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August 1, 2009
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: VIII-7 August 1, 2009
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MOIA Minister Vayalar RaviThe 20th anniversary convention of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) will be inaugurated by Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs. GOPIO was founded at the Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York in 1989.  It has emerged as a global, non-partisan, not-for-profit and secular organization engaged in promoting the well being of People of Indian Origin, enhancing cooperation and communication between Indians living in different countries. The initial focus of GOPIO was fighting human rights violation of people of Indian origin. Although this situation has improved in the last one decade, human rights violations continue to be a major issue for PIOs living outside India. GOPIO has expanded its mission and set its priorities to pool global resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of PIOs, the countries they come from and India.
The First Global Convention of PIOs in New York in August 1989 provided an opportunity for sharing the experience of international Indian communities on a common forum and to foster harmony with a feeling of brotherhood and fellowship amongst the PIOs. With over 3000 participants, the convention identified and discussed problems facing people of Indian origin. It also provided necessary forum at the national and international level to voice the PIO concerns. A book on Migration of Indians around the World was published and 26 resolutions pertaining to the various issues and interests of the PIO community were adopted. Specific objectives of GOPIO include the following:

  • To promote the interests and aspirations of the Indian communities around the world and of specific groups residing in various countries of their adoption.
  • To promote common cultural heritage and therefore create a binding relationship.
  • To mobilize financial, intellectual and professional resources of Indians abroad for their mutual development and advancement.
  • To encourage interaction between communities of Indians abroad on a global level to deliberate and decide on common issues and problems facing them including education and technology.
  • To further the interaction between PIOs and other communities at the global level in promoting world peace, progress and ecological harmony.
The notable GOPIO achievements in the 20 years include the following:
  • Brought a sense of concern and caring to fellow Indians in some countries where their human rights were violated. GOPIO fought such human rights violation through media campaign, demonstrations and even filing cases with the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • Helped to get Indian communities to become part of the political mainstream rather than being outside in several countries with large PIO population.
  • Campaigned on the year 1989 First Global NRI/PIO Convention resolution for permanent resident card for those PIOs born outside India or have become naturalized citizen a country outside India. Govt. of India granted Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card in the year 2002
  • Campaigned on the year 1989 First Global NRI/PIO Convention resolution on dual nationality. Govt. of India started issuing Overseas Indian Citizenship since 2006.
  • Campaigned on the year 2000 Zurich Convention resolution appealing Govt. of India to have a separate ministry for NRIs/PIOs. Govt. of India established a separate Ministry of Overseas Indian affairs in 2004.
  • After the First Global Indian Convention in 1989 and several other conventions later, Govt. of India itself decided to organize Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in India since 2003.

Above all, GOPIO have achieved a great Indian movement on global scale.

The celebration effort was launched in early June in New York. The chief guest at the event was India's Consul General Prabhu Dayal. A panel discussion titled "India and the Global Economy: Prospects and Challenges for the UPA II" followed the inauguration.
The convention convener is Mr. Ashook Ramsaran who is also serving as GOPIO Secretary General. Co-conveners are Sangeeta Ahuja, Darshan Singh Bagga, Lal Motwani and Nohar Singh.
"This is a celebration of 20 years of advocacy and services to the global Indian community," said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO.
"GOPIO's Global Convention 2009 will re-examine and re-evaluate GOPIO's role during the last 20 years with respect to goals and aspirations of 25 million people of Indian origin (PIO) living outside of India," said GOPIO President Inder Singh.
"This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the formation of GOPIO - 20 years of remarkable and unprecedented achievements by GOPIO representing the interests and concerns of over 25 million people living outside of India, " said Ramsaran. "We encourage everyone to be part of this wonderful event at GOPIO's 20th Anniversary Convention, to know about it, its significance and how it matters to every one of us in the Indian Diaspora, to feel connected with a sense of belonging and to participate fully," Ramsaran continued.
The convention theme is "People of Indian Origin: Strengthening Global Connections." The program will start with a welcome reception/dinner followed by an interactive session with MOIA Secretary K. Mohandas on Thursday, August 20th evening. 
Two conferences are scheduled at the convention, A NRI/PIO Business/Economic/Development Conference (Aug. 21): "India and the Indian Diaspora in the Context of Global Economic Challenges" and the Diaspora Conference (Aug. 22): "The Indian Diaspora: Challenges and Opportunities in the New Millennium." There will also be a conference session on "The Living Pioneers - Global Perspective of Indian Elders," on August 22nd morning. A networking session is planned for youth and young professionals on August 22nd afternoon.
More details of the convention are available at or contact the Convention Convener Ashook Ramsaran at 718-353-1900, E-mail Online registration is available. Visit  

GOPIO members met several lawmakers at The Capital Hill and participated at the Senate India Caucus reception hosted by the Caucus Co-chairs Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) to welcome India's new ambassador to Washington Meera Shankar. Earlier, GOPIO met freshman Congressman from Connecticut Jim Hines and Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

In yet another sign of deepening relationship between India and the US, over two dozen American Senators, including some of the most powerful and influential ones, turned up for the reception.
With nearly two-dozen Senator from both the Republican and Democratic parties appearing for the reception, old timers at the Capitol said this is reflective of the growing ties between the two countries and the value been given to Indo-US relationship by lawmakers.

