Stamford, NY: “We lack a voice for Indian Americans in the United States. We need a stronger voice. And I want GOPIO-CT to be voice for all Indian Americans in our state and beyond,” declared Anita Bhat, who assumed charge as the President of GOPIO-CT during an inaugural event of her new executive team at the Hampton Inn, Stamford, CT on Friday, February 10, 2017.
In her first ever presidential address, Bhat, who has been active community organizer and philanthropist, laid out her plans for the next one year under her presidency. According to Bhat, her new team will make an all out effort to increase membership of GOPIO-CT; Bhta said, wants to strengthen GOPIO-CT through strong partnership and collaboration with other organizations of Indian origin in the state. She pointed out to AAPI-CT Chapter whose mebers have come to be part of the day’s deliberations.
Other plans, Bhat and her team have envisaged include: Creating a vibrant youth team; actively engaging with and in local community activities benefitting the larger American society; and, GOPIO-CT to be a liaison between the governments of India and the United States.
“We feel privileged that we are able to serve in local soup kitchens, walk to support cancer patients, and impact our community in numerous other ways. We could not have accomplished any of this without the support of our sponsors and our biggest fans–you,” she said.
The executive committee consists of Pradeep Govil, Exec. Vice President; Varghese Ninan, Vice President; Bhavna Juneja, Secretary; Deepender Gupta, Jt. Secretary; Viresh Sharma, Treasurer; and Shailesh Naik, and Immediate Past President
Board Members are: Meera Banta, Louella D’Silva, Ravi Dhingra, and Ritu Johorey. The Scholarship Committee has Sanjay Santhanam (Chair); Hari Srinivasan, Tara Sharma, and
Priya Easwaran (Exec. Director) as its members. The Young Professionals Network is being chaired by Nisha Govil. Board of Trustees are” Anita Bhat – Chair; Dr. Thomas Abraham – Secretary, Comptroller; Santosh Gannu; Joe Simon; Amarjit Singh; and Shelly Nichani – Ex-Officio.
Echoing similar sentiments, the chief Guest for the evening, Connecticut Assemblyman Dr. Prasad Srinivasan, in his eloquent speech highlighted the need for Indian Americans to come together, stand united and work for the greater good of the larger American society. Stating that, he has declared his candidacy for the governor’s office in the state of Connecticut, Dr. Srinivsan said, “It’s ben a long journey and I know the challenge is great ahead. MY goal is to make our beautiful state more prosperous and more friendly for people of all backgrounds to live.” Pointing to the fact that several large companies have left or leaving Connecticut due to the dismal fiscal policies of the state government,” DR. Srinivasan urged the elite gathering of Indian American leaders to “join me as work together to make Connecticut a prosperous state again.”
The event attended by nearly 100 members from across the state honored Shelly Nichani, Shailesh Naik, and Sangeeta Ahuja, both past presidents of GOPIO-CT who have worked hard and with total dedication for the growth of the organization. Pradeep Govil, Exec. Vice President, said, GOPIO-CT serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. GOPIO is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities. The organization’s mission is to promote the well being of People of Indian Origin (PIO) and to enhance cooperation and communication between PIOs and other communities.
Varghese Ninan, Vice President, said, This year, GOPIO-Connecticut celebrates the 11th year of activities since its inception. What started out as the collective vision of a few like-minded individuals in partnership with the local Indian community, and their modest goals, has evolved into an exemplary community service organization thanks to the tremendous support of the community.
Earlier, in his welcome and inaugural address of the GOPIO-CT 2017 Activities Launch Party which included networking cocktails and dinner, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO-International, gave a brief outline of the organization’s history and contributions in the past two decades years. GOPIO Connecticut Chapter was launched in March 2006. It is part of the GOPIO International network which has almost 100 active chapters in 40 countries. GOPIO International was formed in 1989 at the first convention of PIOs held in New York. GOPIO has been actively campaigning for issues of interest to the Indian community on Capitol Hill and at the European Union.
Dr. Abraham, who has behind the NRI/PIO movement in the last 3 decades, had Abraham coined the word PIO (people of Indian origin) in 1989, when he put together the First Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York. The greatest achievement of Dr. Abraham is initiating and building several NRI/PIO Indian community institutions in the last 38 years, as follows: Dr. Abraham has been instrumental in the creation of several organizations, including, Federation of Indian Association (FIA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA); GOPIO International; Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center; Jagdish Bhagwati Chair for Indian Political Economy at Columbia University; National Indian American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) ; South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS); and, The Indus Nanotechnology Association (TINA). Through these organizations, Dr. Abraham has helped to build a solid base for the Indian Diaspora and India in various countries. For more details, please visit:www.gopioct.org