AAPI To Sign Knowledge Sharing Pact With Madhya Pradesh

The Madhya Pradesh government will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) under the State’s Innovation Medical Knowledge Sharing Mission.

The decision was taken by the State’s Medical Education Minister Vishwas Kailash Sarang, following a discussion on mutual exchange in the field of medical education and research with doctors of the AAPI on the second day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan.

“MoU with the prestigious organization of doctors in America will develop new dimensions in the field of medical education and research. It will help in capacity building and training of medical students and doctors of the state. It will also help in technical cooperation in the establishment of the center of excellence for medical subject expertise,” Sarang said.

Picture : TheUNN

He added that AAPI will also conduct online lectures and workshops for medical students and doctors. ACS Medical Education Mohammad Suleman, president of AAPI delegation Dr Ravi Kolli, Dr Manoj Jain, Dr Prakash Satwani, Dr. sampat Shivangi, Dr Leena Gupta, Dr Vijay Maurya, Dr Pramit, Dr Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Dr Satheesh Kathula and other dignitaries were present at the meeting.

Australian Visa Delays Put Indian Students Lives On Hold

(IPS) – When Megha Jacob, who had been applying for a doctoral degree at various overseas universities, received an offer from the Australian National University’s Department of Chemistry to do a fully funded PhD, she was thrilled and immediately accepted the position.

It was January 2022. She submitted her visa application and resigned from her job at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. One year later, she is still waiting for her visa to be processed.

Several international Indian students enrolled in doctoral degree courses in Australia’s leading universities have been waiting for their visas to be approved for months, some for up to two years. “The protracted delays have put our lives on hold. We seek clarity and a definitive timeline so we can plan our future,” say students from one of the WhatsApp groups formed by Indian doctoral students facing Australian visa processing delays.

Since the easing of Australia’s stringent COVID-19 restrictions, these students allege, the visa processing time for doctoral degree students has increased. “The median processing time for offshore student visa application was 18 days for the Postgraduate Research Sector in November 2022,” an Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHA) spokesperson tells IPS. However, the most recent processing time on the DHA website for 500 – Student visa (subclass 500) Postgraduate Research Sector shows 90 percent of applications are processed in 10 months.

Processing times will take some time to improve as the department works through older applications in the backlog, according to DHA. Processing times can vary due to applicants’ circumstances, including how long it takes to perform required checks on the supporting information provided by the applicant; and how long it takes to receive information from external agencies. This particularly relates to health, character and national security requirements.

Jacob says, “I have been submitting additional information, such as published research papers, but the last updated date on my visa application page on the DHA portal is still nine months old! I wonder if there is a technical glitch in the system or has my application fallen through the cracks.”

“When I called the DHA last month, I was told that waiting time for 90 percent of applicants is nine months [now its 10 months], and for the remaining 10 percent of applicants, we do not know how long it’s going to take. Presumably, some of us are in that 10 percent. But we don’t know why and what has placed our application in that category,” she adds.

Many students in the WhatsApp group have individually reached out to the DHA through email, the complaints section or via phone, but they have received only generic responses. “I have even written to the Commonwealth Ombudsman and received a similar reply that they are conducting necessary background checks, which can take several months,” says Deepak Chahal, who has a master’s from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala).

Chahal, who enrolled as a doctoral student in Macquarie University’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics in December 2020, has been waiting for the past two years for his visa to be processed. He says, “I had begun working remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, but I can’t continue remotely anymore as I need access to Australian observatories to collect data and the lab to analyse it. I’ve already spent two years doing the research, so abandoning it now is not an option.”

For students in the field of applied science, technology and engineering, working remotely is not an option as they require access to a host of resources –laboratory, equipment, data, fast internet connectivity, and availability of supervisors to oversee their experiments.

“We are losing precious research time as we don’t even know if our visa application will be successful after all this waiting. Our lives are hanging in the balance,” says a 26-year-old applicant from Mumbai (Maharashtra), enrolled in The University of Sydney’s School of Chemistry, who requested anonymity. He applied for his visa in August 2022, as his date of joining was October 1. [Students can submit their application no later than six weeks before their course starts and no earlier than 12 weeks.] He has had to defer his research until his visa application is finalised.

Indian High Commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, tells IPS, “Many Indian doctorate students with admissions secured at various Australian universities have indeed been waiting for a very long time for their visas to be issued. This has delayed their research and, in some cases, has also jeopardised the grants that have been assured to them. We have been raising this matter regularly with Australian authorities and have urged them for early redressal of the difficulties that the doctorate students are facing.”

The DHA data shows that the higher education sector visa grant rate for 2022-2023 was 76.5 percent to November 30, 2022.

One beacon of hope, these students say, has been the support from Australian universities and the faculty. Dr Clement Canonne, Lecturer at the University of Sydney’s School of Computer Science, recently Tweeted on his personal account: “My hope for 2023 is not to have to raise the PhD and Postgraduate Research #AustralianVisas processing delays issue anymore, and to see not only the current backlog processed, but also increased transparency & communication from @ausgov for applicants.”

There were 1608 Indian nationals enrolled in Doctoral Degree courses out of the 96,005 Indian international students enrolled across all education sectors as of the year-to-date October 2022, according to a spokesperson for the Australian Government’s Department of Education. International students from India across all education sectors contributed $3.729 billion to the Australian economy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Speaking in his personal capacity and not expressing an official university viewpoint, Canonne tells IPS, “Students from India’s premier STEM institutes have many other options. When they, and Chinese and European students, choose to come to work with us, it’s because the research aligns. It’s really disheartening when these exceptional students are accepted, we work hard to apply for funding and get the grant, but then we can’t use the money to do the research for which it is meant because the students’ visa applications are pending for months, even years.”

The Department of Education data shows that in 2019, internationals accounted for 61 percent of Higher Degree Research students in engineering and related technologies and 57 percent in Information Technology.

“We chose Australia because it was a “perfect fit” when it came to the high ranking of Australian universities, professors in our field of research, lab facilities and other resources, full scholarship and shorter duration to complete a PhD in 3.5 years as against five years in most other countries,” says Parkarsh Kumar from Ranchi (Jharkhand), who is enrolled in UNSW Sydney’s Department of Material Science.

He says, “I completed my master’s degree from National Taiwan University on a scholarship and had two job offers, which I declined because I wanted to do a PhD and one day become a professor in an Indian institution. I was a role model in our family and community, but now everyone jokes that don’t be like him because I am sitting at home since January 2022 waiting for my visa application to be processed.”

Many of these students had left their jobs to pursue research, some against the wishes of their parents and elders. The long visa processing delays have caused them mental and financial stress. “If I apply for a job, I am asked why have I not worked for the past 10 months. If I say it’s because I am waiting for my Australian student visa, they immediately reject, stating that then there is no certainty on how long you will work for us,” says Jacob, who has socially isolated herself because while her family is very supportive, the societal pressure of being constantly asked, “When are you going to Australia?” is too much for her.

The long visa delay is prompting some to apply for a PhD in other countries or get a job. The Group of Eight (Go8), representing Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, in its submission dated December 16, 2022, to Australia’s 2023-24 Permanent Migration Program inquiry, noted that “visa backlogs are not just about the number of applicants in the queue, but about the critical expertise that Australia is missing out on, or stands to lose, because of avoidable processing delays.” It urged the DHA “to consider ways to improve and streamline visa assessment processes to facilitate migration in areas of priority or strategic need.” (IPS UN Bureau Report)

What Attracts Indian Students To The US?

In 2021-22, the proportion of students in engineering fell to 29.6 per cent or 58,957 — the rise in absolute numbers is in sync with the overall increase in the number of Indian students in the US.

Engineering is no longer the most popular draw for Indian students headed to the United States for higher education. Programmes in mathematics and computer sciences have gained the top spot in order of preference over the past decade, shows an analysis by The Indian Express of Open Doors data compiled by the US State Department and the non-profit Institute of Interna

Picture : Scroll In

China remains the country that sends the most students to the U.S. But India is closing the gap according to the 2022 report. The number of students from India increased by 19 percent while those from China dropped by nine percent in the most recent school year.

The US has a certain allure for international students; a study destination that has a lot to offer: world-class universities, top-notch student facilities, a burgeoning job market, beautiful and eclectic cities and parks, and a very culturally diverse population.  It stands to reason that India is the second-largest source of international students for the States. Let’s study some of the reasons in detail:

  • Highly-acclaimed and top-ranked US universities

It is a well-established fact that the USA houses some of the best universities – Harvard, Columbia,  Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and more. The list of top 100 universities alone has 56 US universities, more than any other country. The reason US universities are coveted is because of the value they provide on a personal and professional level. Earning a degree from a prestigious university in the US has a guaranteed return, gives the student an edge over other students, and makes them employable across the globe.

The departments are well-funded. The classrooms are optimized to give students more access to web-based learning utilizing computer-based tests and world-class resources, providing more than just theoretical knowledge.

  • Academic flexibility

One of the best features of US universities is that they offer academic flexibility to students to explore their interests and different academic disciplines. An undergraduate student has the option to study a wide range of subjects before they choose a major at the end of the second year. Similarly, in graduate degree programs, students can customize their curriculum with elective courses and combined degrees. They are free to explore different fields of study and find a subject that resonates with them the most.

Another great feature in the US is transfer admission, which allows students to easily transfer their credits from one university to another university. Academic freedom is demonstrated in the classroom as well, where there is an open exchange of different views and perspectives. The professors and students share a close relationship that helps mentor students and inculcates academic curiosity. This flexibility attracts the Indian student community. Moreover, the student-to-faculty ratio is low, which offers room for students and teachers to connect.

  • Ample training and career opportunities

A perfect mix of education and practical experience is offered to students. International students benefit from academic training programs such as OPT and CPT. Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows international students with an F-1 visa to work up to 12 months during or after the study duration. Students with STEM degrees get another 12 months and can work up to 24 months. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is similar to OPT, with the only difference being that it has to be completed before graduation. Both these programs allow students to foray into the job market and make connections with potential employers. It is especially helpful for students because the F-1 visa does not allow “dual intent” and there are limited options for students to stay in the US and work.

Assistantships are another way to work and learn simultaneously. Students can apply to assist in teaching or even work on a research project with a professor. Some are even fortunate enough to work with a leading scholar in their chosen field.

  • Networking opportunities

As expensive as a degree is from the US, it offers equal opportunities to get its worth. Professors are open for discussion and can offer valuable career advice and ways to become employable. Universities host job fairs, workshops, career counseling sessions, networking events to help boost student employability. Recruiters attend these fairs to scout talent. Most US universities also boast a wide alumni network to help mentor and guide students. Networking is one of the best ways students, especially international students, can enter the US job market. If a student is unable to grab hold of any opportunity, they can make use of the university’s career center. A US degree paves the way for a brighter future. In fact, according to the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020, US universities rank higher than most in terms of producing the most employable graduate students.

  • Support for international students

Cultural diversity is one of the defining pillars of the universities, as is advertised by almost every US university. The diversity and inclusion of various races and nationalities help universities create a productive environment for the students, where they feel comfortable, are more engaged and motivated to study. Every university campus has an international student service office that addresses the concerns of the international student community. Indian students have an added benefit from the strong presence of the Indian community in the US. Once students move past the initial cultural shock, the diversity will truly open up their worldview.

The universities also provide financial aid to support the students in the form of scholarships, grants, bursaries, and tuition-fee waivers.

Studying in the US is nothing short of a dream for some students – a step closer to achieving the American Dream, to live by the ethos and ideals of a country that ranks number one in practically every aspect. (Courtesy: TOI)

Biden’s New Debt Relief Proposals For Student Loan Borrowers

Broad student-loan forgiveness isn’t the only relief President Joe Biden is hoping to implement for borrowers this year.

On Tuesday, Biden’s Education Department officially proposed reforms to income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, which where created to give student-loan borrowers affordable monthly payments based on income, with the promise of loan forgiveness after at least 20 years.

As reports over the past year revealed, the plans seldom delivered on their promise. An NPR investigation found that some student-loan companies failed to track payments borrowers’ made on the plans, throwing them off of the path to forgiveness, and oftentimes borrowers had to submit requests themselves to get accurate information on where their payments stood.

In light of those flaws, the Education Department announced a series of reforms to the plans that included streamlining the path to loan forgiveness and cutting payments for undergraduate borrowers in half.

Picture : CNBC

“Today the Biden-Harris administration is proposing historic changes that would make student loan repayment more affordable and manageable than ever before,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “We cannot return to the same broken system we had before the pandemic, when a million borrowers defaulted on their loans a year and snowballing interest left millions owing more than they initially borrowed.”

Here’s what you need to know about these proposed reforms, and why some advocates are still pushing for further relief.

Is Biden creating a completely new IDR plan?

No – not completely new. The Education Department is amending the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) plan, the latest iteration of which calculates borrowers’ monthly payments based on their discretionary income with the promise of debt relief after a set number of years in repayment.

This revision mean that the department will also be phasing out other versions of income-driven repayment plans. It will phase out enrollment for borrowers in the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and income-contingent repayment (ICR) plans, and limit when a borrower can switch to an income-based repayment (IBR) plan.

Who is eligible?

If you have a federal graduate or undergraduate student loan, who will be eligible for these reforms.

How will my monthly payments change?

If you make less than $30,500, or if you’re in a household of four with an income below $62,400, you will be given the option to make $0 monthly payments.

These reforms also cut payments for undergraduates in half — the new plan would require them to pay 5% of their discretionary income on their undergrad student loans, down from the current 10%. Borrowers who only have graduate school loans would continue to pay 10%, and borrowers who have both graduate and undergraduate loans would pay between 5 and 10%, based on average calculated from the share of loans borrower for undergraduate versus graduate studies.

When will I receive loan forgiveness on this plan?

According to the fact sheet, the department said it’s “concerned that borrowers with small balances are discouraged from using existing IDR plans – even if they would benefit from lower monthly payments – because of the length of time required to receive loan forgiveness.”

That’s why the department is proposing that borrowers who originally borrowed $12,000 or less will receive loan forgiveness after 10 years of payments. “Every additional $1,000 borrowed above that amount would add 1 year of monthly payments to the required time a borrower must pay before receiving forgiveness,” the fact sheet said.

The department estimated that 85% of community college borrowers would be debt-free after ten years of repayment with this change.

What’s the timeline for implementation?

These proposals will enter a 30-day public comment period, and senior administration officials told reporters that the department plans to implement them this year, alongside Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers (it’s currently headed to the Supreme Court on February 28).

Additionally, Congress did not increase funding for the Federal Student Aid office in its latest spending bill, suggesting hurdles to come with implementation of these reforms. The administration official said the department is disappointed with the lack of funding and notes that it will present a challenge.

What if I’m in default or delinquent on my loans?

The reforms are intended to help at-risk borrowers, as well. The department is proposing to automatically enroll borrowers who are at least 75 days behind on their payments into an IDR plan that would give them the lowest monthly payment. Borrowers already in default would also, for the first time, get access to an IDR plan.

Who is excluded?

Parents who took on PLUS loans — a type of federal student loan that allows a parent to borrow up to the full cost of attendance for their child’s education — are not included. A senior administration official told reporters on Monday that the Higher Education Act of 1965 does not allow parent PLUS loans to be repaid on an IDR plan, and the department is not making any changes to that law.

At this time, parent PLUS loan borrowers only have the income-contingent repayment plan — the most expensive type of plan — which requires them to pay 20% of their discretionary income for 25 years, and the remaining balance after that time period is forgiven.

Advocates lauded the proposed improvements but expressed disappointment with this exclusion. “It ignores the reality that low-income families—especially low-income families of color—are more likely to rely on Parent PLUS loans or need to get a graduate degree to earn the same salary as their wealthier white peers,” Persis Yu, deputy executive director of advocacy group Student Borrower Protection Center, said in a statement.

Indian Students Being Defrauded In Canada

India has expressed concern over the number of international students from the country being “defrauded” in Canada by recruitment agents who get them to join private universities with dubious track records.

“That’s a major issue we have to take a look at,” said Sanjay Kumar Verma, India’s new High Commissioner to Ottawa, told reporters on Thursday.

Verma called upon the community to flag such institutions, so that prospective students can be warned in advance against joining them.

He said that due to “factually incorrect narratives doing the rounds in India”, “impressionable” students coming from India get “duped.”

The issue, especially recruiters working on behalf of such private colleges, has been flagged in recent months, with several Indian students facing problems in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Verma called upon the community to “share correct information with our students before they are recruited” and so they “check the credentials of the colleges they are planning to join carefully”.

Ravi Jain, co-founder of the Canadian Immigration Lawyers’ Association said that recruiters promise an easy path to permanent residency to students, Hindustan Times reported last week.

“Promises are being made that these students will be able to graduate and become permanent residents quite easily but again if you look at the number of international students coming in and the programme that typically services them, which is the Canadian Experience Class, there simply is not the room to be able to accommodate all of them,” he said.

This was also the conclusion of an investigation conducted by CBC News in October, which noted that “lured by the promise of a post-secondary education and a chance to build a life here, thousands of foreign students are coming every year and arriving to find what they were promised and what their families paid for often isn’t what awaits them”.

Verma said Canada offered “real educational opportunities”, pointing to the nearly 240,000 Indian students currently in the country, but warned against the negative impact of recruitment agents.

“We don’t want this story in any way to get stigmatsed,” he said.

Addressing other consular matters, Verma said that while the e-visa programme for Canadian nationals had resumed this month, there was no timeline to renewing the ten-year multiple entry tourist visa scheme which was suspended after the Covid outbreak in the spring of 2020.

Verma said such long-term visas remain suspended not cancelled and discussions were on “on all possibilities” related to their potential restoration. Alluding to the reinstatement of e-visas, he said, “We’ll be very glad if our host Government will consider giving similar facilities to Indian travelers coming to Canada. That will not only facilitate their travel, it will also facilitate the people-to-people relationship growing closer and stronger.”

As for the issue of the enormous backlog in the issuance of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards, he pointed to the burgeoning number of applications, which grew to 49,000 just this November alone, as against 26,000 for the same month last year.

Stalin Urges Tamils Across The World To Renew Links With Schools And Villages

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has made an appeal to Tamils all over the world to renew their links with their villages and schools through the virtual pavilion introduced by the State government and contribute to the development of government schools.

“Even if you live in one corner of the world, your roots in Tamil Nadu and in your native place should be strengthened. It is an opportunity to pay back to the soil that nurtured you. Our children will emerge victorious and develop your organizations, villages, and corporate houses,” he said while launching the Namma School Foundation of the School Education Department in Chennai.

Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin has launched a ‘Namma School Foundation’ initiative to improve the infrastructure of state government-run schools. Notably, Stalin donated ₹5 lakh on his own for this purpose. “The funds will be judiciously used…in a transparent manner for the future of the children,” Stalin said, urging the Tamil diaspora worldwide to donate towards the cause.

Education is wealth that cannot be snatched by anyone, he said and asserted that the DMK government was creating such an asset for posterity. The Chief Minister appealed to philanthropists to contribute for the development of the schools.

“Every rupee given for the noble cause will be spent for the development of the schools, teachers, and students. The funds will be judiciously used and in a transparent manner for the future of the children,” the Chief Minister said and urged Tamils across the world to re-establish their links with their villages and schools through a virtual pavilion introduced by the State government and thereby contribute.

Venu Srinivasan, chairman emeritus of TVS company, is the chairperson of the foundation. Chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand is its ambassador.

The Chief Minister facilitated actor Sivakumar, who along with his classmates, adopted a government school in Sulur.

Namma school portal and school virtual pavilion were also launched by the Chief Minister on the occasion.

Recalling the role played by the DMK leader K Anbazhagan on the occasion of his birth centenary today, Stalin said as Education Minister, Anbazhagan had made contribution to the field. “Today we named the Commissionerate of school education building at Nungambakkam here after Anbazhagan and launched the Namma School Foundation of the school education department coinciding with thes birth anniversary,” the Chief Minister said.

The foundation aims at bringing together communities and individuals who want to give back; corporates who wish to invest in and groom a new and aspiring generation to make government schools aspirational for all socio-economic classes thus delivering on the promise of equitable quality education.

The funds would be used to develop health and hygiene, nutrition, pedagogy, promote sports and culture, co-curricular activities and upskilling to equip the learners to face and triumph over the challenges of an increasingly modernised and transforming world.

In College Admissions, ‘Test-Optional’ Is The New Normal

Fewer than half of the students who applied early to college this fall submitted standardized test scores, according to an analysis by the nonprofit that publishes the Common Application. 

The data point could mark a watershed moment in admissions, college advisers say, when a pandemic pause in SAT and ACT testing requirements evolved into something more permanent. 

Just three years ago, 78 percent of applicants included test scores in their early Common App submissions, a round of admissions that ends Nov. 1.  

The share of applicants reporting SAT or ACT scores plunged in 2020, as COVID-19 shuttered testing sites and drove hundreds of colleges to adopt “test-optional” admissions.  

Many observers expected the testing requirement to return as restrictions lifted. It hasn’t. 

Picture : NYTimes

“We’ve actually seen an increase in the share of colleges on the Common App that don’t require a test score,” said Preston Magouirk, senior manager of research and analytics at Common App. 

More than 1,800 colleges are “test-optional” this year, including most elite public and private campuses, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, or FairTest.  

Common App data shows that only 4 percent of colleges require test scores for applications this fall, down from 55 percent in pre-pandemic 2019. The group includes a handful of technical universities and Florida’s state university system.  

Any number of schools could revert to requiring test scores. But admissions experts don’t believe they will.  

“I think it’s harder to go back,” said Jed Applerouth, founder of Applerouth Tutoring Services in Atlanta. “When you go test-optional, you have the freedom to build the class you want to build.” 

The test-optional movement began at Bowdoin College in Maine in 1970 and spread through academia, gaining traction in the 2000s amid concerns about equity. 

Not until the coronavirus pandemic, though, did a majority of applicants exercise the option to omit test scores from their Common Application requirements.  

College admission panels used to count on SAT and ACT scores as a way to compare students across schools. Sorting applicants by GPA or academic rigor can be tricky: An A in honors geometry may not mean the same thing from one school to another. 

The test-optional push follows relentless criticism that college-entrance exams favor the affluent, who can afford pricey test-prep classes, effectively paying for a higher score.  

A few colleges have rejected standardized tests altogether. California’s public university system, the nation’s largest, no longer accepts them. Elsewhere, most institutions have embraced the test-optional option.  

Experts see little downside. By accepting test scores but not requiring them, a selective college often finds that its SAT and ACT averages go up, because students with lower scores don’t submit them. 

Admission consultants say test-optional policies free an institution to enroll more economically disadvantaged students, or more affluent “full-pay” students, whose parents cover the full cost of attendance, all without regard to test scores.  

“If they want, they can increase diversity,” Applerouth said. “If they want, they can increase full-pay. Why would you give that up?” 

The leaders of FairTest and other equity advocates cheer the test-optional trend.  

“Any time spent preparing for the SAT or ACT is time spent not reading a novel, time not spent playing the guitar,” said Harry Feder, executive director of FairTest. “I think it’s a waste of kids’ energy and time.” 

For applicants, however, the test-optional era brings a host of new complexities.  

Applicants now face more decisions on the pros and cons of submitting scores to individual colleges. The choice can trigger a deep dive into a school’s test-score profile, admission statistics and philosophies on testing. 

“It’s a combination of multivariable calculus and reading tea leaves,” said Wendie Lubic, a partner in The College Lady, a Washington, D.C., consultancy.  

As a general rule, admission consultants encourage applicants to submit scores that fall near the SAT or ACT average for the target school: the higher, the better.  

College leaders promise to give every student a fair shake, test scores or no.  

“When we say we’re test-optional, we really mean we’re test-optional and don’t think twice when a student doesn’t submit test scores as part of their application,” said Jeff Allen, vice president for admission and financial aid at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  

Macalester officials decided to go test-optional shortly before the pandemic descended. A slim majority of Macalester applicants did not submit scores last fall, a quotient that suggests they accept the school’s pledge not to penalize the score-less.  

Yet, admission statistics suggest some other schools prefer applicants who post scores. 

Lubic, the consultant, cites Boston College. The school’s overall admission rate is 17 percent. Boston College is test-optional. Its website promises that students who do not submit scores will “receive full consideration” in admissions. But school policy also notes, somewhat ominously, that those who do not send scores “will have one less credential to be considered by the Admission Committee.” 

To Lubic, the numbers speak for themselves. For the current academic year, Boston College admitted 25 percent of applicants with test scores and 10 percent of those without. 

The University of Virginia provides another case study. In the last round of admissions, students without test scores made up 42 percent of applicants but only 26 percent of admissions. 

“Amherst, Barnard, Boston College, Boston University, you can see that they actively prefer scores,” Lubic said. “They have actually told people what the admit rate is for students who submit scores, and what the admit rate is for students who don’t submit scores.” The second number, she said, is invariably lower. 

“Right now, we’re in the middle of a swamp,” she said. “Nothing is confirmed.” 

Jessica, a mother in Richmond, Va., helped her daughter through the college admissions process last year. The daughter had a 4.8 weighted GPA and a 1390 SAT score. The family chose to submit scores to some schools but not to others, depending on each institution’s SAT average and apparent preference. 

The daughter gained admission to several colleges whose admission committees never saw her scores, including the honors program at the University of South Carolina, where she ultimately enrolled. The University of Virginia did see her scores — and put her on its waitlist. 

“That was a shocker,” said Jessica, who withheld her last name to discuss what remains a sensitive topic in her family.  

During the pandemic, when some students lacked access to testing, hundreds of colleges pledged to treat applicants the same with or without test scores.  

“That pledge has now expired,” Applerouth said.  

In a post-COVID world, he said, test-optional means a college considers an application complete without test scores. It does not necessarily mean the application is on equal footing with the others. 

“Academic rigor is optional,” Applerouth said. “Submitting robust AP scores is optional. Being student body president is optional. But optional does not mean without impact.” 

The retreat from required testing, especially in California, has lowered the stakes for students who take the tests. More than 1.7 million high school students in the class of 2022 took the SAT, up from 1.5 million in 2021, but down from 2.2 million in 2020, according to test publisher the College Board.  

On the future of standardized testing, “I think California will continue to drive a lot of the discussion,” said Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University.  

California’s university system dropped standardized tests from admissions in 2021, a dramatic step affecting several of the nation’s most prestigious public campuses

“I know College Board continues to campaign quietly in the state to get the public universities to reinstate the tests,” Boeckenstedt said. “And if they do, that would be a game changer.” 

Needhi Bhalla Chosen For 2022 ASCB Prize For Excellence In Inclusivity

Newswise — Needhi Bhalla, Professor of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental (MCD) Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), will receive the 2022 American Society for Cell Biology Prize for Excellence in Inclusivity award. ASCB will recognize Bhalla on Saturday, December 3, before the keynote of the Cell Bio 2022 meeting in Washington, DC. She also will write an essay to be published in Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBOC) and will receive $5,000 to use as she chooses. 

ASCB’s Prize for Excellence in Inclusivity recognizes a scientist with a strong track record of cell biology research who has demonstrated the importance of inclusion and diversity in science through mentoring, cultural change, outreach, or community service. The award is made possible by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant.

Susan Strome, Distinguished Professor in MCD Biology at UCSC, strongly recommended Bhalla for her research endeavors and high-impact diversity, equity, and inclusivity actions over the years. For example, Bhalla outlined an actionable plan in her 2019 MBoC Perspective, “Strategies to Improve Equity in Faculty Hiring.” She created an annotated bibliography on best practices for advancing faculty diversity at UCSA. She serves on the ASCB Council and advocates for including speakers from underrepresented groups. She’s also created equity and inclusivity professional development opportunities at the Gordon Research Conferences.

“(Needhi) is a leader in advocating for appropriate representation of underrepresented groups, and her voice is recognized and sought on the national stage,” Strome wrote in her letter of support.” She has been invited to give numerous ‘Diversity Outreach’ talks over the last few years and routinely includes discussion of (diversity, equity, and inclusion) issues in her research seminars. She maintains a library of equity-focused books and web links to share with others.”