Senator Dodd, who has replaced Hillary Clinton as Co-Chair of Senate India Caucus from the Democratic, said India is a "good luck charm" for the United States Senate.
Before the reception, Senator Dodd met GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and the GOPIO-CT delegation in his chamber at The Capital Hill where he welcomed Ambassador Shankar and Deputy Chief of the Mission Arun K. Singh to The Capital Hill for a closed in meeting with the GOPIO delegation.
Photo below: GOPIO delegation of Indian Americans from Connecticut invited by Senator Christopher Dodd, Co-Chairman of Senate India Caucus to welcome the new Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar at a pre- reception meeting at The Capital Hill. Senator Dodd and the GOPIO delegation in discussion with Ambassador Shankar.   
GOPIO delegation meets Senator Dodd and Ambassador Shankar
Photo above: From L. to R.: Dr. Maya Chadda, Shelly Nichani, Anita Bhat, Shailesh Naik, Louella D'Silva, Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar, Senator Dodd, GOPIO-Connecticut President Sangeeta Ahuja, GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and Ravi Ahuja
At the Caucus reception, Senator Dodd expressed satisfaction at the high attendance by the Indian American leaders and spoke on the improving US-India bilateral relations. "As an emerging global power, India has faced a crossroads.  Long proud of its geopolitical independence, India's growing economic and strategic importance has forced it to think long and hard about what kind of global actor it wants to be," said Senator Dodd.  
"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it has chosen to become a partner with other global powers, not an antagonist.  That choice reflects courageous leadership.  Prime Minister Singh put himself and his political party on the line to forge an agreement with America on what was the single most divisive issue between our two countries: nuclear cooperation.
According to Senator Dodd, that agreement, which Senator Dodd shepherded on behalf of the then Senator, Joe Biden, and which was approved with overwhelming bi-partisan support in the legislature, wasn't just about energy cooperation or trade and investment.  It was a recognition that India was prepared to take its place on the world stage, working closely with the United States and other leaders to tackle together the global challenges we face in the 21st century.
"I hope that today's event, and the work we'll do together going forward, will serve as another step towards strengthening and expanding this important relationship," said Senator Dodd.
"One should not underestimate the contributions that all of you, Americans of Indian descent, make towards the growing bond that we are forming with India.  In my state and around the country, India's economic and cultural impact is strongly felt and widely valued, Senator Dodd added.
Observing that Senate India caucus is the only country caucus, Senator John Cornyn, its Co-Chair from Republican side, said this signifies the relationship and the shared values of the people of India and the United States.

"India is the anchor of stability in Asia. In fact our countries are natural allies and partners, even though we may not always realize it," Cornyn told a packed room of audience comprising of influential Senators and eminent Indian-Americans, who had come from various parts of the country to be part of the momentous occasion.

Cornyn, who was instrumental in establishing the Senate India Caucus, said today 37th Senator joined the group. Several other Senators have expressed their interest to join the caucus.
"Truly honored" to be at the meeting hosted by the Senate India Caucus, Shankar in her impressive speech said the reception by Senators "in this sanctum sanctorum of democracy" is a tribute to India, to the Indian community in the US and to the warm and stronger ties between the two countries and above all the values that bind the two nations together.

"Our relationship is characterized as ties between the world's two largest democracies. I believe that in that description not merely because our two countries are democracies, but because our relationship draws so much of its strength and character from the support it has among the elected representatives of the people in both countries," the Ambassador said.
The Senate India Caucus, Shankar said, is not merely a forum to advance the partnership; it is to her a very important symbol of the US-India relationship. Old time observers at the Capitol Hill said that it is rarely that nearly two dozen Senators turn up for a particular event or reception at the Congress.
Among prominent Senators who appeared at the reception was Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader; John Kerry, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Bob Menendez, Chairman Democratic campaign committee; Barbara Boxer, Joe Lieberman, Daniel Inouye, Daniel Akaka, Roland Burris, Evan Bayh, Carl Levin, Al Franken, Kit Bond, Kirsten Gillbrand, Kay Hagan, John Voinovich, Jeff Merkley, Bob Casey and Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
Over 200 Indian American leaders participated in the India Caucus reception along with over twenty GOPIO members.

