GOPIO Color Logo
Issue: VII-13 December 26, 2008
December 26, 2008
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
In This Issue
Quick Links

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 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. 

Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International
invites you to
January 6th & 7th, 2009, Chennai, India

In Conjunction With
Venue: Trident Hotel, Chennai
Tel. 91 44 2234 4747

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
 12:00 Noon            Lunch
  1:30 pm               Registration
  1:30 pm                GOPIO Executive Committee Meeting (Not open to public)
  3:00 pm                GOPIO General Council Meeting (Not open to public)
4:00 pm                GOPIO Council, Chapter and Country Reports (Open to Public)
North America  Dr. Piyush Agrawal, Regional Vice President, GOPIO Intl.
Middle East   Sunny Kulathakal, Regional Vice President, GOPIO Intl.
Pacific/Ocenia   Noel Lal, Regional Vice President, GOPIO Intl.
Dr. J.S. Virk, GOPIO Business Council, Sydney;Dr. Rohitas Batta, President, GOPIO-Sydney; Umesh Chandra, President, GOPIO-Brisbane
Europe  RajindreTewari, National Coordinator, GOPIO-Netherland 
                        Birjinder Sodhi, President, GOPIO-Berlin
South East Asia   Dr. V.P. Nair, President, GOPIO-Singapore
Africa/Mauritius   Somdutt Duthumun, Association of People of Indian Origin, Mauritius
South Asian   K.N. Gupta, President GOPIO India
Council Reports: Dr Mohan Gautam, Academic Council and Munish Gupta, Media Council
7:00 pm        Conference Inauguration and Awards Banquet and Presentation of GOPIO Community Service Awards
Trident Hotel, Chennai, Tel. 91 44 2234 4747   

Chief Guest: Honorable Vayalar Ravi, Minister, Overseas Indian Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Vayalar Ravi
Guests: Honorable G.K. Vasan, Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation
 Minister G.K. Vasan
Honorable M.M. Jacob
, Former Governor and Union Minster and GOPIO Advisor
Governor M.M. Jacob
Welcome: Americai V. Narayanan, Convention Chair, Chennai
Welcome: K N Gupta, President GOPIO of India
Welcome: Inder Singh, President, GOPIO International, USA
Greetings: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International, USA
Release of book MAURITIUS-AN UNFINISHED JOURNEY- Volume I byDr. Anand Muloo, Mauritius
Release of Publication: Asia Who's Who 2009 by Jasbir Sachar, UK
Release of book The Cosmic Detectiveby Dr. Mani Bhaumik, USA
Recognition of Sponsors: Dr. Mani Bhaumik, USA  and Hirco Group, Chennai
Dr. Bhaumik's new book, The Cosmic Detectiveis packed with interesting facts and dazzling color photographs, the book is an ideal primer designed for popularizing cosmology to people of all ages and backgrounds, especially the young.  UNESCO shall distribute Dr. Bhaumik's book, The Cosmic Detective to the 300 VIPs and 400 selected global students at the opening ceremony of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (, on January 15, 2009 in Paris, France.
GOPIO Community Service Awards will be presented to:
·        Baroness Shreela Flather, House of Lords, UK
·        Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, Suriname
·        Chandru Ghanshandas Advani, Yokohama, Japan
·        Upendra Chivukula, Deputy Speaker, NJ State Assembly, USA
·        Logie Naidoo, Deputy Mayorof Durban, South Africa
Vote of Thanks: Ashook Ramsaran, Secretary General, GOPIO Int'l
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
Conference: Critical Issues of Interest and Concern to NRIs and PIOs
  8:30 am                      Registration
  9:00 am                      Conference Inauguration
 9:15 am                       Session I:
                                    NRI/PIO Parents Coping at Home and Abroad
   Sunny Kulathakal, GOPIO Vice President, Middle East Region
Judge Ajit Swaran Singh,New Zealand
Prof. Mohan Gautam, The Netherlands
Madhusudan B. Mehta, Pres, NRI Parents Association, gujarat
Anand Mulloo, Author, Mauritius
Umesh Chanadra, Publisher, Indian Times, Brisbane, Australia
10:45 am                      Tea Break
11:00 am                      Session II
                                    NRI/PIO Contributions to Homeland Projects

Chair: Americai V. Narayanan, Chairman, ICM Computer Consultants, Chennai
Ambassador Albert Ramdin, Suriname
Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, Malaysia
Dr. Sanku Rao, President, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), USA
Dr. Surendra Kaushik, Professor of Finance, Pace University and Founder of Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women's College, Malsisar, Rajasthan
Prof Chandrashekhar Bhat, Center for the Study of Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad, India
12:30 pm                      Lunch
 2:00 pm                       Session III
                                   NRIs/PIOs - Business and Investment Challenges  
                                   and Opportunities in a
Global Financial Crisis 