However, social media may be one of Bhalla’s most prolific and impactful outreach platforms. Soni Lacefield, Professor of Biology at Indiana University, remarked in her recommendation letter: “(Needhi) uses Twitter to reach her 13,800 followers to provoke them into thinking about issues of equity and diversity. She points out issues of inequity and how they have hurt scientific progress. She comments on the equity and diversity literature. She calls out racist, sexist, and ableist behaviors. And, she gives concrete ideas on how to implement change. Personally, I have learned more about issues of equity and diversity through following her account than through any other means.”

A New York native, Bhalla earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College. She obtained her doctorate in Andrew Murray’s lab at the University of California, San Francisco, where she trained with Andrew Murray and studied how mitotic chromosomes segregate in budding yeast. During her postdoctoral training with Abby Dernburg in the E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, University of California, Berkeley, Bhalla identified a meiotic checkpoint that monitors whether chromosomes have synapsed correctly.

Currently, the Bhalla lab combines genetic and biochemical approaches with high-resolution microscopy and cytological techniques in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans to understand better how chromosomes are partitioned correctly during sexual reproduction (meiosis) and development (mitosis). Having an incorrect number of chromosomes, also called aneuploidy, can lead to cancer, congenital disabilities, miscarriages, and infertility, underscoring the importance of this question to human health, Bhalla explained. 

“I have integrated equity into all aspects of my work at my university and in my scientific field, including research, teaching, and service,” Bhalla added. “I consider this work essential to improve the quality and application of research science.”

Foundational to all her research endeavors, Bhalla says she is “deeply committed to promoting equity in academic science, at the level of both trainees and faculty.”

“I’m excited and humbled to be recognized by ASCB and my cell biology colleagues for this important work,” Bhalla said. “Making science more equitable is essential to improve the quality and application of research science, and I hope this recognition encourages others to consider taking on this work too.”

Leela Prasad Elected VP, Academy Of Religion

Leela Prasad, professor of religious studies at Duke University, has been elected vice president of the American Academy of Religion (AAR).

The AAR is the flagship global organization of the academic study of religion and allied fields. Prasad will be the fourth Asian American woman and the third faculty member from Duke’s Department of Religious Studies to lead the AAR in its 113-year history. 

This leadership role puts Prasad in position to serve as president within two years. Prasad’s research focuses on the intersection of religious studies, anthropology, history and literature, with particular attention to South Asia. Prasad’s first book, “Poetics of Conduct: Narrative and Moral Being in a South Indian Town,” was awarded the “Best First Book in the History of Religions Prize” by the AAR.

Prasad’s research focuses on the intersection of religious studies, anthropology, history and literature, with particular attention to South Asia. Her first book, “Poetics of Conduct: Narrative and Moral Being in a South Indian Town,” explored how everyday stories, performance, and routine practices reveal ethical imagination and discourse. The book was awarded the “Best First Book in the History of Religions Prize” by the AAR.   

Her most recent book, “The Audacious Raconteur: Sovereignty and Storytelling in Colonial India” from Cornell University Press, used the oral narrations and writings of four Indians in colonial India to show how even under the most oppressive rule, storytellers and artists assert cultural independence and ultimately remain sovereign. 

The AAR is the flagship global organization of the academic study of religion and allied fields. Founded in 1909, it has more than 8,000 members from across North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Prasad will be the fourth Asian American woman and the third faculty member from Duke’s Department of Religious Studies to lead this organization in its 113-year history.

NRI Couple Donates US$1,22,380 For Women Entrepreneurship At BITS Pilani

Sethuraman, class of 1992, said he is indebted to the institution for shaping his professional life. ITS Pilani alumnus Raghu Sethuraman and his spouse, Aparna Thyagarajan, co-founder of Shobitam, a Seattle-based apparel brand have donated US$1,22,380 for women entrepreneurship at the institute.

According to an official statement, the amount will be used to develop a “Shobitam Centre for Women Entrepreneurship” (SCWE), which will strengthen startup ventures of women students across the BITS campuses. Additionally, the donation will also fund two scholarships each year for talented women leaders from the centre.

Picture : TheUNN

SCWE will also conduct events and programs to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in women, provide seed capital for promising ventures, access to cutting edge technology of industry experts and hands-on coaching  from a diverse set of stakeholders.

A graduate of the 1992 batch, Sethuraman currently serves as the chairman of the board, Shobitam and general manager at Azure, Microsoft. “I am indebted to BITS Pilani, an institution which has played a key role in shaping me personally and professionally. And it gives me great pleasure to be part of this unique initiative to create SCWE in collaboration with BITS, Pilani,” he said.

“Entrepreneurship is a mindset where the centre will create a conducive environment for women’s entrepreneurship to succeed with gender equality, build institutional capacity and develop  tools with support services for women entrepreneurs. SCWE will be a legacy builder, one that will have a lasting impact on the future generations,” he added.

BITS Pilani is a reputed institute in India well known for its entrepreneurial culture. The Alumni  is credited for founding 10 unicorns in India, including Swiggy, Groww, Eruditus, Ofbusiness, Bigbasket and more.

Vivekananda Yoga University (Vayu) In California Offers PhD Program In Yoga

Today, yoga, an ancient Indian science and philosophy, has been accepted as offering natural remedies for stress, health, the flexibility of organs, and general health maintenance. Newer forms of yoga such as Bollywood yoga and power yoga have come up. New courses to teach and learn yoga have been introduced by a number of educational institutions.

Vivekananda Yoga University (VaYU), the world’s 1st Yoga University outside India devoted to Yoga education and research, has now launched North America’s first PhD program in Yoga.  “This is a path-defining moment as VaYU students will fast-track the journey of taking yoga education and research to impact every corner of the world,” said Prof. Sree N. Sreenath, President, Vivekananda Yoga University. 

It was Vivekananda, the questioning and doubting philosopher, who brought Indian thought to the U.S. He saw the importance of self-control, of looking inward, and finding a root within. He saw knowledge of the philosophy and practices of yoga as important to achieve a balance between the mind and the body. According to the great Indian saint, Yoga is believed to have been the only way for people to deal with the modern world and achieve equanimity. He advocated a healthy body to house a healthy mind.

Picture : PR Newswire

Following his principles, the Vivekananda Yoga University (VaYU) established in Los Angeles, California offers yoga degree courses.

The first batch of 10 Doctoral (Ph.D) students from the USA, Canada, Qatar, France, and India have enrolled for Fall 2022. VaYU has introduced a separate MS-PhD for students committed to attaining the highest degree in the US. These mark fresh vistas of opportunity for VaYU specifically but to the spread of Yoga education in general.

The Ph.D. program at VaYU develops independent researchers to explore new vistas in the Theory and Philosophy of Yoga across all faiths and the therapeutical application of Yoga in particular management of cancers, neurological, digestive, and rheumatoid conditions. Prof. Murali Venkatrao, Vice Chairman of the VaYU Board of Trustees and VP of Academics at VaYU, explains, “Graduate programs at VaYU are founded on scientific methodology and are evidence-based. VaYU successfully graduated its first Online M.S. (Yoga) batch in June 2022. With our unique online curriculum and world-class faculty, we serve the seeker and the Yoga buff alike.”

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the Accrediting agency that accredits Stanford University, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, has already cleared VaYU to move on to the final phase of accreditation, and the process should complete by next year.

Babubhai Gandhi, Chairman of the VaYU Board of Trustees and Founder, said, “All these mark VaYU’s rapid progress in shaping the future of yoga education. The world needs Yoga more than ever today and VaYU is preparing its graduates for that.”

VaYU was founded with the mission to create a yogic life path for the welfare of humanity and the vision to build a healthy and harmonious world through wholistic Yoga, and is waiting for final accreditation from the Accrediting agency Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), after receiving its clearance. WASC also accredits reputable universities on the West Coast of America. The doctoral degree program of VaYU is a serious study of the Science of Yoga, the Philosophy of Yoga, and the Therapeutic Practice of Yoga. 

Admission to the doctoral program requires a Master of Science degree in Yoga or equivalent. Like other regular doctoral programs, VaYU Ph.D. program takes between 3 to 5 years to complete and is divided in preparatory coursework, qualifier for advancement to candidacy, and submission of an original dissertation, all under the university research faculty.

The new Ph.D. program offers an in-depth study of not only the theory and philosophy of yoga but also its therapeutic applications in the management of physical ailments including cancers and neurological, digestive, and rheumatoid conditions. 

Vivekananda Yoga University’s Certificate program in Yoga is specially designed for healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists and more. Photo courtesy Vivekananda Yoga University, California.

Founding Trustee and Chairman Babulal Gandhi has believed that the world needs yoga more than ever before and VaYU is meeting this need by preparing yoga professionals. President Prof. Sree N. Sreenath holds that the doctoral program with research and detailed study of yoga will create yoga professionals to impact every corner of the world. Prof. Murali Venkatrao, the Vice President of Academics, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the university, along with the faculty and the board, makes sure all graduate programs at VaYU are founded on scientific methodology and are evidence-based.

VaYU’s other programs include the M.S. (Yoga) which is a 21-month, four-semester, 30 credit Master in Science program, concentrating on both the theory and philosophy of yoga including Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and modern day yoga practices and offers specializations in Philosophy, Yoga Therapy, and/or Research in their 4th semester.

The Diploma in Clinical Yoga Therapy is a 2-semester, 9-month-long diploma for working Healthcare Professionals including Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, and Physical and Occupational Therapists in Clinical Yoga Therapy.

VaYU also offers a separate MS-PhD for ambitious students who can fast-track to the highest degree in the US.

VaYU collaborates with other educational institutes including the 36-year old Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), India, a registered charitable institution working towards making yoga a socially relevant science; the Harvard medical school; the Asian Yoga Therapy Association; the Federation of Indian Physicians Association;  The International Association of Yoga Therapists; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University UC Davis Medical Health; UCLA and more.

VaYU’s faculty includes well-known experts in the field of yoga and health. Faculty members also continue their research and publish regularly in academic journals. Noted faculty members include Research Director Prof. Manjunath Sharma, BNYS, PhD, DSc; UC Davis faculty Michelle L. Dossett, MD, PhD, MPH; Dist. Prof. in Clinical Cancer Prevention at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Lorenzo Cohen, PhD; MIT D-Lab & UMass Medical’s Richard Fletcher; Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD; UCLA’s Helen Lavretsky;  Director of Global Outreach Programs at Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, Anurag Mairal, PhD, MBA; Harvard Medical School’s Darshan Mehta, MD, MPH; Cardiologist, MIT LinQ and American Association of Yoga & Meditation’s Indranill Basu Ray, MD, DNB; UCLA’s Srinivasa Reddy; Retired Vasular Surgeon Dilip Sarkar and more.

Applications for the Spring 2023 semester are open, with the first day of classes being January 18, 2023. More information is available at https://VaYUusa.org. For further details, contact:  [email protected] or call +1 (747) 228-2987 to speak to an Admissions Counselor.

Sunil Kumar Named President Of Tufts University

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, Sunil Kumar, has been appointed the next president of Tufts University.

According to Johns Hopkins, Dr Kumar “played a pivotal role in expanding interdivisional collaboration and learning opportunities across Johns Hopkins University over the past six years.”

Kumar, who joined Johns Hopkins in 2016, will begin his new role at Tufts on July 1. He was the first Asian American appointed to the position of president or provost at Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels announced Kumar’s departure in a message to faculty, staff, and students, on Thursday, thanking Kumar for his “exceptional leadership and counsel, his tireless and bold drive for excellence in all aspects of our university, and for his humility and humor—all brought to bear in service of our great university.”

“It was clear from the beginning of Sunil’s tenure as provost that he would excel at Johns Hopkins due to his strong collaborative leadership, uncompromising commitment to excellence, and his dedication to enhancing the research enterprise and student experience at the university,” Daniels said. “At every turn, he has been a tremendous partner to me and to colleagues across the institution and made meaningful contributions that will be felt at Johns Hopkins for years to come.”

Kumar’s key accomplishments at JHU include supporting the completion of the first phase of Bloomberg Distinguished Professor appointments and helping lead the recent launch of research clusters to recruit the next 50 BDPs.

He was also instrumental in the university’s efforts to advance the goals outlined in the Second Roadmap on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Under his leadership, JHU launched the Fannie Gaston-Johansson Faculty of Excellence Program and welcomed the first cohort of the Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative, a $150 million program to open access to STEM PhDs to students from historically underrepresented groups.

The student experience has also been top-of-mind for Kumar, who worked closely with divisional leaders to implement the recommendations from the Second Commission on Undergraduate Education (CUE2), while overseeing the appointment of the university’s first vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer and creating the role of vice provost for student health and well-being.

Under Kumar’s leadership, the university began a new tradition to introduce every undergraduate student to the principles of academic freedom at a faculty panel discussion during Orientation. “Thanks to his trademark blend of intellect, approachability, and incomparable dry wit, Sunil holds the distinction of making that panel not only informative but also immensely popular with our students,” Daniels wrote.

Daniels’ message also celebrated Kumar as a passionate believer in the university’s potential to make a positive impact on society and lauded him as a key figure in the launch and early success of the SNF Agora Institute to promote civic engagement and strengthen democracy across the globe.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the university’s provost for more than six years,” Kumar said. “I have benefited tremendously from working with so many outstanding and dedicated colleagues, and I am especially grateful to President Daniels for his support and mentorship. While I will miss and appreciate my time at Johns Hopkins, I am excited about this next step for my wife, Sumati, and me in Boston. I look forward to cheering all that Johns Hopkins will accomplish in the years ahead.”

Prior to starting his service as the university’s 15th provost, Kumar served as dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and as a long-standing faculty member and academic dean at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Before joining Chicago Booth, Kumar was a faculty member for 14 years at Stanford, where he was Fred H. Merrill Professor of Operations, Information and Technology.

As senior associate dean, he oversaw Stanford’s MBA program and led faculty groups in marketing and organizational behavior. He won recognition for distinguished teaching three times and was named a Finmeccanica Faculty Scholar.

Kumar came to the study and teaching of management from an academic background in engineering; he earned a PhD in electrical and computer engineering in 1996 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Born in India, he graduated in 1990 from Mangalore University with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Two years later, he earned a Master of Engineering in systems science and automation from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

“Dr. Kumar is an extremely accomplished university leader who impressed the presidential search committee with his devotion to diversity and inclusion within higher education, his commitment to building collaborative partnerships among faculty and students, and his strong belief in the power of the university to positively impact society,” Peter R. Dolan, chair of the Tufts board of trustees, wrote in a message to the Tufts community today. “He will bring to the Tufts presidency his experience as a leader of large and complex higher education institutions and his talent for building innovative programs while harnessing the strengths of the entire academic and administrative enterprise.”

Biden Administration Seeks Supreme Court Nod For Student Debt Plan

The Biden administration on Friday urged the Supreme Court to clear one of the legal obstacles blocking its student debt relief program, as part of the administration’s broader legal effort to have the policy reinstated.

The administration is currently fending off two separate rulings issued over the last two weeks that have effectively halted President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which would give federal borrowers making less than $125,000 a year up to $10,000 debt relief.

In its Friday filing, the Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the administration, urged the justices to lift a ruling issued Monday by the St. Louis-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit that halted the loan relief program, saying its current legal status has left “vulnerable borrowers in untenable limbo.”

“The [8th Circuit’s] injunction thus frustrates the government’s ability to respond to the harmful economic consequences of a devastating pandemic with the policies it has determined are necessary,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the justices.

Biden’s policy, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost about $400 billion over 30 years, has drawn numerous legal challenges. Its aim is to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those making under $125,000 annually and up to $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants, which assist students from lower-income families.

The administration’s move on Friday comes after a unanimous three-judge panel on the 8th Circuit halted Biden’s massive debt relief plan, which had already been blocked nationwide by a separate court ruling.

The panel, which comprised two Trump-appointed judges and one appointee of former President George W. Bush, said its order would remain in effect until further notice by the 8th Circuit or the Supreme Court.

The ruling was a win for six conservative-led states — Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina — that challenged the program on the grounds that they were harmed by a freeze on the collection of student loan payments and interest. The court’s six-page ruling singled out the impact on a large, Missouri-based holder of student loans called the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri.

“The equities strongly favor an injunction considering the irreversible impact the Secretary’s debt forgiveness action would have as compared to the lack of harm an injunction would presently impose,” the panel wrote. “Among the considerations is the fact that collection of student loan payments as well as accrual of interest on student loans have both been suspended.”

The White House, for its part, maintains that its policy is authorized by a 2003 federal law known as the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, which both the Trump and Biden administrations have drawn upon to alleviate student borrowers’ financial strain during the global pandemic.

In a related legal development last week, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas invalidated the program, saying the presidential action unlawfully encroached on Congress’s power. The Biden administration has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to halt that ruling while it mounts a formal appeal.

Several other similar challenges to Biden’s plan have so far proved unsuccessful. Among them were two cases that eventually sought emergency relief in the Supreme Court but were unilaterally rejected by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

The Supreme Court may be more inclined to intervene now that the U.S. government is the party seeking relief and as courts across the country reach different conclusions about the program’s lawfulness.

The DOJ, in its Friday filing, told the justices they could choose to construe the government’s request as a formal petition for appeal and place it on a procedural fast-track.

The DOJ filing comes as student loan borrowers are anxiously awaiting for payments to restart at the beginning of 2023.

Advocates have been pressuring the Biden administration to extend the pause on payments, which began at the beginning of the pandemic, while the debt relief program is going through the courts.

Before the legal challenges, millions of borrowers applied for the debt relief through an application on the Department of Education’s website. Borrowers were told to apply before Tuesday in order to have a chance at their debt being forgiven before the payments began.

Since then, the applications have been taken down, and borrowers could have to wait months to get a final decision on the legality of the program from the courts.

The Washington Post previously reported talks were happening in the White House to extend the payment pause again due to the court challenges, despite Biden telling borrowers there would be no more extensions.

However, there has been no official word from the White House on the issue with only a month and a half left before payments resume. (Courtesy: The Hill)

Indian School of Business Hosts Global Event At Indian Consulate, New York

The Indian School of Business (ISB) in partnership with the Consulate General of India in New York hosted the concluding Indian School of Business @20 global event on November 18, 2022. Mr. Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York spoke about the various phases seen in the growth of the Indian education system and the strong knowledge partnerships between India and USA. Professor Madan Pillutla, Dean, ISB shared a state of the School report.

Rajat Gupta, ISB’s Founding Chairman spoke of the challenges faced in the initial years and the support of various governments in moulding the course of ISB’s growth. Members of the ISB Board, Mr. Girish Reddy and Mr. Purnendu Chatterjee expressed ISB’s pride in its alumni and exhorted them to give back to the School in every way possible.

Picture : TheUNN

Established in 2001 with a vision to be a world-class, research-driven management education institution that creates leaders, the Indian School of Business (ISB) has come a long way in its two-decade journey. Throughout its journey, ISB has won numerous recognitions, launched several successful programs, and became an acknowledged leader in management research in the country. Many of its 13500 plus alumni now lead global companies and manageflourishing start-ups. ISB has 1000 plus alumni presence in the US.

Celebrating this milestone, ISB through a series of global and domestic events brought together various stakeholders who have played a role in ISB’s success. As India celebrates 75 years of Independence, ISB has partnered with the Consulate General of India, New York, USA to organize a celebratory event under the aegis of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

As Chinese Students Become Less, Indians Expected To Fill Universities Across USA

India is up. China is down. Very few U.S. students studied abroad during the first year of the pandemic.  Those three points, in a nutshell, represent key findings from recent data released jointly on Nov. 14, 2022, by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education.

The “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange” is published each year at the start of International Education Week. It provides detailed insights regarding study abroad and international students.

Most source countries see a growth in students heading to the U.S., including India sending 19% more students, due to steady decline in Chinese students studying in the U.S., its largest group of foreign students, has opened up opportunities for Indian students as the top global destination for higher education seeks to fill the gap in international enrolments since COVID-19.

Though students from nearly all source countries saw a growth in the number of foreign students in the U.S. for the first time since the pandemic during the 2021-2022 academic session, China was among the few exceptions.

For the second consecutive year, Chinese students in the U.S. saw a decline of 8.6% in 2021-2022 at 2.9 lakh students, according the Open Doors 2022 report on international students released on Monday and brought out by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The student numbers from China are the lowest since 2014-2015. In 2020-2021, China reported a decline of 14.8%.

Overall, in 2021-2022, there were a total 9.48 lakh international students in the U.S. — an improvement of 4% over the previous year when students from across the world reported a sharp decline due to travel restrictions during COVID-19. But international student enrolments continue to be behind pre-pandemic level (2019-2020) by 11.8%.

This year’s report shows a 91% decline in the total number of U.S. students who studied abroad during the 2020-2021 academic year. The pandemic also led colleges to develop more online global learning opportunities. In fact, 62% of colleges offered virtual internships with multinational companies, collaborative online coursework with students abroad and other experiences. While the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a 45.6% decline in new international students in 2020, the latest data, covering the 2021-2022 academic year, indicates that the total number of international students in the U.S. – 948,519 – has started to recover. This can be seen in a 3.8% increase over the 914,095 international students in the U.S. in 2020. Still, the number is well below the nearly 1.1 million international students reported in 2018. Much of the recent growth is driven by an increase in the number of new international students – 261,961 – which is up 80% over the 145,528 from 2020 but still 2.14% below the 267,712 from 2019.

Students from China and India comprise more than half – 52% – of all international students. That isn’t anything new, but what is noteworthy is that during the 2021-2022 academic year, Chinese student enrollment fell 9% and the number of Indian students increased by 19% over the prior year. This has big implications for international diversity at U.S. colleges. This is because Chinese students tend to enroll in a range of majors, while most Indian students – 66.4% – study in just a handful of programs: engineering, math and computer science.

China and India each have around 1.4 billion people, but by 2023 the United Nations predicts that India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country. This continued growth will further strain India’s higher education system, leading to more students pursuing advanced degrees abroad. At the same time, poor job prospects at home are driving many Indian students to pursue academic and career pathways that lead away from India. This is especially true in high-paying, high-growth fields like computers and information technology.

Other contributing factors to the increase from India include a change in tone on the part of the U.S. government. The Biden administration is working to reestablish the U.S. as a welcoming destination for international students by enacting reversals of Trump-era immigration policies. Those policies caused uncertainty and fear among international students. The Biden administration has also prioritized the processing of student visas in India.

Is Canada Exploiting Indian Students For ‘Cheap Labor’?

Some Indian students in Canada are accusing the country of using them as a cheap source of labour and discarding them once they’re no longer needed, a media report said on Tuesday.

Amid labour shortage and high unemployment rate, which fell to 5.2 per cent this September, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a new temporary measure aimed at reducing severe labour shortages in Canada, a Bloomberg report said.

According to the report, PM Justin Trudeau’s government introduced the permit extension move to over 5,00,000 international students already in Canada to potentially work more hours, and stay for 18 months after graduation to seek employment.

However, after more than a year, some of these permanent-resident hopefuls have been left without status to work or remain in the country.

“I’m basically sitting at home and living off of my savings… Canada should appreciate foreign students more, not just use them as a form of cheap labour,” Daniel D’Souza, an accountant and former student at Seneca College near Toronto, told Bloomberg.

With 1.83 lakh Indian students pursuing education at various levels in the country, Canada is the second most popular destination for Indians pursuing academic degrees at foreign shores.

Canada has processed more than 4.52 lakh study permit applications since January — a 23 percent increase compared to the 3.67 lakh processed over the same period last year, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said.

In 2021, Canada had over 6.20 lakh of which one-third were from India.

Many graduates who were part of the 2021 program, had to leave their jobs when their work permits expired with no guarantee they’ll gain permanent residency.

Even if their applications are eventually successful, students face months in limbo with no job, income, or health and social benefits, Bloomberg reported.

“When they needed us, they exploited us. But when we need their help or support, nobody shows up,” Anshdeep Bindra, a former consultant at Ernst & Young in Toronto, told Bloomberg.

Indian graduates, who hoped that the permit extension would give them more time to gain Canadian work experience, got mired in a backlog of applications that led to a 10-month shutdown of the system to allow the government to process them.

Once the system was activated, the students found themselves competing with pools of immigrants with much higher-than-normal scores, reducing their chances of gaining permanent residency, the report said.

International students contribute more than C$21 billion ($15.3 billion) annually to the Canadian economy, according to the government data.

Canada is a popular choice among students moving abroad due to its quality education, friendly visa and immigration rules, and better life prospects.

Most Indian students are interested in remaining in Canada as permanent residents after completing their studies.

According to Statistics Canada, international students who get permanent residence tend to integrate quickly into the Canadian labour market due to their previous experience of living in the country on visas.

MEA data show that in the first six months of 2022, as many as 64,667 Indians going abroad for education named the USA as their destination, followed closely by Canada (60,258).

Before the pandemic, in 2019, 1,32,620 Indian students had chosen Canada. In 2020, after Covid-19 broke out, the number dipped to 43,624, before rising sharply to 1,02,688 in 2021, according to the MEA. (IANS)

AAPI’s 16th Annual Global Healthcare Summit 2023 In Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

GHS and Pre-GHS/CME Family Tour to Vietnam, Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur Registration is Open and Filling up fast

Chicago, IL, November 8th, 2022 : “The registration for AAPI’s 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit 2023 at the at the prestigious Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach, Andhra Pradesh, India from January 6th to 8th, 2022 and the Pre-GHS/CME tour to  exotic destinations, Vietnam, Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur is filling up fast,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) announced here today. “Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will meet and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in Visakhapatnam!” said Dr. Ravi Kolli

The GHS 2023 by AAPI is being organized in collaboration with Andhra Medical College Alumni Association, Andhra Medical College, Indian Medical Association, AP, Association of Telugu Medical Graduates in the USA and Rangaraya Medical College Alumni Association and the Government of the State of Andhra Pradesh.

While elaborating on the themes and areas that are going to be covered during the Summit, Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of AAPI BOT, says, “The GHS 2023 will focus on Mental Health and Physician Burnout, Rural Health Initiatives, Infant and Maternal Health issues as well as Medical Jeopardy, Research Poster presentations by medical students.”

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Dr. Prasad Chalasani, Chair of AAPI GHS-USA says, “With hundreds of physicians from the United States, the Summit is expected to be attended by nearly 400 delegates from around the world. AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) will have many new initiatives and also will be carrying the torch of ongoing projects undertaken by AAPI’s past leaders.”

Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospitals and pharma companies. “The AAPI GHS offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their fields and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services,” Dr. Anajan Sammader, President-Elect of AAPI said.

The preliminary program is in place, the major attractions include 12 hours of cutting-edge CME with renowned speakers, CEO Forum, Innovation Forum, Entrepreneur Forum, Women’s Forum, Product Theaters to highlight the newest advances in patient care and medical  technology. Alumni meetings for networking, also an AAPI-India Strategic Engagement Forum to showcase the AAPI initiatives in India, TB Eradication in India and recognition of AAPI Award winners will make this Summit unique,” Dr. Ravi Raju, Chair of GHS-India said.

In addition to offering over 10 hours of cutting-edge CMEs to the physicians, the event will have product theaters/promotional opportunities, plenary sessions, multi-segment CEOs Forum, women’s leadership forum. The convention will be addressed by senior world leaders, including celebrities from the entertainment world, said Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Chief Advisor of the GHS 2023.

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Dr. Kolli expressed gratitude to all the Chairs and members of various Committees who are working hard to put together a great Summit and to enable members to return home with memories that will last a life time.

According to CME Chair Dr. Sreeni Gangasani and Academic Chair Dr. Sharma Prabhakar, some of the topics for the CMEs will include Psychiatry, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, Oncology.  “In our efforts to realize the core mission of AAPI, which is to share the best from leading experts from around the world, to collaborate on clinical challenges, the GHS in Visakhapatnam will have clinical tracks that are of vital to healthcare in India,” Dr. Ganagasani said.

Dr. Lokesh Edara and Dr. Brahma Sharma, who are the co-chairs of International medical education will conduct a high-powered panel discussion by International Medical Education experts including CEOs of ECFMG, WFMC, and National Medical Council officials. Dr. B K Kishore, an academic expert will lead discussions on research methodology and scientific writings.

