalore in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and GOPIO Global Indian Business Summit in Durban South Africa.
With the last GOPIO team ending its term in Bahrain, a new team was elected by an online vote before the convention. Over 70% of the delegates participated in the election. The following persons were elected:
During the convention, Mr. Sunny Kulathakal, an Indian from the Middle East was sworn in as the Global President of the organization for the two-year term of 2018-2019. It is the first time in the history of three-decade old GOPIO that an Indian from a country outside the US & Europe was given this position. Kulathakal has been actively involved with GOPIO for more than a decade. He served the Organization as Middle East Co-Coordinator, Executive Vice President & Global Ambassador.
South Africa's Ishwar Ramlutchman is the new Executive Vice-President while Ram Gadhavi from the US is new Vice President. Dubai-based journalist Issac John will take on the mantle of GOPIO Global Ambassador. Dr. Thomas Abraham from the US will continue as Chairman. Others elected are Lal Motwani and Dr. Asha Samant as International Coordinators-at-Large, Mehen Poinoosawmy as International Coordinator for Europe, Jagdish Lodhia as International Coordinator for Oceania and Kurian Abraham as International Coordinator for South Asia.
At the first Executive Council Meeting the following persons were appointed:
Chairman of GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce - Niraj Baxi
Executive Trustee of the Foundation - Inder Singh
Secretary - Dr. Rajeev Mehta
Treasurer - Kewal Kanda
Contact: Sunny Kulathakal, President, GOPIO International, Tel. in Bahrain +973-39441956, India +91-9845756692, E-mail: or Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Secretary, GOPIO International,
GOPIO Officials and Chapter Representatives Meeting with Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty and Other Consulate Officials in New York On Tuesday, February 20th, 2018. In September a GOPIO delegation met India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and appealed to launch Know India Program (KIP) during the Summer for the second and third generation PIOs in the US who have not visited India. The ministry in principal accepted this proposal and the Indian Consulate in New York as a follow up invited a GOPIO delegation to the consulate for discussion to launch Govt. of India's Know India Program (KIP) during the Summer for the PIO youth during Summer time.
The Indian Consulate officials included Consul General Chakravorty and the other Consuls. The GOPIO officials included Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Secretary Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Chapter Review Committee Chair Dinesh Mittal, GICC Co-Chair Prakash Shah, GOPIO Media Council Chair Nami Kaur and GOPIO Council on Seniors Chair Sudha Acharya. GOPIO discussed several other issues including providing assistance to NRIs/PIOs in need and joint programs with the consulate.
at the Indian Consulate  
Photo: GOPIO Interactive Meeting with the Indian Consulate officials
The Consulate on its part updated activities and services provided for the community. These include joint efforts with the community organizations as well as organized directly by the Consulate such as the India Lecture series. The Consul General reiterated that the KIP proposal presented by GOPIO to Sushma Swaraj had been accepted by the Ministry of External Affairs and will start in Summer of 2018. This program caters to young PIOs around the world who have not visited India, to make that visit and get to know about the country of their origin.
GOPIO delegation brought the following issues to the attention of the Consulate.
  • PIO youth participation from the US in Know India Program (KIP)
  • High need for social services for the NRI/PIO community in the US
  • Growing need to address the mental health conditions within the Diaspora
  • PIOs being charged 10 times fees for off campus enrollment in Universities
  • NRI/PIO Seniors experiencing hunger, loneliness and depression
  • Limited Consulate resources to attend NRI/PIO events e.g. Independence Day
The biggest outcome of this meeting was the plan to launch Govt. of India's Know Indian Program (KIP) for the 3rd and above generation US PIOs of age 18-30 who have not visited India before. More details of the selection process will come later. The meeting also decided to initiate several new programs with the Indian Consulate, especially in coordinating social services to needy NRIs/PIOs, health series talks and activities of GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) hosting Indian business delegation.
The meeting ended with a positive discussion on how GOPIO can play an instrumental role to support the Indian Government's objectives with respect to their nationals living abroad and helping the Indian Consulate to provide services to the Diaspora community.
GOPIO International and Chapter officials with Indian Consulate officials  Photo: GOPIO International and Chapter officials with Indian Consulate officials in New York
For more info, contact Dr. Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO Secretary, USA, Tel: +1-732-986-2584,
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GOPIO Connecticut conducted the annual Youth Networking program on December 23rd, 2017 at The Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford. The objective of this event was to inculcate education into the youth of Connecticut and to give them an opportunity to network amongst their peers and students/alumni of various universities and companies in USA.
Mr. Vedant Gannu, a High School in Stamford was the youth chair and organizer for the event where GOPIO officials, professionals and alumni from various industrial verticals and universities were invited to address and advise the youth about their education and participation in public and professional services.
GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and GOPIO-CT President Anita Bhat advised the participating youth on the availability of beneficial education in public service and the options for financing their education through different scholarships provided. GOPIO provides a platform for youth to serve its community.
Mr. Ajay Manchanda, CTO of The Navigators Group, spoke about evaluating career choices.  
"If you enjoy your career, you won't feel like you are working. You'll be having fun," Manchanda said.
Mr. Ruchir Pandya of NBA spoke about the various career opportunities in his field.
"The way to make the most of your career is to step out of your comfort zone," said Padya.
Mr. Vinod Kumar, CEO of SKYi, spoke on the availability of International education opportunities and scholarships.
Ms. Namrata Gannu of UBS spoke about the importance of networking in the industry.
"It's important to start building a good online profile and presence in LinkedIn in order to network and maximize career opportunities," Namrata said.
Ms. Nupur Daptardar spoke on the admission process of various state colleges, and Ms. Isha Dalal of Yale spoke about high school experiences and college activities.
The event maintained a large youth presence and provided them with firsthand knowledge from accomplished individuals.
Over forty youth and young professionals participated in the program which ended with a lunch.

