GOPIO Logo Revised


April 7, 2014

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

Issue: XIII-3 April 7, 2014
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NOTE: GOPIO News is a FREE bi-monthly newsletter of GOPIO International, based in the USA. We need your help in reaching out more NRIs/PIOs around the world. Please go to the bottom of the news bulletin and click the FORWARD button and type e-mail addresses of your friends and relatives. One could also subscribe this newsletter by visiting www.gopio.net and type in the e-mail address. All preivous issues of GOPIO News are provided at GOPIO News Archives. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter in future, please click SafeUnsubscribe at the end of this newsletter.


GOPIO is a community supported non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visiting http://www.gopio.net/online_membership.html.



The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) has scheduled its 25th (Jubilee) Anniversary in Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago, with a 2-day gala celebration on 27th to 29th May, 2014 preceding the annual Indian Arrival Day commemoration in that country. GOPIO International Trinidad & Tobago Chapter will be the convention host, along with a well organized convention team which includes GOPIO's regional and international chapters, executives, councils and life members, as well as businesses, government, organizations and academic supporters. 


Theme: The Indian Diaspora - Today and Tomorrow

Convention Convener:Ena Maraj, (Trinidad) President of GOPIO Int'l Chapter of Trinidad & Tobago

General Convener: Dr. Arnold Thomas (St. Vincent), GOPIO International Coordinator, Caribbean


Program Outline


Tuesday, 27th May

Welcome Reception & Dinner


Wednesday, 28th May

GOPIO Meetings (Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain):

  • Executive Council
  • International Council
  • Elections

Business to Business (B-B) Meetings

Dinner & Cultural Extravaganza Evening (NCIC venue being confirmed)


Thursday, 29th May

Conference (Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain and University of West Indies)

Theme: The Indian Diaspora - Today and Tomorrow

  • Inaugural Session
  • Global & Regional Diaspora Investments & Economic Opportunities
  • Focus on Diaspora's Youth & Children
  • Diaspora Gender & Inter-Generational Issues
  • Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-Ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora
  • Education, Science & Technology as Significant Assets in the Indian Diaspora
  • Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutrition to Alleviate Inherent Cultural Health Problems
  • GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Resolutions


    Awards Banquet and Gala (Convention Centre NAPA being confirmed)

  • CSA Recognition
  • GOPIO Jubilee Recognition
  • Cultural Presentations

Friday, 30th May

             Indian Arrival Day (Trinidad)

  • Indian Arrival Plaque Unveiling
  • Indian Arrival Comm. at National Centre for Indian Culture (NCIC)  at Diwali Nagar
  • Cultural Evening by National Centre for Indian Culture (NCIC) 

Saturday, 31st May (Onwards)

Hotel Accommodations at Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad

  • Single or double occupancy $135 USD + tax
  • Includes breakfast and internet; early check-in and late check-out
  • Direct booking: reservations@cplazahotel.com Tel: 1-868-625-3361-6 Ext 6604
  • Booking code:  CPGOPIO

Hostel Accommodations at University of West Indies, St Augustine (Port of Spain), Trinidad

  • $50USD per room within University of West Indies complex
  • Contact: Mahadaye Ramlagan, Convention Secretary, at  mahadaye.ramlagan@gmail.com

Hospitality Accommodations - families hosting international delegates

Air, Hotel, Tourism Package Bookings  - air, hotel and holiday packages with options

Advertising & Sponsorships

  • Advertising per page and ½ page in commemorative Souvenir Brochure
  • Sponsors and Patrons available at grand, platinum, gold and silver levels
  • Contact: Deo Gosine (Grand Patron)   deogosine@gmail.com

Souvenir Brochure -a comprehensive commemorative keepsake 120-page Souvenir Brochure

Registration - for all convention events

  • No charge to delegates registering before May 15, 2014.
  • Contact: Mahadaye Ramlagan, Convention Secretary, at  mramlagan@gmail.com


Ena Maraj (Convener)  e.maraj@yahoo.com

Dr Arnold Thomas (General Convener)   arnoldthom@yahoo.co.uk

Deo Gosine (Grand Patron)   deogosine@gmail.com

Shalima Mohammed (Public Relations Coordinator)  sentra046@hotmail.com

Seeta Sahatoo (Hospitality Coordinator)  seeta17@yahoo.co.uk

Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh (Conference Coordinator)  j_teelucksingh@yahoo.com  

Mahadaye Ramlagan (Convention Secretary)  mahadaye.ramlagan@gmail.com

Dr Indrani Rampersad & Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Exposition & Displays)  i_rampersad@yahoo.com , dmahabir@gmail.com




The planning team for GOPIO 25th Jubilee Anniversary Convention 2014 held a series of one-to-one and group meetings in Port of Spain, Trinidad from March 15 thru' March 18 following several previous meetings on-line and tele-conferencing. Intensive planning meetings were held on selection of the venues for various events, selection and assignment of team members, roles and responsibilities, program details, conference details, jubilee souvenir brochure, volunteers for hospitality, transportation, sponsorships and support. Discussions were held on roles and responsibilities and assignments.