Dr. Sampath Shivangi, AAPI Legislative Committee Chair said, “We are collaborating with senior leaders from leading healthcare organizations including pharmaceuticals, device and medical equipment manufacturers and major medical teaching institutions, hospitals and the Ministries of Health, External/Overseas Affairs and regulatory bodies to attend and coordinate with AAPI with an ultimate goal to providing accessible and affordable high-quality healthcare to all people of India.”

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Dr. Manoj Jain, Chair of CETI – Collaboration to Eliminate TB in India supported by CDC and USAID will discuss their ongoing long-term TB Elimination Projects in India. CEO Forum Chair Dr. Joseph Chalil said, “We will have discussions on Equity, Ethics and Physician Burnout Issues.” The Women’s Forum chair Dr. Udaya Shivangi announced that “there will be meaningful discussions and policy statements on gender bias and its impact on leadership.”

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, says, “It is these learning opportunities and collaborative relationships that have now enabled AAPI and participating organizations to plan and prepare for an outstanding event that is expected to have over 300 prominent and experienced physicians and surgeons of Indian origin from around the world, who are very passionate about serving their homeland, Mother India.”

Dr. Meher Medavaram, Secretary of AAPI says, “Being organized at this critical phase, especially as the world is emerging out of the Covid pandemic, GHS 2023 is aimed at exploring possibilities for greater collaboration and cooperation between the physicians and health care providers in India with those of Indian origin and major health-care providers abroad.”

“Harnessing the power of Indian Doctors worldwide, the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit platform has evolved with the support of prominent global and Indian medical associations . AAPI’s mission is to make a positive and meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India,.” Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI pointed out.

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Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment. India is making significant improvements in its healthcare infrastructure and is building modern medical facilities throughout India. Indian doctors have made tremendous progress in the 21st century and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub. With hundreds of physicians joining from the United States, the summit is expected to be attended by three hundred delegates from around the world. AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) will have many new initiatives and will be carrying the torch of ongoing projects undertaken by AAPI’s past leaders.

The Global Healthcare Summit has come a long way from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007. Since then, AAPI has organized 15 Indo – US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations.

AAPI is hopeful that several international healthcare industry partners are looking for opportunities to participate at this event for greater collaboration on Research & Development and philanthropic engagements. Dr. Kolli added.

Representing the interests of the over 120,000 physicians of Indian origin, leaders of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, for 40 years, AAPI Convention has provided a venue for medical education programs and symposia with world renowned physicians on the cutting edge of medicine.

“Physicians and policy makers, legislators and entrepreneurs will brainstorm at the GHS to find meaningful, impactful, actionable plans and solutions to make health care accessible, affordable, and equitable to all segments and regions of the populations, as health and wellness are fundamental and foundational to individuals and societies to progress and development. Healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will take part in the exchange of knowledge of medical advances and to develop health policy agendas. We look forward to seeing you in Visakhapatnam!” said Dr. Ravi Kolli. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org/  To register for the Global Healthcare Summit 2023, please visit: https://summit.aapiusa.org

 

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Calgary Enables Students To Obtain Canadian And Indian Law Degrees

A new program at the University of Calgary allows students from India to obtain Canadian and Indian law degrees. The India-Canada dual law degree program, with the University of Calgary partnering with India’s Jindal Global University, has five students enrolled this year. Ian Holloway, the dean of the law faculty at the University of Calgary, says that the new program “is an amazing opportunity, for both the students from India and the law students here in Canada, to broaden their horizons.” This program is part of 10 MoUs that Jindal Global has signed with universities in six countries, including Italy, Peru, Taiwan, the UK and the US.

Ian Holloway, the dean of the law faculty at the U of C, chuckles at the worry the Jindal students have expressed about winter in Alberta. “I was talking to one of the students last week, asking ‘Hey, how is it going?’ The answer was, ‘People are very friendly but it’s very cold.’ And I was thinking to myself ‘What are they going to think when it takes them an hour to get to class during a snowstorm when it usually takes 20 minutes.’”

Still, Holloway says that the new program at the U of C “is an amazing opportunity, for both the students from India and the law students here in Canada, to broaden their horizons.” He adds: “It’s going to help both groups have a broader perspective on the world. Canadians think of themselves as cosmopolitan because of its multi-cultural nature of things,” but “sometimes there is a certain degree of parochialism that can exist.”

For the university, the dual-degree program adds yet another layer to putting the university on a global scale, says Holloway. It already receives students from all over the world but having a program that offers a law degree that can be used in two countries, such as this one, “puts our law school on a path to increase our global presence.”

The program at the University of Calgary is part of 10 memorandums of understanding that Jindal Global has recently signed with top universities in six countries. They include Italy, Peru, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. These partnerships are among the newest 40 collaborations Jindal Global entered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its founding in 2009, it has partnered with 250 law schools and universities worldwide.

Holloway says that the Jindal Global joint degree program at U of C dates to late 2019, just before COVID-19 cases increased exponentially worldwide. Holloway says the law school in Calgary already had a joint degree program in energy law with the University of Houston law school, and Jindal Global thought it would be a good candidate for starting a similar program for its students wanting to study in Canada.

Conservatives-Led US Supreme Court Seems Skeptical Of Race-Conscious College Admissions

The conservative-majority Supreme Court on Monday appeared skeptical of affirmative action in higher education during arguments over race-conscious admissions policies at two prestigious universities.

Over nearly five hours of oral argument, the justices posed sharp questions over admissions programs at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Harvard University that consider the race of applicants — as one of many criteria — in order to achieve student body diversity.

The court’s majority appeared receptive to arguments by the conservative challengers, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), who argued that the schools had impermissibly weighed race in admissions decisions.

“What is your response to the simple argument that college admissions are a zero-sum game?” Justice Samuel Alito asked an attorney for a group of students backing race-conscious admissions. “And if you give a plus to a person who … falls within the category of underrepresented minority but not to somebody else, you’re disadvantaging the latter student?”

The cases heard Monday tee up the prospect that decades of affirmative action precedent could be overturned by the 6-3 conservative majority court, which last court term showed an extraordinary new willingness to scrap past rulings.

A key question heading into Monday’s arguments was how the affirmative action challenge would land with former President Trump’s three nominees — Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — none of whom have ruled on the issue as appellate judges. Those justices on Monday appeared to lean in favor of the conservative challengers, though it wasn’t clear how broadly the court’s newest members might be willing to rule.

The court’s three most senior conservatives — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Alito — each of whom had opposed racial preferences in prior cases, seemed similarly wary of the colleges’ arguments.

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Some of the conservative justices at times seemed to be searching for a way to rule on relatively narrower grounds, for instance by heightening the requirements on schools to explore race-neutral means to reach their diversity goals. Some justices questioned whether eliminating admissions preferences for the children of alumni, donors or other connected applicants might be a step in this direction.

“Suppose the university could achieve, race-neutrally, all of its diversity objectives, if it just eliminated those preferences. Would strict scrutiny require it to do so?” Gorsuch asked, posing a hypothetical question to an attorney representing UNC.

Later, Kavanaugh asked a similar question about whether universities should be required to make these sort of “sacrifices” as part of their pursuit of race-neutral alternatives.

The schools, for their part, contend that that they have explored such approaches — and continue to do so — but that no workable, race-neutral options are available

The court’s three liberals, for their part, leaned in favor of the schools’ use of race-conscious admissions. Among them was Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the nation’s first female African American justice, who participated in the UNC case but recused from the Harvard dispute due to her recent role as a member of Harvard’s board of overseers.

During a colloquy with the lawyer for SFFA, Jackson pushed back against the notion that schools should be allowed to consider a range of applicants’ identity markers — like if they have veteran status or if they are disabled — but not race.

“What I’m worried about is that the rule that you’re advocating, that in the context of a holistic review process, a university can take into account and value all of the other background and personal characteristics of other applicants, but they can’t value race,” she said to lawyer Patrick Strawbridge.

“What I’m worried about is that that seems to me to have the potential of causing more of an equal protection problem than it’s actually solving,” Jackson said, referring to the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

SFFA, in its argument, urged the court to overrule its landmark 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which permits colleges to diversify their student populations by using race as one part of a holistic assessment of individual applicants.

The argument highlights a central concern in the cases: the degree to which the use of racial classifications to benefit minorities is compatible with the Equal Protection Clause in the UNC dispute, and with federal civil rights law in the case of Harvard.

SFFA argues that any purported educational benefits that come from student body diversity — a claim which it has called “nebulous” — does not justify breaking with the principle of equal protection.

Lawyers representing UNC and Harvard, student groups and the Biden administration, at turns, emphasized the real-world benefits of racial diversity on campus, from reducing stereotyping to enhancing cross-cultural engagement.

“The evidence and findings in this case confirm what this Court has long recognized: that a university student body comprising a multiplicity of backgrounds, experiences and interests vitally benefits our nation,” lawyer Seth Waxman argued on behalf of Harvard. “Stereotypes are broken down, prejudice is reduced and critical thinking and problem solving skills are improved.”

In its suit against Harvard, SFFA made an additional claim: that the school’s admissions policy discriminates against Asian Americans. The group argued that Harvard’s subjective “personal ratings” scores have tended toward negative racial stereotypes, with the effect of making it harder for Asian Americans to be admitted compared to white applicants.

Waxman at times appeared to struggle with the issue under tough questioning from Alito and Roberts. After Waxman conceded that race is sometimes determinative in admissions decisions, the chief justice pounced.

“Okay, so we’re talking about race as a determining factor in admission to Harvard,” Roberts said. “Race for some highly qualified applicants can be the determinative factor, just as being an oboe player in a year in which the Harvard-Radcliffe orchestra needs an oboe player will be the tip,” Waxman replied.

“Yeah. We did not fight a civil war about oboe players,” Roberts said. “We did fight a civil war to eliminate racial discrimination, and that’s why it’s a matter of considerable concern. And I think it’s important for you to establish whether or not granting a credit based solely on skin color is based on a stereotype when you say this brings diversity of viewpoint.”

SFFA in both lawsuits suffered defeat in the lower courts, where judges rejected its arguments based on Grutter and related cases, prompting their appeal to the Supreme Court. Decisions in the cases — SFFA v. UNC and SFFA v. Harvard — are expected by this summer. (Courtesy: The Hill)

GOPIO Manhattan Organizes ‘Meet & Greet’ For Students From India At The New York Indian Consulate

The GOPIO-Manhattan (NYC) in cooperation with Consulate General of India in New York organized the ‘Annual Day for Students- New & Existing from India’ studying in the Northeast to connect them to the community and providing mentoring opportunities as well as to raise awareness of Consular services to students from the Indian Consulate. The program was held at the Indian Consulate in New York on October 21st. Students from many universities across the Northeast participated in person or virtually.

The program started with a welcome by GOPIO Manhattan Co Secretary and Chair for the event and emcee Ms. Bhavya Gupta. She welcomed Consul General of India at New York Mr. Randhir Kumar Jaiswal to begin the evening’s proceedings.

The host for the evening Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, commented, “Welcome to all the students from India with open heart as you pursue your future studies here in the North-East region and help in the growth of economy here in USA and back home in India.”
He further highlighted this year Indian Students were the highest among the international community in USA, and the goal to expand this program to include more students, from the pool of 200,000 students that come to the USA for further studies, to attend in person more interactive sessions and gain exposure to various services offered by the Consulate for the benefit of the students from registration at the Consular Portal, to cultural events to mental health support initiatives.

This was followed by GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham’s address, who also serves as an advisor to GOPIO-Manhattan encouraged the speakers to mentor, motivate and guide the students.

Dr. Abraham said, “In the 1960s and ‘70s when a foreign student joined a university, he/she was given host family, now with connected world and social media, the host family concept went away and the 4.5 million Indian Americans could serve as the host family to the new students.”
Ms. Bhavya Gupta than introduced and invited the chief guest for the evening Ms. Chandrika Tandon and moderator Mr. Gautam Mukunda for a fireside chat. Ms. Tandon who is a Philanthropist, Grammy-nominated artist and humanitarian commented, “Students can succeed whether here in USA or in India, as long as they put in their work with honesty combined with hard work and dedication.”

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She further added that there is a merit-based admissions process at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and the incoming class has a very promising future with emphasis that new and existing students today have many more choices of majors to pursue such as computational biology not offered couple decades ago….

Ms. Tandon has donated $100 million to Tandon School of Engineering at New York University.
Mr. Gautam Mukunda, Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, host of Nasdaq’s podcast “World Reimagined” engaged in a fireside chat with Ms. Tandon. His questions varied from her journey starting with her professional career to music to philanthropy.
GOPIO-Manhattan Executive Vice President Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty introduced the Panel discussion moderated by Mr. Rajeev Kumar Goyle. There were seven panelists in this session who are asked to comment on several questions.

Mr. Rajeev Kumar Goyle, attorney and a lecturer at Wichita State University, shared his experiences with the students and moderated the panel. He indulged the panel to assist students in formulating their choices of major and career path. He further implored the Panel to reflect on the fireside chat and share their thoughts.

Mr. Srikanth Jagabathula, Robert Stansky Research Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Tech, Ops, and Stats at the NYU Stern School of Business, shared his experiences with the students and said, “wear different hats, multi-task, go out of your comfort zone, explore and discover.”

Mr. Raj Pandey, CEO of SaaS and Services startup ZopSmart added “students should immerse within the system, learn and connect with the people.”

Mr. Gagan Gujral, Director in the Financial Services Group added “that students should not be afraid to ask for help from teachers and peers as he reflected the cultural differences between homeland and USA.”

Mr. Shobhit Kumar, Senior Tech leader at a major Life & Annuity Company provided insights to Existing and New Students, “Students should be willing to raise their hands and ask for help. It is a sign of commitment.”

Mr. Sridhar Ramasubbu, CFO at Trianz, added, “leadership is not given, leadership is taken.” He further added students should take initiative, be ambitious but without adding stress.

Ms. Monica Arora, a partner and co-head of the Private Funds Group at Proskauer brought her experience with Students and added that “Students focus on the idea that is most important is building real relationships.”

Mr. Dilli Bhatta, commented about his personal journey from F1 to OPT to H1-B to Green Card and suggested students “ask your employer whether they will sponsor your visa or not, but you give your best services.”

He further shared personal views to the students as part of the panel said, “Now that you are here, outside of your studies, you need to network with your professors, peers, everyone & communication is the key, ask for things.”
Mr. Shivender Sofat, President GOPIO-Manhattan, who joined virtually told the importance of mentoring to the students, discussed chapter activities and motivated everyone to volunteer and become members at future events held by GOPIO Manhattan.

Mr. Siddharth Jain, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member & Program Coordinator; started with a condolence prayer for Late Dr Krishnan Goyle, life member of GOPIO Manhattan, husband of Ms. Vimal Goyle, VP and Founding life member of GOPIO Manhattan.

Mr. Jain called on Dr. Abraham to present Chief Guest Ms. Chandrika Tandon and Host Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal with a memento that included a First-Day Cover from GOPIO Foundation Day and a sheet of 20-Deepawali Stamps.
Mr. Jain concluded with vote of thanks to Chief Guest Ms. Chandrika Tandon, Host Ambassador Shri Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Dy. Consul Shri Varun Jeph, Panelists the consulate staff. Other GOPIO-Manhattan officials present at the meeting included President Shivender Sofat (attended virtually), EVP Professor Rajsekhar Vangapaty, Treasurer Braj Aggarwal, Co-Secretaries Dr. Lisa George and Bhavya Gupta and Raj Punjabi.

Mr. Jain concluded with vote of thanks to Chief Guest Ms. Chandrika Tandon, Host Ambassador Shri Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Dy. Consul Shri Varun Jeph, Panelists the consulate staff. Other GOPIO-Manhattan officials present at the meeting included President Shivender Sofat (attended virtually), EVP Professor Rajsekhar Vangapaty, Treasurer Braj Aggarwal, Co-Secretaries Dr. Lisa George and Bhavya Gupta and Raj Punjabi.
“The students had an excellent time networking with students from different universities as well as with speakers and the Consulate and GOPIO officials and we plan to do a much bigger event next year,’ Dr. Abraham added.

In accordance with its mission to serve the larger society and those in need, GOPIO-Manhattan Chapter has taken several initiatives in the recent past. A Community Feeding is organized by the Chapter providing ​vegan or​vegetarian lunch for the homeless and needy at Tomkins Square Park in Manhattan on the last Monday of every month. The chapter appeals to the community to support the initiative by being a volunteer and/or a sponsor.

For more info on GOPIO Manhattan, call President Shivender Sofat at 731-988-6969, e-mail: [email protected] or visit here: https://gopiomanhattan.org/

California State University Professors Sue Over Caste Policy, Allege Discrimination

(RNS) — Two California State University professors are suing their employer — the largest public university system in the United States — as they try to prevent officials from enforcing a new caste discrimination policy that they say singles out students and staff who are Indian and Hindu.

Professors Sunil Kumar and Praveen Sinha claim the new policy “seeks to define the Hindu religion as including ‘caste’ and an alleged oppressive and discriminatory caste system as foundational religious tenets,” according to the complaint filed Monday (Oct. 17) in California federal court. That’s an “inaccurate depiction of the Hindu religion,” they claim, adding that the First Amendment forbids the state and the university system from “defining the contours of Hinduism (or any religion).”

According to a CSU spokesperson, the decision to add caste to its anti-discrimination policy “reflects the university’s commitment to inclusivity and respect.” CSU reportedly arrived at the decision following a long multi-campus effort to shed light on the issue of caste discrimination.

he Hindu American Foundation (HAF), which is aiding the professors’ legal representation, said the university is misrepresenting the caste system as a tenet of Hindu belief. 

HAF Executive Director Suhag Shukla and Managing Director Samir Kalra claim the policy is “unconstitutional” because it reportedly violates the First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses as well as the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

Kumar and Sinha filed their complaint at a California federal court to stop the university from enforcing the updated policy.

“We fully and vehemently oppose all forms of prejudice and discrimination,” Kumar said in a statement. “But CSU’s Interim Policy singles out all Indian origin and Hindu staff and students solely because we are Indian and Hindu. This by its very definition is discrimination and a denial of our basic civil rights.”

Meridian International Center Launches Fully Paid Global Affairs Fellowship

Meridian International Center will offer a paid summer enrichment and mentorship program in 2023 in an effort to expand access to global education opportunities and international affairs careers to community college, transfer, and non-traditional students.

The Community College Global Affairs Fellowship (CCGAF) is a brand-new initiative held in partnership with Global Community College Transfers and Community Colleges for International Development (CCID) through the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The CCGAF is the only program of its kind and will achieve a sustained multiplier effect, as students who engage in the program will present their experiences at their home campuses and return to the program as mentors for cohorts to follow. It will provide evidence-based skill-building, mentorship, one-on-one coaching, and ongoing access to networks and support that these students and professionals need to grow in their work, advance to higher levels of leadership, and become decision-makers on the world stage. Additionally, CCGAF will build upon the success of Global Community College Transfers’ community college and transfer student mentorship program, advance CCID’s work-building pathways to global careers at community colleges, and leverage Meridian’s experience developing leadership and diplomatic training for emerging leaders around the world.

Background: Research shows that despite many community colleges having the capacity to deliver high-quality training for students and employers, the schools and their students face unique systemic and institutional barriers to equipping students for their careers. Targeted and intensive support programs tailored to community college students’ specific needs will improve educational and employment outcomes (Advising Student Supports at Community Colleges, Teacher’s College Columbia University, April 2021). 

Yet, no national mentorship and experiential education programs are currently dedicated to community college, transfer, and non-traditional students pursuing global education and foreign affairs careers. Furthermore, the consensus among diplomatic leaders is that future foreign policymaking decisions will be more effective through a concentrated effort to invest in and strengthen the American international affairs workforce to better reflect American society’s diversity. America’s community colleges are a tremendous source to build this talent ecosystem.

This announcement was launched during the 11th Annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit on October 21, 2022. For event updates, visit summit.meridian.org or follow #MeridianSummit on social media.

For more information about the Community College Global Affairs Fellowship and the application process, please contact Meridian’s Vice President of Diplomatic Engagement Frank Justice at [email protected] and Meridian’s Diplomatic Engagement Associate Vishva Bhatt at [email protected].

Immigration-Friendly Countries For Indian Students

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of students who have pursued higher education outside India, especially, in some of the top immigrant-friendly nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. As per the records, in the last 14 years, the number of students who moved to immigrant-friendly nations has increased four times.

Reasons why Indian students immigrate

Ajay Sharma, President, and Founder, of Abhinav Immigration Services Private Limited, said: “These immigration-friendly countries have world-class universities, courses, teaching staff, and facilities. They offer excellent education and provide them with a platform for global exposure and opportunities for employment with attractive salaries. After completing their education, students can even apply for permanent residency, a pathway to citizenship. Having a permanent resident status in these nations means you have access to free universal education for your children at public-funded schools till the age of 18, including healthcare facilities and medical services. A variety of social security perks range from pension to unemployment allowance, disability allowance to child aid and support care, and more. Countries like Canada, the US, and Australia are some of the top contenders when it comes to Indian students choosing a place for long-term residence. Presence of a large Indian diaspora. Recent changes in immigration policies prefer overseas Indian students over the skilled labour workforce.”

Here are some of the top Immigration-friendly countries for Indian students shared by Ajay:

Canada

As per IRCC data, Indian students comprise one of the largest populations of overseas students in Canada. The number of Indian students in Canada pursuing higher education has increased by 350 per cent between the academic years of 2015 to 2016 and 2019 to 2020. From January to November 2021, near to 1,30,000 Indian students were permitted to study in Canada.

Australia

Recently, Australia has gone ahead to increase post-study work rights for Indian students from two to four years for some bachelor’s degrees, to three years from five years for Master’s degrees, and to four years from six years for PhDs. Official data suggests that over 90 per cent of Indian students have returned to Australia to continue their education on campus.

New Zealand

New Zealand has started offering scholarships to Indian students, a reason why it has become one of the most preferred study destinations in the world. Be it world-class facilities for innovation and research, globally recognised qualifications, or affordability, a significant number of Indian students have moved to Australia in recent years. There has been a 400 per cent surge in the number of Indian students admitted to universities and colleges in NZ. It also offers student-friendly policies like post-study work permits, part-time work options, and hassle-free admissions.

Ireland

Studying in Ireland means that once you become a resident, you get access to the European Union. Their world-class study institutions, impressive courses, and some of the top global companies housed there with exciting employment potential make it a top choice for Indian students.

Germany

Indians have been, for the longest time, the greatest source of highly skilled immigrants and overseas students for Germany. More than 33,000 Indian students have chosen Germany for studies making them the second largest community at many German study destinations, as per the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). (IANS)

Loan Forgiveness Application Available For Students Now

The Department of Education launched a beta test version of its student loan relief website on Friday with an application that borrowers can fill out ahead of the site’s official launch later this month.

Since August, when President Biden announced that he would fulfill his campaign promise to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt, borrowers have been waiting diligently to hear the next steps. While the application—which was originally supposed to open in early October—is not fully functional, the Department of Education is welcoming applicants to submit their applications on the beta test site.

The beta site’s application will be available “on and off” over the next few weeks, according to the Education Department. The department chose to launch its beta version early so their technical team can work to detect and remedy any issues that might come up

How does the beta application process go?

The federal agency said that there’s no advantage to completing the application before its official launch because it won’t be processed until then, but if a borrower fills out the application during the beta period, they won’t have to worry about filling it out again later. 

The application process takes about 5 minutes, and it’s available in English and Spanish. Applicants also don’t need to log in or provide any documents, according to the department. About 95% of federal student loan borrowers are eligible for relief.

The Education Department’s technical team will be responding to potential issues in real-time, and although the application itself won’t change, the team may make changes to the website if faced with any glitches. 

The beta version of the site will have scheduled pauses for the team to observe its progress and refine any errors, so the department is encouraging applicants to check back later if the site is down when they try to visit it. The department’s website crashed in August on the day of the student loan relief announcement, so the department is likely testing the site thoroughly to avoid a repeat.

How quickly are borrowers expected to receive relief?

The Biden administration initially said that the debt relief application would become available in early October, but in a legal filing on Friday, the Department of Education announced that it won’t be available before Oct. 23. From that point, the application will be available until Dec. 31, 2023.

​​The application asks borrowers to submit their Social Security numbers and to corroborate that they meet the income caps for the program, which are limited to a salary less than $125,000, or under $250,000 for married couples, in 2020 or 2021. Borrowers are eligible to cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt and Pell Grant recipients are eligible for up to $20,000 of relief.

The Federal Student Aid office will confirm applicants’ eligibility, and reach out to applicants if more information is needed. Applicants’ loan service providers will be responsible for contacting them once their relief has been processed.

Borrowers can expect to see their relief granted within four to six weeks after filling out the application, according to Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona. With looming legal action challenging the student loan relief program and an imminent renewal of student loan payments beginning in January, experts have encouraged borrowers to fill out the application as soon as possible.

AI Tools Fail To Reduce Recruitment Bias – Study

Artificially intelligent hiring tools do not reduce bias or improve diversity, researchers say in a study.

“There is growing interest in new ways of solving problems such as interview bias,” the Cambridge University researchers say, in the journal Philosophy and Technology

The use of AI is becoming widespread – but its analysis of candidate videos or applications is “pseudoscience”. 

A professional body for human resources told BBC News AI could counter bias.

In 2020, the study notes, an international survey of 500 human-resources professionals suggested nearly a quarter were using AI for “talent acquisition, in the form of automation”.

But using it to reduce bias is counter-productive and, University of Cambridge’s Centre for Gender Studies post-doctoral researcher Dr Kerry Mackereth told BBC News, based on “a myth”.

“These tools can’t be trained to only identify job-related characteristics and strip out gender and race from the hiring process, because the kinds of attributes we think are essential for being a good employee are inherently bound up with gender and race,” she said.

Some companies have also found these tools problematic, the study notes.

In 2018, for example, Amazon announced it had scrapped the development of an AI-powered recruitment engine because it could detect gender from CVs and discriminated against female applicants.

‘Modern phrenology’

Of particular concern to the researchers were tools to “analyse the minutiae of a candidate’s speech and bodily movements” to see how closely they resembled a company’s supposed ideal employee.

Video and image analysis technology had “no scientific basis”, co-author Dr Eleanor Drage told BBC News, dismissing it as “modern phrenology”, the false theory skull shape could reveal character and mental faculties.

“They say that they can know your personality from looking at your face. The idea is that, like a lie-detector test, AI can see ‘through’ your face to the real you,” she told BBC News.

With six computer-science students, the researchers built their own simplified AI recruitment tool, to rate candidates’ photographs for the “big five” personality traits: 

agreeableness

extroversion

openness

conscientiousness

neuroticism

But the ratings were skewed by many irrelevant variables.

“When you use our tool, you can see that your personality score changes when you alter the contrast/brightness/saturation,” Dr Drage wrote.

Technology news site The Register noted other investigations had reached a similar conclusion. 

A German public broadcaster found wearing glasses or a headscarf in a video changed a candidate’s scores.

Hayfa Mohdzaini, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told BBC News its research suggested only 8% of employers used AI to select candidates.

“AI can efficiently help increase an organisation’s diversity by filtering from a larger candidate pool – but it can also miss out on lots of good candidates if the rules and training data are incomplete or inaccurate,” she said.

“AI software to analyse candidates’ voice and body language in recruitment is in its infancy and therefore carries both opportunities and risks.”  (BBC.COM)

Indian Economy Shows Great Resilience Post Covid; Marches Strongly Towards 2047 Goal

Economy

India has one of the most promising economies globally. India has surpassed Britain to become the world’s fifth largest economy. The manufacturing MSME- start-up ecosystem has boosted the economy and created new job opportunities.

As a result of these efforts, the Indian economy has recovered from the negative effects of Covid, and the country is on its way to becoming the world’s third and $5 trillion economy.

The good news is that the eight key industries that drive the country’s economy — coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement, and electricity — have grown by 4.5 per cent.

This simply means that the Indian economy has returned to normalcy and is progressing.

India has the big goal of becoming developed and self-reliant by 2047, when the country attains its 100th independence day.

The Indian economy has recovered from the pandemic and is back on track. In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, GDP increased by 13.5 per cent (April-June).