Dates - August 20-23, 2009
Venue - Crowne Plaza Hotel LaGuardia Airport
104-04 Ditmars Blvd., East Elmhurst, New York 11369, USA
Tel: 718-457-6300
(call for special discounted room rates for GOPIO Convention)
"People of Indian Origin: Strengthening Global Connections"


Two conferences under the broad theme.
Business Conference (Aug. 21): "India and The Indian Diaspora in the Context of Global Economic Challenges"
Diaspora Conference (Aug. 22): "The Indian Diaspora: Challenges and Opportunities in the New Millennium"
GOPIO Convention 2009 will also re-examine and re-evaluate GOPIO's role during the last 20 years with respect to goals and aspirations of 25 million people of Indian origin. Conference topics include the following: Human Rights, Political Participation, Diaspora Economic and Business Trends and Opportunities, Socio-Cultural and Diasporic related issues and concerns, Inter-generational Conflict, Challenges and Opportunities for the Future.
Thu (8/20)          Day   2:00 - 4:00pm  GOPIO Executive Committee Meeting
                                        Chaired by Inder Singh, President, GOPIO Int'l.
                         Day   4:00 - 6:00pm GOPIO Executive Council Meeting
                                        Chaired by Dr Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO Int'l.
                                        (Country & Regional Reports to be Presented) 
                         Eve   7:00 - 9:00pm   Welcome Reception/Dinner
                                         Interactive Session with MOIA Secretary K. Mohandas
Fri (8/21)            Day  9:00am - 6:00pm  NRI/PIO Economic/Business Conference
                         Eve   7.00pm - 9:00pm  Reception, Convention Inauguration & Entertianment
                                         Chief Guest- Minister Vayalar Ravi
Sat (8/22)            Day   9:00am -10:00pm  GOPIO General Council Meeting & Elections
                          Day  10:00am - 6:00pm  GOPIO Diaspora Conference
                                          Conference on Living Pioneers, and
                                          Meeting of the Next Generation
                           Eve    7:00pm - 11:00pm Banquet & Cultural Program
Sun (8/23)            Day   10:00am - 12:00pm  GOPIO General Council Meeting (Cont'd)
Hotel and Conference Center: Crowne Plaza Hotel LaGuardia Airport
Tel: 1-718/457-6300 (call to make reservation, mention GOPIO Convention for discounted room rates of $119 for double room)
GOPIO Executive Council Meeting and Reception on August 20th and Banquet August 22nd
World's Fair Marina Banquet Hall, Flushing, New York
(near Citifields, one mile from Crowne Plaza Hotel at LaGuardia Airport)
As part of the convention, YOUTH AND YOUNG PROFESSIONALS MEET will be held at the convention. Contact: Vishnu Mahadeo or Anita Bhat
It is a great opportunity to place your ads in the convention souvenir brochure. To become a sponsor or place an ad., contact Convention Convener and GOPIO Secretary General: Ashook Ramsaran 1-718-969-8206, e-mail:
GOPIO Announces Elections - Seeks Nominations
Elections will be held on August 22, 2009 at GOPIO's 20th Anniversary Commemoration and Convention scheduled to be held in New York from August 20 through August 23, 2009. The Elections 2009 Committee has been organized and will oversee the nominating process and the elections which will be conducted in accordance with GOPIO's By-Laws, "Elections Rules 2009" and utilizing the respective "Nominating Form", the latter receiving deadline of August 10, 2009. All eligible voters are urged to participate in the elections process. For more details, refer to GOPIO website at

Conference Registration
Pre-registration to August 15: $130/person, August 16 -- 20: $150/person, One day fee: $75/person, Banquet Only: $65/person. Conference Only: (8/21 or 8/22): $20/person (Coffee/tea breaks incl, not lunch). Full registration fee includes two cocktail receptions/dinners, two lunches, continental breakfasts, banquet and coffee breaks.
Please send in your registration to GOPIO International, Attn. Ashook Ramsaran, Convenor, PO Box 560117, New York, NY 11356, USA, Tel: 718-939-8194, Fax: 1-718-353-2404 email:
Register Online 
To register online, visit,