Photo above: GOPIO International officials with Trinidad convention team in Port of Spain after the convention meeting last month, from l. to r.: Ashook Ramsaran, Shalima Mohammed, Ramdai Sookdeo, Dr. Kumar Mahabir, Seeta Sahattoo, Navin Rampersad, Ramdaye Ramlagan, Dr. Indrani Rampersad, Karan Nancoo, Dr. Bisham Bimail, Dr Piyush Agrawal, Deo Gosine, Ena Maraj, Dr. Arnold Thomas 


Joining the Trinidad based Convention Team which is headed by Ena Maraj (Trinidad), President of GOPIO International Chapter of Trinidad & Tobago, and GOPIO 25th Jubilee Anniversary Convention 2014 Convention Convener: Ashook Ramsaran (New York, USA), President, GOPIO International; Dr. Piyush Agrawal (Florida, USA), Senior Vice President of GOPIO International; Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent), General Convener and GOPIO International Coordinator, Caribbean. Other team members include: Shalima Mohammed, Dr Kumar Mahabir, Dr. Indrani Rampersad, Karan Nancoo, Ramdai Sookdeo, Mahadaye Ramlagan. Geeta Sahatoo, Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, Navin Rampersad, Seeta Sahatoo, Surujdeo Mangaroo (NCIC), Aleem Mohammed, and several others.


Meetings were held with officials of the Government of Trinidad & Tobago, University of West Indies, National Centre for Indian Culture (NCIS), and Indian Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago. Several of the team members were interviewed by WIN TV for live broadcast on March 17. The meetings and planning sessions were very productive and continue on a regular basis. Mr. Deo Gosine, GOPIO Life Member and Co-Chairperson of GOPIO Business Council, became the first grand sponsor at the meeting on held March 15 at NCIC. The 3-days of meetings concluded with a Press Conference held at the Radisson Hotel on March 18, 2014.


Convention Planning Meetings  Photos above from top left clockwise: Convention team meeting at NCIS; Team at press conference; Meeting with University of West Indies; Meeting with Indian High Commissioner; Team after interview with WIN TV




GOPIO International is planning to confer GOPIO Jubilee Recognition for outstanding achievements in selected categories which contribute to benefit or betterment of life for people of the Indian Diaspora. This is in addition to GOPIO Community Service Awards (GOPIO CSA) Banquet on the evening of May 29, 2014 in Port of Spain, Trinidad as the concluding event of GOPIO Convention 2014 (Trinidad).


The Jubilee Recognition recipient must have achieved a significant and prominent level of stature and recognition in his/her field of endeavor which has served interests of people in his/her country of domicile and others as well, in addition to generating pride and respect among the Indian Diaspora and others in country of birth or domicile.


Nominations are invited for suitably qualified candidates in the following categories: Youth, Women; Legacy (Oldest NRI, PIO);  Writers, Literature; Academia;  Culture& Religion; Politics; Business; Philanthropy;  Sports;  Human Rights Advocacy; Film& Documentary; Medical; Legal; Science& Technology;  Media;  Posthumous; Friends of the Diaspora.


Nominations of suitably qualified candidates are requested for consideration by GOPIO's CSA 2014 Selection Committee. For details of GOPIO CSA criteria, format for submission of nominations and deadline for submission, please visit the GOPIO website, http://www.gopio.net/


Nominations are to be submitted using the prescribed form with supporting documents by April 20th, 2014 to Chair, GOPIO CSA 2014 Selection Committee at indersinghusa@gmail.com




At the GOPIO Biennial Convention, those who have provided outstanding community service will be recognized at the finale banquet on May 29th evening. GOPIO is seeking nominations of suitably qualified candidates from the NRI/PIO community for consideration by GOPIO's 2014 Selection Committee. For more details and format for submission of nominations, please visit the GOPIO website, http://www.gopio.net/  

Nominations are to be submitted using the prescribed form with supporting documents by April 20th, 2014 to Chair, GOPIO 2014 Selection Committee at indersingh.usa@gmail.com.




The 25th (Jubilee) Anniversary Convention 2014 will include a comprehensive commemorative keepsake 120-page Souvenir Brochure. It will be a suitably designed cover and contents will include: Messages and letters of support and endorsement, GOPIO's history and achievements, GOPIO's International Team and Jubilee Convention Team. There will be articles on: GOPIO - 25 Years of Progress; The Indian Diaspora - Today and Tomorrow; GOPIO and the Indian Diaspora; History of Indians in the Caribbean; Challenges & Opportunities in the Indian Diaspora; Advancing Women's Role in the Indian Diaspora; Retaining Indianness in the 21st Century; GOPIO's Role in Fostering Inter-Ethnic Relationships. It will also include detailed Convention Program, GOPIO photo gallery - 25 years of achievement, Chapter Formation & Membership forms, Sponsor profile and recognition, with Thanks and Appreciation section


We invite articles on the theme of The Indian Diaspora - Today and Tomorrow with emphasis on the sub-themes of the conference sessions focusing on the Indian Diaspora, History of Indians in the Caribbean, Challenges & Opportunities in the Indian Diaspora; Advancing Women's Role in the Indian Diaspora; Retaining Indianness in the 21st Century; GOPIO's Role in Fostering Inter-Ethnic Relationships.