At constant prices, the country’s GDP was Rs 32.46 lakh crore in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021-22, while it grew by 13.5 per cent to Rs 36.85 lakh crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

Simultaneously, the common index of eight core industries, which contribute significantly to the country’s economy, has increased by 4.5 per cent since July 2021.

The final growth rate of the eight core industries was revised to 9.5 per cent in April 2022, up from 8.4 per cent previously.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the economy are bearing fruit.

These latest figures show that the Indian economy has recovered from the pandemic’s negative effects.

The country is now rapidly moving towards becoming self-reliant.

India has surpassed Germany to become the world’s fourth largest automobile market. In 2021, India sold 37.6 lakh vehicles, while Germany sold 29.7 lakh vehicles. August is the fifth month in a row that more than 3 lakh cars have been sold in India.

In the global market, Indian products are now emerging as the first choice. India is the world’s leading exporter of electronics, petroleum, and engineering goods.

Exports of these products increased by 17 per cent this year compared to the same period in 2021 (April-August).

The Indian government recognized an important fact when Covid first appeared — the economic impact of this epidemic differed from the effect of the previous epidemic because the Covid epidemic was designed to have a negative impact on demand.

As a result, there was concern that the pandemic would have long-term economic consequences for the country.

However, the government’s tight machinery was in place to ensure that such a situation did not last long.

As a result, a number of reform initiatives were launched. Labour reforms, agricultural reforms, changing the definition of a micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise, and implementing the production-linked incentive scheme were among them.

These reforms attempted to formalise the country’s economy to a large extent.

The identification of shell units, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the goods and services tax were all critical steps in bringing the economy under a set of rules and regulations.

The benefit of this was that there was an attempt to shape the economy in terms of shape, type, and behaviour. Simultaneously, a focus on job creating industries was sought.

The government had a clear vision that the country needed to address not only the immediate challenges but also ensure the recovery of economy and infrastructure development, both of which are critical to achieving the objectives.

The new generation of the country is now taking the risk of innovation, learning from mistakes, and getting involved with new energy.

Employment in MSMEs has increased by 116 per cent as compared to 2019-20.

It is the charisma of the growing youth power that drives the small scale industry, that is, India’s MSME and start-up ecosystem is growing at the fastest rate in the world. (IANS)

GOPIO-CT Chapter Hosts Welcome Dinner for Univ. of Connecticut Students

Global Organization of People of Indian Origin Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) organized a program of welcoming new students from India at the Univ. of Connecticut, School of Business from its Stamford and Hartford campuses with a networking dinner on Friday, October 14th at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford. While it was networking event for the students and the Indian American community, it also served as an interactive session with a high-profile panel of Indian American Corporate Achievers and entrepreneurs. 

The program, chaired GOPIO-CT Exec. VP Prasad Chintalapudi, started with a welcome by President Ashok Nichani, who spoke on the various services provided by the chapter and supporting various charities in Connecticut. Nichani told the students the Indian American community is their host family in America and that chapter will always help whenever they need any help.

Extending a warm welcome to the new students, most of them joining only in  early September, Dr. Abraham said, “America is the greatest country which provides opportunity to open up your mind and you can be whatever you want to become, whether a professional in a large corporation, or help to manage a hedge fund or as a scientist or professor or as an entrepreneur, so, go and grab the opportunities awaiting you.” Dr. Abrahm also added that although, he is a nanotechnologist, his passion was building community institutions since he came in 1973 as a student at Columbia University.

The high-profile panel included Entain CIO Joseph Simon, Eminent Software Services Managing Partner Srikanth Dasugari, Immigration Attorney David Nachman, 3Lines COO Nandu Kuppusamy, Maganti IT Resources President Prasad Maganti, eNcloud Services President Chandra Sekhar Nallam and Maganti IT Resources CTO Sushma Maganti.

Each of the panelists were asked to comment on sets of questions on their journey to where they reached today and how earlier career choices lead them to where they are now. The panelists provided personal experience to their success. The panelists also provided guidance and inputs on educational preparation, necessary prior experience, what skills are the most important and transferable skills to acquire so as to market oneself to the American job market. 

All the students at the event were introduced at the beginning of the panel discussion. A question/answer session followed.  “It was a highly successful program with a larger participation of the students this year,” said program chair Chintalapudi. GOPIO-CT Secretary Prachi Narayan served as the moderator.

The program was coordinated with UConn Business School program Directors Laurissa Berk and Lynsi Jennings. The event was sponsored by Visaserve, an Immigration Attorneys Group headed by David Nachman with office in New jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Over the last 16 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – 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. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.

Sri Lankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka Wins 2022 Booker Prize

The 2022 Booker Prize was given to The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, written by Sri Lanka’s Shehan Karunatilaka. The annual award, which was given Monday evening in London, is for a work of fiction written in English and published in the U.K. and Ireland.

The panel of judges hailed Karunatilaka’s novel as “a searing, mordantly funny satire set amid the murderous mayhem of a Sri Lanka beset by civil war.”

Karunatilaka is one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors; his first novel, 2011’s Chinaman, was quickly marked as the arrival of a significant literary force. His work has also been published in Rolling Stone, GQ and National Geographic. 

The five other shortlisted nominees for the 2022 Booker Prize were Glory, by NoViolet Bulawayo of Zimbabwe; The Trees, by American novelist Percival Everett; Treacle Walker, by English novelist Alan Garner; Small Things Like These, by Irish author Claire Keegan; and Oh William!, by American novelist Elizabeth Strout.

The Booker Prize includes a £50,000 (over $56,000) award to the winner, as well as £2,500 (about $2800) awarded to each of the six shortlisted authors.

The organization also gives a separate honor, called the International Booker Prize, to a work of fiction translated into English. The 2022 award was made in June to the novel Tomb of Sand by the Indian novelist Geetanjali Shree, which was translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.

Sarah Thankam Mathews In 2022 National Book Awards Shortlist

Indian-American author Sarah Thankam Mathews is among the finalists for the 2022 National Book Awards, which will be announced on November 16 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Mathews’ debut novel ‘All This Could Be Different’, is listed in the fiction category and tells the story of a young queer immigrant who creates a community for herself while grappling with the oppressive demands of capitalism.

“I simply will never be over this,” Mathews tweeted after her name was announced by The New York Times earlier this week.

Mathews grew up between Oman and India, and moved to the US at seventeen. Her work has been published in places including AGNI, SSENSE, and Best American Short Stories.

She was a 2020 Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and the recipient of a Rona Jaffe fellowship at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

“Sarah Thankam Mathews has written one of the buzziest, and most human, books of the year,” the Vogue said. “…an extraordinary novel, spiny and delicate, scathingly funny and wildly moving. Sarah Thankam Mathews is a brilliant writer, one whose every ringing sentence holds both bite and heart,” Lauren Groff, author of Matrix, said.

The twenty-five Finalists for the 2022 National Book Awards for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature were announced with the New York Times. The five Finalists in each category were selected by a distinguished panel of judges, and were advanced from the Longlists announced in September with The New Yorker.

Between the five categories, there are six writers and one translator who have been previously honored by the National Book Awards: Gayl Jones, a 1998 Fiction Finalist; Scholastique Mukasonga, a 2019 Translated Literature Finalist; Sharon Olds, a 2002 Poetry Finalist; David Quammen, a 2018 Nonfiction Longlister; Yoko Tawada and Margaret Mitsutani, the 2018 Translated Literature Winners; and Jenny Xie, a 2018 Poetry Finalist. All five of the Finalists for Young People’s Literature are first-time National Book Award honorees. Six of the twenty-five Finalist titles are debuts.

Publishers submitted a total of 1,772 books for this year’s National Book Awards: 463 in Fiction, 607 in Nonfiction, 260 in Poetry, 146 in Translated Literature, and 296 in Young People’s Literature. Judges’ decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors, and deliberations are strictly confidential.

The Winners will be announced live on Wednesday, November 16 at the invitation-only 73rd National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner, in person at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, and broadcast live for readers everywhere. 

Two lifetime achievement awards will also be presented as part of the evening’s ceremony: Art Spiegelman will be recognized with the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, presented by Neil Gaiman, and Tracie D. Hall will receive the Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.

O.P. Jindal Global University To Partner With 10 Global Universities

The O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has established new and meaningful partnerships with 10 leading universities in the US as part of working towards its mission to provide global education opportunities to its students.

JGU has signed new MoUs with the San Jose State University; University of Houston; Penn State Dickinson School of Law; Central Washington University; Pace University; Fordham University; University of Oregon; Clark University; Washington State University; and the Ohio State University

These innovative and path-breaking new collaborations will give JGU students opportunities to study with the leading universities of the world, participate in student exchange programmes, study abroad courses and for dual degree qualifications.

They will also have access to world-class faculty members while studying at JGU and partner universities in the US.

Students will be able to develop intercultural learning experience, while gaining a global perspective during the study period and get opportunities to improve employability skills and enhance chances to follow higher education pursuits overseas. These international education opportunities will be available for students of law, business, finance, liberal arts, journalism and many other disciplines.

The Founding Vice Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, said: “The MoUs that have been signed with the 10 leading universities of the US underscores JGU’s commitment to fulfil the vision of the National Education Policy 2020 and to provide global education opportunities to the students of JGU under the framework of our status as an ‘Institution of Eminence’.

“International collaborations allow JGU students to develop a world view with an exchange of knowledge and ideas along with a multi-cultural understanding. Student and academic mobility lead to mutual benefit for both institutions and strengthen educational connections.

“These partnerships also have the potential to make an impact on curriculum development, collaborative teaching programmes and research networks. The partnerships with renowned universities in the US will provide transformative learning opportunities for our students.”

JGU has a wide network of partner universities in the US which has further expanded with the addition of these top-class Universities catering to the aspirations of JGU’s students for higher education in the US with a holistic international experience.

These new collaborations are in addition to the existing 360+ partnerships across 67 countries in the world creating diverse opportunities for intercultural learning through internationalization.

Professor (Dr.) Mohan Kumar, Dean, Office of International Affairs & Global Initiatives, JGU, said: “JGU has had long standing cooperation with some of the leading universities in the US. Some of the key strategic partnerships of JGU are with American universities.

“JGU hopes to strengthen and consolidate these partnerships in the future with the wide-ranging opportunities for our students to study with leading universities and institutions in the US. Our students are keen to engage with global universities in their pursuit of study abroad programmes, student exchange programmes and dual degree offerings.” (IANS)

US asks its citizens to exercise ‘increased caution’ while visiting India

In its latest India Travel Advisory, the United States has asked its citizens to “exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism”.

The US State Department in the travel advisory issued on October 5 has put India at Level 2, which denotes “Exercise Increased Caution”.

The advisory asked its citizens not to travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest, and within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to potential armed conflicts.

“Indian authorities report that rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations,” the advisory added.

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities,” the US State Department said.

The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to its citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as the US government employees must obtain special authorisation to travel to these areas. (IANS)

Asian Americans’ Health Poorly Understood, Study Finds

A study led by Indian-origin doctor Nilay Shah says that the standard approach and definitions of obesity, based on specific body mass index thresholds, may not be appropriate for the Asian American population. 

The Asian Americans are a fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States with their population expected to number more than 46 million by 2060.

“Clinicians must be aware that the cardiovascular and metabolic risks related to obesity may be different among individuals who belong to different Asian subgroups,” says lead author Dr Nilay Shah, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Illinois.

The standard threshold for obesity is a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above, but the study finds that the number should be a BMI of 27.5 or above for Asian American people, based on their health risks.

Health risks in this population also may start at a lower BMI than the standard BMI definitions of obesity, the study says. It further finds that the prevalence of obesity ranged from 13 per cent in Chinese American adults to 29 per cent in Filipino American adults.

So, applying standard definitions to Asian Americans may miss a large portion of adults from these groups who have higher risks for disease because of their body composition, Shah says.

The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, identifies the prevalence of obesity in the six largest Asian American subgroups – Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese, which better represents the variability in obesity in Asian subgroups in the US. (IANS)

AAPI Holds Educational Webinar On South Asian Heart Disease: Current Concepts in Better Prediction, Detection and Prevention of Heart Attack in South Asians

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and the nation spends over $500 billion on cardiovascular disease each year. Studies have shown that immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal are experiencing a dramatic rise in heart disease. South Asians make up 25 percent of the world’s population, but they contribute 60 percent of global cardiovascular deaths.

In this context, as part of an ongoing awareness and education campaign about high-risk heart disease in South Asians, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States presented two eminent speakers and experts, discussing ways to create awareness on South Asian Heart Disease: Current Concepts in Better Prediction, Detection And Prevention of Heart Attack in South Asians during a webinar on Saturday, October 1, 2022. 

Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, CEO of Verve Therapeutics, Brood Institute, MIT & Harvard, spoke on “Genomics of Cardiovascular Disease and Potential Use of Genomic in Better Prediction in South Asians,” and Dr. Jaideep Patel addressed the audience on “Early Detection of Coronary Atherosclerosis By Coronary Calcium Score And Coronary CTA, Especially Among South Asians.” 

In his remarks, Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI, said,” In the context of World Heart Day on September 29th, today’s conference is being organized to educate and create awareness about the major health issue faced by South Asians and offer ways to mitigate heart disease. Dr. Kolli said, “Today’s CME is focused on Recent Advances in South Asian Heart Disease by 2 eminent Indian American physicians who are in the forefront of research and treatment of this deadly disease. It is forward-looking information focusing on cutting edge technologies that can alter the treatment from chronic care model to once and done type of innovative therapies and latest recommendation for actively screening and offering early preventive care to treat cardiovascular disease, especially among the South Asians.”  

During his detailed presentation, Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, a physician-scientist, and a human geneticist, who leverages human genetics to understand the root causes of heart attack and to improve preventive cardiac care, shared about his scientific contributions, that have helped highlight new biological mechanisms underlying heart attack, discovered mutations that protect against heart attack risk, and developed a genetic test for personalized heart attack prevention.

According to him, both genetic and lifestyle factors contribute to individual-level risk of coronary artery disease. The extent to which increased genetic risk can be offset by a healthy lifestyle is unknown. Citing data, Dr. Kathiresan said, across four studies involving 55,685 participants, genetic and lifestyle factors were independently associated with susceptibility to coronary artery disease. Among participants with high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a nearly 50% lower relative risk of coronary artery disease than was an unfavorable lifestyle. 

Dr. Sekar Kathiresan is the co-founder and CEO of Verve Therapeutics, a biotechnology company pioneering a new approach to the care of cardiovascular disease, transforming treatment from chronic management to single-course gene editing medicines. Dr. Kathiresan is a cardiologist and scientist who has focused his career on understanding the inherited basis for heart attack and leveraging those insights to improve the care of cardiovascular disease. Based on his groundbreaking discoveries in human genetic mutations that confer resistance to cardiovascular disease

Dr. Jaideep Patel, in his presentation on “Coronary Atherosclerosis By Coronary Calcium Score And Coronary CTA” drew the attention of the audience to the Coronary Calcium Scoring algorithm, which is capable of automatically calculating a patient’s Agatston equivalent coronary calcium score from ECG gated CT scan, provides physicians with important data used in the assessment of the risk for coronary artery disease.

Dr. Jaideep Patel is a cardiologist in Baltimore, Maryland and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including at the Heart & Vascular Center at Johns Hopkins University, with primary focus on Preventive Cardiology, pointed out that usual risk scoring has been done on Caucasians and cannot be extrapolated to south Asians. Citing Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, that he was part of Dr. Patel said, Coronary artery calcium improves risk assessment in adults with a family history of premature coronary heart disease.  Hereditary factors play an important role in the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Indeed, the presence of a family history (FH) of premature coronary heart disease (CHD) was one of the earliest recognized cardiovascular risk factors, he said. 

Dr. Brahma Sharma, Senior Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh affiliated VA Medical Center,  a co-host and moderator of the event, said, “While we are still trying to figure out different mechanisms for this enigma, that should not prevent but rather motivate to follow more aggressively lifestyle modifications and pre-empt and prevent this silent epidemic that is taking a toll on young Indians and South Asians globally.” Dr. Sharma who is serving as the Chair of AAPI South Asian Heart Disease Committee and as the Chair AHA/ AAPI Liaison, sharing on the objectives of the Heart Health Education sessions by AAPI, Dr. Sharma said, “The Webinar is focused on: Better Prediction; Early Detection; and, Effective Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases, especially among the people of South Asian origin.”  

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, Chair of AAPI CME Committee, said, “In addition to educational webinars, we also plan to take this knowledge to grass root level via conducting mini- health screening camps across different cities with help of local AAPI chapters throughout USA and invite Global South Asian diaspora to join hands in this mission to prevent heart attacks and save lives.”
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Kolli said, “heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem. South Asians are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age. Heart attacks strike South Asian Men and Women at younger ages, and as a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group. They tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups. Efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and promote “Healthy Heart” lifestyles is essential.”  For more information on AAPI and its programs, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Svante Paabo Chosen For Nobel Prize In Physics For His Neanderthal Work

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has gone to Sweden’s Svante Paabo for his work on human evolution. 

The Prize committee said he achieved the seemingly impossible task of cracking the genetic code of one of our extinct relatives – Neanderthals.

He also performed the “sensational” feat of discovering the previously unknown relative – Denisovans.

His work helped explore our own evolutionary history and how humans spread around the planet. 

The Swedish geneticist’s work gets to the heart of some of the most fundamental questions – where do we come from and what allowed us, Homo sapiens, to succeed while our relatives went extinct.

He was just off to pick his daughter up from a sleepover when he got the call saying he’d won. He told the BBC: “I was very surprised and overwhelmed, I had not expected this.” 

In the 1990s, research on working out the human genetic code was taking place at pace. But that relied on fresh samples of pristine DNA.

Prof Paabo’s interest was in the old, degraded and contaminated genetic material from our ancestors. Many thought it was an impossible challenge. But he was, for the first time, able to sequence DNA from a 40,000-year-old piece of bone.

Those results showed that Neanderthals – who mostly lived in Europe and Western Asia – were distinct from both modern day humans and chimpanzees.

His work focused on hominins – the group of modern humans that includes us, Homo sapiens, but also our extinct relatives. 

“By revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes us uniquely human”, the Nobel committee said.

Further comparisons between Neanderthal DNA and humans from around the world showed their DNA was a closer match to humans coming from Europe or Asia. 

This tells us that Homo sapiens had sex and children with Neanderthals after migrating out of Africa around 70,000 years ago. 

And you can still see the legacy of that today. Between 1-4% of modern human DNA comes from our Neanderthal relatives and this even affects our body’s ability to respond to infection.

Cave finger

The next seismic contribution to human origins came in 2008. Scientists had found a 40,000-year-old finger bone in the Denisova cave, in Siberia.

Prof Paabo was able to sequence a sample of DNA and the results showed it was a previously unknown hominin – known as Denisovans. 

And it turned out Homo sapiens bred with Denisovans too. In parts of South East Asia up to 6% of people’s DNA is Denisovan. 

Some of this genetic inheritance helps the body cope with low levels of oxygen, aids survival at high altitudes and is found in present-day Tibetans. 

Prof Paabo only heard the news this morning when he was called by Thomas Perlmann, the secretary for the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine.

“He was overwhelmed, he was speechless. Very happy,” said Prof Perlmann.

Prof Paabo is seen as one of the founders of the scientific discipline of paleogenomics. He wins the 10m Swedish kronor (£800,000) prize. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Sune Bergstrom, who won the same Nobel Prize in 1982.

His work shows there were already two distinct groups of hominins (Neanderthals and Denisovans) living in Eurasia when Homo sapiens spread from Africa.

Analysis suggests these now extinct populations were small and relatively inbred and may not have been able to compete with rapidly expanding modern humans. (Courtesy: BBC)

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Revised: An Original Production From Enacte Arts

Everyone’s favorite foot-stomping childhood adventure reclaimed, reimagined, and rewritten for our times is coming to Houston’s GSH Event Center for a limited engagement on October 8th and 9th, as part of Enacte Arts’ national tour of the family musical. Children under the age of 12 can attend any of the performances for FREE!

Vinita Sud Belani, bringing these established collaborators on board through the theater company she has created and nourished into the force it is today, directs the piece with the conviction that there is power, importance and necessity in reclaiming South Asian stories and retelling them for a global audience. Using her tech background and her skills as a collaborator, she is creating a visual world that is dynamic and modern, while still rooted in ancient art practices. Belani has lived and worked in 9 countries across 4 continents and is committed to using stories to create community and connect diverse peoples. 

 A highly diverse cast 

 A jungle is an incredible representation of how a truly diverse ecosystem enriches itself and leads to growth and abundance. This show reflects a similar ecosystem. 

 EnActe Arts is a highly diverse company with a specific vision – bringing South Asian stories into a global context. In order to do so, the storytellers involved need to represent the globe. The cast of The Jungle Book: Rudyard Revised embodies diversity in the truest sense of the word – each person comes from a myriad of intersectionalities – of race, gender, age, experience..the list goes on and the EnActe rehearsal room makes space for all of it. 

EnActe has also committed to discussing inclusion and diversity as a cast and creative team – the process for writing The Jungle Book: Rudyard Revised was based in deep inquiry into current issues surrounding diversity and EDIA awareness, and as a result the script reflects those questions and work. As the actors embody the language generated in that process, they are having similar conversations. Audiences should be able to see themselves in this show, and leave feeling empowered to reclaim parts of their identity that might otherwise be stifled.

In collaboration with The Centre for Wildlife Studies Kalaripayattu-infused choreography by Navarasa Dance Theater Music by renowned Jazz  and Indian Classical musician George Brooks Directed by EnActe Artistic Director, Vinita Sud Belani. Tickets now available at www.enacte.org/the-jungle-book

Lata Mangeshkar Music College Launched On Her 93rd Birth Anniversary

In a fitting tribute, the ‘Bharat Ratna Lata Dinanath Mangeshkar International Music College & Museum’ was inaugurated at the Kalina Campus of the University of Mumbai, here on Wednesday — on the 93rd birth anniversary of the melody queen who passed away on February 6, officials said.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis did the honours in the presence of a large number of ministers, political leaders and music personalities like Usha Mangeshkar, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Meena Khadilkar, Adinath Mangeshkar, Ashok Patki, Sonu Nigam, Anup Jalota, Pankaj Udas, Mayuresh Pai, Taufiq Qureshi, Lalit Pandit, and others.

With this, the University will offer the first six certificate courses of one-year each in Hindustani classical music, Indian flute, tabla, sitar, harmonium/keyboard and sound engineering will be launched with an initial intake of 150 students.

In August this year, the Maharashtra government had handed over a 7,000-square metre plot owned by the Directorate of Libraries in the Kalina campus of Mumbai University for the music college.

However, as a temporary measure, till the college gets its own building and other amenities, it will function from the P.L. Deshpande Academy, Shinde had said.

Lata Mangeshkar desired to start such a music college in memory of her father, Master Dinanath Mangeshkar, and the former Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s former Minister Aditya Thackeray had shown her the plot which she had liked.

After her demise, the ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray had announced that a world class music college would come up in memory of ‘Lata didi’, as she was known during her lifetime.

Later, the government had set up a 14-member expert advisory board for the college courses which included Chairman Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Adinath Mangeshkar, Suresh Wadkar, Mayuresh Pai, Zakir Hussain, A.R. Rahman and other personalities.

To start with, the teaching posts will be on an emoluments basis and clerical/ typist jobs will be filled on an external basis, machinery, equipment and other requirements will be purchased, all at a cost of nearly Rs 1.75 crore per month.

This fulfils a commitment made by the state government to start the global music college from the current academic year in memory of Lata Mangeshkar. (IANS)

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan To Cost $400 Billion

President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for most borrowers will cost the government about $400 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in an estimate released Monday.

The CBO’s evaluation of the administration’s policy said the price tag is “a result of the action canceling up to $10,000 of debt issued on or before June 30, 2022.”

The estimate applies to the plan Biden announced last month to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 and $20,000 for borrowers who received Pell Grants.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said 43 million borrowers shared $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt as of June 30. Under Biden’s plan, about $430 billion of that debt will be wiped out, the reporting shows.

The CBO also estimated the costs for the Biden administration’s recent renewal of the moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest accrual, which had been set to lapse at the end of August. The extension, which punts the deadline to the end of the year, was projected to cost $20 billion in the new report. 

As of the end of June, 43 million borrowers held $1.6 trillion in federal student loans and about $430 billion of that debt will be canceled, the CBO estimated. The White House, borrowing language from the CBO analysis, responded by focusing on the agency’s own assessment that its $400 billion estimate was “highly uncertain.”

“CBO called its own estimate ‘highly uncertain.’ We agree,'” the White House said in a memo. “By law, the federal budget computes the complete cost of student loan relief over the lifetime of the loans, and then records that cost in the year the loans are modified,” the memo continued. “But that’s not how this program will affect the bottom line in reality. The cost to the government is not the long-term score, but rather, the annual lost receipts.”

Kalinga Institute Of Social Sciences Wins UNESCO Literacy Prize 2022

The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, Orissa, won the prestigious UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize 2022 for its outstanding literacy program. KISS is considered the largest institute for the indigenous students in the world, according to a PRNewswire release. The award was presented Sept. 8, 2022, at a global award ceremony hosted by UNESCO in Côte d’Ivoire on Sept. 8 and 9, to celebrate International Literacy Day.

A non-profit established in 1992-93 by well-known educationist Dr Achyuta Samanta to empower the indigenous population through education, KISS is a fully free residential educational institution that provides holistic education, comprehensive skilling and sports empowerment.

“I thank UNESCO for recognizing our efforts and social innovations in the field of education, literacy and indigenous empowerment. In my childhood, I struggled to get proper education and now I put all my life and soul to provide holistic education to millions at margins,” Dr. Samanta said in his message.

The India-based Institute is credited with adopting “innovative pedagogies as learning tools and bringing about a perceptible change in the socio-economic lives of the indigenous population through education,” the press release said.

The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize is sponsored by the Government of the Republic of Korea and recognizes contributions to mother language-based literacy development. KISS has received the award in the category of ‘Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education programme’. The award carries an endowment of US$ 20,000, a medal and a diploma. KISS is a constituent of the KIIT Group of Institutions.

Every year, the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes focus on a specific theme. This year, the spotlight was on Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces. KISS is the fifth institute from India and the first from Odisha to receive this international prize. It is also the third among the non-profit NGOs and first indigenous based organisation to be conferred with this award.

According to the press release, KISS has transformed the lives of 70,000 indigenous children (30,000 children pursuing education and 40,000 alumni) directly and about 700,000 lives in the indigenous communities indirectly.

MSCK And MSSNY Hold Joint Legislative Meeting In Brooklyn

The Medical Society of the County of Kings (MSCK) and The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) held a joint legislative meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall on September 15, 2022. Attendees included guest of honor Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Chairman of Health Committee, NY Senator Gustavo Rivera, NY Assembly woman Stefani Zinerman, NY Assemblyman Michael Tannousis and NY Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

MSCK President Dr. Jagdish Gupta began the evening by welcoming the participants and presenting a unique opportunity for them to engage in dialogue with elected representatives. In introducing NYS Senator Hon. Gustavo Rivera, Dr. Gupta said: “Senator Rivera has made it his duty to fight the long-standing health inequalities in our communities.”

Dr. Gupta thanked the Senator for his committee’s support on the following legislation:


• Telehealth payment parity
• Extension of the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program
• Increasing Medicaid Payments by Restoring Medicaid Cuts of 1.5 % of 2020 and
increasing Medicaid Physician Payment for E&M services to 70% of Medicare.
• Providing 75% increase in Loan Repayment Program to Physician Students
He went on to thank him for his efforts in passing the following:
• Requirements for same specialty Peer Review process by Health Plans
• Prohibiting Health insurers from Preventing patients from using Co-Pay cards or
Coupons
• Preventing Health insurers from imposing Step Therapy or Fail First Protocols
• For lowering the age of screening colonoscopy to age 45 years
• Providing additional due process protection to Healthcare Providers audited by OMIG

 

Dr. Gupta stressed that the Wrongful Death Liability Expansion Bill, if enacted into law, would be devastating to physicians and safety net hospitals and will increase liability for businesses and municipalities in New York.