GOPIO Youth Networking GGet together Dec. 2017
Photo: GOPIO-CT Youth Networking organizers with speakers and some of the participants at the annual program
Contact: Vedant Gannu, Coordinator, GOPIO-CT Youth,
GOPIO Auckland Central chapter members are part of the project with Auckland Police initiative for International Students welfare Project.
The International Student Ambassador (ISA) Group was established on 23 April 2014. Approx. 80 students are pleased to learn about the interest from government to discuss about well-being of International Students.
GOPIO-Aukland with Police Dept. on Intl. Students Welfare.
Photo: Taken outside Auckland District Police station with Constable Neil PIMENTA and Asian Liaison Coordinator Jessica Phuang (sitting in front row) with President Shefali Mehta & IPP Shailen Mehta with Auckland Police and International students after monthly meeting.
The chapter has announced main activities and projects for 2018 as follows:
1. President Shefali & IPP Shailen will continue to join Auckland Police initiative of Uncle and Aunty Project for International Students welfare.

2. President Shefali Mehta is invited to attend Asian Community Leaders meeting in conjunction of Auckland Council/Auckland City District Police on monthly basis. The meeting covers various topics such as Crime Prevention- Family Violence - Bag snatching/self-defence etc.
3. On yearly basis, Auckland Central Chapter organize in conjunction with Bharatiya Samaj Charitable Trust workshop/Seminar for Senior Citizens.
Each year GOPIO Pukekohe and Bombay Hill organise picnic so that Auckland based members can socialize with each other- exchange ideas and have fun. There are six GOPIO chapters in Auckland are as follows: GOPIO Auckland Central, Auckland West, Auckland South, Botany Down, Bombay Hills & Pukekohe.
Shefali Mehta and GOPIO-Aukland Central Chapter Members Group
Photo Left, Shefali Mehta, President GOPIO-Auckland Central Chapter, right: GOPIO Auckland chapters members.
GOPIO-Auckland Central Chapter also elected new Executive Committee for the term 2017-2018 as follows:
President- Shefali Mehta QSM BEM JP
Vice President- Sukarna Amirapu
Arati Prasad
Joint Secretary- Lalita Minocha
Honorary Treasurer-
Sanjay Badakere
Contact: Shefali Mehta, President, GOPIO-Auckland Central Chapter,
Mr. Viresh Sharma, a life member of GOPIO and Treasurer of GOPIO-Conn. Chapter visited a school in Dharavi slum in Mumbai.  The school is run by Society for Human and Environmental Development.  SHED was started by the wife of then Governor of Maharashtra, Air Marshall Latif.  
The primary goal of SHED is to not only to educate but also give a purpose in life for children who have bleak prospects due to poverty, homelessness, AIDS epidemic, et al. Many are children of workers in the sex trade and have never had structure in their lives.