Articles to be more no more than 2 pages single spaced 12-sized Times New Roman font submitted via email to be considered by the Editorial Team. Cut-off date: May 4, 2014


Contact: Ashook Ramsaran (New York, USA), President, GOPIO International at Ramsaran@aol.com



The 28th "KNOW INDIA PROGRAMME [KIP]" run by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India,  is to be held from 9th June - 30th June 2014.   The programme will be conducted in partnership with the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.  Those interested may apply before 10th April 2014.  




In order to bring the Indian Diaspora closer to its roots and make them aware of the various facets of India, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, have introduced the 'Know India Programme' (KIP).  The Know India Programme is a three-week orientation programme, wherein participants from amongst the youth of Indian Origin visit India to know and learn about Indian society, culture, economic and scientific progress etc.   KIP also provides a unique forum for students & young professionals of Indian origin to share their views, expectations & experiences and to develop closer bonds with the contemporary India.  The Programme involves visit to historical, cultural, industrial, academic and tourist places along with meetings with constitutional Head, Hon'ble Governor, Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Minister and other eminent personalities. The participants will also be given exposure of village life and interaction sessions in premier university/institution within the partner state.


Applying for the Programme


Further details, including application form and eligibility criteria, for the 'Know India Programme' may be accessed at: http://moia.gov.in/services.aspx?id1=42&id=m4&idp=42&mainid=23 .


Selected participants are provided full hospitality in India during the programme and 90% of the cost of air ticket is reimbursed to the participants on successful completion of the programme.


Diaspora youth in the age group of 18-26 years, who are either Graduates or pursuing their Graduation, can apply through the Consulate General of India, Johannesburg well in time so that their applications can be forwarded to MOIA by 10th April 2014.  


The application forms for the Know India Programme are available at:



The following are the tentative schedule of the Know India Programmes during 2014-15:



Proposed Tentative Period

Proposed Partner State

Proposed Last date for receipt of nominations in the MOIA

28th KIP

9th June, 2014 - 30th June, 2014

Jammu & Kashmir

10th April, 2014

29th KIP

29th August, 2014-18th September, 2014

Himachal Pradesh 

10th July, 2014






GOPIO-CT organized a reception and interactive session with the newly elected Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling at Aladin Indian Bistro restaurant on Monday, March 24th. Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik and Norwalk City Sheriff Anna Duleep, an Indian American who was a Norwalk City Council Member till last year, were also present to interact with the community.


The program started with a welcome by GOPIO-CT president Shelly Nichani who said that GOPIO-CT has been organizing such interactive sessions with elected officials for the last eight years.


GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham, who initiated this program, said that Indian American community is the second largest growing community in Connecticut after Hispanic Americans and that the community has been well settled in different towns and cities and that it would like to contribute to the local communities.


Mayor Rilling said that he had had similar visits with the Latino community and the Society of Retired Executives.


The Sikh temple at West and Elm had been an early topic. "They are advising that they are looking to either add on to the building or to perhaps locate to another area, not necessarily outside of Norwalk," Rilling said.


Many of the people at the event do not live in Norwalk. Rilling said it was a way of informing them about activities in the city, where they may do business. He also tried to recruit volunteers to serve on boards and commissions.


Inni Kaur of Fairfield said knowing that Rilling and Kulhawik were aware of the Sikh temple built a comfort level. "It's always nice to have a relationship because you never know. I mean, after the Wisconsin tragedy the police department in Norwalk was fantastic," she said, referring to a 2012 mass shooting. "We had the vigil at our place of worship and the support which we got from the Norwalk Police Department was fabulous. After the Wisconsin tragedy we want to have that comfort feeling with the police department. Not to say that anything is going to happen but it is nice for them to know where we are," Kaur said.


Kulhawik said almost everyone asked him about burglaries at Indian homes, which he said have been a trend in Connecticut and New York for the last couple of years. "There was a recent arrest made with the use of DNA evidence on a burglary that happened 1½ years ago, he said. But it's a tough problem," he said. Kulhawik said that the burglaries in the New York area are done by an organized professional group of people. They have been targeting families from New York all the way up to Windsor, Conn. "Even when some of them get arrested there's others following them right back so it's a problem that we are continuing to address and we're doing it not just on a Fairfield County basis but statewide and even New York as well," he added.