“The people of New York deserve the best possible healthcare. New York trains the highest number of trainees, but they leave NY because the environment for medical practice is challenging, said MSSNY President Dr. Parag Mehta. “MSSNY is willing to discuss with all who are interested in our common goals and offer its expertise to find ways to improve our healthcare system and healthcare delivery.”

Physicians have been heroes, especially during the Covid pandemic, and many physicians lost their lives fighting the Covid crisis. “They faced the Covid crisis with courage and compassion, said Dr. Mehta. “Healthcare heroes are facing a new crisis today: the potential increase in their liability premium by 40-45% if the wrongful death bill becomes effective. We urge Governor Hochul to veto this bill.”

Dr. Gupta has been serving the Brooklyn Community for the last 45 years. He has been actively involved in Organized Medical Societies leadership at the Kings County and New York state Medical Society level for a long time. Through innovative research exploring the links between gastrointestinal and neurological diseases, Dr. Gupta has made his mark upon medical literature. In addition to his many contributions to peer review journals, he has co-authored chapters in many medical textbooks. As a researcher dedicated to the detection, prevention and treatment of GI disorders including cancer, he has been recognized and awarded numerous teaching awards. He has been on the TOP DOCTORS list of Castle Connolly for more than twenty years, consecutively and also has been designated as SUPER DOC by New York Times magazine for three years. 

The Medical Society of the County of Kings (MSCK), the oldest scientific organization in Brooklyn, New York was established on March 2nd, 1822 by a group of doctors gathered at Auld Lang Syne Tavern on Fulton Street in Brooklyn Heights, with the lofty mission  “to foster progress in the science and art of medicine and to promote, preserve and enforce the highest of standards of ethical and proficient medical care”. In 1900, the Society opened its grand new colonial revival building at 1313 Bedford Avenue, the geographical center of Brooklyn and It was headquartered there until 1996.

The Society had hosted numerous Scientific Conferences at the McNaughton Auditorium where local, national, and international luminaries in medicine presented important and often original scientific works. The Medical Society grew exponentially to more than 3,500 members by the mid-20th century and according to the Directing Librarian for the Society, for some time boasted as the 5th largest medical library in the country.

Kalinga Institute Of Social Sciences Wins UNESCO Literacy Prize 2022

The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, Orissa, won the prestigious UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize 2022 for its outstanding literacy program. KISS is considered the largest institute for the indigenous students in the world, according to a PRNewswire release. The award was presented Sept. 8, 2022, at a global award ceremony hosted by UNESCO in Côte d’Ivoire on Sept. 8 and 9, to celebrate International Literacy Day.

A non-profit established in 1992-93 by well-known educationist Dr Achyuta Samanta to empower the indigenous population through education, KISS is a fully free residential educational institution that provides holistic education, comprehensive skilling and sports empowerment.

“I thank UNESCO for recognizing our efforts and social innovations in the field of education, literacy and indigenous empowerment. In my childhood, I struggled to get proper education and now I put all my life and soul to provide holistic education to millions at margins,” Dr. Samanta said in his message.

The India-based Institute is credited with adopting “innovative pedagogies as learning tools and bringing about a perceptible change in the socio-economic lives of the indigenous population through education,” the press release said.

The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize is sponsored by the Government of the Republic of Korea and recognizes contributions to mother language-based literacy development. KISS has received the award in the category of ‘Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education programme’. The award carries an endowment of US$ 20,000, a medal and a diploma. KISS is a constituent of the KIIT Group of Institutions.

Every year, the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes focus on a specific theme. This year, the spotlight was on Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces. KISS is the fifth institute from India and the first from Odisha to receive this international prize. It is also the third among the non-profit NGOs and first indigenous based organisation to be conferred with this award.

According to the press release, KISS has transformed the lives of 70,000 indigenous children (30,000 children pursuing education and 40,000 alumni) directly and about 700,000 lives in the indigenous communities indirectly.

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan To Cost $400 Billion

President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for most borrowers will cost the government about $400 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in an estimate released Monday.

The CBO’s evaluation of the administration’s policy said the price tag is “a result of the action canceling up to $10,000 of debt issued on or before June 30, 2022.”

The estimate applies to the plan Biden announced last month to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 and $20,000 for borrowers who received Pell Grants.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said 43 million borrowers shared $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt as of June 30. Under Biden’s plan, about $430 billion of that debt will be wiped out, the reporting shows.

The CBO also estimated the costs for the Biden administration’s recent renewal of the moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest accrual, which had been set to lapse at the end of August. The extension, which punts the deadline to the end of the year, was projected to cost $20 billion in the new report.

As of the end of June, 43 million borrowers held $1.6 trillion in federal student loans and about $430 billion of that debt will be canceled, the CBO estimated. The White House, borrowing language from the CBO analysis, responded by focusing on the agency’s own assessment that its $400 billion estimate was “highly uncertain.”

“CBO called its own estimate ‘highly uncertain.’ We agree,'” the White House said in a memo. “By law, the federal budget computes the complete cost of student loan relief over the lifetime of the loans, and then records that cost in the year the loans are modified,” the memo continued. “But that’s not how this program will affect the bottom line in reality. The cost to the government is not the long-term score, but rather, the annual lost receipts.”

MSCK And MSSNY Hold Joint Legislative Meeting In Brooklyn

The Medical Society of the County of Kings (MSCK) and The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) held a joint legislative meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall on September 15, 2022. Attendees included guest of honor Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso,Chairman of Health Committee, NY Senator Gustavo Rivera,  NY Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman, NY Assemblyman Michael Tannousis and NY Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

MSCK President Dr. Jagdish Gupta began the evening by welcoming the participants and presenting a unique opportunity for them to engage in dialogue with elected representatives.In introducing NYS Senator Hon. Gustavo Rivera, Dr. Gupta said: “Senator Rivera has made it his duty to fight the long-standing health inequalities in our communities.”

Dr. Gupta thanked the Senator for his committee’s support on the following legislation:
• Telehealth payment parity
• Extension of the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program
• Increasing Medicaid Payments by Restoring Medicaid Cuts of 1.5 % of 2020 and
increasing Medicaid Physician Payment for E&M services to 70% of Medicare.
• Providing 75% increase in Loan Repayment Program to Physician Students
He went on to thank him for his efforts in passing the following:
• Requirements for same specialty Peer Review process by Health Plans
• Prohibiting Health insurers from Preventing patients from using Co-Pay cards or
Coupons
• Preventing Health insurers from imposing Step Therapy or Fail First Protocols
• For lowering the age of screening colonoscopy to age 45 years
• Providing additional due process protection to Healthcare Providers audited by OMIG

Dr. Gupta stressed that the Wrongful Death Liability Expansion Bill, if enacted into law, would be devastating to physicians and safety net hospitals and will increase liability for businesses and municipalities in New York.

“The people of New York deserve the best possible healthcare. New York trains the highest number of trainees, but they leave NY because the environment for medical practice is challenging, said MSSNY President Dr. Parag Mehta. “MSSNY is willing to discuss with all who are interested in our common goals and offer its expertise to find ways to improve our healthcare system and healthcare delivery.”

Physicians have been heroes, especially during the Covid pandemic, and many physicians lost their lives fighting the Covid crisis. “They faced the Covid crisis with courage and compassion, said Dr. Mehta. “Healthcare heroes are facing a new crisis today: the potential increase in their liability premium by 40-45% if the wrongful death bill becomes effective. We urge Governor Hochul to veto this bill.”

Dr. Gupta has been serving the Brooklyn Community for the last 45 years. He has been actively involved in Organized Medical Societies leadership at the Kings County and New York state Medical Society level for a long time. Through innovative research exploring the links between gastrointestinal and neurological diseases, Dr. Gupta has made his mark upon medical literature. In addition to his many contributions to peer review journals, he has co-authored chapters in many medical textbooks. As a researcher dedicated to the detection, prevention and treatment of GI disorders including cancer, he has been recognized and awarded numerous teaching awards. He has been on the TOP DOCTORS list of Castle Connolly for more than twenty years, consecutively and also has been designated as SUPER DOC by New York Times magazine for three years.

The Medical Society of the County of Kings (MSCK), the oldest scientific organization in Brooklyn, New York was established on March 2nd, 1822 by a group of doctors gathered at Auld Lang Syne Tavern on Fulton Street in Brooklyn Heights, with the lofty mission  “to foster progress in the science and art of medicine and to promote, preserve and enforce the highest of standards of ethical and proficient medical care”. In 1900, the Society opened its grand new colonial revival building at 1313 Bedford Avenue, the geographical center of Brooklyn and It was headquartered there until 1996.

The Society had hosted numerous Scientific Conferences at the McNaughton Auditorium where local, national, and international luminaries in medicine presented important and often original scientific works. The Medical Society grew exponentially to more than 3,500 members by the mid-20th century and according to the Directing Librarian for the Society, for some time boasted as the 5th largest medical library in the country.

Captions for the pictures:

Picture #1 Title: With Assembly Persons

Captions from Left to right: Lisa Eng DO, Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman, Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, Medical Society President Jagdish K Gupta, MD and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

Picture # 2 Title: Panel-1

Captions from Left to right: MSCK President Jagdish K. Gupta MD, Health Committee Chairman Senator Gustavo Rivera, MSSNY President Parag Mehta MD, Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, Lisa Eng DO (Standing)

Picture #3 Title Group Picture

Book On Rise Of Indian Americans Presented To Indian Minister

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was presented a book on the phenomenal rise of Indian Americans in diverse fields by M R Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, in Palo Alto, California last week.

The book, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans,” a first-of-its-kind anthology on the Indian American community in the US, was presented to Goyal during an interactive Indiaspora lunch event to discuss trade, regulation, tech infrastructure and diaspora issues.

Inspired by the US Vice President, the book evidences the progress and accomplishments of the Indian-American diaspora through 16 essays written by influential Indian Americans.

From politics to the new administration, entrepreneurship to technology, medicine to hospitality, science to academia, business to entertainment, philanthropy to social activism, leaders from various arenas detail their own paths to success and offer their perspectives on diasporic progress. These stories culminate in a larger narrative of the Indian-American community’s coming-of-age in the US.

Edited by the Delhi-based veteran journalist and foreign policy analyst, Tarun Basu, the book was released by New Delhi-based publisher Wisdom Tree and is available in the US via Amazon at: https://bit.ly/HarrisIA – Amazon India book link, and at https://bit.ly/HarrisIndAm – Amazon USA link.

Authors who have contributed to the Book include: former Indian ambassadors TP Sreenivasan and Arun K. Singh; Deepak Raj, chairman of Pratham USA; businessman Raj Gupta; hotelier Bijal Patel; Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor of UC San Diego; scholar-professor Maina Chawla Singh; Sujata Warrier, Chief Strategy Officer for the Battered Women’s Justice Project; Shamita Das Dasgupta, co-founder of Manavi; and journalists Arun Kumar, Mayank Chhaya, Suman Guha Mozumder, Ajay Ghosh, Vikrum Mathur, and Laxmi Parthasarathy.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained

What the program means for you, and what comes next

President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the U.S. Department of Education have announced a three-part plan to help working and middle-class federal student loan borrowers transition back to regular payment as pandemic-related support expires. This plan includes loan forgiveness of up to $20,000. Many borrowers and families may be asking themselves “what do I have to do to claim this relief?” This page is a resource to answer those questions and more. There will be more details announced in the coming weeks. To be notified when the process has officially opened, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.

The Biden Administration’s Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

Part 1. Final extension of the student loan repayment pause

Due to the economic challenges created by the pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration has extended the student loan repayment pause a number of times. Because of this, no one with a federally held loan has had to pay a single dollar in loan payments since President Biden took office.

To ensure a smooth transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the Biden-Harris Administration will extend the pause a final time through December 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to do anything to extend my student loan pause through the end of the year?

No. The extended pause will occur automatically.

Part 2. Providing targeted debt relief to low- and middle-income families

To smooth the transition back to repayment and help borrowers at highest risk of delinquencies or default once payments resume, the U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households.

In addition, borrowers who are employed by non-profits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal, or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This is because of time-limited changes that waive certain eligibility criteria in the PSLF program. These temporary changes expire on October 31, 2022. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to PSLF.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I know if I am eligible for debt cancellation?

To be eligible, your annual income must have fallen below $125,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households)

If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.

If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation.

What does the “up to” in “up to $20,000” or “up to $10,000” mean?

Your relief is capped at the amount of your outstanding debt.

For example: If you are eligible for $20,000 in debt relief, but have a balance of $15,000 remaining, you will only receive $15,000 in relief.

What do I need to do in order to receive loan forgiveness?

Nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief automatically because relevant income data is already available to the U.S. Department of Education.

If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data – or if you don’t know if the U.S. Department of Education has your income data, the Administration will launch a simple application in the coming weeks.

The application will be available before the pause on federal student loan repayments ends on December 31st.

If you would like to be notified by the U.S. Department of Education when the application is open, please sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.

What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance on your federal student loans after 120 payments working full-time for federal, state, Tribal, or local government; military; or a qualifying non-profit.

Temporary changes, ending on Oct. 31, 2022, provide flexibility that makes it easier than ever to receive forgiveness by allowing borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.

Enrollments on or after Nov. 1, 2022 will not be eligible for this treatment. We encourage borrowers to sign up today. Visit PSLF.gov to learn more and apply.

Part 3. Make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers

Income-based repayment plans have long existed within the U.S. Department of Education. However, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing a rule to create a new income-driven repayment plan that will substantially reduce future monthly payments for lower- and middle-income borrowers.

The rule would:

Require borrowers to pay no more than 5% of their discretionary income monthly on undergraduate loans. This is down from the 10% available under the most recent income-driven repayment plan.

Raise the amount of income that is considered non-discretionary income and therefore is protected from repayment, guaranteeing that no borrower earning under 225% of the federal poverty level—about the annual equivalent of a $15 minimum wage for a single borrower—will have to make a monthly payment.

Forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments, instead of 20 years, for borrowers with loan balances of $12,000 or less.

Cover the borrower’s unpaid monthly interest, so that unlike other existing income-driven repayment plans, no borrower’s loan balance will grow as long as they make their monthly payments—even when that monthly payment is $0 because their income is low.

The Biden-Harris Administration is working to quickly implement improvements to student loans. Check back to this page for updates on progress. If you’d like to be the first to know, sign up for email updates from the U.S. Department of Education.

UC Berkeley’s India initiatives

During his recent trip to California India’s ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, met with Chancellor Carol Christ and Dean Ann Harrison of University of California, Berkeley. He also met with Prof Solomon Darwin, director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation and the executive director of the Center for Growth Markets at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr Christ’s office told indica, “Ambassador Sandhu had a brief meeting with the chancellor on India’s educational policy, internationalization of higher education, and academic exchange between India and the US.” Later, Sandhu met with the faculty and leadership of the Haas School of Business to learn about their India-focused initiatives.

Prof Darwin, who hosted the ambassador, told indica, “We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the NITI Aayog in 2020, and the discussion was based on three main things they are doing in India.” The NITI Aayog is the Indian government’s top think tank and is the chief advisor to the Prime Minister on policy matters.

Prof Darwin and Ambassador Sandhu discussed strategies to help make India a manufacturing hub on par with China. The second project is to educate 600 million young people on digital devices and bringing India online for last mile connectivity to provide access to global markets.

“We also talked about the Smart village movement and building a scalable model so that they can sustain themselves,” said Prof. Darwin.

He said the Smart Village project is an ongoing effort with over 40 companies collaborating. In 2020 and also this year, Prof Darwin said, three-day meetings in New Delhi were attended by 28 companies. These interactions were held at Rashtrapati Bhawan and Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

“Forty US-based companies have signed up to help make India a manufacturing hub,” he said. “You can’t manufacture in India unless the entire ecosystem comes together. For example, if you need a chip company in India you also need Dell to assemble and build a laptop. You need companies that make minerals. In short, you need an ecosystem. Our meeting at Rashtrapati Bhawan was about this.”

One of India’s biggest IT projects is to educate more than half a million youths to code in order to help them get meaningful jobs in the sector. Prof. Darwin said a whole system is available on the Cloud. “If you want to learn to code, opportunities with Khan academy, Salesforce, Dell, Amazon and similar companies exist. They not only teach, but also give a certificate if students pass the exam. It’s free.”

He added, “Many Indian kids can’t afford to pay fees to learn coding, but if they can learn to code from these outlets, they can work for Silicon Valley companies.”

Prof Darwin indicated that role of Haas Business School will be like an orchestra conductor. “We will bring resources together. We are non-political and non-commercial. UC Berkeley is a not-for-profit institution, and we are focused on societal, environmental, and people problems. This the reason that The NTI Aayog decided to work with us.”

When indica asked him about his experience of working with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, Prof Darwin indicated that he is not get anyone’s personal philosophy, but “in terms of action the government is good.” He said the Modi government is doing to right thing working with UC Berkeley. “We are only concerned with moving things forward.”

He gave an example of how India wants to build a chip manufacturing ecosystem and that this will take anywhere between five to 10 years. “To attract capital, India needs to have the right policy. And you can only attract capital when there is trust in the system.”

Trust is a major topic Prof Darwin has touched upon in his book, ‘Resetting the Jewel in the Crown: A Roadmap for Rebuilding India’. “If you don’t have trust, no one is going to invest in your country. For example, the 40 companies that Haas is working with have said they are willing to trust but India needs to demonstrate that.”

To be sure, according to data provided by India’s ministry of commerce and industry, Singapore (27.01%) and the US (17.94%) have emerged as top two nations with FDI equity flows into India in FY2021-22, followed by Mauritius (15.98%), the Netherlands (7.86%) and Switzerland (7.31%). FDI equity inflow in the manufacturing sectors increased 76% in FY 2021-22 ($21.34 billion) as compared to FY2020-21 ($12.09 billion).

“If Modi government can protect foreign investment in India, companies will come,” Prof. Solomon said. “It is about establishing trust and facilitating the ease of doing business. Since 2016, six automakers have left India. The country needs to learn from that to reduce barriers to entry and improve ease of doing business in India.”

The head chef at Cambs Bangladeshi and Indian diner won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the English Curry Awards.

The English Curry Awards are meant to celebrate amazing restaurants across the UK. Miftaur Rahman Choudhury was in attendance at this year’s event because his restaurant, Lalbagh, was short listed for their Restaurant of the Year Award. He was shocked when he won the Lifetime Achievement Award, which he did not even know that he was nominated for. “When they came to lifetime achievement award I was munching and when I heard my name I was absolutely shocked, and overwhelmed with joy,” he said. (Courtesy: Indica News)

India Urges Canada To Expedite Processing Of Student Visas

India has stepped in and urged Canada to expedite processing of student visas, as recent delays have caused serious problems for Indian families.

The average processing time of visa applications from Indian students to Canada has now increased from four weeks to 12 weeks. On Thursday, India stated that it has urged Canadian authorities to expedite the processing for Indian students. “The High Commission of India in Ottawa continue to be engaged with relevant Canadian interlocutors regarding problems faced by Indian students due to delay in issue of visas,” the India High Commission said.

Dubai has expressed its readiness to host the Asia Cup 2022 cricket games this weekend, including the India versus Pakistan game.

On Thursday, the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) made an announcement that the city was ready to “safely and securely” play host to matches throughout the tournament, which begins this weekend and will last 16 days. Dubai will be hosting 10 of this year’s 13 matches, including the eagerly awaited match between India and Pakistan on Sunday, August 28. The opening game will also be held today, August 27, in Dubai between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

Managing Children’s Back-to-School Anxiety

Kelly Moore, a Rutgers mental health expert discusses how to prepare children to return to school, signs of emotional distress and benefits of virtual learning.

Students preparing to return to school — in-person, remotely or both — are facing stresses unique to the type of learning they will engage in this fall. Knowing signs of emotional distress and preparing children to bond with peers and teachers before school begins is important to a successful transition, says Kelly Moore, a licensed clinical psychologist and program manager for the Children’s Center for Resilience and Trauma Recovery at Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare, who discusses how parents and teachers can help children navigate the return to school:

How can students form a bond with teachers and classmates while remote learning?

Students should be as engaged as possible. They should be required to use their video option, so they can be seen and should ask questions or offer comments during class instruction. Teachers should engage students by calling on those who do not often speak up. It is critical that schools ensure that virtual classroom features facilitate this process and that students and teachers know how to use the technology.

Some children have really thrived in this virtual school environment while others have struggled. This difference can be true even with siblings. This type of school situation calls for parents, teachers and school staff to really work together to help students stay connected educationally and socially. Once schools get acclimated to remote learning this fall, having virtual clubs for students would be an excellent idea for student engagement.

Adults likely will need to be more hands-on than ever before to ensure that children connect with peers. Many students use online gaming and social media platforms to stay connected. Parents can arrange for virtual activities – virtual escape rooms and mystery games, for example – that are increasingly available. They also can do activities that strengthen family bonds: puzzles, movie nights or creating a family book club where you read a book and then watch the movie.

What are signs of emotional distress in children?

Parents should watch for changes in their children’s normal mood patterns: Are they withdrawing, irritable, having trouble sleeping or being overly clingy and fearful? Elementary school-age children will often show their emotions through their behaviors. Signs of emotional distress can include regression in behaviors that were once mastered, increased separation anxiety or asking a lot of questions repeatedly.

Teachers may notice students who used to be participatory are being less vocal, turning in assignments late or not at all. If teachers notice shifts in class engagement, work performance or attendance that is a red flag.

In addition to the Covid pandemic, many young people may also be feeling the emotional stress and frustration regarding recent events like the murders of unarmed Black men and women and the increased talk about racism in America. I would encourage all parents to talk to their children about these issues in an age-appropriate manner. We cannot take it for granted that they know how to talk about how it’s affecting them and having to now return to school may just intensify those emotions. And if you don’t know how, read books or articles that give you ideas on how to talk to kids about race.

Therapists are offering free or reduced cost support groups for youth and teens. Introduce children and teens to apps that teach them about meditation, guided imagery and yoga. Learning new stress management skills may become a lifelong practice.

How can adults ease the distress children feel about returning to school or continuing virtual learning?

In an unpredictable world, having accurate information in doses we can tolerate and establishing routines can ease distress. Schools and families with students learning at home should establish a clear structure and routine. Children returning physically to school should understand what to expect and the safety guidelines in place. Children might feel more in control if they can pick out or decorate their own masks to wear each day in the classroom.

If at-home learning is feasible, parents can empower children by including them in discussions about whether to pursue in-person, hybrid or virtual learning, and ask them to list their pros and cons about each option.

What are the emotional pros and cons of virtual learning?

While hybrid or virtual leaning can impact some of the traditional aspects of social and emotional skill building like making friends, speaking in groups or navigating a new building, virtual learning may promote new skills. On these platforms, the student has to stay more engaged, pay attention to facial cues during conversations and improve their technological skills, so they can take advantage of chat and reaction features. As students and teachers become more comfortable with these platforms, students also may speak up more to be recognized and communicate more clearly and concisely. Their typing skills also may improve.

What unique challenges do children in underserved communities face?

Children in these communities are now at a greater risk for food insecurity and falling behind academically. It is critical that they have at least one supportive adult to help ensure they have their basic needs — food, safety, shelter and technology— met so they can keep up with their peers. Schools should enlist their counselors, social workers, nurses and child study team staff in innovative ways to reach these students.

(Kelly Moore is a licensed clinical psychologist and program manager for the Children’s Center for Resilience and Trauma Recovery at Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare)

NY Times Rebuts Critics About Story On Delhi Govt’s Education Model

The New York Times (NYT), whose front page report lauding the AAP-led Delhi government’s much-touted education model became a major sub-plot of recent CBI raid against Manish Sisodia – Delhi’s deputy chief minister who also holds the education portfolio – dismissed allegations its report was a ‘paid article’.

“Education is an issue that the NYT has covered over many years. Our report about efforts to improve Delhi’s education system is based on impartial, on-the-ground reporting,” the newspaper’s director for external communications, Nicole Taylor, said in an email to news agency PTI.

“Journalism from the New York Times is always independent, free from political or advertiser influence,” Taylor added. On the same story being published in the Khaleej Times as well, she said that other news outlets ‘routinely license and republish our coverage’.

The report, published on the front page of NYT’s international edition on August 18, became a major sub-plot of Friday’s CBI raid against Manish Sisodia, the deputy CM of Delhi who also holds the education portfolio.

The response by the London-based Taylor, who, according to her LinkedIn profile is responsible for the daily’s communications in global markets outside the US, came after PTI wrote to her, seeking a clarification on the matter.

On Friday, as the CBI raided Sisodia’s residence in connection with alleged regularities in the Delhi government’s excise policy, several leaders of his AAP, including the party’s national convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, described him as the ‘best education minister of independent India’.

Pointing to the NYT’s story, the party said the fact that the central agency’s action against the senior minister came just a day after the report was published, showed that the opposition BJP, to whose government at the Centre the CBI and other central agencies report, was rattled by the rise of the AAP, and, in particular, that of Arvind Kejriwal.

It also challenged the saffron party to get an article published in the NYT by paying money, if possible. The AAP’s retort came after the BJP, pointing to the same story appearing in Khaleej Times (the paper credited NYT), said this proved that the report was a ‘paid promotion’.

Harvard, Yale Investigated Over Alleged China, Saudi Arabia Funding

The Education Department opened investigations into Harvard and Yale as part of a continuing review that has found U.S. universities failed to report at least $6.5 billion in foreign funding from countries such as China and Saudi Arabia, according to department materials viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The investigations into the Ivy League schools are the latest in a clash between U.S. universities and a coalition of federal officials including law enforcement, research funders such as the National Institutes of Health and Defense and Energy Departments, and a bipartisan group in Congress that has raised concerns about the reliance of higher-education institutions on foreign money, particularly from China.

A Harvard spokesman said the university is working on a response. A Yale spokeswoman didn’t immediately have a comment.

The Education Department described higher-education institutions in the U.S., in a document viewed by the Journal, as “multi-billion dollar, multi-national enterprises using opaque foundations, foreign campuses, and other sophisticated legal structures to generate revenue.”

Officials accused schools of actively soliciting money from foreign governments, companies and nationals known to be hostile to the U.S. and potentially in search of opportunities to steal research and “spread propaganda benefitting foreign governments,” according to the document.

In addition, while the department said it has found foreign money generally flows to the country’s richest universities, “such money apparently does not reduce or otherwise offset American students’ tuition costs,” the document said.

U.S. officials say China uses a variety of means to target academia, including government-funded talent recruitment programs such as the Thousand Talents Plan. The arrest last month of the chairman of Harvard’s chemistry department on federal charges of lying about receiving millions of dollars in Chinese funding through the program while the U.S. shelled out more than $15 million to fund his research group catapulted the issue into the spotlight.

In a letter to Harvard dated Feb. 11 and posted on the Education Department website, officials cited the recent Justice Department case and asked the school to disclose records of gifts or contracts involving the governments of China, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. It also requested records regarding telecommunications giants Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. of China; the Kaspersky Lab and Skolkovo Foundation of Russia; and the Alavi Foundation of Iran, among others.

The Education Department said Yale had failed to disclose at least $375 million dollars in foreign funding after filing no reports from 2014-17, according to a document viewed by the Journal. The department, in a Feb. 11 letter to the university, sought records regarding contributions from Saudi Arabia, China and its telecom giants, Peking University’s Yenching Academy, the National University of Singapore, Qatar and others. It also asked the university to detail foreign funding of Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center and the new Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs.

If the schools refuse to disclose the information, the Education Department can refer the matter to the Justice Department, which could pursue civil or criminal actions.

Australia’s Deakin University Announces Scholarships To Honor 75 Years Of India’s Independence

Deakin University, Australia, has announced its Research Scholarships Program 2023, which offers 100% tuition fee waiver to twenty high-achieving Indian students for the full duration of their onshore higher degree by research studies at the university. Among the top 1% universities for global research impact and a 100% Excellence in Research Australia (ERA), Deakin University remains committed to partnering with India and giving back to Indian students to open a world of opportunity with a research scholarship.

The scholarship recipients will receive a 100% tuition fee waiver and an annual stipend of up to INR 15 lacs for full-time, on-campus study for up to three years. Additionally, students will also be eligible to receive a one-time relocation allowance of up to INR 1.5 lacs and health insurance cover for the duration of their student visa. Through these scholarships, students will be able to re-imagine their careers, connect with industry, and create an impact alongside world-leading researchers at Victoria’s number one university for overall employment.

