A Tribute to Dr. Jagat Motwani

It is a very sad news for all of us in the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) to know that Dr. Jagat Motwani is no more. A Fulbright scholar, professor and social worker, Dr. Jagat Motwani worked for the State of New York and made outstanding contributions in the field of Social Work. Other than his professional contributions, he stood out for his contribution to the Indian Diaspora community for the last four decades.

Dr. Jagat Motwani was a tall leader of the Indian Diaspora community and was a Founding Member of the GOPIO. He was a Co-Convener of the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin held in 1989 in New York City where GOPIO was formed. He served as official of several community organizations including Heart and
Hand for the Handicapped (HHH), Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA) and the last in GOPIO as its Secretary General. Dr. Motwani was one of the initiators of the First India Day Parade in New York City in 1981 and served as its Marshal. He wrote several books on the Indian Diaspora and on Indian history.

He was a patriotic Indian. I have had opportunity to work with him closely since 1978 when he represented HHH in FIA New York. From that time, he was with me in every group I had initiated, including NFIA and GOPIO. When we thought of the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in 1989 under the aegis of NFIA, we were in the unchartered territory since there was no communication between our communities around the world. So we decided to travel to all countries with large Indian Diaspora population. Dr. Motwani was a great help in travelling alone to the Far Eastern countries to seek participation and support from the Indian Diaspora in those countries.

We had travelled together to many parts of the world and all over India promoting the First Global Indian Convention. At the convention, Dr. Motwani and his co-editors brought out the first ever book on Global Indian Diaspora

⁠Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. After the GOPIO was formed at the convention, Dr. Motwani contributed as Secretary General and later as the Chairman of GOPIO Academic Council for over two decades. GOPIO International and its chapters convey our heartfelt condolences to Motwani family. We will miss him in our midst. May his soul rest in peace.

Dr Jagat Motwani

Dr. Thomas Abraham
Chairman, GOPIO International

GOPIO Joins with Stamford Muticultural Council and the Public Library to Celebrate Diwali

Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, was celebrated by the Connecticut chapter of GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) in partnership with the Ferguson library and the Stamford Mayor’s Multicultural Council (MMC) with traditional music, dance, Mehendi, Indian snacks and a rangoli exhibition.

GOPIO Joins with Stamford Muticultural Council and the Public Library to Celebrate Diwali 3The highly successful Diwali program for the 3rd year in a row, was presented with 75 artists to a houseful crowd on November 19th at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut. The GOPIO chapter has been promoting the soft power of India and the indian Diaspora to the larger society since 2006.

Diwali, which is a major festival in the Indian sub-continent, celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world. Diwali is now a public holiday in many US towns and cities including New York. Last week New York State Governor Kathy Hochul declared Diwali as a holiday in the state.

At the Connecticut program, performances by local dance schools showcased the diversity of India with classical, fusion, folk as well as Bollywood dances. Indian delicaciesserved after the event were enjoyed by all.

Mahesh Jhangiani, Executive Vice President of the GOPIO-Connecticut chapter told the audience  that as aGOPIO Joins with Stamford Muticultural Council and the Public Library to Celebrate Diwali registered 501(c)3 non-profit, GOPIO serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of people of Indian origin through community programs, forums, events and youth activities.  “We seek to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities,” said Jhangiani.

Prachi Narayan, Vice-President of GOPIO-CT introduced the Stamford Mayor’s multicultural council team; Chair Eva Weller, Secretary Ana Gallegos and Members Sandra and Sonal, as well as Yelena Clompus, who is also the Cultural Programs Manager at Stamford’s Ferguson Library, who coordinated the program from the library. The rest of the GOPIO-CT team Anita and Ambrish Mathur, Sonali Zullurwar, Ashvini Persaud, Prasad Chintalapudi, Manish Maheshwari and Yashasvi Jhangiani were present helping run the event smoothly. The cultural program was put together by Mrs Jhangiani.

The event was a culmination of the flawless team work between three organizations. Everyone came together to spend the afternoon immersed in the culture, heritage and colors of the Diwali, the festival of lights.