GOPIO-CT Reception with Norwalk Mayor Harry RillingPhoto above: GOPIO-CT Officials with Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and Sheriff Anna Duleep. From l. to r.: Sheriff Duleep, Shelly Nichani, Mayor Rilling, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Meera Banta, Pradeep Govil and Ravi Dhingra (Photo credit: Matt Vinci)


The program ended with concluding remarks and thanks by GOPIO-CT Executive Vice President Pradeep Govil.


Contact: Shelly Nichani, President GOPIO-CT, Tel: 203-550-7747 or E-mail: shellynichani@msn.com




Members of Sydney's Indian community gave a farewell to Indian Consul General in Sydney, His Excellency Arun Goel, and his wife Alka Goel, on Friday, 28 March, 2014. Around 150 people attended the event, held at the event centre, The Grand Marion, Harris Park, NSW. The gathering included local elected officials David Clarke MLC (Parliamentary Secretary, NSW Govt), Geoff Lee (State MP for Parramatta), John Robertson (NSW Opposition Leader) and Lord Mayor Clr. John Chedid (Mayor of Parramatta).


The organising committee included Harry Walia, Balvinder Ruby, Sukhvinder Rajput, Dr Bharathi Reddy, Thiru Arumugam, Venkata Prasad Ragipani, Padmanabhan Karamil and Dr. Yadu Singh.


Dr. Yadu Singh and Hemu Negi produced and presented a short video on the Consul General. Dr Singh was the Master of Ceremonies. Electric Korma band, a western band entertained the audience with Bollywood songs.


The Consul General spoke about the achievements during his tenure in Sydney. A memento was presented on behalf of the community to Consul General.

Sydney Indian Community's Farewell to Consul General Arun Goel  Photo above: From l. to r. Dr. Yadu Singh, Padamanabhan Karmil, Sukhvinder Rajput, Consul General Arun Goel, Harry Walia, Balwinder Ruby and Venkata Prasad Ragipani.




Applications are now being accepted from qualified High School and Middle/Junior High School students of Asian Indian ancestry, graduating in the year 2014 for scholarship awards to be presented at the 28th Annual India Heritage Awards function on April 20, 2014 at the Long Beach Hilton, Long Beach, California.


Academic Excellence Awards    

High School Graduates  - Nine Awards     $750 - $2000

First Place Winner will also receive "Profiles in Excellence" Revolving Trophy


Middle School (8th grade) Graduates - Five Awards $200 - $600

First Place Winner will also receive "IAHF Founders" Revolving Trophy              


Outstanding Achievement Awards             

High School Graduates:  $600 and a revolving trophy           

1-Sports;      2-Math, Science & Technology;   3-Visual & Performing Arts;              

 4-Community Service               


Special Awards:        

$200/each for Perfect score in Quiz/SAT


Middle/Jr. High School Graduates:

Visual & Performing Arts - Two ($250 and $200), India Heritage Plaque


Eligibility Criteria

GPA of C or higher for Outstanding Achievement Awards and B or higher for Academic Excellence Awards, graduating in year 2014 from a school in Southern California, with one or both parents of Asian Indian origin


For more information, application forms and guidelines for applicants, send an email to Awards.middlehigh@gmail.com  or call Inder Singh at (818) 708-3885 FREE.





Puneet Talwar has been confirmed by the US Senate to a key diplomatic position, becoming the second Indian-American to join the State Department.

Talwar, who was a key aide of President Barack Obama on the Middle East, would now serve as assistant secretary for political-military affairs, Talwar would be serving as a bridge between the State and Defense departments. Talwar would provide policy direction in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, defence strategy and plans, and defence trade.

Talwar becomes the third Indian American in a top position at the State Department after Nisha Desai Biswal, point person for South and Central Asia, and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, the highest ranking Indian American in the Obama administration. At over two dozen, Obama administration boasts of having the highest number of Indian Americans in key jobs than any previous administrations in the U.S.

Since 2009, Talwar has been a special assistant to the US President and senior director for Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf States on the White House National Security Staff. Prior to this, Talwar served as a senior professional staff member on the Committee on Foreign Relations of the US Senate (SFRC) from 2001 to 2009 and from 1997 to 1999, and was the chief adviser on the Middle East to then senator Joseph R Biden in his capacity as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He served as a member of the department of state's policy planning staff from 1999 to 2001. From 1992 to 1995, he served as a foreign policy adviser to Representative Thomas C Sawyer, and from 1990 to 1992 as an official with the United Nations.

Talwar received a BS from Cornell University and an MA from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.




Renowned music director and concert conductor Zubin Mehta was conferred the special jury award by Times Now at the channel's NRI of the Year awards recently.


In their first year, the awards recognize non-resident Indians' contribution across categories, including entrepreneurship, arts, entertainment and philanthropy. The popular choice award at the show, which had minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayala Ravi as the chief guest, was given to Yusuff Ali A, managing director of Abu Dhabi-based Emk Lulu group.