GOPIO Treasurer Viresh Sharma with SHED School officials in Dharavati
Photo: GOPIO Treasurer Viresh Sharma with SHED School officials in Dharavati slum of Mumbai

The students acquire the basic education and also Computer literacy, sewing, jewelry making and other crafts.  This will hopefully give them a trade as they grow up.
The kids are given a healthy meal and taught basic hygiene among other skills.
A donation of $10,000 was made with a commitment of the same amount for every year. 
GOPIO-Los Angeles chapter celebrated India's 69th Republic Day at Tandoor, Cuisine of India, with over 150 people.
Celebrations started in the evening with Kewal Kanda, Trustee-GOPIO-LA welcoming and thanking the audience for their presence. Dr. Prakash Narain, former mayor of Cypress and Mr. Ali S Taj were present and Mr. Kewal Kanda, Trustee - GOPIO, LA, presided at this occasion.
After the chief guests lit the traditional lamp and the US and Indian national anthems were sung. GOPIO-LA president Anju Garg thanked her team for their dedication and work. Later, Ms. Aparna Hande presented a slide show on India's Republic Day.
GOPIO-Los Angeles Republic Day 2018 Inauguration  
Photo: Lamp Lighting (L-R) Baljinder Tahim, Kewal Kanda, Rajinder Dhunna, Dr. Prakash Narain, Ali Taj and Anju Garg.
Ms. Smita Das, GOPIO-LA's chair for Cultural Events in coordination with Ms. Charuwati Sivakumar, organized a vibrant cultural show that included India's signature classical, Bollywood and Bhangra dances. There was also an item by the Mumbai Madness group and a dance on patriotic songs. All sponsors were given Certificates of Appreciation to recognize their support.

Dancers at GOPIO-Los Angeles Republic Day Celebration 2018
Photo: Dancers at GOPIO-Los Angeles Republic Day Celebration 2018

Rajinder Dhunna, GOPIO-LA Vice President, concluded the cultural program with a vote of thanks, after which the audience was invited to dance to the tunes of Bollywood and Bhangra songs. The event concluded with sumptuous dinner served by Tandoor restaurant.
Contact: Anju Garg, President, GOPIO-Los Angeles, Tel: 562-818-2363, Email:
GOPIO-CT held its Annual General Body Meeting and Holiday Party on Friday, December 1st at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Stamford, CT. President Anita Bhat in her report said that GOPIO-CT had a very active year in 2017 with its Awards Banquet attended by India's Consul General General Riva Ganguly Das, US Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rillings and several other CT state legislators.
GOPIO-CT also continued its scholarship in 2017 with four students getting the scholarship.
The election followed at which a new team was elected unanimously. The new team is as follows:
President - Anita Bhat, Exec VP - Pradeep Govil, VP - Bhavna Jhuneja, Secretary - Prasad Chintalapudi, Treasurer - Biru Sharma, Trustees: Dr. Thomas Abraham and Totty Narang.

GOPIO-CT Team for 2018
Photo: GOPIO-CT's newly elected team for 2018, From l. to r.: Shailesh Naik, Sanjay Santhanam, Varghese Ninan, Totty Narang, Biru Sharma, Bhavna Jhuneja, Pradeep Govil, Anita Bhat, Shelly Nichani and Dr. Thomas Abraham
The Holiday Party which followed was also a fundraiser for Future 5, a Stamford based organization which helps motivated low-income high school students in Stamford connect to their full potential leading to financial independence and productive citizenship. A sum of $4,000 was donated to Future 5.
Contact: Anita Bhat, President, GOPIO-CT, TeL: 203-324-2935, e-mail:
The Founder-President of GOPIO Waikato based in Hamilton (NZ) and former International Coordinator (Oceania) Suman Kapoor and the current President, Pradeep Kapoor organized the tenth anniversary of the GOPIO Chapter at Indian Accent Restaurant in Botany South (Flat Bush) in Auckland on January 7, 2018.
Michael Wood, Ethnic Communities Under-Secretary and elected Labour Member of Parliament from Mt Roskill, National Party Member and Kelston Constituency Contestant Bala Beeram and Bank of Baroda Managing Director Anupam Srivastav were among the guests at the ceremony.
Among the highlights of the program was a conference session, a dance item by Ratna Venkat and recognition of GOPIO members.
GOPIO-New Zealand Anniversary in Auckland
Photo: GOPIO chapter organizers and dignitaries at the celebration

GOPIO President Sunny Kulathakal attended a reception hosted by Dr Rami Ranger CBE, GOPIO's Gold Life Member from London and Chairman of SunMark Group in early March. Her Majesty's Consul General to the UAE Mr Paul Fox; Chief Guest Mr Richard Harrington MP, were present at the event along with Issac John, GOPIO's Global Ambassador. Kulathakal spoke on GOPIO at the event attended by SunMark's management team and the company subsidiary officials from around the world. Kulathakla got good positive feedback to initiate GOPIO Chapters and launch GOPIO Intl. Chamber of Commerce (GICC) in different parts of the world.