Visitors from most Western European and Scandinavian countries, New Zealand and Australia do not require a visa to visit the U.S. Visitors from India need a valid visa to come to America. After registering for the conference, an invitation letter will be issued. Apply at the nearest American Consulate for a visa.
GOPIO Officers: Chairman: Dr. Thomas Abraham; President: Inder Singh; Executive Vice President: Lord Diljit Rana; Regional Vice President North America: Dr Piyush Agrawal; Secretary General: Ashook Ramsaran
Convention Team:  Dr. Thomas Abraham, Sudha Acharya, Dr .Piyush Agrawal, Ritesh Agrawal, Anand Ahuja, Sangeeta Ahuja, Darshan Bagga, Rafeek Baksh, Sharon Banta, Anita Bhat, Marina Budhos, Dr. Maya Chadda, Ravi Dhingra,  Bhanu Dwarika, Ram Gadhavi, Dr Sushila Gidwani-Buschi, Deo Gosine, Rekha Gupta, John Joseph, Prasad Kambampaty, Ramesh Kalicharran, Ram Lakhina, Bina Mahabir, Gary Mahabir, Vishnu Mahadeo, Robert Mahesh,  Prince Markose, Dr. Raj Metha, Jaswant Mody, Chandra Morgan, Ashook Motwani, Dr. Jagat Motwani, Lal Motwani, Stanley Raj, Dr. Rohini Ramanathan, Yesu Persaud, Rajeshwar Prasad, Netram Rambudhan, Ashook Ramsaran, Jasbir Sachar, Dr .Asha Samant, Dharmatma Saran, Dr. Parmatma Saran, Dr. Rupam Saran, Shabana Sharif, Inder Singh, Nohar Singh, Prakash Singh, Pritha Singh, Dhiraj Solanki, Satruhan Sukdeo,  Dr. Najma Sultana, Mohinder Taneja, Thambi Thalappillil and Raju Thomas.
GOPIO has been providing a common platform for people of Indian origin since its inception in 1989. GOPIO membership is open to all people of Indian origin. For more information or to volunteer for the convention activities, please contact: GOPIO Secretary General & Convention Convener Ashook Ramsaran at 718-353-2404 email: or GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham at or GOPIO President Inder Singh at

cordially invites you to a

Aug 21, 2009
Hotel and Conference Center: Crowne Plaza Hotel LaGuardia Airport

India and Indian Diaspora in the Context of Global Economic Challenges


 Chair:         Dr. Thomas Abraham                       Co-Chair:   Dr. Maya Chadda
Dramatic deceleration in the global economy pose serious challenges to India and the people of Indian origins residing in different parts of the world. How has this global developments affected them? Having returned to power with a stronger mandate, what direction the new government is taking?  Will it accelerate economic reforms and liberalization? Will it take steps to establish a more business friendly environment encourage Indian and Diaspora-led business? Will it promote transfer of technology and encourage Indian community abroad to participate in India's growth and advancement? What impediments is it likely to encounter in achieving this? What investments, trade and technological collaborations can one expect from the interface between India and the Indian Diaspora in advancing India's status as a potential great power? 
9.00 a.m. - 10.00 a.m. INAUGURAL SESSION
             Speaker -       Hon. K. Mohandas, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
10:00am - 11:15am  Session I - India & the Global Economy: Prospects and Challenges
            Session Chair - Dr. Maya Chadda, Prof. of Political Science 
                                   William Paterson University, New Jersey
            Speakers - Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Professor of Economics and Jagdish 
                             Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy
                             Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs
                             Sreedhar Menon,Chairman of the Board, Strategic Advisor
                             & Co-Promoter of VITEOS Fund Services Inc., NJ and Bangalore
                             Additional names to be announced.

11:15am - 11:35am  Tea/Coffee Break
11:35am - 12:50am  Session  II - Indian Diaspora - Prospects and Challenges in the
Emerging Global Economy

            Session Chair - Bharat Bhargava, President
                                   US-India American Chamber of Commerce, Washington, DC
            Speakers - Naveen Jain, CEO, Intelius, Bellevue, WA
                            George Abraham, Managing Director, GA Group, Singapore
                             Vibhuti Jha, Director,The Human Potential Project, New York
 12:50pm -  2:00pm    Lunch - Keynote Speaker - Ambassador Frank Wisner 
                                                                          Foremer US Ambassador to India

  2:00pm - 3:15pm   Session  III - Diaspora in India's Development
            Session Chair - Prof. P. Somasundaran, La von Duddleson Krumb Professor
                             School of Engineering Columbia University, New York
            Speakers - Lord Diljit Rana, Business Leader & Member of House of Lords, UK
                             Dr. George Abraham, MD, American Institute of Emergency   
                             Medicine Services, Troy, Pennsylvania
  3:15pm - 3:35pm   Tea/Coffee Break
3:35pm - 4.35 pm  Session  IV - Investment and Business Opportunities in Countries with Large Indian Diaspora Population
            Session Chair - Yesu Persaud, Chairman, Demerara Ltd. and 
                                   Chairman of the Caribbean Council for Europe (CCE), Guyana
             Speakers - To be announced
  4:35pm - 4.55 pm  Special Presentation
             Speaker  -  Shefali Chaturvedi, CEO, Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre &
                              Head, CII's Young Indians, Confederation of Indian Industry
4.55pm - 5.15pm   Concluding Session & Resolutions
                                      To be conducted by Conference Chairs
5.15pm - 7.00pm   Networking reception - Chief Guest:Honorable Vayalar Ravi, 
                                                               Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs
Registration for the conference including breakfast, coffee breaks, lunch and evening reception is only $50. To register online, visit,