The NRI of the Year awards aim to acknowledge non-resident Indian who have achieved success in various fields in the countries they have chosen to make their homes. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was named India's global icon. Other recipients in the awards' debut edition were Keertika Rawat for entertainment and Dr. Kunal Shah in the 'My India' category, while Dr Raminder Singh Ranger, Rupesh Srivastava, Anand Kumar and Nitish Jain were awarded in the entrepreneur category.


The award among NRI students was given to Husain Khaki, Mala Kiran Talekar, Abdul Muqeet and Aastha Chauhan.In the professionals' category, Dr Ramesh Babu, Chandrabhan Singh, Chandrashekar Natarajan Y Sudhir Kumar Shetty and Venkatesha Murthy won the award, while Suman Kapoor, Vijay Goradia, Keshav Murleedharan and Dr. D. Chandroo were felicitated for philanthropy.


among the award recipients Dr. Raminder Singh Ranger and Suman Kapoor are GOPIO Life Members.


Courtesy: Times of India, March 30, 2014




The U.S. Senate has confirmed yet another Indian American nominee of President Barack Obama to lead the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Commerce Department charged with helping U.S. companies succeed in markets around the world.


Kerala University physics graduate Arun Madhavan Kumar was confirmed to be assistant secretary of commerce and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service by a voice vote Mar. 12 along with Puneet Talwar, a longtime White House national security staffer.


During his confirmation hearing, Kumar told the Senate Commerce Committee that he would "like to strengthen the focus on the markets offering the biggest opportunities for American products and services, and on orchestrating efforts to increase our market share in those markets."


Kumar, who succeeds another Indian American, Secunderabad-born Suresh Kumar, was earlier a partner and member of the Board of Directors at KPMG LLP. From 2005 until his retirement in September 2013, Kumar led the firm's West Coast finance management consulting practice. He also led the firm's U.S.-India practice from 2007 to 2013. Kumar joined KPMG in 1995 as a finance management leader. From 1993 to 1995, Kumar was the founder and CEO of Planning & Logic, Inc., a software company. Prior to that, he was co-founder and CFO of Netlabs, Inc. from 1991 to 1993; the CFO of Elite Microelectronics, Inc. from 1990 to 1991; and the director of planning and management information at Silicon Graphics, Inc. from 1989 to 1990. From 1980 to 1984, he was the controller of Elxsi, Inc., and from 1984 to 1988 co-founder, CFO, and vice-president of operations for Cydrome, Inc., a mini supercomputer company.


Kumar who received a B.Sc. in physics from the University of Kerala, India, went on to get an S.M. in management from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.




Suneeta Krishnan, Ph.D., a social epidemiologist at RTI International, has been nominated to the World Health Organization's Gender and Rights Advisory Panel. She will be one of 12 panel members serving a three-year term.


The Gender and Rights Advisory Panel was set up in 1996 with the mandate to examine the Department of Reproductive Health and Research's work from a gender equality and human rights perspective, and to give guidance on these issues in the field of sexual and reproductive health. The views and recommendations of the panel are presented to the Department's Scientific and Technical Advisory Group that reviews research and technical support activities and recommends priorities for the Department's future work.


Krishnan is a social epidemiologist specializing in community-based research in developing countries. For more than a decade, she has conducted research that aims to uncover the pathways through which gender inequalities lead to adverse health outcomes and health disparities and to develop and test interventions that promote health and gender equity. Her studies focus on the intersections between gender inequalities, violence, and women's health over the life course.


She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, private foundations, and the World Bank to conduct research on gender-based power and prevention of intimate partner violence, HIV, cervical cancer, and other adverse women's health outcomes and to provide technical assistance for the development, implementation, and evaluation of women's health promotion programs.


In recognition of her research and community service, Krishnan received the 2004 U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Krishnan has authored or co-authored book chapters, peer reviewed journal articles and technical reports focused on violence against women, HIV/AIDS, and gender inequities.


Krishnan holds a doctorate and master's degree in epidemiology from the University of California at Berkeley. She is currently based in India and is RTI India's technical lead. Krishnan is also associate director of RTI's recently launched Global Gender Center




The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has announced 126 early-career scholars who have won 2014 Sloan Research Fellowships. At least eight Indian American research scholars - five men and three women - were named fellows this year. Fellowships are awarded in eight scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics.


Candidates are nominated by fellow scientists and winning fellows are chosen by an independent panel of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate's independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in his or her field. Fellows receive $50,000 to further their research.


In alphabetical order, the Indian American Sloan Fellows in 2014 are:


In computer science, Animashree Anandkumar, assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of California at Irvine;


In mathematics, Nayantara Bhatnagar, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Delaware;


In chemistry, Prashant Jain, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign;


In computational and evolutionary molecular biology, Anshul Kundaje, assistant professor in the Department of Genetics with a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University;


In chemistry, Jeetain Mittal, assistant professor of chemistry at Lehigh University and P.C. Rossin Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering; 


In computer science, Tapan Parikh, assistant professor at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley;


In computer science, Pradeep Ravikumar, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas, Austin;


In computational and evolutionary molecular biology, Sushmita Roy, assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


On her university Web site, Anandkumar said she is originally from Mysore and has a B. Tech in electrical engineering from IIT-Madras and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University. Her research, she explained, focuses on "the area of inference and learning of probabilistic graphical models and latent variable models. Broadly, I am interested in machine learning, high-dimensional statistics, tensor methods, statistical physics, information theory and signal processing."