Chair:   Lord Diljit Rana, House of the Lords, UK  
Upendra Chivukula, Deputy Speaker, New Jersey State Assembly, USA
Logie Naidoo, Deputy Mayor, Durban, South Africa - Changing Opportunities in Africa and S. Africa
Ambi Venkataramn, Luxumberg - Changing Scenario and Opportunities in European Union
Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni, Ireland - Opportunities and Challenges in the Energy Sector and Chemical Industry
Vijay K. Sinha, Financial and Investment Consultant, Raynham, MA, USA
  3:30 pm                      Tea Break
3:45 pm                        Session IV
                                    Current Economic and Non-Economic Issues Confronting  

Chair:   T.S Krishnamurthy, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India
Dr. Piyush Agrawal,Vice President, GOPIO-North AmericaRegion, USA
Jay Banerjie, Re/Max Rouge River Realty Brokerage and Overseas Indian national Congress of Canada
Representative from Rakshak Foundation, California
5:00 pm                      Resolutions & Wrap-up
                        Chair Dr. Piyush Agarwal
Conference Sponsors
Dr. Mani Bhaumik is a physicist, internationally bestselling author, celebrated lecturer, entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. His early contributions to laser technology are exemplified in the development of the excimer laser at the Northrop Corporation Research and Technology Center in Los Angeles. His discovery found extensive use as the type of laser that made possible the immensely popular Lasik eye surgery, eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses in many cases requiring vision correction. Dr. Bhaumik had the opportunity to live and labor with Mahatma Gandhi in his camp. He has a Ph.D in Physics from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) and a Sloan Foundation Fellowship for his post doctoral work at UCLA. He has been elected by his scientific peers to be a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Hirco Group -Building Quality Through Excellence
Hirco Group is India's largest residential builder and leading developer of mixed-use townships for the country's increasingly affluent middle class. Hirco's master planned communities feature modern residences; world-class office parks for Indian and international companies; exciting retail and entertainment destinations; 5-star hotels and convention centres; recreational facilities; schools; hospitals; supermarkets; and restaurants and cafés - all set in an attractive, green environment and developed to the highest standards of global best practice. Hirco currently has 66.4 million square feet in development at our Hiranandani Palace Gardens mixed-use township projects in Chennai in southeast India and Panvel in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Visit:
For enquiries, contact - US Sales Office: 888-628-4080 Email -
Conference Registration
GOPIO Convention Registration Fee: Rs. 1,000. Waived for those who register prior to December 31, 2008. Prior registration is recommended as total registration will be limited to 150 delegates. Limited number of Jan. 6th banquets only registration available at Rs. 500 per person.
To register, send an E-mail to GOPIO Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran at or call him at 718-353-1900. Registration to attend conference proceedings and lunch on January 7th is FREE. Last minute, on site registration shall be available.
The conference in Chennai is coordinated by Conference Chair Americai V. NarayananTel: 91-98410-46342, e-mail: and K.N. Gupta, GOPIO-India president K.N. Gupta, Tel: (91) 11-4164-2066/9811131588, e-mail:
Hotel Arrangements
GOPIO has negotiated with Trident Hotel, Chennai, a special rate starting at INR 7750 SGL / INR 8250 DBL + tax inclusive of breakfast and airport transfers by car.  When booking, mention code "GOPIO".
Hotel contact: Jaspreet Singh, Director of Sales, Tel. 91 44 2234 4747    D 91 44 2242 8500,  M 91 98843 01102    F 91 44 2234 4555,  Email -  website:
For more information on GOPIO Convention 2009, please contact: GOPIO President Inder Singh in USA at 818-708-3885, E-mail: or Munish Gupta, Chairman, GOPIO Media Council 098186-31588 or E-mail at or Convention 2009 Chair Americai V. Narayanan, Tel: 91-9841046342, e-mail:
Amb. Albert Ramdin (Suriname)
Born in Suriname, Ramdin received his education in Paramaribo and in The Netherlands, at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University, where he studied geography of developing countries with a specialization in social and economic problems of smaller economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Suriname, Ramdin served as Senior Adviser to the Minister of Trade and Industry, where he was intensively involved in restructuring the ministry and implementing an industrial development program. On June 7, 2005 he was named Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS). Ramdin is active in several civic and community organizations including many social and cultural organizations with objectives to foster Indian heritage, language and religion.
Baroness Shreela Flather (UK)
Baroness Flather was born Shreela Rai in Lahore, India and is married to Gary Flather OBE QC. Baroness Flather was educated at University College London (LLB), and she went on to the Bench in 1971. In 1976 was elected the first ethnic minority woman councilor in the UK. She was the first ethnic minority Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire in 1994 and voted Asian of the Year by Asian Who's Who in 1996.  She received an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 1994 and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Leeds University in 2008. During her 18 years in the House of Lords she has had three major amendments and taken a private member's bill through. She has also spoken on a variety of subjects and is office holder of several Parliamentary groups. Baroness Flather championed the construction of a magnificent memorial in London  at Hyde Park Corner to commemorate the contribution of nearly 5 million forgotten volunteers from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean in the two World Wars.
Chandru Advani (Japan)
Chandru G. Advani has served as a pillar of the Indian community throughout his 55 years in Japan. He has led both grass-roots and policy level exchanges for the benefit of Indian community in Japan. He orchestrated the Yokohama-Mumbai sister city relationship in 1965, and has served as President of the Indian Merchant's Association of Yokohama, as  Joint Secretary of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and in many other roles critical to the India-Japan relationship. In 2005, he co-founded the Yokohama India Center,  and is a member of its Board of Directors. He was actively involved in the Japan India Friendship Year, 2007.  He is a recipient of the Key to the City of Yokohama and the Mumbai Medal of Appreciation, and in November 2008 he was awarded the Yokohama Culture Award, the first Indian to receive this distinction.