GOPIO Waikato Chapter in New Zealand organized seminar in Hamilton in June 28th to discuss issues relating to community safety and establish new milestones for social integration. Addressing the seminar, Judge Dr Ajit Singh of Manukau District Court outlined the provisions of the existing laws to enable people to seek justice against perpetrators of racial outrage.
"Racism has no place in New Zealand's civilized society and there are laws to protect people against physical and verbal abuse, hate messages and other forms of victimization," said Judge Singh.
"New Zealand was perceived worldwide as a model of racial harmony and New Zealand laws provided against any discrimination based on color, race, ethnic or national origin."

In the aftermath of a spate of murders in Auckland in the recent past in which victims included people of Indian and Asian origin, calls were made for establishing an Asian Anti-Crime Group.
"But our community leaders urged people to confront violence through peace and understanding and not through vigilante groups," he said.
According to Dr Singh, the motivation for violence against the victims in such cases was principally opportunistic and fuelled by greed.
"It is well known that Indian and Asian businesses carry cash and families generally pride in their jewelry. Armed robberies, murders and burglaries are mostly committed to feed drug and alcohol addiction as well as out of sheer greed. Apparently, such crimes are not generally racially motivated," he said.
He said section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and section 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993 protected people against discrimination and that parliament adopted a motion condemning anti-Semitism.
Under the Employment Act 2000, discrimination based on grounds of colour, race, ethnicity or nationality may entitle an employee to a personal grievances claim, while the  Residential Tenancies Act 1986 proscribed discrimination, he said.
Among the others who attended the seminar were members of parliament Sue Moroney (Labour), Tim Macindoe and David Bennett (National), Harish Bajaj and Suman Kapoor, respectively GOPIO national president and Waikato chapter president, Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust project manager Indu Bajaj, community leaders and senior citizens and residents.
Photo below: Speakers and organizers at the seminar. From left to right Mr. Chandu Daji, Gopio Auckland Central (VP), Mr. Ashok Bhatia, Gopio Central (Pres), Hon Dr Rajen Prasad, Member of Parliament Hon Mrs. Carol Beaumont, Member of Parliament, both from Labour Party, Mr. Virinder Aggarwal, GOPIO West (Pres 7 also represented as Chairperson of The Asian Network Inc), Harish Bajaj QSO, JP, MNZITT-National Pres GOPIO New Zealand and the organizer behind the Expo), Mr. Ashok Gaur GOPIO Botany Downs (treasurer and a sponsor) and Hon Dr Jackie Blue Member of Parliament National Government, representing Hon Mrs. Pansy Wong, Minister for Ethnic Affairs.
GOPIO Chapters in New Zealand organizes seminar and health fair 
Photo above - General medical check up for blood Pressure, Diabetes, weight, height, brief on Cervical Cancer plus general one to one consultation with Dr Rajiv Sood (read below).

Regular medical tests helped people to detect health problems and pursue appropriate treatment and cure, enabling them to promote better living standards, two members of New Zealand Parliament said.
National MP Dr Jackie Blue, a qualified medical professional and general practitioner, said that members of the Indian community were prone to heart diseases and diabetes and hence must have themselves checked at least once a year.
"They are at high risk and these problems are not properly highlighted," she said, speaking at a health expo organized by the GOPIO New Zealand in association with the Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust at the Onehunga Community Centre in Auckland on July 11. She said the event served to build relationships and reach out to communities to educate, inform and provide information in a way "that was neither overwhelming nor daunting."
Labour MP Dr Rajen Prasad said the free health check facility was a splendid idea. "Such services promoted awareness on health issues and connected the Indian community with other community groups," he said.
He said the health expo conducted free of charge for five hours, provided a unique opportunity for people to access medical professionals without an appointment. "The medical tests, beginning with determining blood pressure and blood sugar levels are a good start, followed if necessary by good medical advice," he said.
Dr Rajiv Sood of the Mt Roskill Medical Centre and Dr Ronald Ma, head of the Cervical Cancer team from the Auckland District Health Board were among the professionals present at the health camp.
About 250 persons benefited from the free medical check-up facility. GOPIO New Zealand's Youth Wing will organise a similar free medical camp in Waitakere in September.
Queen Elizabeth has appointed Lord Swraj Paul and Baroness Usha Prashar as members of her Privy Council, the British monarch's advisory group whose members include the Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and other eminent personalities. Lord Paul and baroness Prashar are the only Indian origin members of the this prestigious council, which also includes the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Office announced on June 23 the appointment which is for life.
A Privy Councilor must be a British subject and has to take oath of allegiance to the sovereign. The 469-year-old institution, once a key part of the executive power, was the supreme legislative body till the 17th century. The judicial committee of the Council acts as the supreme appellate court in the Commonwealth.
Anish Mahajan, a Robert Wood Johnson clinical scholar who has developed programs for expanding HIV testing in low-income communities, was named a 2009-2010 White House Fellow June 25.

