Ambassador Arun K. Singh visited Chicago from 27th to 28th August, 2015. During the visit, Ambassador Singh had useful interactions with Governor Bruce Rauner, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Danny Davis, President of the Chicago University Mr Robert J. Zimmer, President of the Art Institute of Chicago Dr. Douglas Druick and Mr Pradeep K. Khanna, Associate Chancellor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and several senior government functionaries, Illinois business leaders, besides prominent members of the Indian-American community, including academicians, scientists and members of the judiciary.
On August 27, 2015 Ambassador Singh had a detailed interaction with Governor Bruce Rauner and his high-level Economic Team comprising of Mr James (Jim) Schultz, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Mr. Hardik Bhatt, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the State of Illinois, Mr. Erik T. Brejla, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Office of International Trade and Investment, State of Illinois, Ms. Christinet T. Dubley, Director, Illinois Film Office and Ms. Kelley Folino, Deputy Chief of Staff for Outreach, Office of the Governor. The Ambassador was accompanied by Dr Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India, Chicago, Shri O.P.Meena, Consul and Ms. Gunjan Bajpayee, Marketing Assistant.
Ambassador Singh mentioned about the growing strategic convergence and expanding economic cooperation between India and the US, with bilateral trade in goods and services exceeding US$ 120 billion. He mentioned that the Indian investments in US has grown significantly in the last five years, reaching US$15 billion and this has helped in the creation of 90,000 jobs in the US.
Ambassador Singh extended an invitation to Governor Bruce Rauner to lead a high-level trade mission to India in near future, which was accepted by Governor Rauner in principle. Ambassador Singh stated that the visit would definitely enhance ongoing business and economic cooperation between India and the State of Illinois, which is the largest trading partner of India in the US Midwest with a two-way trade of over US$ 2 billion.
Ambassador Arun K. Singh was warmly welcomed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel at his office on August 27, 2015. Ambassador Singh briefed Mayor Emanuel on various economic reforms initiated by the Government of India which had led to unprecedented and attractive business opportunities for Chicago companies including in the fields of healthcare, infrastructure, renewal energy and education.
Ambassador Singh spoke about the historical connection between Chicago and India, recalling the visit of Swami Vivekananda in 1893 to deliver his landmark address at the Parliament of World Religions. Ambassador Singh agreed with Mayor Emanuel on the need to further strengthen the Sister City relationship between New Delhi and Chicago in the realm of healthcare, education, trade & commerce and art & culture.
Consul General Dr Ausaf Sayeed thanked the Mayor for his support to the International Yoga Day, ‘Eye on India’, ‘Ragamala’ and the South Asian Film Festival. Mayor Emanuel acknowledged that the shooting of Indian films, had generated significant attention in Chicago. He said that he would be happy if more such shootings take place in Chicago. Mayor Emanuel accepted Ambassador’s invitation to lead a high-level trade mission to India in the near future.
During his visit the Ambassador interacted with several entrepreneurs and business leaders of Chicago. On August 27, 2015 he addressed a Business Round Table hosted by the World Business Chicago in collaboration with theDelhi Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities International. On August 28, 2015 he addressed CEOs of several US companies during a Business Round Table organized by the Illinois Chambers of Commerce in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.
Ambassador visited the Art Institute of Chicago and met with Dr. Douglas Druick, President, Mr David Thurm, Chief Operating Officer, Art Institute of Chicago and other officials where he reviewed the Vivekananda Memorial Programme for Museum Excellence and other India-specific programs of the Art Institute. Ambassador Singh also visited the Fullerton Hall where Swami Vivekananda’s plaque has been installed.
Ambassador visited the University of Chicago (UC) campus and had detailed discussions with Mr. Robert J. Zimmer, President of UC, Mr Ian Solomon, Vice-President and Dean Ms. Martha Roth on the ways and means of strengthening India’s educational collaboration with the University of Chicago.
Ambassador Singh reviewed the functioning of the “Vivekananda Chair” set up in 2014 with an endowment from India’s Ministry of Culture in commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Ambassador Singh conveyed his appreciation to the University for offering undergraduate programmes in several Indian languages including Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Pali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
In a separate meeting with officials of the University of Illinois from the campuses of Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, the Ambassador expressed his satisfaction with their longstanding ongoing collaborations with India, including with prestigious Indian institutions such as IIT (Kharagpur), GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology(Pant Nagar), Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya (Jabalpur) etc. During a reception hosted by Consul General Dr Ausaf Sayeed in honour of Ambassador on 27th August, 2015, Ambassador Singh lauded the 100,000-strong Indian-American community in Chicago for their valued contribution to the State of Illinois and for acting as a useful bridge between the two countries