Photo clockwise from top left: Ambassador Albert Ramdin, Baroness Shreela Flather, Chandru Advani, Logie Naidoo and Upendra Chivukula
GOPIO Convention 2009 Awardees - 2009 
Upendra Chivukula (USA)
Upendra Chivukula is currently Deputy Speaker, New Jersey General Assembly and also a former Mayor of Franklin Township. As an Assemblyman, he serves as the Chairman of the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee in New Jersey, and Member of the Executive Committee at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). He authored the Diwali Month Resolution and legislation to create the Asian American Study Foundation to study various issues affecting the Asian American Community. He serves on many community organizations, such as Franklin Township Lions Club and working with various organizations, he raised funds to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, Tsunami, Gujarat Earthquake and Floods and others. Chivukula is a Leadership New Jersey Fellow, Flemming Institute Fellow and is also Fannie Mae Fellow. He received leadership training at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Darden School of Management, University of Virginia.
Loganathan Naidoo (South Africa)
Loganathan (Logie) Naidoo was born in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He is presently an Executive Councillor and Deputy Mayor of eThekwini Municipality (formerly Durban Metropolitan Unicity), and Chairperson of the Economic Development and Planning Committee. Vice-Chair of Executive Committee and served in this capacity from December 2000 to March 2006 and reelected for another term. He served as Executive Chair of North Local Council from 1996 to 2000. Membership to many organizations including Natal Indian Congress (Founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1894) and the African National Congress. Recipient of several commendations including Bronze Medal from the ANC underground,  Military Wing Umkhonto WeSizwe, where he served from 1979 to 1989. Logie's community activities include Durban Arts Association and Tongaat Child Welfare Society. He was a speaker at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas PBD 2008 in New Delhi. Logie received the International Friendship Award from the India Festival Committee 2005, for promoting Economic links with the Indian SubContinent.

January 7-9, 2009
The annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention provides a much needed platform to the Overseas Indian Community for exchange of views on ways and means to fulfill their aspirations and expectations from the land of their ancestors. It also provides opportunities for exploring mutually beneficial trade & business relationships and for networking among the community. Celebration of the day every year symbolizes the continued interest of the government of India in the progress and well-being of the Overseas Indian Community.

The formation of a separate Ministry to look into the affairs of Overseas Indians has sent across a positive signal vis-a-vis the importance India attaches to its diaspora. Various steps taken by the Ministry have further strengthened the already strong traditional cultural ties of the togetherness that the Indian Community has with the land of their forefathers.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention 2009 - Theme: Engaging the Diaspora: The Way Forward
The 7th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is scheduled to be held at the Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai from 07-09 January 2009. Organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with the State Government of Tamil Nadu and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), it would be the first PBD Convention organized in Chennai.

PBD Conventions provide a platform for exchange of views and networking to the Persons of Indian Origin settled all over the world on matters of common interest. Such Conventions have helped the Government to better understand the expectations of the Overseas Indian Community from the land of their ancestors and acknowledge the important role played by it In India's efforts to acquire its rightful place in the comity of nations.

Among the decisions taken by the Government of India as a result of wider consultations held at these Conventions, are formulation of the Overseas Citizenship of India, establishment of Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, Conceptualisation of PIO University, formation of Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin, and the proposed India Development Foundation. A series of Programs e.g. Know India Program and Scholarship Program for Diaspora Children are also designed specifically for Diaspora youth.

Among other things, the 7th PBD Convention would have sessions on the preservation of Diaspora language and culture and the importance of Diaspora as facilitators and bridge builders. The highlights of PBD 2009 include an Exhibition on Trade & Industry, live demonstrations by craftsmen, cultural evenings and post convention tours.

The Convention would be inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India on 8th January. The President of India would deliver the valedictory address and also confer Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards for 2009 on 9th January. 
The online Registration for PBD-2009 is open through the website or go directly to the registration page To register, visit:
The MOIA ministry official in a communiqué has suggested to those who want participate to register early to avoid any inconvenience related to accommodation and other arrangement at a much later date.
Contact: N. Balasubramaniyan, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, Akbar Bhawan, Chankyapuri, New Delhi - 110021, Tel: + 91-11-24197910, Fax: + 91-11-24197942, Website: or Madhu Pillai, Director, Confederation of Indian Industry, The Mantosh Sondhi Centre, 23, Institutional Area, Lodi Road, New Delhi - 110003, Tel: + 91-11-24629994 - 7, Fax: + 91-11-24601298, Email:

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 (Gurgaon, Haryana, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (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:


Visit GOPIO's Official site at or