Deakin’s strategic research and innovation centers help to solve global challenges guided by the five impact themes of advancing society and culture, building safe and secure communities, improving health and wellbeing, enabling a sustainable world, and designing smarter technologies. With a diverse range of research areas, close links with industry, and first-class facilities, Deakin’s research create a real-world, far-reaching impact. In recent times, Deakin’s Recycling and Renewable Energy Commercialization Hub (REACH), Australia’s largest recycling and clean energy advanced manufacturing ecosystem, was awarded a $50 million Australian government Trailblazer Universities Program grant to facilitate research that will play a crucial role in driving Australia’s green manufacturing revolution.

Professor Julie Owens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Deakin University, said, “At Deakin, we focus on promoting research that will have a positive impact on our local and global communities. Through the Research Scholarships Program, we will provide passionate students with the opportunity to focus on making an original and significant contribution in their chosen area of research.”

Professor Bas Baskaran, Pro Vice – Chancellor International Research Partnerships, Deakin University, added, “We have had deep connections with India for almost three decades and our collaborations with eminent institutes in the region have led to exceptional innovation and research over the years. In recognition of India’s 75th year of Independence and 28 years of Deakin University’s presence and engagement in India, Deakin’s Research Scholarships Program aim to provide Indian students with an opportunity to study with our vibrant research community in Australia and pursue meaningful research that can provide solutions to global challenges.” .

Applications for the scholarship are open for students meeting the below eligibility criteria:

  • A Master’s degree with at least two-thirds of the degree comprising a thesis graded at 80% and above
  • A Master’s degree by coursework or graduate diploma, which includes a research project or thesis of 10,000 to 20,000 words, and 80% and above standard and research methodology units
  • Relevant postgraduate research experience
  • Independently refereed journal articles, publications, or conference papers
  • Professional reporting or prior learning
  • Research-related awards or prizes
  • IELTS/TOEFL scores are mandatory

About Deakin University

Established in 1974, Deakin University successfully combines excellence in teaching, research and effective partnerships with industry and government to deliver high quality courses and undertake research that makes a difference to the domestic and international communities it serves.

Deakin’s South Asia operations commenced in 1994 at New Delhi, India, making it one of the first overseas education providers to establish operations in this region. Across India, Deakin engages with the government, industry, and academia to share its vibrant culture of education and research.

The last date to submit the application is 15th October 2022. For more information about Deakin University Research Scholarships Program 2023, please visit https://deakinuniversity.in/research/.  You can also email [email protected] or call the Deakin South Asia Office, New Delhi at +91-(0)11-26544766.

India Uniquely Placed To Take Advantage Of Phenomenal Changes In Tech, Trade, Skilled Manpower: Bimal Jalan

Very few developing countries are as well placed as India to take advantage of the phenomenal changes that have occurred in production technologies, international trade, capital movement and deployment of skilled manpower, former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan writes in a new book “From Dependence To Self-Reliance – Mapping India’s Rise As A Global Superpower” (Rupa) that builds on his three earlier books on the same theme.

“In view of these advantages, India is in a position to accelerate the growth rate of the economy to 7-8 per cent per annum over the next 25 years. The higher the growth of the economy, the greater is the capacity of the government to finance expenditure for essential social services.

“The combination of higher government expenditure on the provision of social services will provide higher growth in employment opportunities which will have a decisive impact in reducing poverty levels,” asserts Jalan, a former Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, a nominated Member of Parliament from 2003-2009 and India’s representative on the Boards of the IMF and the World Bank.

The conditions for this are extremely favourable for the first time in almost 40 years as with a single-party majority in Parliament the government’s political profile has undergone a major change as it can now launch political reforms without relying on the discretionary powers of members belonging to other parties.

In recent years, Jalan writes, “an even more phenomenal change from India’s point of view is the growing role of skills-based services in determining the comparative advantage of economies. The development of certain services is now considered as one of the preconditions for economic growth, and not one of its consequences. The boundary between goods and services is also gradually disappearing, as services of various kinds are delinked from the manufacturing process and have become essential elements of the productive structure”.

This change has been brought about by unprecedented and unforeseen advances in computer and communication technology in the last four decades, Jalan writes, adding that an important aspect of the ‘services revolution’ is that geography and levels of industrialisation are no longer the primary determinants of the location of facilities for the production of services.

“As a result, the traditional role of developing countries is also changing – from mere recipients to important providers of long-distance services. India, too, has participated in this scenario, and exports of certain services (for example, software) are expanding faster than the overall trade. The potential for expansion of jobs and incomes in the services sector is truly immense,” Jalan maintains.

From India’s point of view, some of the recent global developments which provide opportunities for substantial growth are:

The fastest-growing segment of services being knowledge-based, such as professional and technical services, India has a tremendous advantage in the supply of such services because of the highly developed structure of technological and educational institutions, and lower labour costs.

Progress in IT is making it increasingly possible to unbundle the production and consumption of information-intensive service activities. Outsourcing of these activities has become feasible.

Unlike most other prices, world prices of transport and communication services have fallen dramatically as provided by the Internet, which now links millions of computers across the world.

Technological innovation is expanding opportunities for services to be embedded in goods that are traded internationally. Thus, India does not necessarily have to be a low-cost producer of certain types of goods (such as computers or discs) before it can become an efficient supplier of service embodied in them (such as software or music).

There is also a structural shift in the pattern of demand in industrial countries in favour of services. This means that in the future, the growth in exports of developing countries will depend less on natural resource endowments and more on efficiency in, providing services and service-intensive goods.

Against this backdrop, the book is divided into 10 chapters in three sections – Economy, Governance and Politics.

The first chapter on ‘Current Situation and Future Prospects’ notes that on any global indicator of economic well-being – be it adult literacy, infant mortality, life expectancy or gender bias – India’s actual performance remains among the bottom one-third among developing countries and that a lot remains to be done before India is able to exploit the new opportunities to realise its full potential in the future.

The next chapter on ‘Science and Development’ notes that India has come a long way in its quest for scientific pursuit, both in the material and intellectual spheres and now has the talent, the skills and the resources to be at the forefront of the technological revolution taking place in the new growth sectors of the global economy.

The third chapter on ‘Information Technology and Banking’ notes that while there are new opportunities for savers and investors to deal directly with each other rather than through the banking system, this poses a challenge, particularly for public sector banks.

The last chapter in Section 1 – ‘India’s Stand in the 21st century – focuses on the prospects for India’s balance of payments and how resources for greater investment in social sectors can be generated by substantially raising literacy rates and healthcare.

Chapter 5 in Section 2 focuses on the role of ‘The Public Sector’, noting that the government should set standards of service, monitor performance of public enterprises and ensure access to the poor. A reduction in the role of the public sector in the economy is also desirable.

Chapter 6 is on ‘Goods and Services’ and outlines a number of issues that need to be tackled to improve agricultural growth and the income of farmers over time while the last chapter in this section is titled ‘Finance and Development: Which Way Now?’ and discusses in detail the shifting paradigm of finance and development and how it has affected the past, present and future of the nation.

Section 3 on ‘Politics’ has three chapters: ‘The Politics of Power’ (Chapter 8), ‘Political Opportunism’ (Chapter 9) and ‘Politics and Economics’ (Chapter 10). It discusses issues like centralisation of political power and public dissavings (spending that is greater than income), the bias among elected representatives at different levels to divest resources under a government programme to their own villages, constituencies and States, and practical and pragmatic core changes to help bridge the gap between politics and economics so that India can realise its full potential for the benefit of all its people.

It also suggests changes in parliamentary procedures to enable the two Houses more effectively discharge the functions assigned to them by the Constitution – for instance, the ad hoc and sudden suspension of rules of business, as was done on August 26, 2004 to pass the budget must be eschewed, except in an emergency.

Also, a vital political imperative for the future is to reduce the role of small parties in Parliament and legislatures and their influence in determining the government’s economic agenda.

“The only constraint in our country’s economic future is the lack of a strong political will to move ahead decisively to overcome the shortcomings in the policies and administrative practices of the past. It is to be hoped that such a consensus will emerge, and India can take its rightful place as one of the leading economies in the world in the twenty-first century,” Jalan writes. (IANS)

India-US Collaboration To Transform India’s Higher Education

The Higher Education Foundation recently held its Visioning Workshop, 2022 in Washington DC in the presence of education leaders and academicians from India and the Indian Diaspora in the USA. 

A brainchild of Rahul Karad, executive president of MIT World Peace University, Pune, the foundation aims to bring together higher educators and researchers of Indian origin to organize the World’s largest multidisciplinary convention for strategizing and transforming Higher Education in India and beyond. 

The Higher Education Foundation is envisaged to be an association of Indian universities, AICTE, UGC and NAAC, and USA’s NSF, with eminent education leaders and academicians from India and the Indian Diaspora in the USA.

The foundation desires to create a unique platform to bring together Higher Educators and Researchers of Indian origin and wishes to organize the World’s Largest Multidisciplinary Convention for Strategizing and Transforming Higher Education in India and beyond.

In the opening address, Dr. Suresh Garimella, President of University of Vermont, expressed hope and opportunity among the group for collaboration and progress and said, “Hundreds of millions of students must be upskilled in India and the quality of education of India is uneven and variable. Indian research, in my opinion, is primarily supported by the government while the US has a more robust system. We have to keep in mind the differences of the systems in the two countries as we discuss how to partner, there is a lot of experimentation and innovation needed. The greatest thing about the US education system are the Land-Grant acts and I am thinking, is there a version of it that can be applied in India?”

He laid emphasis on the primary function of the meeting which was partnership. He added, “As we consider opportunity today and remain cognisant to the necessary scale, the matter of achieving quality at that scale is a daunting challenge. Here’s where a truly effective deployment of distance education, in my opinion, may provide some answers, both for continuing in professional education and also for full-scale degrees.”

According to him, “India could do this better than any other country if you implement it well. We are here to spend a day to fundamentally seek to find ways of improving the quality of education and the excellence of research. We envision this discussion is directed towards planning a broad and inclusive platform where real issues are targeted, complimenting government efforts, where available and forging new ones, where needed.”

By means of the foundation, the platform will facilitate an intense and ongoing interaction between the eminent academicians and thought leaders of Indian origin in the US and academic and scientific leadership of India. Through the discussions, they can continue to work on the principle of osmosis to enrich and transform the Indian Higher Education System by drawing on the best practices in education in the US and vice versa.

The workshop had noted panelists, 18 Indians and 10 from the USA, and they discussed innovative partnerships, entrepreneurship and commercialization, the research ecosystem and pedagogical innovations in higher education.

The panel, through discussions, explored the possible partnerships that can be implemented at scale in areas of undergraduate studies, study abroad or PHD programs, early-career faculty development, networked centers and others.

Opportunities for India-US collaboration on innovative ideas and business opportunities were also discussed along with the needs and support required by the research ecosystem. Need for innovation in teaching modalities was also talked about at length.

 Ambassador of India to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, said, “Within the large canvas of India-US partnership, the knowledge space has limitless potential. As the world faces multiple challenges including health care, clean energy, climate change, supply chain issues cyber threats etc. India and the United States have unique synergies, combining Indian talent and US technology that can address them.”

He pointed out the efforts made by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop government partnership and emphasized on the higher education opportunity for the two nations. “Today’s spirit is for innovativeness. Anything where we can come together, create new avenues in which our institutions can connect, we’ll be happy to do that,” he added.

The Higher Education Foundation will facilitate collaborations with foreign universities, educationists and regulators abroad to gain insights about improving our educational environment. The aim is to enhance and impart knowledge through the process of deliberations, invited talks, research and thought leadership.

 Executive President of MIT World Peace University, Pune, Shri. Rahul Karad expressed his wish to make the use of the Indian diaspora for transformation of Indian higher education and said, “Institutions in the US allow students to flourish and grow and the research is also strong. We want to look at the governance of the institutions and the policy issues. I’m sure we are going to have concrete and outcome-based discussions here.”

He added, “Usually such collaborations happen only between premier institutions but with this project, we want to penetrate deeper with opportunities to collaborate for tier 2 and 3 universities as well.”

The program aligns with the objective of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas of the Government of India and expects to build the most comprehensive database of global academicians of Indian origin.

NSF Director Dr. Sethuraman Panchnathan laid emphasis on multilateral partnerships for finding the best solutions to global challenges. He said, “There are three pillars to an innovative partnership – advancing frontiers of research into the future to meet the speed and scale requirements, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity and securing global leadership.”

Canada To Provide Work Permits For Some International Graduates

Canada is offering work permit extension to international students who no longer have it or are set to have it expired between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2022. According to Sean Fraser, Canada’s minister of immigration, these students will be granted an additional 18-month open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

Sean Fraser, Canada’s minister of immigration, said the students would be granted an additional 18-month open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

More graduates will be able to settle in Canada due to this special provision, which he said indicates economic growth potential. An extension of post-graduate employment permits for some international graduates has been announced by Canada.

Students from abroad whose visas have expired or will expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022 are eligible for the new extension. The second open work permit for these students will be valid for 18 months.

As Canada’s economy continues to recover, “there remain hundreds of thousands of jobs waiting to be filled,” Canada’s immigration minister Sean Fraser tweeted. “Hard-working international graduates make enormous contributions to their communities and our economy.”

“We’re now extending post-graduate work permits to international graduates whose permits expired or will expire between September 20th, 2021 and December 31, 2022.”

US Embassy in India Announces New Tranche Of Student Visa Interview Slots

International students who will be joining their American universities by the middle of August can now schedule appointments at the US Embassy in India. The US has opened the first tranche of interview slots, for dates in June and the first half of July 2022 in May.

Due to COVID, last year, the US Embassy in Delhi and the consulates in India had opened student visa interviews on June 14.

Many students who were planning to attend US universities and who had already received their student I-20 documents from US universities were waiting for their interviews.

After starting student visa interviews earlier this year, US authorities plan to grant more student visas than the record 62,000 that were granted last year to students enrolling in American universities in the fall of 2021, as per reports.

The students with an I-20 (A form that proves that you are legally enrolled in a program of study in the United State) and applications in process for visa categories F, M, and J may schedule their interview times. Interviews after August 14 will be conducted at consulates, the embassy tweeted.

The US embassy said that the interview slots are now open for students having I-20 who need to apply for visa categories F, M and J at the Embassy and Consulates for interviews taking place after August 14.

“If you need to arrive at school by mid-Aug, book an appointment now,” it said. In a tweet, the embassy announced, “Student visa appointments are available on our website. If you have an I-20, don’t wait! Future F, M, and J appointment openings at the Embassy and Consulates will be for interviews taking place after Aug 14, so if you need to arrive at school by mid-Aug, book an appointment now!”

Focusing On ‘Heal The Healers,’ AAPI’s Historic 40th Convention Concludes In San Antonio

The historic 40th annual convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) concluded at the world-famous Riverwalk Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio in Texas on Saturday, June 25th, 2022 with a Gala Bollywood Nite, during which a new Leadership Team led by Dr. Ravi Kolli assumed charge of the four decades old premier Medical Organization, representing the strong and powerful 120,000 physicians of Indian heritage. 

The four days long annual convention and scientific assembly, attended by over 10,000 AAPI delegates, while celebrating the achievements of the Indian American Physicians, focused on the theme, “Physician Heal Thyself” with several unique and first-of-a-kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid related physicians burn out, paid tributes and celebrated freedom and democracy, honoring India and its  75 years of Independence Day celebrations- co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

“AAPI’s strength is its numbers and members. Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas,” Dr. Ravi Kolli stated in his inaugural address immediately after he assumed charge as the 41st President of AAPI. “You are that powerful threads of this colorful and strong fabric, and your participation and contributions are essential for its continued success. So, thank you all,” Dr. Kolli told AAPI delegates and distinguished guests who had packed the Ball Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center during the Presidential Gala. 

Dr. Kolli  will work with Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary and Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI for the year 2022-23. Dr. V. Ranga will serve as the Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees. Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President, AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela is the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF). Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will serve as the Immediate Past President of AAPI. 

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the Immediate Past President of AAPI said, “Our leadership team has worked diligently on so many wonderful projects and activities including educational, philanthropic, legislative, networking, and many more activities benefitting our members and communities. This has been possible because of the incredible work and support from the dedicated team of leaders, members, and our supporting office staff,” the only 4th woman President of AAPI in the four decades long history of AAPI, said. 

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr.  Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Dr. Shah praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, the convention was filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention was a unique experience for everyone, Dr. Sathessh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said. 

During the BOT luncheon chaired by Dr. Kusum Punjabi, the youngest ever to hold the position, handed over the office to the new Chair, Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga. In her address, Dr. Punjabi highlighted the many initiatives under her leadership. She said, “The Board of Trustees this year has launched the AAPI Medical Project Grant (MPG). The purpose of this grant is to financially support AAPI medical students/residents/fellows/young physicians in various medical projects such as observerships, community service projects, entrepreneurships, innovation developments, etc.:

Dr. V. Ranga in his address he said, “My goal in the coming year is to formalize and create AAPI leadership academy working with executives from American College of Physicians for the development of leadership roles for all AAPI members. I want to work hard to engage young physicians and attract them to AAPI. They are the future of AAPI.”

Dr. Surender Purohit, Chair of AAPI’s Charitable Foundation provided a brief summary of the many initiatives AAPI has undertaken in recent years, especially benefitting the remotest villages in the country.

Welcoming AAPI delegates to San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, declared June 24th as AAPI Day and International Yoga Day in the City of San Antonio. While praising AAPI and its members for their contributions, Nirenberg said, “We are honored to host the largest gathering of Indian American physicians in our vibrant city, home to some of the best healthcare facilities in the nation.”

AAPI delegates had a rare glimpse to the rich cultural heritage of India through a video presentation depicting the unique diversity of India and a variety of mesmerizing performances of Indian/Mexican Fusion Dances, ranging from Bharatnatyam, folk dances, and the traditional Indian dances in sync with Mexican pop dances, which were a treat to the hearts and souls  of everyone. National Spieling Bee Champion 2022 Harini Logan was recognized during the convention Gala. 

In his keynote address, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu lauded the several initiatves of AAPI over the past four decades and said, “Over the past four decades, AAPI has been doing an outstanding job in advocacy and health education. You play an important role, especially during the Covid Pandemic/” Speaking at length on the growing Indo-US relationship, the veteran diplomat said, “Over the last two decades, India and the United States have overcome the hesitations of history and fashioned a remarkable partnership, built on a bipartisan consensus in the U.S. and cross-party support in India.” Elaborating on the collaboration between India and the US, he said, “From the provision of active pharmaceutical ingredients to generic medicines that have lowered drug prices and created jobs and investments, India has demonstrated its reliability as a supply chain partner, especially as de-risking from single country supplies has become a priority.”

Aseem Mahajan, Consul General of India in Houston, referred to the significance of “India and the United States, the two most vibrant democracies, representing two great multicultural societies with shared values, who are natural partners” working together in several areas of interest to both the nations.

Dr. Jack Resneck, President of American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians, who serve and provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said. During a Plenary session, he provided a detailed description of the many steps AMA has been undertaking to root out the causes for physician burn out and enhance healthcare delivery in the nation through education and advocacy at the state and national levels. 

Keynote speaker, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar was introduced by Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention. Gavaskar, a record holder of numerous international Cricket matches, in his address said, “Yours is the greatest of all professions in the world. You have put your lives at risk during the Pandemic to save the lives of others. Yours is the noble profession that I have admired always.” 

Dr. Rahul Gupta, the nation’s “drug czar” and top drug policy official, while conveying the greetings from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris praised the contributions of Indian American Physicians. “The role of the Drug Czar has never been as critical as it’s today,” he told the AAPI delegates, who have been advocating for prize control of drugs to contain overall healthcare costs. “AS physicians of Indian Origin, we have learnt  to find simple solutions to complex problems. We need 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.” And he encouraged his colleagues to think and find ways to make a difference in the healthcare delivery in the country. 

Others who addressed the Convention included Dr. Bobby Mukamala, Chair of BOT at American Medical Association, Congressman Joaquin Castro from Texas, and Peter Jay Hortez,, who was part of the plenart session on “Covid Vaccination Globally and Vaccine Hesitancy.” 

In her spiritual discourse, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author, while pointing to how we are creating a vicious negative health through fear, stress and anxiety in this country, her message today was to focus on the Synonym for HEALTH: Health, Embrace, Allow, Love, Time for yourself, and Help others. 

In his live video message, Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga, told AAPI leaders as to how “each of you have sacrificed your life. I congratulate the organizers for focusing on heal the healers and using Yoga our traditional method to help us in our daily lives.” Referring to the 7th anniversary of India’s Independence he said, “It must help us transcend all that divide us on the basis of caste, creed and status.” 

The much anticipated wellness package in collaboration with all the 10 City Council Districts of San Antonio, TX and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and iDoYoga San Antonio organized its flagship Free Yoga Classes and Education on the benefits and ways to make yoga a part of one’s daily life during the course of the entire convention. The convention was focused on themes such as how to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession. 

Led by internationally famed yoga gurus, including  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author; Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga; and, Eddie Stern, Yoga teacher, speaker and author, the highly anticipated and popular Yoga on the famous Riverwalk was part of the global celebration of the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY).

Some of the major themes at the convention included: Yoga and Meditation practices, Welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, A Personal Reflexology Session, Take home wellness routine, Ailment based yoga therapy sessions, Workshop on Spiritual well-being, Book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine. Yoga gurus and experts leading the wellness sessions include Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and Dr. Param Dedhia.

Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect , pointed out: “There was a sense of joy and relief on the faces of the over 1,000 physicians who have come together to celebrate their achievements, contributions, and to network and deepen their relationship even as the Covid Pandemic is waning and people are able to mingle freely and interact with one another cautiously.” 

 AAPI delegates attended a multidisciplinary CME conference that allowed specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers discussed gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions. 

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI said, as many as CME credit hours have been provided by outstanding speakers all year and provided cutting edge CMEs to members. He thanked the Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Dr. Amit Chakraborty, CME Chair  and Dr. Sagar Galvankar, & Co-Chair for their diligent efforts all the prominent speakers who shared their expertise with AAPI delegates. 

Dr. Meherbala Medavaram said, some of the major events at the convention included: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

According to Dr. Sumul Raval, the convention offered a venue for Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally to convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

The panelists at the prestigious Women’s Forum included: Dr. Juby A. Jacob-Nara, a Public Health Physician, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme); Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Endowed Professor for Pulmonary Disorders, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Sowjanya Mohan, Group Chief Medical Officer, Texas Group/Tenet Health; and, Ms. Rosemary Hickman, Semmes Foundation Education Manager at the Mcnay Art Museum.

The CEOs Forum moderated by Dr. Joseph Chalil had a panel of Industry Leaders including: Dr. Juby A Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Head of Global Medical- Sanofi-Genzyme; Robert Mattchione, from NOVA; Dr. Monika Kapur; Ms. Rebecca Seidel. Medtronix; and Mario Ball. A pioneering AAPI Medical Leadership Council is being formed to collaborate with Industry leaders and to be the voice of healthcare providers, said Dr. Chalil. 

Mehfil gave AAPI members to showcase their skills. Dr. Satheesh Kathula in the incoming Vice President of API was declared the winner of the contest. During the popular Fashion Parade presented by world renowned fashion designer Archana Kochar had beautiful and handsome young men and women wearing handmade colorful apparel made by villagers in Madhya Pradesh, cat walked on the ramp.     

Dozens of local children from ages 8 to 16, trained by Yoga Masters in San Antonio by presenting and demonstrating multiple Yoga Aasanas to the tune of Vande Mataram provided valuable education on Yoga and its importance in life. Every evening the popular AAPI Got Talent and each day of the convention had a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates showcased one’s own state dress code. Heritage India was the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus was on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day.

Dr. Jagan Ailinani was honored with Life Time Achievement Award. The Distinguished Physician Award was given to Dr. Vijay Yeldandi and AAPI’s Most Distinguished Award was given to Dr. Ravindra Nathan.  AAPI’s Most Distinguished YPS Award was given to Dr. Sejal Hathi and the AAPI’s Most Distinguished MSRF Award was given to Aaiswariya Gulani. r. Gotimukula honored Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Dr. Dwarkanath Reddy and AAPI’s Legal Advisor with Presidential Awards for their dedication and support during her presidency.

“Welcome to Philadelphia for the 41st annual convention which will provide you all with extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the al and evening social events,” Dr. Ravi Kolli announced. For more details, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

 

By, Ajay Ghosh

“AAPI’s Strength Is Its Numbers And Members:” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President Of AAPI Says In His Inaugural Address In San Antonio, TX

“AAPI’s strength is its numbers and members. Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas,” Dr. Ravi Kolli stated in his inaugural address in San Antonio, TX immediately after he assumed charge as the 41st President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on the concluding nite of the  40th annual Convention on June 25th, 2022. “You are that powerful threads of this colorful and strong fabric, and your participation and contributions are essential for its continued success. So, thank you all,” Dr. Kolli told the over 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests who had packed the Ball Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center during the Presidential Gala.

The growing influence of physicians of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research and administrative positions across the nation. Serving 1 in every 7 patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions of patients every day, while several of them have risen to hold high flying jobs, shaping the policies and programs and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the  world. AAPI, representing the interests of the 120,000 physicians of Indian Origin, is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, a Board-Certified Psychiatrist with specializations in Addiction, Geriatrics, and Forensic Psychiatry, serving as the Psychiatric Medical Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services, was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University. Dr. Kolli has over four decades of experience in the healthcare field. He graduated from Rangaraya Medical College, NTR University of Health Sciences Medical School in 1981. He is affiliated with medical facilities at the Washington Health System Greene and Washington Hospital.

Under his leadership, Dr. Kolli has Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary and Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI for the year 2022-23. Dr. V. Ranga will serve as the Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees. Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President, AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela is the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF). Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will serve as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

Accepting the Presidency, Dr. Kolli told the more than 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests: “Tonight, I bow with gratitude and humility for the trust and faith you have in me to be the steward and servant  of this esteemed and illustrious  organization for the  next one year. “

While declaring that “The physician wellness shall be the front and center of our organization’s focus and our foremost priority,” Dr. Kolli said, “We will work to build strategic partnerships and relationships with other stakeholders and professional groups to find solutions and remedies cohesively, comprehensively, and competently. I humbly seek your continued guidance, support, and good will.”

Recognizing that this new role as the President of AAPI comes with greater role to serve the members and the larger society with diligence, Dr. Kolli quoted the “ancient as well as eternal facts and values: Uncle Ben’s advice to Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility,” and quoting the Bible,   “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” Our Dharma says “Karmanye Vadika raste mapaleshu Kadachana.”

Describing the story of Lord Hanuman, who needed to be reminded of his immense potential, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “AAPI is that such powerful organization. As we recognize and unleash our full potential, we can literally cross oceans, which we already have done and even move the mountains.”

Quoting Alvin Toffler, the famous author and Futurologist who had said, “The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn,” Dr. Kolli said, “It is essential we as individuals, organizations and societies must reinvent and repurpose themselves constantly and continuously to stay relevant and impactful.”

Giving a glimpse into his style of functioning, Dr. Kolli a Psychiatrist, whose goal has been to unite and strengthen AAPI, said, “Leadership is all about reconciling conflicting ideas and the cognitive dissonances and finding solutions collaboratively without compromising our core values and relationships. Old style command and control and top-down transactional leadership styles are no longer as effective as collaborative leadership with mutual respect and shared knowledge and participation from center to periphery.:

Dr. Kolli assured that “We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy. I will work hard to keep AAPI focused on its core mission and conduct all of its activities and business beyond reproach in a transparent, accountable and responsible manner.”

Dr. Kolli offered his respects to every one of the past 40 presidents and the leadership teams for their service to AAPI. “I know what personal sacrifices you all have made to the success of this organization,” he said.

Dr. Kolli said, he believes “in humility and not hubris, reconciliation and not recrimination, vision and not division. Being empathic is as important as being emphatic and being compassionate as much as passionate. When we join for a cause, we achieve justice and when we unite with a vision we are in unison. We all will and only succeed together.”