GOPIO Delegation Meets NY Mayor Eric Adams, Sharing Concerns Of NRI Community

GOPIO officials along with other Indian community organizations were invited to New York city Hall on March 1st to discuss issues of the Indian community and perspectives on how the community can be involved in the city. It all started with GOPIO’s condemnation of the defacing of Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Union Square Park in February and GOPIO requesting Mayor Eric Adams to increase police presence in the park area as well as to apprehend and punish culprit.

 City Hall was represented by Mayor Adam’s Chief Advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin and Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi. The Indian community delegation was headed by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham along with GOPIO-Manhattan Executive VP Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, VP Dr. Vimal Goyle and Treasurer Braj Aggarwal as well as GOPIO-New York Chapter Hon. Chair Lal Motwani and President Beena Kothari. Other community representatives were Association of Indians in America (AIA) President Gobind Munjal, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Executive Director Sudhir Vaishnav, Bhakti Center Program Coordinator Kartikeya Parashar, Society of Indian American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA) President Ketan Shah, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir National Coordinator for Public Affairs Girish Patel and Mukund Mehta, President of India Home and Indo-American Senior Citizen Center of New York.

At the beginning of the meeting, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Abraham thanked Mayor Adams for appointing many Indian Americans in high position of the city administration. In addition to the issue of defacing of Mahatma Gandhi statue, many other issues were discussed at this power meeting of the City officials with the community. The community representatives urged the mayor to keep status que on gifted and talented classes for elementary classes. The delegation told the city officials that the gifted should always be given the opportunity to advance further in pursuit of knowledge and to achieve their full academic potential. Other issues brought out include discrimination, civil rights violations and violence against religious institutions in New York city. Chief Advisor Lewis Martin suggested to set up a committee from the community to work closely with NYPD on some of these issues. The following have been nominated to work on these issues with Girish Patel coordinating this effort along with Braj Aggarwal, Lal Motwani, and Beena Kothari. This committee will reach out to the larger Indian community on these issues.

Once major part of the discussion was on how to bring businesses to New York City, vis-à-vis New York businesses setting up business in India. The delegation told city officials that many Indian companies are setting business outfit in the US and that Indian Americans in New York city could serve as conduit to reach out to businesses in India. It was suggested that whenever trade and business delegations come to New York, City’s International Affairs Department must reach them out and hold meetings with them. Another Business Promotion Committee headed by Dr. Abraham was nominated along with Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, Sudhir Vaishnav, Mukund Mehta, Ketan Shah and Karthikeya Parashar.

The delegation also suggested the city officials to continue with Diwali celebration and to hold a special celebration from the City for the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence to honor the largest democracy of the world.

After the meeting with city officials, the delegation met Mayor Eric Adams and interacted with him. Mayor Adams gave high marks for the community’s contribution to make New York an exciting city to live.

ASEI’s 34th National Convention On Sustainable Technology Innovations Held

Fremont, California: The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) hosted its 34th National Convention focusing on Sustainable Technology Innovations (STI-2022) on Jan 15 &16th. The convention consisted of 3 mini-conferences with over 35 speakers spread across two days. The Aerospace Symposium and Youth Technology Exposition were held on the first day while the last day consisted of a power-packed CXO Summit with a number of C-Suite executives sharing their wisdom with over 500 participants from many countries spread across 3 continents. The program details and a souvenir for the convention are available here: http://aseiusa.org/NC.

Kicking off the 34th National Convention, the ASEI President and Convention Chair Piyush Malik along with Dr. Shreekant Agrawal welcomed the delegates on Jan 15th morning at the Aerospace Symposium. Buoyed by the current euphoria of billionaires venturing in spacecrafts and plenty of investments pouring into the sector, the ASEI Aerospace Symposium had a Star Trek like feeling – exploring trends and technologies around four key areas viz. Space Tourism, Living on the Moon, Future of High-Speed Travel and Air Taxis. Former NASA Administrator Dr. Michael D. Griffin gave a heartfelt keynote address sharing his personal stories including those involving Indian food!