Bhatnagar has a Ph.D. in algorithms, combinatorics and optimization from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests are "probability, often motivated by problems from statistical physics, combinatorics, statistics and theoretical computer science. In particular, mixing times of Markov chains, random walks, random permutations and Gibbs measures on trees and random graphs."


Jain has a bachelor's degree in technology from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Georgia Tech. His research interests include "nano-optics and molecular imaging with the goal of understanding and controlling energy transport, light-matter interactions, and chemical transformations on nanometer length scales."


Kundaje has a Ph.D. in computer science from Columbia University and did post-doctoral research in the computer science department at Stanford University. "My research focus is the development of machine learning and computational frameworks to learn integrative models of transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulation from massive amounts of diverse sequence, genetic and functional genomic datasets," he said on his Web site.


Parikh has a B.S. in molecular modeling from Brown University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Washington. His research interests include "human-computer interaction, mobile computing, paper and voice UIs and information systems." His research group "studies the design and use of information and communication technologies for sustainable development. We have designed and implemented several new community information platforms supporting applications in agriculture, health, education, microfinance, governance and other areas." Parikh told India-West Feb. 18, "I am truly honored and humbled by the award. Much of the credit should go to the fantastic students and collaborators I have had an opportunity to work with over the years, as well as the great people and organizations I've had a chance to work with in India, the Bay area, at Berkeley and elsewhere.


Ravikumar has a Ph.D. from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and did post-doctoral studies in the Department of Statistics at U.C.-Berkeley. "My main area of research is in statistical machine learning," he said on his Web site. "The core problem here is to infer conclusions from observations or data. The caveat is to do so reliably with limited computation and limited data. Of particular interest are modern settings where the dimensionality of data is high, and simultaneously achieving these twin objectives is difficult."


Roy has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of New Mexico. She is also at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Roy told India-West, "I am generally interested in understanding how cells interpret information and the regulatory networks that make that possible. Living cells are complex and function via an intricate network of many molecular entities (such as genes, proteins and metabolites). Mistakes in interpreting this information can lead to aberrant cellular behavior, often leading to diseases. All cells know what to make and when to make it - a process that requires cells to interpret extra-cellular and environmental cues to make decisions such as what genes need to be activated, what proteins need to be made, and so on. It's the principles that govern this information processing machinery that interest me."


Mittal has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, a master's in engineering from IIT-Kanpur and a bachelor's in technology in chemical engineering from Beant College of Engineering & Technology, Gurdaspur. His research interests include simulation and theory of protein stability and dynamics, hydrophobic effects, nanoscale transport and molecular thermodynamics.


Courtesy: India West




The International Society for Optics and Photonics, a US-based organization colloquially known as SPIE, has anointed three scientists of Indian origin with special recognition awards for 2014: Pramod Rastogi. Rajpal Sirohi, and Rajendra Singh.


Rastogi, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, was given the organization's Dennis Gabor Award, in recognition "of his groundbreaking research in the development of high resolution and multi-component parametric phase formulation methods for the simultaneous estimation of multiple phases and their derivatives from holographic interference patterns." The research is in the field of diffractive wavefront technologies, which is what the Dennis Gabor Award specifically is meant to acknowledge.


"His commitment to science and technology in building bridges at the institutional and international levels is strongly reflected in the active role he played in laying groundwork for Switzerland's collaboration with the Indian Institutions of science and technology," SPIE said in a statement, "where he served as scientific advisor in part of the delegation accompanying the Swiss president in a visit to India in 2003."


Sirohi was given the Chandra S. Vikram Award in Optical Metrology, which he earned for his "important contributions to applied optics and his many international activities to spread his knowledge." A recipient of the Indian government's Padma Shri commendation, Sirohi is currently the Bharat Ratna Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Chair Professor at Tezpur University in Assam, India.


The Chandra S. Vikram Award in Optical Metrology is given for exceptional contributions to the field of optical metrology, according to SPIE. In a statement, SPIE Fellow Hans Tiziani of the University of Stuttgart, Germany said Sirohi's research work in different areas of metrology and involvement in education together with his successful management career is highly recognized worldwide."


Finally, Singh was awarded the SPIE Technology Achievement Award for "his efforts in the elucidation and exploitation of photonic effects in rapid thermal processing for semiconductor manufacturing, and his technical leadership of photovoltaic technology." Singh is currently the D. Houser Banks Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson University, in South Carolina.


Founded in 1955, SPIE a non-profit society that works to further research, development, and awareness of light-based technologies around the world. It is based in Bellingham, Washington, and also has an office in Cardiff, Wales.