The year-long program, which begins Sept. 1, will place Mahajan and 14 other fellows with a specific sector of the new administration. The Poughkeepsie, New York native is likely to be placed in the Office of Health Reform or the Department of Health and Human Services, but told India-West he would be equally thrilled to work in Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel's office or with Vice President Joe Biden.

The extremely competitive White House Fellows program - created in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson - named 108 regional finalists in March. Thirty national finalists were selected from that pool and were invited to Washington, D.C., for interviews with the President's Commission on White House Fellowships.

Mahajan completed both his B.A. in public policy and his M.D. at Brown University. He also earned a Masters in International Health from Harvard and a Masters in Health Services from UCLA, where he also completed his residency in internal medicine.

Following his residency, Mahajan was accepted into the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. During the program, Mahajan designed a pilot program to provide free HIV testing to 10,000 Los Angeles residents and raised $300,000 to support the program. He also successfully countered resistance to new Centers for Disease Control guidelines for expanding HIV testing, and created a coalition of public and private organizations in Southern California to build community consensus on the need for HIV testing.

Mahajan is currently serving a two-year term on the Mid-City West Neighborhood council in Los Angeles.

Since 1964, more than 600 Americans have participated in the White House Fellows program, including CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. Applications are accepted each February for the following September. Fellows are chosen for their record of professional accomplishments early on in their careers.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointment of Dr. Rajen Anand as Executive Director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. The mission of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at USDA is to improve the nutritional status of all Americans by linking research to the dietary needs of the consumer. The Center is best known for the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid food guidance system.
"President Obama and I are firmly committed to improving the health and nutrition of the American people, and I am pleased to welcome Dr. Anand back to USDA because he has a deep and broad understanding of dietary guidance, nutrition and how public policy is made," said Vilsack. "As a former professor and civil servant, Dr. Anand will be a huge asset to our management team."
Anand will lead a staff comprised of nutritionists, economists, mathematicians, and food and social scientists as well as a new Evidence Analysis Library. The library will evaluate and rank the latest nutrition science for use by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that is currently charged with reviewing and revising the Dietary Guidelines which will be published in 2010.
Prior to this appointment, Anand joined the Center in 1995 as its Deputy Director and was promoted to Executive Director in 1997. Prior to his work at USDA and in the interim, he served as professor of physiology for 30 years - including 6 years as department chair at California State University, Long Beach. During his tenure at the university, he was honored with the Outstanding Professor Award and twice with Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Awards.
A graduate of the University of California, Davis, Anand holds a doctorate in human physiology, nutrition and biochemistry and a second doctorate in veterinary medicine. He has published over 40 scientific articles in national and international journals and made presentations at numerous professional meetings worldwide.
French Government has announced the decoration of Prithwindra Mukherjee with the insignia of the "Chevalier dans l'Ordre  des Arts et des Lettres." The ceremony was attended by eminent members of French and Indian communities including Ambassador Ranjan Mathai, Mr. Gerard Pedraglio "Officier de la Legion d'Honneur", Dr. Bikas Sanyal "Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur",  Professor Pierre-Sylvain Fillioza "Membre Institute de France" and Dr Vimal Khosla "President of GOPIO-France".
Prithwindra Mukherjee, was born in Calcutta in 1936. He was only eleven when he joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry where he learnt several Indian and European languages, studied the philosophy of the Samkhya, the Vedanta and Heraclitus, and practised Hindustani, Karnatik and Western music.
Before the age of twenty, he was mentioned in the manuals and the anthologies of the Indian Academy of Letters as a poet.
In 1966 he received a scholarship from the French Government and was appointed lecturer by the University of Paris III (Langues Orientales) and soon after by the Department of Philosophy in Paris XII University.
During the creation of Bangladesh, he published a full page of "Poems from Bangladesh" in the French newspaper LE MONDE and in 1979 he published his first collection of verses in French LE SERPENT DE FLAMMES.
In 1974 he registered in the University of Paris IV for a "Doctorat d'Etat" thesis on "Intellectual Roots of India's Freedom (1893-1918)", received a Fulbright scholarship to work on this thesis in the United States Archives and got his doctorate degree in 1986.
In the mean time, in 1981 he represented Radio-France at the Festival of Rennes (France) and recorded the Drums from Burundi, Dervish songs from Turkey, the diphonic yodling from Mongolia. He joined CNRS (France) in 1981 in the Department of Ethnomusicology and worked on the scales of Indian music. He has published about four hundred articles in Bengali, French and English, as well as a dozen LPs and CDs and two documentary films released by CNRS.
Among other recognitions as a poet he was invited to dinner twice by the former Prime Minister of France Dominique de Villepin a lover of poetry and poets.
In 2003 he took retirement but he has continued to work on the projects that had remained unfinished during his CNRS life. 
Despite more than six decades of independence of India, opportunities for higher education for girls are very limited especially in the rural areas.  Also, culturally, parents do not like to send their daughters for education outside of their communities. This situation warrants that the education facilities have to be taken to them if girls have to be educated. There is an old saying that an educated mother can do a better job of nurturing, cultivating proper values and sacraments among children than ten fathers.
These considerations led GOPIO USA National Coordinator and North American Regional VP Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal to build a Degree College in the memory of his parents in the village where he was born. He met the village people in January of 2006 and made the commitment for the building of the Girls College. It took more than three years to get the building ready and receive all the permissions from the Department of Education of the State and the University system.  Though the process through the red tape was a learning lesson, it was worth the effort.  Likewise, to deal with the local village politics was not an easy task.