Recalling how his association with AAPI and leadership responsibilities started in Pittsburgh with the TAPI team a couple of decades ago, Dr. Kolli said, “It has been an exciting experience as well as an enriching one, as I traveled all over the USA attending the events of many chapters of our AAPI and had the privilege of meeting so many brilliant and wonderful leaders and members of AAPI across the length and breadth of this great and beautiful country. I thank all my friends, colleagues, leaders and mentors for your constant love and encouragement. I could not have been here without you.”

He called upon everyone to work towards ending “the unabating and senseless mass shootings and gun violence incident are a recurrent nightmare that needs to be addressed from a public health as well as civil societies perspectives honestly and forthrightly. The challenges of misinformation affecting the health and safety of our communities and children need to be called out.”

Mental Health has been an area that has been closer to his heart. Under his presidency, Dr. Kolli has made it a priority to address “the  stigma and barriers affecting access to mental health treatments need to be challenged and dismantled.”

With gratitude he lauded the understanding and cooperation of his wife Latha, “without whose unconditional support and love, I will not be who I am today and my children, Vickranth and Priyanka’s understanding for not always being there with them and for them.}

Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, Dr. Kolli’s mission for AAPI, as he stated during the address is: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Celebrating The Achievements Of Indian American Physicians, AAPI’s Historic 40th Convention Concludes In San Antonio

(San Antonio, Tx. June 26, 2022) The historic 40th annual convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) concluded at the world-famous Riverwalk Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio in Texas on Saturday, June 25th, 2022 with a Gala Bollywood Nite, during which a new Leadership Team led by Dr. Ravi Kolli assumed charge of the four decades old premier Medical Organization, representing the strong and powerful 120,000 physicians of Indian heritage.

The four days long annual convention and scientific assembly, attended by over 10,000 AAPI delegates, while celebrating the achievements of the Indian American Physicians, focused on the theme, “Physician Heal Thyself” with several unique and first-of-a-kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid related physicians burn out, paid tributes and celebrated freedom and democracy, honoring India and its  75 years of Independence Day celebrations- co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

“AAPI’s strength is its numbers and members. Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas,” Dr. Ravi Kolli stated in his inaugural address immediately after he assumed charge as the 41st President of AAPI. “You are that powerful threads of this colorful and strong fabric, and your participation and contributions are essential for its continued success. So, thank you all,” Dr. Kolli told AAPI delegates and distinguished guests who had packed the Ball Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center during the Presidential Gala.

Dr. Kolli  will work with Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary and Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI for the year 2022-23. Dr. V. Ranga will serve as the Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees. Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President, AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela is the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF). Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will serve as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the Immediate Past President of AAPI said, “Our leadership team has worked diligently on so many wonderful projects and activities including educational, philanthropic, legislative, networking, and many more activities benefitting our members and communities. This has been possible because of the incredible work and support from the dedicated team of leaders, members, and our supporting office staff,” the only 4th woman President of AAPI in the four decades long history of AAPI, said.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr.  Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Dr. Shah praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, the convention was filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention was a unique experience for everyone, Dr. Sathessh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said.

During the BOT luncheon chaired by Dr. Kusum Punjabi, the youngest ever to hold the position, handed over the office to the new Chair, Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga. In her address, Dr. Punjabi highlighted the many initiatives under her leadership. She said, “The Board of Trustees this year has launched the AAPI Medical Project Grant (MPG). The purpose of this grant is to financially support AAPI medical students/residents/fellows/young physicians in various medical projects such as observerships, community service projects, entrepreneurships, innovation developments, etc.:

Dr. V. Ranga in his address he said, “My goal in the coming year is to formalize and create AAPI leadership academy working with executives from American College of Physicians for the development of leadership roles for all AAPI members. I want to work hard to engage young physicians and attract them to AAPI. They are the future of AAPI.”

Dr. Surender Purohit, Chair of AAPI’s Charitable Foundation provided a brief summary of the many initiatives AAPI has undertaken in recent years, especially benefitting the remotest villages in the country.

Welcoming AAPI delegates to San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, declared June 24th as AAPI Day and International Yoga Day in the City of San Antonio. While praising AAPI and its members for their contributions, Nirenberg said, “We are honored to host the largest gathering of Indian American physicians in our vibrant city, home to some of the best healthcare facilities in the nation.”

AAPI delegates had a rare glimpse to the rich cultural heritage of India through a video presentation depicting the unique diversity of India and a variety of mesmerizing performances of Indian/Mexican Fusion Dances, ranging from Bharatnatyam, folk dances, and the traditional Indian dances in sync with Mexican pop dances, which were a treat to the hearts and souls  of everyone. National Spieling Bee Champion 2022 Harini Logan was recognized during the convention Gala.

In his keynote address, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu lauded the several initiatves of AAPI over the past four decades and said, “Over the past four decades, AAPI has been doing an outstanding job in advocacy and health education. You play an important role, especially during the Covid Pandemic/” Speaking at length on the growing Indo-US relationship, the veteran diplomat said, “Over the last two decades, India and the United States have overcome the hesitations of history and fashioned a remarkable partnership, built on a bipartisan consensus in the U.S. and cross-party support in India.” Elaborating on the collaboration between India and the US, he said, “From the provision of active pharmaceutical ingredients to generic medicines that have lowered drug prices and created jobs and investments, India has demonstrated its reliability as a supply chain partner, especially as de-risking from single country supplies has become a priority.”

Aseem Mahajan, Consul General of India in Houston, referred to the significance of “India and the United States, the two most vibrant democracies, representing two great multicultural societies with shared values, who are natural partners” working together in several areas of interest to both the nations.

Dr. Jack Resneck, President of American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians, who serve and provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said. During a Plenary session, he provided a detailed description of the many steps AMA has been undertaking to root out the causes for physician burn out and enhance healthcare delivery in the nation through education and advocacy at the state and national levels.

Keynote speaker, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar was introduced by Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention. Gavaskar, a record holder of numerous international Cricket matches, in his address said, “Yours is the greatest of all professions in the world. You have put your lives at risk during the Pandemic to save the lives of others. Yours is the noble profession that I have admired always.”

Dr. Rahul Gupta, the nation’s “drug czar” and top drug policy official, while conveying the greetings from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris praised the contributions of Indian American Physicians. “The role of the Drug Czar has never been as critical as it’s today,” he told the AAPI delegates, who have been advocating for prize control of drugs to contain overall healthcare costs. “AS physicians of Indian Origin, we have learnt  to find simple solutions to complex problems. We need 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.” And he encouraged his colleagues to think and find ways to make a difference in the healthcare delivery in the country.

Others who addressed the Convention included Dr. Bobby Mukamala, Chair of BOT at American Medical Association, Congressman Joaquin Castro from Texas, and Peter Jay Hortez,, who was part of the plenart session on “Covid Vaccination Globally and Vaccine Hesitancy.”

In her spiritual discourse, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author, while pointing to how we are creating a vicious negative health through fear, stress and anxiety in this country, her message today was to focus on the Synonym for HEALTH: Health, Embrace, Allow, Love, Time for yourself, and Help others.

In his live video message, Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga, told AAPI leaders as to how “each of you have sacrificed your life. I congratulate the organizers for focusing on heal the healers and using Yoga our traditional method to help us in our daily lives.” Referring to the 7th anniversary of India’s Independence he said, “It must help us transcend all that divide us on the basis of caste, creed and status.”

The much anticipated wellness package in collaboration with all the 10 City Council Districts of San Antonio, TX and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and iDoYoga San Antonio organized its flagship Free Yoga Classes and Education on the benefits and ways to make yoga a part of one’s daily life during the course of the entire convention. The convention was focused on themes such as how to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession.

Led by internationally famed yoga gurus, including  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author; Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga; and, Eddie Stern, Yoga teacher, speaker and author, the highly anticipated and popular Yoga on the famous Riverwalk was part of the global celebration of the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY).

Some of the major themes at the convention included: Yoga and Meditation practices, Welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, A Personal Reflexology Session, Take home wellness routine, Ailment based yoga therapy sessions, Workshop on Spiritual well-being, Book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine. Yoga gurus and experts leading the wellness sessions include Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and Dr. Param Dedhia.

Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect , pointed out: “There was a sense of joy and relief on the faces of the over 1,000 physicians who have come together to celebrate their achievements, contributions, and to network and deepen their relationship even as the Covid Pandemic is waning and people are able to mingle freely and interact with one another cautiously.”

AAPI delegates attended a multidisciplinary CME conference that allowed specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers discussed gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI said, as many as CME credit hours have been provided by outstanding speakers all year and provided cutting edge CMEs to members. He thanked the Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Dr. Amit Chakraborty, CME Chair  and Dr. Sagar Galvankar, & Co-Chair for their diligent efforts all the prominent speakers who shared their expertise with AAPI delegates.

Dr. Meherbala Medavaram said, some of the major events at the convention included: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

According to Dr. Sumul Raval, the convention offered a venue for Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally to convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

The panelists at the prestigious Women’s Forum included: Dr. Juby A. Jacob-Nara, a Public Health Physician, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme); Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Endowed Professor for Pulmonary Disorders, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Sowjanya Mohan, Group Chief Medical Officer, Texas Group/Tenet Health; and, Ms. Rosemary Hickman, Semmes Foundation Education Manager at the Mcnay Art Museum.

The CEOs Forum moderated by Dr. Joseph Chalil had a panel of Industry Leaders including: Dr. Juby A Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Head of Global Medical- Sanofi-Genzyme; Robert Mattchione, from NOVA; Dr. Monika Kapur; Ms. Rebecca Seidel. Medtronix; and Mario Ball. A pioneering AAPI Medical Leadership Council is being formed to collaborate with Industry leaders and to be the voice of healthcare providers, said Dr. Chalil.

Mehfil gave AAPI members to showcase their skills. Dr. Satheesh Kathula in the incoming Vice President of API was declared the winner of the contest. During the popular Fashion Parade presented by world renowned fashion designer Archana Kochar had beautiful and handsome young men and women wearing handmade colorful apparel made by villagers in Madhya Pradesh, cat walked on the ramp.

Dozens of local children from ages 8 to 16, trained by Yoga Masters in San Antonio by presenting and demonstrating multiple Yoga Aasanas to the tune of Vande Mataram provided valuable education on Yoga and its importance in life. Every evening the popular AAPI Got Talent and

Each day of the convention had a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates showcased one’s own state dress code. Heritage India was the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus was on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day.

Dr. Jagan Ailinani was honored with Life Time Achievement Award. The Distinguished Physician Award was given to Dr. Vijay Yeldandi and AAPI’s Most Distinguished Award was given to Dr. Ravindra Nathan.  AAPI’s Most Distinguished YPS Award was given to Dr. Sejal Hathi and the AAPI’s Most Distinguished MSRF Award was given to Aaiswariya Gulani. r. Gotimukula honored Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Dr. Dwarkanath Reddy and AAPI’s Legal Advisor with Presidential Awards for their dedication and support during her presidency.

“Welcome to Philadelphia for the 41st annual convention which will provide you all with extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the al and evening social events,” Dr. Ravi Kolli announced. For more details, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

Rachna Nath Recognized As TIME’s Innovative Teachers Of 2022

Assam-born Rachna Nath, a science teacher at Arizona College Prep High School in Chandler, Arizona, was recognized for the way she has inspired her students in their research, and helped them pitch their inventions to potential investors. Nath states that as a teacher, she became the person she was looking for when she was in high school herself.

In the latest issue, TIME has highlighted educators in the U.S. who are “improving their field and making a difference for their students in a unique way.”

Rachna Nath often felt like the “weird child” at school growing up in India, asking lots of questions and looking for unusual ways of doing things. Now that she’s a teacher herself, she wants to cater to that kind of student.

“I came here and I saw the way I can contribute,” says Nath, a science teacher at Arizona College Prep High School in Chandler, Ariz. “I literally became the person I was looking for when I was in my high school.”

Nath has been working with students in the after-school hours to develop solutions for real-world issues. The students were taught to think of solutions and to research patents to find grants that would allow them to create prototypes.

The class started out as an after school program for three students. It will be extended to a year for around 30 students this fall. “They can feel free to fail and make mistakes,” says Nath, 45. “By the end of the year, they will be presenting to stakeholders and doing pitch competitions.” It’s this real-world experience of pitching and prototyping products that sets Nath’s program apart.

Her students have so far worked on a device that amplifies Wi-Fi signals even in dark areas, created a hat to detect heat stress and studied how mealworms digest styrofoam for pollution reduction.

Omina Nematova, who was in Nath’s freshman biology class, says she learned pretty quickly that if she had a creative idea, Nath was the teacher she should talk to. Nematova is now an 18 year old senior and was part of a group that created a hydrothermal cap to prevent heatstroke. Sensors on the hat measure a person’s temperature and pulse and can detect if they faint. The hat sends alerts to an app, which notifies the person to “go inside and drink water” or dials an emergency contact when necessary.

“We realized that this was a problem that we should solve,” says Sohani Sandhu, 18, another student who worked on the hat. “And it was something that a lot of people hadn’t really worked on solving either.”

The students applied to patent the device, and they won a $50,000 grant from Arizona State University’s Healthy Urban Environments Initiative in 2020 to build a prototype and test it on student athletes.

Nath hopes her research class can help strengthen students’ creativity and problem-solving skills before they enter college, citing a 2015 survey showing that most college instructors think high school graduates weren’t adequately prepared for critical thinking, problem-solving and research.

Nath says that’s a sign something needs to change. “I think it’s our social responsibility … to motivate these students to do more, and bridge that gap,” she says. “Are we ensuring true lifelong learning? I don’t think so.” Sandhu intends to pursue a degree in biomedical or biology engineering at college.

“When I was a freshman, I didn’t really think I’d be the type of person to do an engineering project, create a new innovation that could help hundreds of people,” she says. “Back then, I thought the extent of research was just a science fair, or working at a university lab for a couple years and publishing a paper.”

However, she now plans to major in engineering. She credits Nath for this change. “With all the things that she’s taught me related to research over the past four years,” Sandhu says, “my life definitely would not be the same without her.”

AMA Unveils Recovery Plan For America’s Physicians

Telehealth, Medicare payments, scope creep, prior authorizations and burnout are keys to a new roadmap to renew the nation’s commitment physicians, said American Medical Association President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. in a speech to physician and medical student leaders from across the country. Described as an ambitious roadmap to renewing our country’s commitment to physicians—and ensuring their needs are met, AMA’s plan is to ensure that patients can receive the high-quality care they deserve.

Envisioned and built against the backdrop of COVID-19 challenges that stretched our health care system to the brink, including increased physician burnout, unabated and onerous prior authorization requirements, and no permanent fix to ensure telehealth coverage for patients, the Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians focuses on five key goals to re-build health care so that it works better for physicians and all those they serve:

Citing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence and government interference in medicine, Harmon emphasized how physicians “are rising to this moment. Day after day. Hour after grueling hour.”

There are five priority areas AMA will focus on.

Telehealth

Telehealth boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “And then a funny thing happened: Doctors and patients discovered that this wasn’t such a bad idea in many circumstances,” Harmon said.

The method is not appropriate for suturing a wound or setting a broken bone, but it is “hugely beneficial” in areas such as chronic disease management, care coordination and psychiatry, Harmon said. The nation needs updated laws and regulations once the COVID-19 public health emergency is over.

Medicare

Medicare payment reform is needed because physician payments have fallen by 20%, adjusted for inflation, since 2001, Harmon said. AMA pressured Congress to avert a 10% cut in Medicare payments this past January, but a permanent solution is needed.

Scope creep

Teamwork is necessary for quality, affordable health care, Harmon said, and he credited the work of nurses, physician assistants and office workers. But physicians must lead those teams.

Harmon compared the situation to the airline industry – ground crews and flight attendants are critical to get airplanes off the ground and safely landed. “But no one suggests they fly the planes or that we use them to fill the expected shortage of airline pilots,” he said.

Prior authorizations

Harmon cited an AMA survey that found 93% of physicians reported hurdles with prior authorization for medication, tests and procedures resulted in care delays for patients. In the survey, four out of five doctors said those processes led patients to abandon treatments.

Health insurers have done little to comply with improvements they agreed to four years ago in the “Consensus Statement on Improving the Prior Authorization Process,” which AMA developed. “It’s time to hold them accountable,” Harmon said.

Burnout

Harmon praised the federal Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, named for the physician who took her own life during the pandemic. Breen was concerned the stigma of reaching out for mental health help, would damage her career.

Physicians must be able to address mental health needs without fear of negative repercussions, Harmon said. AMA supports reforms to outdated language on applications for medical licensing, employment and credentials, he said.

Finding new doctors

Focusing on the recovery plan will make it easier to bring talented young people to avoid a predicted physician shortage looming in the United States, Harmon said. He called for removing barriers for new physicians, especially from underrepresented communities, by:

  • Reducing medical school debt
  • Expanding the number of residency training slots
  • Creating new schools and programs in historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges and universities

“It’s physicians our nation turns to. For answers – for treatment – for help,” Harmon said in his prepared remarks published by AMA. “You’ve taken care of our nation – at great personal sacrifice … and it’s time our nation renews its commitment to you.”

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

IISc Is Top Indian University In Global Rankings, Overtakes IITs

Rising 31 places in a year, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru has emerged as the highest ranked Indian institute in the 2023 edition of the QS World University rankings, pushing IIT-Bombay to the second position, followed by IIT-Delhi.

The report shows that India’s presence in the top 500 category is also IIT-driven. Apart from IISc, eight IITs (Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Guwahati, Indore) are ranked among the top 500 globally.

The total number of Indian institutes among the top 1,000 globally has risen to 27 from 22.  Apart from IISc at 155, IIT-Bombay (IIT-B) and IIT-Delhi (IIT-D), which have risen five and 11 places to rank 172 and 174 respectively, are the only other Indian institutes in the global league of top 200, in continuation of a trend since 2017. The total number of Indian institutes among the top 1,000 globally has risen to 27 from 22.

Speaking to the media, QS spokesperson William Barbieri attributed the remarkable rise of IISc, which is one of the eight public Institutes of Eminence (IoE), to improvement across four out of six parameters based on which the rankings are prepared.

These parameters are — academic reputation (AR), employer reputation (ER), faculty-student ratio (FSR), citations per faculty (CpF), international faculty ratio and international students ratio.

Barbieri said: “IISc has had an exceptional year across QS indicators. Remarkably, its strongest performing metric, Citations per Faculty, in which it is the world leader, has not changed year-on-year and it remains at the top of the table. It is the improvements across QS’s other criteria to which it owes its impressive performance. IISc achieves gains in 4/6 metrics, most notably, it has drastically expanded its number of International Faculty. However, significant improvements in Academic and Employer Reputation alongside teaching capacity have all combined to propel IISc to the peak of India’s educational hierarchy.”

Among the eight public IoEs, five (IISc, IIT-B, IIT-D, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur) improved their rankings, while the University of Delhi and University of Hyderabad slipped from band 501-510 to 521-530 and 651-700 to 751-800, respectively.

According to the CpF indicator of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which is a London-based higher education analytics firm, when universities are adjusted for faculty size, IISc Bengaluru is the world’s top research university, achieving a perfect score of 100/100 for this metric. “Furthermore, IISc Bengaluru is the fastest rising South Asian university among the QS World University Rankings top-200,” said a QS statement.

Overall, Indian education institutes, 41 of which made it to the rankings, have performed poorly across many key metrics. For instance, 30 out of 41 ranked universities have suffered declines in the FSR indicator, with only four recording improvements.

“However, on an encouraging note, now two Indian universities rank among the top 250 for Faculty/Student Ratio, compared to none in previous editions. The highest performing in this metric is Savitribai Phule Pune University (225 th for FSR) and O.P. Jindal Global University (235 th for FSR), followed by IISc Bengaluru (276 th for FSR),” QS noted.

Globally, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was declared the best university for the 11th straight year. The second place went to the University of Cambridge, followed by Stanford University. China has 28 universities among the top 500, including six in the top 100 with Peking University getting rank 12 and Tsinghua University placed 14th.

Notably, all the IITs, barring one, which feature in the rankings have improved their standing. In fact, IIT-Indore made the highest-ranking debut in the list, securing the 396th slot globally, while IIT-BHU made its maiden appearance in the 651-700 band.

The report shows that India’s presence in the top 500 category is also IIT-driven. Apart from IISc, eight IITs (Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Guwahati, Indore) are ranked among the top 500 globally. No other Indian university, public or private, has found a place in this category, five years into the launch of the Institute of Eminence scheme.

One of the objectives of the IoE scheme was to help ten public and as many private Indian higher education institutions break into the top 500 of reputed rankings such as QS within a decade, and in the top 100 “over time”. The scheme continues to languish in the absence of an empowered expert committee which is meant to drive it.

Among the eight public IoEs, five (IISc, IIT-B, IIT-D, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur) improved their rankings, while the University of Delhi and University of Hyderabad slipped from band 501-510 to 521-530 and 651-700 to 751-800, respectively.
Banaras Hindu University, the only other public IoE, has been ranked outside the top 1,000, in the 1,001-1,200 band.

Also, one of the three private IoEs, OP Jindal Global University, with a rank in the 651-700 band, is the highest-ranked private university in the country, according to QS. The other two private IoEs — Manipal Academy of Higher Education and BITS-Pilani — were placed in the 751-800 and 1,001-1,200 bands, respectively, same as last year.

The report was prepared on the basis of responses from 1,51,000 academics and 99,000 employers across the world.

Ben Sowter, QS Senior Vice President, said: “This edition of the QS World University Rankings reflects the excellent work that several Indian universities are doing to improve their research footprint, with positive consequences for their reputation on the global stage. Conversely, our dataset also suggests that the Indian higher education sector still struggles to provide adequate teaching capacity.”

O.P. Jindal Global University Ranked India’s No.1 Private Varsity

O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has emerged as India’s No. 1 Private University for the third year in a row, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023 that was released in New York.

London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has ranked a total of 41 institutions from India this year, including seven new entrants.

JGU has retained its No. 1 position among the Indian private universities despite the rise in the number of ranked institutions. For the 2023 edition, QS analysed a total of 2,462 institutions and ranked 1,422 institutions in the world. JGU is ranked in the 651-700 band this year, making it the only private university from India, which has found a place among the world’s top 700 universities.

JGU is also India’s No. 1 ranked university with a focus solely on social sciences, arts and humanities, as per the influential QS World University Rankings 2023. Out of the 41 institutions which have beeed from India, 11 are IITs.

Remarkably, JGU is also the only Indian non-STEM and non-Medicine university to have found a place in the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. JGU is India’s No. 1 ranked university with a focus solely on social sciences, arts and humanities.

. JGU is the only Indian non-STEM and non-Medicine university to have found a place in the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. Globally, JGU has been ranked in the 651-700 band of the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. This is the third year in a row that JGU has been the highest ranked Indian private university in the QS World University Rankings.

. In faculty-student ratio, JGU is the second highest-ranked university from India.

. In international faculty ratio, JGU is the third highest-ranked university from India.

. JGU is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in faculty-student ratio.

. JGU is ranked among the top 450 universities in the world in employer reputation.

Reacting to the performance of Indian universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023, the Founding Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University and its benefactor, Naveen Jindal, said, “It is a remarkable day for Indian higher education as the QS World University Rankings 2023 have shown that the numbers of Indian institutions which have found a place in the global rankings have grown.

“Out of the 41 institutions from India which have been ranked this year, seven are new entrants. It indicates a conscious effort by Indian higher education institutions to improve the quality of teaching and research to a level that matches global standards. If this trend continues, Indian universities will soon bring greater glory to the nation through global recognition.”

Speaking of JGU’s accomplishment, Jindal remarked, “To be recognised as India’s No. 1 private university for the third year in a row by the prestigious QS World University Rankings is quite an achievement for JGU. The fact that a non-STEM and non-Medicine university has emerged as India’s top private university year after year proves that the study of humanities and social sciences has tremendous relevance for employment generation as well as for creation of knowledge needed for solving the complex problems that the world faces today.

“I wish to congratulate the Vice Chancellor, faculty, and staff of JGU for their commitment to making world-class education in India possible for our students.”

Welcoming this exciting development, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University said, “The QS World University Rankings provide millions of students around the world with a benchmark for choosing higher education institutions.

“To be featured among the top 700 best universities around the world in this prestigious list that covers 100 locations and over 40,000 universities in the world is a matter of tremendous significance for JGU as the university has emerged as a top destination for world-class education in India within just 12 years since its founding. The fact that JGU has maintained its position as the No. 1 Private University in India for three years in a row amid the extremely challenging circumstances of the devastating global pandemic exhibits the resilience of the university’s strong foundations designed to foster academic excellence and create exciting new opportunities for our students”.

“JGU has improved its global rankings this year on the back of its excellent faculty-student ratio, employer reputation and international faculty ratio. The performance of JGU in the QS Global University Rankings 2023 underlines the importance of providing a global learning experience that caters to the aspirations of today’s youth. Internationalisation has at the very core of JGU’s mission to create open spaces for research, dialogue and innovation through interdisciplinary education and hands-on learning.

“It is this mission that has driven JGU to hire full-time faculty members from over 40 countries and collaborate with over 350 leading institutions spread across 65 countries around the world. We remain committed to further increasing international collaborations and improving the quality of teaching, research and learning outcomes,” Professor Raj Kumar said.

For the QS World University Rankings, universities are evaluated on the basis of academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international students ratio. QS analysed 151,000 responses from academics around the world and 99,000 responses from employers worldwide for this year’s rankings. In faculty-student ratio, JGU, which received a score of 63, is the second highest-ranked university from India. In international faculty ratio, JGU, which received a score of 22.6, is the third highest-ranked university from India. In employer reputation, JGU scored higher than 31 of the 41 institutions ranked from India.

Providing a closer analysis of the rankings, Professor Arjya Majumdar, Dean, Office of Rankings, Benchmarking and Institutional Transformation (ORBIT), O.P. Jindal Global University observed, “As per the QS World University Rankings 2023, JGU is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in faculty-student ratio, among the top 450 universities in the world in employer reputation, and among the top 550 universities in the world in international faculty ratio.

“Overall, JGU ranked higher than such internationally acclaimed universities as the City University of New York, University of South Carolina, University of Bradford, Kagoshima University, University of Westminster and Beijing University of Technology, among others. The results show that JGU is now in the same league as some of the leading international universities, including Drexel University (US), University of Plymouth (UK), University of Southern Queensland (Australia), University of Manitoba (Canada), Kumamoto University (Japan), Abu Dhabi University (UAE), Chongqing University (China), Coventry University (UK) and Istanbul Technical University (Turkey), among others. This is a significant development for India and for JGU as it demonstrates what a young university in India can achieve in a relatively short span of time with the right combination of ideas, people and resources.”

In the QS World University Rankings 2023, 16 of the 20 institutions selected for granting “Institution of Eminence” (IoE) status by the Government of India have found a place. These include 4 IITs, Indian Institute of Science, Delhi University, Anna University, University of Hyderabad, Jadavpur University, Banaras Hindu University, O.P. Jindal Global University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Vellore EnvironmeInstitute of Technology (VIT) and Jamia Hamdard. Out of those 16 institutions, 7 institutions, including O.P. Jindal Global University, moved up in the rankings, 4 went down and 5 remained in the same positions as last year.

Commenting on the accomplishment, Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, JGU, said, “As only those universities which shine on teaching and research quality make it to the QS World University Rankings, being recognised as one of the world’s Top 700 universities by QS puts JGU in a distinguished league of internationally acclaimed universities. The high employer reputation score of JGU also signifies that the university has been successful in providing our students with the necessary preparations needed for securing gainful employment.

Moreover, it underlines that the graduates produced by JGU have been competent, innovative and effective. What makes JGU an incredible institution that it is today is the spirit of public service with which it functions. We remain committed to
continue this tradition of institutional excellence in the coming years and decades.”

Osmania University Foundation Day Celebration Planned In Chicago

“Osmania University Alumni of Chicago” is organizing “Foundation Day  Celebrations of Osmania University” on June 14th, 2022- Tuesday, 6:00 pm at Mall of India, 776 Il Rte 59, IL 60540.

Prof D. Ravinder, Vice Chancellor, Osmania University will be the Chief Guest. His Excellency Amit Kumar, Consul General of India, Chicago will preside.