Four Indian Americans were named Feb. 25 winners of this year's Heinz Awards, established by Teresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation to honor the memory of the late U.S. Senator John Heinz. A total of five winners were announced.


In addition to winning $250,000, each recipient will receive a medallion inscribed with the image of Sen. Heinz on one side and a rendering of a globe passing between two hands on the other.


Named in the "Arts and Humanities" field was Dr. Abraham Verghese, a best selling author and Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and vice chair for the theory and practice of medicine at Stanford University's department of medicine.


In the "Technology, the Economy and Employment" category, the honoree was Leila Janah, of San Francisco, a social entrepreneur and founder of the nonprofits Samasource and SamaUSA, which use technology and the Internet to train people in some of the poorest regions of the world.


Recognized in the "Human Condition" category was Salman Khan, of Mountain View, Calif., founder of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization.


In the "Public Policy" sector, Dr. Sanjeev Arora of Albuquerque, N.M., was the award winner. A liver disease specialist at the University of New Mexico, Arora created Project ECHO, or Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes, a global model to increase access to high-quality health care by expanding workforce capacity and evidence-based medicine.


The fifth honoree, in the "Environment" field, was Jonathan Foley of St. Paul, Minn., director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.


"This year's Heinz Awards recipients show that the antidote for the uncertainties and fears of our times lies where it always has - in the imagination, determination, brilliance and creativity of the people among us who see possibility where others see only barriers," said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation.


Verghese, author of the novel "Cutting for Stone" and memoir "My Own Country," has created fiction and non-fiction that documents "his belief and practice that healing must go beyond cures, diagnostic tests and technological advancements and must also address the sense of profound vulnerability that patients feel when they are facing a major health crisis," the foundation said in a press release.


"Eloquent as a writer and compassionate as a physician, Dr. Verghese brings a unique perspective to healing as an art in an era when the scientific details of medicine often overshadow the patient."


The Khan Academy, which now hosts more than 5,000 instructional videos and interactive lessons, has "revolutionized how millions of children and students of all ages across the globe are learning subjects as diverse as mathematics, biology, economics, art history and astronomy," the foundation said.


Khan founded the academy in 2008 after producing and hosting videos and software designed to break down key math concepts so that they would be more understandable to students who had encountered challenges.


Arora's Project ECHO uses "video conferencing technology and case-based learning" to expand the "capacities of primary care clinicians to manage serious, chronic, complex conditions they were not trained to manage in school, including Hepatitis C, HIV, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and psychiatric disorders." "Project ECHO's footprint has expanded from its origins in New Mexico to more than a dozen states, including Illinois, Nevada, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington, as well as to India and Uruguay," the foundation added.


"With 29 hubs in the United States and four more globally, Project ECHO is also working directly with the U.S. departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and also with the Department of Health and Human Services through a demonstration project supported by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation."


Janah, one of the youngest people to be recognized by the Heinz Awards, through Samasource provides "microwork" opportunities - small, computer-based tasks such as data entry, photo tagging, content management translation and transcription. Companies who contract with Samasource for a project must commit to hiring women, youth and refugees.


Since 2008, the organization has grown to provide training and employment opportunities to nearly 5,000 people and has lifted as many as 20,000 people out of poverty," the foundation said.


SamaUSA assist low-income digital workers at community colleges in the U.S.


Recipients received their awards at a ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 3rd.





Dr. Pregs Govender, Deputy Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, delivered the keynote address that opened the conference, and Mr. Stephen Lewis Co-Director of AIDS-Free World, presented the 3rd annual Helen Kanzira Lecture.  Both speakers invoked the ideals of the late Nelson Mandela and referenced the impact of his leadership and life.


Referring to the death of Nelson Mandela, Dr. Govender cautioned against making Madiba part of a sentimentalized imagery, and called for participants not to deity him, but to draw the values that should inspire us, and that we should aspire to, from his life's work. These values include the provision for equality under the South African Constitution in which he was very influential.


Dr. Govender highlighted the importance of budgetary allocations for the realization of women's socio-economic rights.


She called on those interrogating budgets from a gendered perspective to ask to what extent each aspect of a budget represents a choice that advances gender equality. She further drew attention to the way in which macro-economic policies impact on the rights of women. For example, such policies compel women involved in subsistence farming to buy new seeds every year due to the prescriptions of multinational companies.


Dr. Govender also drew attention to the need for access to information, to enable women to assert their socio-economic rights. Unfortunately, in South Africa, where the South African Human Rights Commission has the obligation to monitor compliance under access to information legislation, there is 90% non-compliance rate among state institutions in respect of their access to information.





Those seeking admission under this category have to apply online at website www.nift.ac.in

https://applyadmission.net/niftnri2014 The last date for applying under this category is 30 April 2014.


Candidates applying for Bachelor Programmes of NIFT should arrange to send SAT-1 scores directly from College Board, USA, to NIFT. The Designated Institution (DI) Code is 7258.