GOPIO Vice president for North America opens girls college near Agra 
At last, in July 2009, the doors of the Babu Ramchandra Chameli Kiran Agrasen Kanya (Girls) Mahavidyalaya (College) are open for admission to the B.A, B.Sc. (Mathematics) and B.Sc. (Biology) for the First Year class.  The college is located in the town of Kagarol, about 16 miles south of the City of Agra where the world famous Taj Mahal stands. The formal inauguration ceremony took place on June 25 - an auspicious day according to the Hindu Calendar.  More than one thousand people attended the event on a hot summer day (116 degrees F).  But, the enthusiasm displayed by the people and especially by the younger generation was quite contagious. The smile and pride displayed by some of the girls who were looking forward to join the college was extremely rewarding to the founders of the college.
The ceremony started with a traditional yagna (hawan) performed by the Chief Guests for the occasion Dr. & Mrs. Piyush C. Agrawal and other invited guests and then by  lighting of the auspicious Diya (signifying light destroying the darkness).  The main motto was to start this college to educate the rural women and empower them so the social oppression can be minimized and their lifestyle can gain some independence. The environment of the college shall weave the cultural aspect throughout the college curriculum. Social activism and volunteerism is expected to be encouraged for development of the society and consequently of the country.
Dr. Agrawal in his remarks delivered in the local dialect announced that he will try to find ways to have two female senior class students spend at least one semester in USA as part of their education.  After this announcement, the public went wild with their happiness.
This is the opportune time for the NRIs and the PIOs to do some service to mother India by getting involved to the extent they can. If anyone interested to start such a venture in India, contact Dr. Agrawal as follows.
Contact: Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal, E-mail: sudhapca!, Tel: 954-389-4465.


Real Medicine Foundation is a Registered 501c3 Non-profit organization in the State of California.  Presently operating in 13 countries on four continents, The Real Medicine Foundation provides humanitarian support to people living in disaster and poverty stricken areas. "We believe that "real" medicine is focused on the person as a whole by providing medical/physical, emotional, economic and social support."  

Dr. Martina Fuchs, CEO and Founder Mobilized by the urgency of the situation in Madhya Pradesh, Real Medicine Foundation has acted swiftly to align with the necessary government departments and active NGO's on the ground to coordinate its efforts to deliver critical services to the children in MP suffering from acute malnutrition and establish a long term program to serve the poorest tribal communities. 
Our team in India has met with Digvijay Singh, Secretary of the Congress party and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, the Department of Women and Child Development, the local civil society, and NGOs such as UNICEF and UNFPA, all who are in full support of our efforts.  Funding is urgently needed to support our efforts.  To make a donation please visit: .  Please state that the donation is for Malnutrition Eradication in Madhya Pradesh.
  • 46% of children under 5 in India, upwards of 60 million children, are malnourished.
Madhya Pradesh is the country's most heavily burdened state, with 60% of children under 5 underweight. 1.3 million children have severe acute malnutrition, another 1 million have moderate acute malnutrition, and an additional 4 million have mild malnutrition. Children are most vulnerable to malnutrition in the summer months from June to October when monsoons bring water-borne diseases, diarrhea, malaria, and stocks of last season's crops begin to run dry.
Real Medicine Foundation's Approach to Malnutrition Eradication
RMF's approach begins and ends with the community and is based on the fact that malnutrition can be detected and treated earlier at the village level, making our approach not only more effective than traditional centralized approaches and less risky to patients, but also more cost effective. 
Through micro-engagement with the communities we serve, we work with individuals, government health workers, self-help groups, NGOs, and local businesses to identify, treat, and prevent malnutrition.  By working from both the community and facility angles we strengthen the continuum of care in between, strengthening the existing systems, structures, and management capacity of government partners at the village level to address the root causes of malnutrition.