At the first panel focusing on High-Speed air travel moderated by Dr. Bala Bharadwaj, the participants learned how as a result of six decades of research on supersonic commercial aircraft design have paved the way for a new era in high-speed travel that is not too far from becoming a reality.  Dr. Vik Kachoria, Dr. Kevin Bowcutt and NASA’s Mary Di Joseph each presented their point of views before engaging in a panel discussion

Living on the moon panel explored getting most efficiently and cheaply to the Moon not only for tourism, but to establish settlements on the Moon, to live and work there. This time, it will be mining for the most important, life sustaining water-ice on the Moon, as well as exploring the lava tubes for habitats. Moderated by Dr. David Livingston, the knowledgeable expert panelists Dr. Bhavya Lal, Prof. Haym Benoroya and Dr. Ajay Kothari shared their vision

During the Space Access & Tourism session, the panelists Dr. Kelley Weinershith, Mr. Richard French and Dr. David Livingston were engaged in a lively discussion by Dr. Kavya Manyapu. They spoke how cheaper and more frequent space access as offered by startups like Rocket Lab and Astra have shown a path to help humanity benefit from Space by their launches of smaller satellites to near Earth orbits, thus helping improve life on Earth. All these developments of late are what dreams can be made of now. With the advent and successful deployment of reusable rockets, these dreams will be in the grasp of many in the coming decade.

Flying cars have been in many dreams for a long time. The business potential for air taxis is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2040.  All of this is possible now because of new and emerging technologies, including new batteries, autonomous operations, and advanced manufacturing.

Co-chairs Dr Shreekant Agrawal and Dr Ajay Kothari helped put the Symposium together with the help of speakers and volunteers. We hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through this and our other programmes.

Youth Technology Exposition

ASEI has always supported STEM and youth empowerment initiatives. Our University Connect and STEM programs intersect at the YTE event.  The YTE is intended to provide a forum for young engineers and scientists to showcase their work in the areas of engineering and emerging technologies. Adapting to Covid times where we can.t meet in person to see science fair projects and interact with students and to recognize deserving students, we invited young scientists and engineering students to participate in our flagship YTE during this virtual ASEI 34th National Convention.

The afternoon of Jan 15th was reserved for the finals of Youth Technology Exposition. The YTE is a flagship STEM programme at ASEI where students participate with their science fair, engineering or innovation projects. The preliminary rounds conducted early in a calendar year by each ASEI chapter select a handful of winners from Grade 9 thru 12. As the year progresses and the National Convention nears, the competition heats up as well. The YTE finalists are selected from the preliminary rounds and asked to showcase their projects as well as face live Q&A form the YTE judges. This time, we had multiple entries from only our traditionally strong chapters of Silicon Valley and Michigan, but also from Florida and India. Dr. Preetha Ram aided by Mythli Srinivasan and Geetha Arun judged the finals. The top 3 prize winning entries were:

3rd Place

Creating a Haptic 4D model along with machine learning analysis by developing a Non-invasive pressure mapping method to screen Genital Skin Cancer by Sidharth Jain and Aasimm Khan from Mumbai, India

2nd Place

A Multistep, ML-Based Predictor of Parkinson’s Disease Progression Using GWAS, Patient Symptoms, and Gene Expression Data by Isha Jagadish from Saratoga, California

1st Place

A Physical Device to Help the Visually Impaired Read Money Using AI/Machine Learning in Third World Countries by Nidhi Mathihali from Saratoga, California

CXO Summit

The final day of the convention (Jan 16th) featured a CXO Summit where the invited speakers gave talks on latest emerging trends, as well as the audience engaged with them during CTO and CEO fireside chats and CIO panel.