GOPIO and Sunmark officials with dignitaries in Dubai Photo: GOPIO and Sunmark officials with dignitaries at Sunmark's meeting in Dubai

At least seven Indian-American innovators were recognized recently by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and its Office of Strategic Coordination's The Common Fund, as 2017 New Innovator Award recipients.
Of the 55 recipients named by the NIH director, the Indian Americans included Ishan Barman, Akhilesh K. Gaharwar, Nikhil S. Malvankar, Dr. Priya Rajesethupathy, Neville E. Sanjana, Kavitha Sarma and Radhika Subramanian.
Ishan Barman of Johns Hopkins University won the award for his project, "Spectroscopy Assisted Mechano-Chemical Phenotype Recognition Nanoscope." Following a postdoctoral stint at the Laser Biomedical Research Center at MIT, Barman established his independent group at Johns Hopkins University. The Barman Lab develops non-invasive approaches where structural and molecular data converge to provide integrated insight into disease mechanisms.
Akhilesh Gaharwar an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University was chosen for his project, "Mineralomics: Designing Mineral Based Therapeutics to Control and Direct Cell Function." His research deals with understanding the cell-nano materials interactions and developing nano-engineered strategies to modulate stem cell behavior for repair and regeneration of damaged tissue.
Nikhil S. Malvankar, an assistant professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, was selected for his project, "Targeting Bacterial Infections by Imaging Electrical Interactions between Host Surface Pathogens". His work focuses on engineering these interactions to control microbial pathophysiology and ecology.
Dr. Priya Rajasethupathy of Rockefeller University won the award for her project, "Bridging the Gap from Genes to Circuits to Behavior in Understanding Cognitive Dysfunction."
Her work deals with understanding brain-wide genomic and neural circuit computations that support higher order memory and cognitive processes.
Neville E. Sanjana of New York Genome Center and New York University was selected for his project, "In Situ Functional Genomics to Understand Transcriptional Regulation." Utilizing new technologies for large-scale DNA synthesis and gene editing, Sanjana has developed pooled screening approaches for functional genomics and applied them to gene regulation, cancer evolution and metastasis, drug resistance, cancer immunotherapy, neurodevelopmental disorders and synthetic biology.
Kavitha Sarma of the Wistar Institute was chosen for her project, "Epigenetic Regulation through the Formation and Resolution of R Loops." Her laboratory currently explores RNA function in epigenetic gene regulation and in the formation of atypical chromatin structures in diseases.
Radhika Subramanian of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital was selected for her project, "A Versatile Platform for Reconstructing the Spatial Organization of Intracellular Signaling during Cell-Division. Her lab focuses on elucidating the fundamental principles by which intracellular spatial organization on the micron-length scale is achieved by the collective activity of nanometer-sized proteins.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science recently conferred the distinction of Fellow to 396 of its members in recognition of their contributions to science and technology, scientific leadership and extraordinary achievements across disciplines.
More than a dozen Indian-Americans were among these awardees. They were:
Biological Sciences
Subba Reddy Palli from the University of Kentucky, Sudhansu K. Dey from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and K Sandeep Prabhu from the Pennsylvania State University.
Palli's work mainly consists of molecular analysis of growth, development, reproduction and xenobiotic response in insect pests and disease vectors with a goal to utilize this information for their control.
Dey, as a professor of pediatrics, has worked to start a new division of reproductive sciences.
Prabhu is a professor of immunology and molecular toxicology and co-leader of mechanisms of carcinogenesis program at the Penn State Cancer Institute.
Usha Varanasi from the University of Washington. She was the science and research director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northwest Fisheries Science Center.
Keshab K. Parhi of the University of Minnesota and Sudarsan Rachuri from the US Department of Energy
Parhi's research area deals with communications, signal processing and networking, computer engineering, VLSI and circuits, biomedical and biological computational methods, devices, and systems.
Rachuri worked on developing and transferring knowledge to industries about information models for sustainable manufacturing, green products, assembly representation, system level analysis, and tolerance representation.