How one can help
During this monsoon season RMF urgently needs support with helping us to identify and treat children with severe acute malnutrition who are in danger of death at the village level.  For this life-saving intervention we require additional monetary support to cover the costs of RUTF for treatment of severe acute malnutrition and to support human resources, enabling us to send more staff to remote villages to identify children with malnutrition, support their treatment, and work with the community to prevent more children from becoming malnourished.
Visit to make a donation to Malnutrition Eradication Initiative in Madhya Pradesh. Also, feel free to contact the Director of the Malnutrition Eradication Initiative in India, Caitlin McQuilling, anytime with questions, comments, or suggestions, or contact, Michael Lear, Director, International Relations in the NY area at and +1.484.542.0249.  For more information on Real Medicine Foundation's Global Activities, please visit
The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has decided to set up a high level panel called the Global Advisory Council which will include the best Indian brains abroad. The 23 member Council
chaired by the Prime Minister would develop an inclusive agenda for engagement between India and the top Indian brains abroad. Economist Amartiya Sen, business tycoon L.N. Mittal and Pepsico CEP Indra Nooyi are among the members of the Council. Others include Citi group CEO Vikram Pandit, NRI entrepreneur Karan Bilimoria, Economist Jagdeesh Bhagavati and technologist/educationist Sam Pitroda.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will also be its member. Announcing this in the Lok Sabha,
Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi, who will also be the member of the Council said, the Council would consider methods to access the skills and knowledge of the Indian Diaspora to meet the country's development goals and facilitate investment by overseas Indian in the country.
The Council, Ravi said, will serve as a platform for the Prime Minister to draw up on the experience, knowledge and wisdom of the best Indian minds wherever they may be based.
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) has also launched an ambitious project to create a data bank of all those going abroad to ensure their well-being, a move triggered by incidents of attacks on Indians abroad. The project, the first of its kind, was taken up after the ministry realized that there was no statistics available with the government to keep track of its citizens abroad to ensure their well-being and safety in view of the recent violent attacks on Indian students in Australia.
Starting initially with the students, the data bank will have all the details about them, such as the name of the city where they are residing name of the college/university they are studying at and place of their work. Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said in an interview. The data bank is being created as a part of efforts to institutionalize mechanism for safety and well-being of the Indian students studying abroad. "The project is aimed at knowing how many students are going abroad in a year, where they are going and which are the institutions they are studying, among others," Mr. Ravi said. At present, the government does not have any proper data bank about students who go out of the country to pursue higher education.

New Delhi : Nominations are invited for the Bharatvanshi Gaurav Samman from eminent personalities and organizations of Indian Diaspora by Antar-Rashtriya Sahayog Nyas (Trust for International Co-operation). The Award carries Rs. One Lakh in cash, a citation, a plaque and a shawl. The nominations along with detailed bio-data are to reach the Nyas Office at 'Pravasi Bhawan', 50-Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002 latest by 15th October, 2009.
The Antar-Rashtriya Sahayog Nyas was created with the objective of maintaining close contacts with the Indian Diaspora and to acknowledge and appreciate their achievements by publicly honouring at least one person every year to be selected for excellence for working for the Indian Diaspora.
The Nyas honoured Shri Ranjith Ramnarain of South Africa in 2005, Shri Satnarayan Maharaj of Trinidad & Tobago in the year 2006, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham of United States in January, 2008 and Human Service Trust, Mauritius for outstanding work for the people of Indian origin in January, 2009 at New Delhi for their contribution to the Diaspora.
The Selection Committee includes prominent members of the Indian Diaspora such as Sir Aneroodh Jagnauth, President of the Mauritius Republic, Shri Mahendra Choudhry, former Prime Minister of Fiji, Shri Basdeo Pandey, former Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Dr. Ved P. Nanda, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Denver University, USA, Shri Subhash Chandra, Chairman & Managing Director Zee Telefilms Ltd., and Shri R. P. N. Singh, Chairman S. S. R. Medical College, Mauritius. Shri J. C. Sharma, former Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs is the President of the Nyas.

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 (

and get details of chapter initiation (visit Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:


GOPIO President - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: 818-708-3885, E-mail:

GOPIO Executive Vice President - Lord Daljit Rana, UK, Tel:  +44 28-9807-8787, Email:

GOPIO Secretary General - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail:


To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO General Secretary (New York, USA); and Munish Gupta, GOPIO Media Chair (Los Angeles, Calif)

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

Contributors of this issue: 

Dr Vimal Khosla (France), Baleshwar Agrawal (India), Harish Bajaj (New Zealand)  
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:

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or