ASEI president Piyush Malik welcomed the CXO summit delegates with a recap of the Aerospace Summit as well as a “State of the union” address about the ASEI’s growth and expansion of free programs and outreach for members and students during the Covid lockdowns in 2020/2021. He also talked about how Innovation and sustainable technologies are the imperatives for survival in the next decade.  From adaptive sustainable supply chains to becoming carbon neutral to adopting mandates emerging from United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, leaders across industries and organizations are forced to be prepared for the unexpected and he hoped that this Convention would encourage dialogue as well as solutions in this matter.

Opening keynote by City of Fremont Mayor Lily Mei highlighted how much infusion of advanced technology, AI, IOT etc.  have made Fremont grow with safety, sustainability and Innovation into a Smart City.

Veteran philanthropist and venture capitalist MR Rangaswami captivated the audience with his whirlwind tour of 40 years’ journey of Indian engineers from the trenches to the corner office in the US. Citing numerous success stories from his chapter in the book “Kamala Harris and the rise of Indian Americans”, he engaged with audience questions as well.

CXO Symposium Co-chair Surbhi Kaul engaged Juniper networks CTO Dr Raj Yavatkar in an interesting chat answering questions like “How leadership fosters Innovation in large organizations? And how does one go from being an individual contributor to a technology leader and ultimately a C-Suite executive? “

There was an innovation and sustainability panel moderated by Kunal Sood with three women speakers from across 3 continents that generated a lot of interesting discussions. What are public and corporate leaders doing in this realm of sustainability and innovation and how are they supporting the commercial entities within their jurisdiction. This panel of CXOs, academics and influential leaders explored these and more.

In a fireside chat with Piyush Malik, the founder and CEO of Automotive disruptor Techion, Jay Vijayan shared his nuggets of wisdom from his journey as Tesla’s first CIO to the founder of a 3x Unicorn.  “Stay customer obsessed, focus on what value you bring and don’t compromise on your values!”

Sandy Carter, an industry category creator as well as a marketing powerhouse lived upto her reputation as the “Energizer Bunny” while sharing her journey from engineering school to MBA and Senior Executive ranks across her career from IBM to Amazon to now a Web3 pioneer Unstoppable. Her talk “Going down the Web 3 Rabbit hole” was an overview to those interested in web3, NFTs, Crypto and Metaverse and generated a lot of audience enthusiasmNext, four CIOs led by Raman Mehta from Johnson Electric, Dr. Soma Venkat from Cooper Standard, JP Saini from Sunbelt Rentals and Karuna Annavajjala from Silicon Labs shared their view of post pandemic enterprise IT and the role CIOs play in the innovation agenda. This was followed by Award announcements and an informal networking session where all participants were able to come on camera and interact with the speakers and organizers.

The objective of this convention has been to provide a forum to promote and share advancements related to latest cutting-edge innovations and technologies across various engineering disciplines. The convention achieved the highest registration of any event in ASEI history and was attended by over 500 professionals each day including scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders across the USA. This two-day event featured keynotes and multiple interactive sessions with prominent business and technology leaders, scientists, media personalities, educators, policy makers, and venture capitalists

In accordance with ASEI tradition of recognizing exceptional engineers and scientists as well as ASEI volunteers, the ASEI awards will be given out for following categories: ASEI Lifetime Achievement, Hari B. Bindal ASEI Founder’s Award, ASEI Entrepreneur/Intrapreneur of the Year, ASEI Engineer/Scientist of the Year, ASEI Service Excellence and ASEI Special Awards

The awards ceremony will take place on Feb 27th,2022 where the honorable guests include Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu from Washington, DC and Indian Consul General in San Francisco Dr. TV Nagendra Prasad. All award winners will be felicitated along with speakers and volunteers. This event is open for all but pre-registration is required at www.aseiusa.org

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) is a not-for-profit organization that provides a platform for networking, career advancement, community service, mentoring and technology exchange for professionals, students and businesses in the United States and abroad. Members are guided by several objectives, including the creation of an open, inclusive, and transparent organization, providing positive role models, awarding scholarships, and remaining socially responsible. ASEI was founded in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan. Today, the organization also has chapters in Detroit, Southern California, Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Washington, DC. For more information, visit: https://aseiusa.org/