The Centre and Programme will be allotted to the candidates based on SAT- I/GMAT score as well as the preference of the candidate.


Internet downloaded score cards are not acceptable. Candidates at the time of registration for SAT-1 should indicate DI code: 7258 for sending their scores to NIFT New Delhi.


Candidates applying for Master Programmes (i.e. Master of Fashion Management (MFM), Master of Design (M.Des.) and Master of Fashion Technology (M.FTech.) should arrange to send GMAT test scores directly to NIFT. Test (GMAT) score of which should not have been declared before 1st  January, 2012 and should be received by the Institute latest by 30th  April, 2014. The applicants must designate NIFT Programmes as choice in the GMAT.


Candidates seeking admission under this category should apply in the prescribed Application Form online.

Academic Eligibility: All candidates must satisfy the required academic qualifications. In case Degree/certificate has been obtained from some University /Board of any other country then an equivalence certificate must be obtained from Association of Indian Universities (AIU) New Delhi (website: www.aiuweb.org) prior to admission.


The medium of instruction in NIFT is English and all aspirants applying to NIFT must possess working knowledge of English language.


Any NRI seat remaining vacant will lapse and not be converted to any other category. However, the remaining seats will be offered to the children /wards of NRI as per merit during counseling.


Reservations of Seats for Foreign Nationals / SAARC / NRI:

Fifteen percent (15%) of total seats (5 seats) on supernumerary basis in each discipline in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Gandhinagar and Raebareli are reserved for admission of Foreign Nationals whether residing in India or abroad, applicants from SAARC countries and Non Resident Indian (Non Resident Indian is a citizen of India who holds and Indian passport and has temporarily immigrated to another country for six months or more for work, residence or any other purpose).


The admission to NIFT programmes for foreign nationals / SAARC / NRI candidates will be based on the following examinations:

Bachelor Progaramme (B.Des & B.FTech) SAT-1 Score

Master Programme (MFM, M.Des & M.FTech) GMAT Score

Centre / Programme will be allotted on the basis of merit list drawn as per the scores obtained by the candidates.


Candidate may appear in as many as SAT-1 / GMAT examination prior to 30th April 2014. The highest score among the test will be taken into consideration for allotment of seat at Centre.

For more information on NRI students admission, visit https://www.applyadmission.net/NIFTNRI2014/NRIInstruction.pdf




Agewell Foundation extends a helping hand to Old People and assists them in finding solutions for whatever problems that they face. Be it Emotional, Inter personal, Legal, Financial, Health related... their volunteers come forward to provide assistance. They also assist and advise family members for better inter action with the Older People with in the family. Reaching out to over 25000 Old people on daily basis for last many years they have lot of experience in providing assistance and they have also created a net work of professional to provide free guidance for Old People.


Agewell Foundation has been recognized for the work that they do and have been granted Special Consultative Status by ECOSOC at United Nations since 2011. They are also closely associated with the Planning Commission of India. Agewell Foundation's Chairman Himanshu Rath was also an important guest with Aamir Khan in Satyamevjayte's episode on Old People last year.


Now Agewell Foundation is extending a helping hand to Retiring NRI's and parents of NRI's in India. They are inviting every NRI family to write to them at agewellfoundation@gmail.com or call them at +91 011 29836486 and 29840484 for any assistance to make life more comfortable for Old People. Details about the Foundation and its work can be seen at www.agewellfoundation.org. All the NRI's are also invited to mail them their queries about Old Age related issues and they will send you solutions and advise FREE on your email.


Agewell Foundation does not charge anything for its services and provides FREE assistance to all. To support their work they do welcome Donations and Contributions. If you wish, you too can DONATE / CONTRIBUTE online by going to their website and clicking on DONATE NOW column or draw a Cheque or Bank draft in favor of Agewell Foundation and send it to their Head Office - M8A, Lajpat Nagar part II, New Delhi  


GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.


GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.


GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visit http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:


GOPIO Chairman - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885 FREE, E-mail:  GOPIO.Global@gmail.com.


GOPIO President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York, USA, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail: ramsaran@aol.com


GOPIO Executive Vice President - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, Tel: +973 39441956 or +91 9845756692, E-mail: Kulathakal@yahoo.com


GOPIO Senior Vice President - Dr Piyush Agrawal, Weston, Florida, USA, Tel: +1-954-684-6494, E-mail:sudhapca@aol.com


To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at http://gopio.net/online_membership.htm or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York, USA)

Co-Editors: Bina Mahabir (Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council, Guyana-New York, USA), Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, USA) and Kishor Kapitan (GOPIO Durban, South Africa)

Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)   

Contributors of this issue: Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO International), Inder Singh (Chairman, GOPIO International), Harmohan Singh Walia (GOPIO's Committee on Bylaws, Policies and Procedures, Sydney, Australia), Pradeep Govil (Executive Vice President, GOPIO-CT, USA)
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. 


Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: gopio@optonline.net.


Visit GOPIO's Official site at www.gopio.net or www.gopio.com