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Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences
Binayak P. Mohanty of Texas A&M University. Mohanty's research includes water, heat, and chemical transport measurement and modeling in variably-saturated porous media ranging from core-scale to regional-scale; measurement and modeling of hydraulic properties, and preferential water flow and chemical transport through macroporous media.
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Agriculture, Food and Renewable Resources
Autar K. Mattoo. He specializes in plant biochemistry and molecular biology.
Geology and Geography
Budhendra L Bhaduri. His primary responsibilities include conceiving, designing, and implementing innovative geo-computational methods and algorithms to solve a wide variety of national and global problems involving population dynamics modeling, natural resource studies, transportation modeling, critical infrastructure protection, and disaster management
Information, Computing and Communication
H.V. Jagadish from the University of Michigan, Subbarao Kambhampati and Sethuraman Panchanathan of Arizona State University, and Prashant Shenoy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Jagadish, teaches courses related to database management, data analysis, the web, and data structures and algorithms.
Kambhampati is a professor in the department of computer science and engineering at the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He is also the president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.
Panchanathan is the executive vice president and chief research and innovation officer of knowledge enterprise development at Arizona State University. He is responsible for advancing research, innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development.
Shenoy leads the Laboratory for Advanced Systems Software and the newly established Center for Smart and Connected Society. His research focuses on distributed systems and networking, with a recent emphasis on cloud and green computing.
Medical Sciences
Satya Dandekar from the University of California, Davis; Anil K. Rustgi from the University of Pennsylvania, and Jayant P. Shenai from the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.
Dandekar is a professor of microbiology and the chairperson of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Her research program is focused on the molecular pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus and simian immunodeficiency virus infections.
Rustgi is the chief of gastroenterology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His research revolves around oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, tumor microenvironment, tumor metastasis, and molecular genetics of GI cancers.
Shenai is a professor of pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. His specialty is neonatology.
Umesh Garg of the University of Notre Dame and Chandralekha Singh of the University of Pittsburgh
Garg is a professor of experimental nuclear physics at the University of Notre Dame. His current research includes experimental investigation of compressional-mode giant resonances and exotic quantal rotation in nuclei.
Singh's area of research is identifying sources of student difficulties in learning physics, both at the introductory and advanced levels, and to design, implement, and assess curricula/pedagogies that may significantly reduce these difficulties.
Bhramar Mukherjee from the University of Michigan. Her research interests lie in Bayesian methods in epidemiology and studies of gene-environment interaction.
Indian-American Ravinder Bhalla has become the first ever Sikh mayor of New Jersey's Hoboken city.

Bhalla, has been on the city council for more than seven years and defeated challengers that included council members, Michael DeFusco, Jennifer Giattino, and Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.

Bhalla's comment "We've been through a bruising campaign... but now is the time we come together and see who we can work with to bring this city forward" referred to when he was unfairly labelled as a terrorist.
"Thank you for having faith in me, for having faith in our community, faith in our state, and faith in our country; this is what America is all about," he told his supporters after winning the elections.

