Five Conference Sessions Discussed Strengthening Global Connections of Indian Diaspora GOPIO held its annual convention in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas on Jan 19th-to 21st 2019 at the Taj Gateway Hotel in Varanasi. Five conference sessions were as part of the convention. It was headed and coordinated by Dr. Asha Samant from USA who is GOPIO’s International Coordinator-at-Large.
The signature event of the convention was the Finale Awards Banquet on Jan. 20th evening. The chief guest was Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. V.K. Singh. The Guest of Honor was Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam. GOPIO inducted two PIO political leaders who have participated and helped in GOPIO activities in the past to its Honor Roll. They were New Zealand Member of Parliament Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and South Africa Member of the Parliament Aumsensingh (Omie) Singh.
GOPIO honored those who have done outstanding service to the community and society -at-large with Community Service Awards at the Final Banquet. This year’s awardees are: Veena Khosla from France, Parsram Punj from Australia, Dr. Indrani Rampersad from Trinidad, K.V. Shamsudheen – Sharjah, UAE and Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas – Saint Louis, USA. GOPIO also presented special awards to GOPIO Associate Secretary and community volunteer Jaswant Mody from the US and Confluence Founder Smita Srivastav from New Delhi, India. A fantastic entertainment was organized by Smita Srivastava of Confluence after the Awards Banquet.
The convention was inaugurated on May 19th evening at the Taj Gateway Hotel. Following the inauguration, GOPIO delegates were hosted with a warm Varanasi reception organized by the local committee consisting of Dr. Markanday Rai, Mr. Satish Rai and Mr. Madan Mohan Upadhyay. The event was held at the Meridian Hotel and sponsored by Rotarian Dr. Karma Raj Singh of Omega Plus Hospital in Varanasi.
Three conference sessions were conducted on Jan. 20th. First session on, Strengthening India’s Relations with Global Community through Indian Diaspora was chaired by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. In his Keynote Address, Aumsen (Omie) Singh, Member of Parliament from South Africa was enlightened the audience the campaign against Apartheid and launching of non-violent movement by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa. Later participating speakers presented their opinions on the topic. The speakers were Ms.Purnima Voria, Chair, National India USA Chamber of Commerce, USA, Dr. Markandey Rai, Chancellor, GTAMSU, Senior Advisor UN Habitat Delhil Mr. Nirmal Sinha, GOPIO Founding Member and FIA Columbus, Ohio and Recipient Civil Rights Hall of Fame, State of Ohio in USA. Ms Pooja Thomre, Board Member, National FIA served as Resource person and concluded the session summarizing various statements of speakers.
The session on Opportunities, Development, Business and investment in India and UP was Chaired by Harbachan Singh, GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for North America, New York, USA with panelist team of Manohar Jetley, MLC, Lucknow, UP; Chandran Pillai, Managing Director, Bit technology Singapore; ,Parsram Punj, Parsram Foods Pty Ltd Australia and Radha Krishnan, GOPIO Life Member from Detroit, USA as Resource Person.
Three sessions were presented on concluding day.FRANCOPHONE SESSION by Mehen Poinosawmy, GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for Europe, Paris, France was enlightening and provided a lot of information what was being going on in France and how the community is facing. Speakers/Panelists: Jean Regis Ramsamy, Co-Chair, Media Council, Reunion Island and Vikas Talwar, President of GOPIO France who explained their opinions of the situation. Ms. Charlotte Gressier, French Caribbean Island presented a research paper in depth. Resource Person. Jagdish Lodhia, GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for Oceania summarized the session
A session on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Investment and Start Up India was chaired by Kurian Abraham, GOPIO International Coordinator for South Asia, Kochi, India. Speakers/Panelists included Navin Pathak, Partner, Entry India, LLC, New Jersey, USA; K.V. Shamshudeen, Chairman, Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, Sharjah, UAE; Prof. H. A. Pandya, Vice Chancellor Gujarat University. Ahmedabad, India; Achal Mehra, Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India and Prof. G. Gopal Reddy, Member, University Grants Commission, New Delhi.
Empowering Indian and Diaspora Women was the last Session Chaired by energetic Speakers/Panelists: Mini Guleria, Co-Chair, GOPIO Media Council, Tarzana, California, USA Not to flatter but all the three speakers were amazing. Rini Johar, President, GOPIO-Redwood City/San Francisco, CA, USA spoke pm a handful of activities carrying alone with full commitments. Anju Garg, President, GOPIO-Los Angles, California, USA shared the health-related activities which were being carried by the chapter. Aparna Hande’s presentation was very impressive and full of her dedicated commitment.
After all the sessions, several resolutions were passed to be presented to GOPIO Executive Council for further action. President Ram Nath Kovind delivered the Valedictory Address at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Varanasi on January 23rd. GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and President Sunny Kulathakal called on the President. Dr. Abraham briefed him about GOPIO and some of the Diaspora issues as well as how the Diaspora can be mobilized for India’s benefit. Dr. Abraham and Mr Kulathakal presented President Kovind a copy of the book, Global Indian Diaspora – GOPIO Making an Impact.