Manka Dhingra, the Indian-American Democratic candidate for the Washington 45th Legislative District State Senate seat, won the Nov. 7 general election and flipped the majority party of the state from Republican to Democrat.
About her win, Dhingra stated "I was proud of and excited about the result." She emphasized that her campaign was run on honesty, integrity and compassion and not on attack ads.
The importance of the election was evident with the number of statements released by various groups and dignitaries across the country, including Indian-American Congresswoman, Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. Ms Jaypal stated that she was incredibly proud and excited to see strong and experienced women of color with progressive priorities, winning office"
The National Committee was also quick to congratulate Dhingra on her victory in the Pacific Northwest and PTP executive director, Alex Morgan stated "Manka Dhingra is a breath of fresh air with a proven track record of standing up for domestic violence victims and marginalized communities."
He summed up Dhingra's win with "She will be a true progressive voice who will stand up for all Washingtonians when she arrives in Olympia."
Indian-American businessman, Vin Gopal emerged victorious election night Nov. 7, wresting away New Jersey's 11th district state Senate seat from long-time Republican incumbent, Jennifer Beck.
Democrat Gopal, is the owner of Community Magazine NJ, and the nonprofit Direct Development LLC - an organization that helps local charities.
Gopal said he was running to tackle New Jersey's "grave fiscal problems" and noted the need to fight for lower property taxes, eliminate red tape imposed on small businesses, and fund women's healthcare policies.
"As your senator, I will spend every day fighting against Trenton insiders and fighting for the needs of working people," he added. "That is my pledge to the residents of Monmouth County."
Ms. Preet Diball has been elected as the mayor of Yuba City in California, becoming the first Sikh woman to hold the position in the US. The Sutter-Yuba region is home to one of the largest Sikh communities in the US.
Didbal was elected to Yuba City Council in 2014 and was serving as vice-mayor.
Indian-American Hemant Marathe won West Windsor, New Jersey's mayoral race, becoming the first Indian-American mayor of the small town.
Marathe is an alumnus of IIT Mumbai and has a PhD from the University of Washington has served 12 years on the school board before being appointed to the City Council. He has also served as council liaison to the Affordable Housing Committee, Zoning Board, and the Parking Authority.
One of the biggest issues for Marathe was a 658-acre plot belonging to the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), which is slated for residential development. However, Marathe feels that such a housing project would increase the town's population by around 20 percent and add an estimated 2,000 children to the town's schools that are already full.
Marathe wants the property to be developed for commercial use - as it is currently zoned for - including office space, research labs, and manufacturing use. He noted that this property is well-connected by train to Philadelphia and to Manhattan. He stated that building the HHC development in this manner would add commercial taxes to the city's coffers and reduce the tax burden on its residents.
"I was very thankful that people voted on the issues facing our community, rather than party labels," Marathe said. "I am honored that they paid attention to our content."


 The $115 million gift to Boston University (BU) by Indian-American, Rajen Kilachand bears tribute not only to his generosity but also to his keen interest in Life Sciences and Engineering.
His contribution, the largest in the history of Boston University, directs $15 million to support construction of the new Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering and $100 million to establish an endowment known as the Rajen Kilachand Fund for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering. This fund will be the foundation for the university's continuing investment in interdisciplinary research that joins life sciences and engineering.  It will also support research projects aligned with the grand challenges of life sciences and human health research and its impact on our global society.
Robert A. Knox, a BU trustee for 20 years, describes Kilachand as a force of nature. "We first met him, I think, in 2010," says Knox, "and since then his engagement and support of the University has been remarkable. So to have Rajen step forward and become by far the largest donor to Boston University is truly an amazing endorsement of the University, and it's an amazing gift from a person who is exuberant, smart, thoughtful, and really loves-loves-BU."
It was at BU that Kilachand first understood the influence of philanthropy on higher education.  Kilachand says his commitment to improving education and health care was instigated by his travels to the interiors of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Africa, where access to schools and health care was largely nonexistent.
 "This magnificent new gift from Rajen Kilachand is the capstone of our efforts to generate philanthropic support for the University," says BU President, Robert A. Brown. "A center like the Kilachand Center and the resources from the fund will have enormous impact, because they fund the very best people, who have the very best ideas and create the very best outcomes. That is what has built the greatness of a lot of the private research universities in the United States. It's a very strong differentiator. This is the largest gift in our history, and the important thing is that it's the largest gift to scientific research in our history, by far."
Due to changes in the UK immigration policy, the UK Government has established an Entrepreneur Visa Category by investing capital in in existing "start-up" UK registered companies. It is a post Brexi t Initiative. General information can be found and verified on the Gov.UK website.
One can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, leading to a UK Passport if:
  • One invests £200,000 or more in a UK Registered Start Up;
  • One is from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland;
  • One meets the other eligibility requirements.
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 2/3rdthe 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 ( and get details of chapter initiation (visit This process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:
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To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to:. GOPIO International, PO Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA


Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur, GOPIO Media Council Chair (New York, USA)
Associate Editors: Layla Matthew (Bangalore, India) and Harry Walia (Australia)
Webmasters: Abu Thomas (Ardsley, New York, USA)

Contributors of this issue: Sunny Kulathakal, President, GOPIO International (Bahrain); Rajeev Gupta, Publisher, NRI Achivers Magazine (New Delhi, India); Jaswant Modi, Associate Secretary, GOPIO Internaitonal (New Brnswick, New Jersey, USA); Anita Bhat, President, GOPIO-CT (Stamford, CT, USA); Shefali Mehta, President, GOPIO-Auckland Central Chapterand Vedant Gannu, Coordinator for GOPIO-CT Youth (Stamford, CT, USA); John Issac, Global Ambassador (Dubai, UAE)

GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. 
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