Established over 100 years ago, Osmania University is the seventh oldest in India and the third oldest in South India. It is a multi-faculty and multidisciplinary university, offering rich and varied courses in the faculties of Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Law, Education, Engineering, Technology, Commerce, Management, Informatics, Pharmacy, and Oriental Languages.

With over 300,000 students and 5000 Staff members, Osmania University is one of the largest Universities across the Globe.

The Alumni of University living in Chicago are requested to attend this historic event, along with their families and friends. They may confirm their participation by sending an email to Ashfaq Syed ([email protected]) on or before June, 12th, 2022.

The host committee of the Osmania University Foundation Day Celebrations  comprises Ashfaq Syed, Vinoz Chanamolu, Dr. Tajammul Hussain, Shaik Anwar Ahmed, Zaki Basalath, Mohammed Saleem, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Moiz Uddin, Srini Paltepu, and Adil Syed. The celebrations will be followed by dinner.

Harini Logan Is Spelling Bee Champion 2022

Fourteen-year-old Harini Logan spelled a total of 21 confirmed correct words in 90 seconds to take home the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee title on Thursday night.

The San Antonio, Texas, native joined “Good Morning America” on Friday following the historic spell-off — the first in the competition’s history — to share how she made those crucial moments look so effortless.

“For me it was really just getting into that mindset where I could have that just calmness so I could focus on the words rather than getting stressed out,” she said. “I was a little tense and it definitely was a bit difficult but I think I just decided to focus on the words and just plow through.”

Although she missed a few words, Harini said she knew all the ones she spelled correctly.  As for her speedy spelling strategy, she said she “did practice for the spell-off a bit,” but in the end the secret to her success was to “go in fast would [and] really just be focusing on the word, just reading all of the information as quick as I could and keep on going.”

“It definitely takes a lot of dedication and commitment and like so much hard work, and at my house my mom is sort of my coach,” Harini added. “It takes a lot of commitment … and, of course, a passion for the spelling bee.”

The eighth grader still has plenty of ambitious plans ahead: She heads to high school next, where she said she wants to write a book.

UK Offers New “High Potential” Visa Plans

Graduates from the world’s top 50 non-UK universities, including Indian students, can now come and work in Britain through a new High Potential Individual (HPI) visa route launched in London on Monday.

In a joint announcement, Indian-origin UK Cabinet ministers Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel said the new “exciting” category under the post-Brexit points-based system is aimed at attracting the “best and brightest” talent from around the world, regardless of nationality.

Successful applicants will be given a two-year work visa to the United Kingdom, with a three-year visa offered to those with a PhD, without the need for a specific job offer in hand.  “This new visa offer means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from across the globe,” said Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

“The route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. We want the businesses of tomorrow to be built here today – which is why I call on students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to forge their careers here,” he said.

“The UK is already home to some of the most ground-breaking start-ups, on the forefront of R&D and an incredibly diverse and exciting place to live – come and join in,” added UK-born Sunak, himself an MBA from Stanford University in the US.

Under the new route, the world’s top graduates in subjects such as science, engineering and medical research will be encouraged to bring their skills to the UK after graduating from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

“I am proud to be launching this new and exciting route as part of our points-based immigration system which puts ability and talent first – not where someone comes from,” said UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. “This government is delivering for the British people by bringing in the high skills and talent our country and businesses need,” she said.

The top 50 list of universities has been identified from the rankings lists produced annually by ‘QS’, ‘Times Higher Education’ and the ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ and covers universities from the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, France, Sweden and Switzerland.

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil Donates $100,000 In Honor of, Rev. Dr. Mathew M. Chalil to Nova Southeastern University in Support of International Medical Students

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil, a Best-Selling Author and the Chief Medical Officer of Novo Integrated Sciences, Inc., has donated $100,000 towards establishing a Scholarship Fund in honor of his mentor and uncle, Reverend Dr. Mathew Chalil, a Catholic Priest, based in Kerala, India. The scholarship fund donated to the prestigious Nova Southeastern University will help needy and deserving international medical students at the University.

“Congratulations Fr. Mathew Chalil for being inducted into Nova Southeastern University Cornerstone society today,” a statement issued by the University stated. “We have created a scholarship fund of 1 Lakh Dollars (77 Lakhs Indian Rupees). The $100,000 scholarship will be earmarked for international medical students at NSU MD with significant financial needs.”

Rev. Dr. Mathew M. Chalil, CMI, MSc, Ph.D. is a Catholic Priest belonging to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), who dedicated his life to education and the environment. Rev. Chalil completed his Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Chennai) and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Perdue University in 1982. He returned to India and was appointed as the Professor of Mathematics at Devagiri College, India, and had served as its Principal until 1994. He was appointed as the CMI General Councilor for Education in 1996 and he oversaw all the CMI Provinces in South India, as well as the CMI Activities and Personals in the USA, Canada, and South America.  CMI Congregation owns and manages hundreds of schools, over 30 higher education institutions, and one deemed University in India.

In addition, Rev. Chalil held several additional positions, including as Vice-Chancellor of Dharma Deepti University and as the Registrar of Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram.  His research interest was using mathematical formulas in solving environmental pollution issues. He was a World Health Organization consultant and an advisor to the Government of India and the Kingdom of the United Arab Emirates.

Publisher of The Universal News Network (www.theunn.com), Dr. Chalil is a veteran of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. Board-certified in healthcare management, Dr. Chalil has been awarded a Fellowship by the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of more than 40,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems, and other healthcare organizations. Dr. Chalil has held roles of increasing responsibility at DBV Technologies, Boehringer Ingelheim, Abbott Laboratories, and Hoffmann-La Roche.

Additionally, Dr. Chalil is the former Chairman of the Indo-American Press Club. He is an expert in U.S. healthcare policy and a strong advocate for patient-centered care. A strong proponent of providing healthcare access to everyone, Dr. Chalil’s new book, Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Envisioning a Better World by Transforming the Future of Healthcare, is on Amazon’s Best Sellers List.

Describing these as critical times, Dr. Chalil, endowed with the vision to support noble causes, believes that “Medical Education is most needed, especially as the world is continuing to be under the impact of the Covid Pandemic. Health care professionals dedicate their lives to the greater well-being of human beings. Supporting the upcoming generations of Medical students in their mission to help people live healthier lives is very fulfilling.”

Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Consulate General of India in Atlanta, while praising Dr. Chalil’s generosity and contribution to support the needy medical students at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine (NSU MD), said, “Dr. Joseph Chalil, one of the distinguished Indian American, has attained significant goals in his career and has been at the forefront of helping the needy, especially students. India has a large number of bright students pursuing higher studies in the United States.

Dr. Chalil has donated generously to help these International Indian students at Nova Southeastern University in fulfilling their mission to be the healers of the world. I am certain that Dr. Chalil shall also extend similar monetary help to Medical Colleges in India and brighten the future of aspiring students studying there.  May the generosity of Dr. Chalil inspire many more successful Indian Americans to come forward and donate towards the education of students who seek knowledge and skills at the universities in India and abroad.”

The CORNERSTONE SOCIETY at Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine
Nova Southeastern University was developed to recognize and pay tribute to individuals, foundations, and corporations whose cumulative commitments to NSU MD reach $100,000 by the time the Charter Class graduates. NSU MD is one of approximately 155 M.D. degree-granting institutions in the U.S. The college received Preliminary Accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) on October 10, 2017, to become the eighth M.D.-degree medical school in Florida and the only one in Broward County.

AAPI Convention Teaser Offers Glimpses of 40th Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX Focus On “Heal The Healers: Rejuvenate And Rekindle Your Mind And Your Spirits”

“It is with great pleasure that we want to welcome you to the 40th Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions of American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI), which will be held from June 23-26, 2022 in the historic city of San Antonio, Texas,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said during the much anticipated Convention Teaser organized virtually on Sunday, May 15th. “We are  planning a historic convention in San Antonio to celebrate 40 years of AAPI that coincides with 75 years of India’s Independence, with excellent educational sessions and other programs.”

Dr. Gotimukula, the 4th woman President of AAPI in the history of AAPI, who has been leading AAPI to newer heights with her dynamic leadership, while thanking the Organizing Committee led by Dr. Jayesh Shah, praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

“Bienvenidos a San Antonio, Tejas!” Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention Chair and past President of AAPI said in Texan style. “It is with great pleasure that I, along with the San Antonio -2022 Convention Team, welcome you to the 40th AAPI Annual Convention in San Antonio, the 8th largest city in the US. I still have vivid memories of inviting you to San Antonio in 2014. This is going to be the 4th convention in Texas.”

The Convention Teaser provided a glimpse of the 40th annual Convention  with its theme, “Heal the Healers — Rejuvenate And Rekindle Your Mind And Your Spirits.” “Our physician members have worked very hard during the Covid 19 pandemic as the 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr. Jayesh Shah.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated Team of Convention Committee members, the 4 days long event will be filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention is going to be a unique experience for everyone, he added.

Dr. Jayesh Shah introduced the strong and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, including Mr. Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention; Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer; Dr. Vijay Koli, Past President of AAPI & Convention Advisor; Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Convention Advisor; Chief Operating Officers, R. Reddy Yeluru and Ram Joolukuntla; Dr. Rajeev Suri, President of TIPSSW  & Co-Chair of the Convention, and the other Co-Chairs of the Convention, including Dr. Shankar Sanka, Dr. Hetal Nayak, and Dr. Kiran Cheruku.

Honoring India, as she celebrates 75 years of India’s Independence is part of the convention, being co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

Each day of the convention will have a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates will showcase one’s own state dress code. Heritage India is the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus is on the much loved Bollywood with a special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, followed by Mehfil. The food served each will match the theme chosen for each day, he added.

Some of the major events at the convention include: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, “AAPI Got Talent”, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Abstract Posters/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

The convention will be held at the newly renovated Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, TX located on the colorful and vibrant River Walk. This world-class facility will afford an intimate setting that will facilitate one’s ability to convey cutting-edge research and CME, promote business relationships, and display ethnic items. Vendor satisfaction and comfort are our top priorities.

Giving an overview of the programs for each day, Venky Adivi said, ““It takes a whole village to put together a fabulous convention, I am grateful to committee members, Chairs and Advisors. Special thanks to Ms.Vijaya Kodali for her expertise and skills.”

According to Dr. Rajeev Suri, President, TIPS SW, and Convention Co-Chair, Please get your Sombrero (Mexican Hat) ready for a special evening organized by Texas Indo- American Physician Society (SW Chapter) and culminate with Bollywood Dandiya Night,

Saturday Evening will begin with the Presidential Banquet, which will be followed by a live show by Bollywood’s one of the best “Shaan” Night. Sunday, we bid you “Hasta la Vista” with a closing ceremony,” said Dr. Vijay Koli, Advisor to the Convention.

Dr. Kiran Cheraku, Co-Chair of the Convention said, “On Friday, a popular Fashion Show, Abby V show and colorful Rajasthani dance is awaiting you.”  “On Saturday with the Celebration of International Day of Yoga on Riverwalk, imagine 100’s of people doing Yoga all around the Riverwalk,” pointed out Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Advisor for the Convention.

AAPI delegates will have a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

Dr. Shankar Sanka, Co-Chair stated: “The 2022 exhibit hall is the vibrant nerve center of the convention. The unique layout offers maximum exposure to the pharmaceutical and commercial booth.”

Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Treasurer of the Convention added: “The exhibition stage will have the performance to keep our audience in the exhibit hall to keep our booth supporters happy. The research pavilion will enable you to view the outstanding works of our students, residents, and fellows.”

Dr. Hetal Nayak stated, ‘the most unique part of the convention is our Yoga-based Wellness Package which is thoughtfully created with world-renowned speakers. The experience can transform and inspire you.” In addition to colorful entertainment, exquisite authentic Indian cuisine, esteemed yoga gurus and experts, who will share their wisdom and lead the Wellness Sessions include: Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and  Dr. Param Dedhia.

“Our speakers are some of the best names in Wellness and Yoga- Dr. Akil Taher, Eddie Stern, Dr. Kaushik Reddy, Dr.Ajeya Joshi, Yog Guru Sharath Jois, Drs. P Vij & P. Dedhia, Sadhvi Saraswati, Dr, Smita Mehta, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa. And do not miss the world-famous yoga workshop by Yog Guru Sharath Jois,” said Dr. Kiran Cheruku, Convention Co-Chair.

The confirmed Plenary Speakers are Dr. Jack Reseneck, AMA President, and Dr.Peter Hotez, Nobel Prize Nominee. Other confirmed guests are legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director, National Drug Control Policy, World-renowned spiritual leader Sadhvi Saraswati and Dr. Prem Reddy, CEO of Prime Health Services.

For the first time ever, AAPI is planning to organize an In-Person Plenary Session on India-USA Healthcare Partnership with the Health Minister Of India, Mansukh Mandaviya (invited but awaiting confirmation from his office) during the Convention on Saturday, June 25th.

“Little Master” Sunil Gavaskar praised AAPI members for being part of the “greatest profession in the world.” He said, “It’s a unique honor to be part of the important AAPI convention in Texas. I am looking forward to meeting you all in Texas.” Mr. Gavaskar referred to his association with the “Heart to Heart Foundation” and how the Foundation is touching many hearts around the world.

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and from around the world will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!” said Dr. Gotimukula. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

MPs From India Visit Chicago University To Discuss Energy And Environment

A delegation comprising nine MPs from different states and various parties is visiting University of Chicago scholars, policymakers, and opinion leaders in Chicago currently for a knowledge exchange programme on energy and environment.

The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) India is hosting the delegates at the University of Chicago “with an aim to augment the capacity of India’s political leadership in advancing policies that provide lasting environmental benefits” between May 8 and 12.

“Some MPs reached on May 7 and some on May 8. Their formal engagements start on Monday Chicago time,” an EPIC official told IANS here on Monday.

This is the third edition of the Legislator’s Programme. The MPs include Rajya Sabha members Amar Patnaik (Biju Janata Dal), Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena) and C.M. Ramesh (Bharatiya Janata Party), and Lok Sabha members Brijender Singh, Shivkumar Udasi , Rahul Kaswan, Heena Gavit (all Bharatiya Janata Party), Kotagiri Sridhar (YSR Congress Party), and Ritesh Pandey (Bahujan Samaj Party).

“Innovative policies work when policymakers are ready to experiment. From our working for several years in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Bihar, and other Indian states, we know that Indian lawmakers have been at the forefront of trying groundbreaking policies to balance India’s growth story and environmental concerns. Therefore, we are thrilled to learn and share best practices with Indian MPs and join them in accelerating positive change for citizens across India,” Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and director of EPIC, said.

The Indian MPs would interact with the University of Chicago faculty and experts on wide-ranging policy areas, including climate policy, carbon markets, air pollution, and water quality. They will also have an interaction with young minds studying at the University of Chicago.

“As we learn from the experiences of our MPs, we are also trying to share EPIC’s global and India-specific research findings to co-identify priorities and solutions that may be implemented in individual constituencies. The goal is also to carry out groundbreaking research that addresses global and local challenges,” EPIC India’s Executive Director, Sidhartha Vermani said.

Deepening The Educational Ties Between India And The United States

This week I visited Howard University to talk about how to deepen the educational ties between India and the United States. As I have come to learn throughout its history, Howard University has played an important role in building bonds between our countries. And really, it’s hard to overstate the importance of those bonds not just as we look back but, I believe, as we go forward.

Let me tell you about one key figure from what has been already a very storied past. Howard Thurman, former dean of Rankin Chapel here at Howard. Going back to September of 1935, Thurman led a four-member delegation on what was a monthslong pilgrimage to India. He was trying to find lessons from the country’s independence movement that might be relevant to the racial justice movement in the United States.

Near the end of the trip, Thurman met with Mahatma Gandhi. They talked, the books record, for about three hours, covering a wide range of issues: segregation, faith, nonviolent resistance. The conversation and the trip made a lasting impression on Thurman. So when he came back to Howard, he developed his interpretation of nonviolence – not as a political tactic, but as a spiritual lifestyle. He shared his views with sermons, speeches, and eventually what came to be an incredibly influential book, Jesus and the Disinherited.

Gandhi’s views and Thurman’s interpretation of those views – of nonviolence – would influence one of the greatest figures in our nation’s journey, Martin Luther King, Jr. As he traveled the country laying bare the sins of segregation, Dr. King carried two books with him. One was the Bible, the other – Jesus and the Disinherited.

These connections and so many others across our shared history make clear that our people do share a special bond, and that as the world’s oldest and largest democracies, our countries always have something to learn from each other.

That’s why we see our cultural and educational ties continue to grow every single year. We’re incredibly fortunate in the United States to have 200,000 Indians studying at our universities, enriching our campuses, enriching our fellow citizens. And we see many American students studying and working in India through programs like Fulbright, the Gilman fellowships, including some who are here today.

To make it easier for people to continue learning from each other, Indian Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar and I announced yesterday the Working Group on Education and Skill Training, which will bring academic institutions in the United States and India together to develop new joint research programs. The group will also focus on creating more opportunities for universities to partner on exchange programs that the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield runs so that ultimately more of our people can learn alongside each other.

I know the importance of building stronger bonds between U.S. and Indian higher education systems. Many students have benefited from studying in both countries. Students are using that knowledge now to teach in the United States and Indian respectively. That’s a very powerful thing. Students are developing recommendations on how India and the United States can support each other’s clean energy transitions. They are promoting trade between our countries and more equitable opportunities that flow from that trade. And that’s just to name a few examples of the things that people are working on.

So in foreign policy, one of the things we talk a lot about is the importance, the strength, the imperative of people-to-people ties. We do a lot of work as diplomats between our countries, but ultimately what really matters are those bonds between our people – between students, between businessmen and women, between academics, between tourists and others. This is what really brings us together.

And when we’re talking about that, in effect we’re talking about students: those who do the daily work of sharing their perspectives, sharing their knowledge with each other, and in so doing, building what are really lifelong personal and professional relationships with one another. That’s what makes all the difference because these kinds of connections, the people-to-people connections, many of them fostered by the exchange programs that we run, they actually build lifelong connections and a lifelong appreciation for each other’s countries, cultures, histories, and futures. And as a result, we are better able to take on shared challenges together.

I believe firmly that the United States and India need continued collaboration, hard work, and leadership for the biggest challenges both countries face, whether it’s combating COVID, whether it’s building a more inclusive global economy, whether it’s tackling the climate crisis.

To put it another way, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership, I am convinced, is absolutely crucial, essential, for addressing the problems of the 21st century, and the work of students at institutions like Howard University, is at the heart of that relationship.

I’m looking forward to staying connected in the months to come. And I’d love to hear your thoughts – please share them by writing to me and my team at [email protected]

(Secretary Anthony Blinken is the 171st Secretary of State and delivered this speech at Howard University where he was joined by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar April 12, 2022, in a discussion on U.S.-India higher education development)

Biden Admn. To Decide On Student Loans In Months

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that President Biden’s use of executive action to cancel some federal student loan debt is “still on the table” and that a “decision” could be made in the coming months.

Psaki made the comments during an appearance on “Pod Save America” after being pressed about past comments by White House chief of staff Ron Klain. “Yes, still on the table, still on the table,” Psaki could be heard saying to apparent cheers from the audience attending the live podcast, which was released by the platform on Friday. She then pointed to the Aug. 31 deadline for when the freeze on student loan debt payments and interest accrual is set to lapse, saying: “We have to then decide whether it’s extended.”

“Nobody’s had to pay a dollar, a cent, anything in student loans since Joe Biden has been president,” Psaki said. “And if that can help people ease the burden of costs in other parts of their lives, that’s an important thing to consider. That’s a big part of the consideration.”

Between now and the end of August, Psaki said the moratorium is “either going to be extended or we’re going to make a decision, as Ron referenced, about canceling student debt.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said President Biden’s use of executive action to cancel some federal student loan debt is “still on the table” and that a “decision” could be made in the coming months.

Between now and the end of August, Psaki said the current moratorium on student loan payments is “either going to be extended or we’re going to make a decision, as [White House chief of staff Ron Klain] referenced, about canceling student debt.”

Biden last extended the pause earlier this month amid mounting pressure from advocates, borrowers and members of his own party to provide further relief.

Biden during his campaign called for federal student loan debt cancellation, and supported forgiveness of at least $10,000 per borrower. However, some top Democrats have pushed for him to go beyond that, canceling up to $50,000 per borrower or wiping out federal student loan debt entirely.

The White House called on Congress to send legislation canceling debt to Biden’s desk, but Democrats are not optimistic about their chances of doing so in the 50-50 Senate given staunch GOP opposition. Sixty votes would be needed to overcome procedural hurdles.

The background: The current pause on federal student loan payments was first implemented under the Trump administration at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. It has since been extended six times.

Biden last extended the pause earlier this month amid mounting pressure from advocates, borrowers and members of his own party to provide further relief.

10 Facts About Today’s College Graduates

Having a bachelor’s degree remains an important advantage in many sectors of the U.S. labor market. College graduates generally out-earn those who have not attended college, and they are more likely to be employed in the first place. At the same time, many Americans say they cannot afford to get a four-year degree – or that they just don’t want to.

Here are key facts about American college graduates.

How we did this

Nearly four-in-ten Americans ages 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, a share that has grown over the last decade. As of 2021, 37.9% of adults in this age group held a bachelor’s degree, including 14.3% who also obtained a graduate or professional degree, according to data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. That share is up 7.5 percentage points from 30.4% in 2011.

An additional 10.5% had an associate degree in 2021. About four-in-ten Americans ages 25 and older had a high school diploma with no further education (25.3%) or completed some college but didn’t have a degree (14.9%).

In a reversal, women are now more likely than men to graduate from college, according to the Current Population Survey. In 2021, 39% of women ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or more education, compared with 37% of men in the same age range. The gap in college completion is even wider among adults ages 25 to 34: 46% of women in this age group have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 36% of men.

In an October 2021 Pew Research Center survey of Americans without a degree, 34% of men said a major reason why they have not received a four-year college degree is that they just didn’t want to. Only one-in-four women said the same. Men were also more likely to say a major reason they didn’t have a four-year degree is that they didn’t need more education for the job or career they wanted (26% of men said this vs. 20% of women).

Women (44%) were more likely than men (39%) to say not being able to afford college was a major reason they don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Men and women were about equally likely to say a major impediment was needing to work to help support their family.

Rohun Reddy Is Winner Of ABA Annual First Amendment And Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition At Northwestern

Rohun Reddy, a 2L JD-MBA student at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law / Kellogg School of Management and the son of Leela and Dr. Suresh Reddy, former President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) won the Best Brief overall in the competition, one of the top three prizes of the day at the American Bar Association’s 14th Annual First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition.

Rohun, whose interest has been about the intersection of technology, media, and law won the prize along with the co-participant, Michael Choi (JD-MBA ’23) at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.” “The ABA First Amendment and Media Law moot court provided me an opportunity to hone my advocacy skills in an area of law that I am deeply passionate about,” Rohun said after winning the competitive award. “I believe that our brief has been so strong because of the natural passion that Michael and I have for First Amendment law and the mentorship that our coach, Leita Walker, provided us through each step of the process.”

Expressing grateful “for the unwavering support that my parents have provided me not just in this competition but throughout my academic career,” Rohun said,  “I appreciate that competitions such as this one are available to help introduce other students from underrepresented backgrounds in law to careers in First Amendment and media law.”

At law school, Rohun serves as Co-President of the Arts and Entertainment Law Society and is an editor on the Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property. Rohun spent his 1L summer externing for the Honorable David O. Carter of the Central District of California and will be spending his 2L summer at Paul, Weiss in New York. Before law school, Rohun interned at several entertainment companies, such as Viacom and FilmNation Entertainment, and spent several years as a technology and media consultant at Activate Consulting in New York. Rohun holds a B.F.A. in Film/Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.”

The annual competition at Northwestern was designed primarily to introduce minority law students to the practice of media law and to lawyers active in the communications law bar. The competition offered cash prizes for superior performance in appellate briefing and oral argument. The hypothetical case at the center of the competition involved timely issues of national significance in the areas affecting communications law. Briefs were judged blindly by a panel of experienced media-law practitioners. Choi and Reddy wrote the highest-scoring brief and each team member received $1,000.

Held via video conference, the Moot Court finals were conducted by three distinguished jurists: Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Justice Carla Wong McMillian, Georgia Supreme Court; and Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

“This award means a lot to me because it is proof that the experts in the field have recognized the hard work that Rohun and I put into understanding the complex sphere of First Amendment and media law and structuring our legal arguments in a persuasive manner,” Choi said. “I am also interested in eventually pursuing a career in media and entertainment law, so this unique moot court experience was an important stepping stone towards my long-term aspirations as an attorney.”

Their mentor, Leita Walker, is a litigator and trial lawyer at Ballard Spahr’s Media and Entertainment Law Group. Other winners of the competition included Amanda N. Marino, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, who won best oralist; and Alexandria Faura and Charles Lam, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, who were awarded the winning team.

Summarizing the experiences of the efforts, collaboration and the success, Rohun exclaimed: “I learned so much from my mentor-coach, the other competitors, and our highly accomplished judges, and I am so grateful for the connections I made throughout the process. [It] has definitely been one of my favorite law school experiences!”

US Colleges See International Applications Surging

Prominent U.S. colleges and universities are reporting a surge in international applications over the past two years, fueled by the easing of pandemic travel restrictions and new policies that allow potential students to apply without SAT or ACT scores.

The Common Application, an online platform for hundreds of schools, found that as of March 15 the number of international applicants had grown 34% since 2020. That far exceeded the 12% rate of growth for U.S. applicants.

The data reveals a tantalizing source of potential students as colleges nationwide grapple with significant enrollment losses since the pandemic. However, those applicants are often chasing big-name schools that are not hurting for students.

“It’s obviously a huge population of young people around the globe who could potentially pursue education here,” said MJ Knoll-Finn, senior vice president for enrollment management and student success at New York University. “There’s a lot of strength in the U.S. market.”

For prospective international students, the past two years have posed intense challenges. The public health crisis disrupted travel worldwide in 2020 and 2021 and threw college enrollment plans into chaos.

The recent growth in applications is uneven. At public Indiana University, international applications for freshman admission were up 11% over two years. At the public University of California system, they were up 17%. Some big-name private schools revealed huge increases: Dartmouth College, up 71%; Yale University, up 99%.

At Yale, one of the world’s most selective universities, applications from all locations, foreign and domestic, topped 50,000 this year for the first time. That’s up 42% from the total the university received in 2020. Yale’s admissions rate, which was 6.5% that year, sank to 4.5% this year.

″More than half of the total increase in the applicant pool over those two years has come from international applicants,” Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, wrote in an email.

Yale is a special case because it is one of a handful of schools that pledge to review international applications without regard to financial need and meet the full need of those who are admitted. Others are Harvard and Princeton universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Amherst College. Dartmouth announced in January that it is joining this group.

But the growth in international applications appears to be about more than financial aid. Soon after the pandemic emerged, Yale (like many selective colleges) suspended its admissions testing requirement. It will not require SAT or ACT scores through at least the next admissions cycle. That has lured potential students from around the world who otherwise might have hesitated to apply. “The shift to test-optional has definitely played a role in this increase,” Quinlan wrote.

The pandemic imposed major hurdles in access to testing for students around the world. The College Board, which owns the SAT, found that about 122,000 international students in the high school Class of 2021 took the admissions test. That was down 23% compared with the previous class.

Test access wasn’t the only problem. Health, financial and travel worries have also plagued international students. The Institute of International Education, which tracks enrollment, found the number of international undergraduates in the United States plummeted 14% in the 2020-2021 school year. That exacerbated major domestic recruiting problems. U.S. colleges and universities have shed more than 5% of their enrollment since fall 2019 – nearly 1 million students – amid the pandemic and economic upheaval.

Now, colleges and universities are hoping that the volatility in global higher education is easing. “The pandemic just blew up everyone’s enrollment models and projections,” said John Wilkerson, associate vice president for international services at Indiana University. Wilkerson said he sees signs of a return to normalcy. Some of the international application growth, he said, is due to pent-up demand. Many potential students want to hit the road after not being able to travel for a couple years.

The Common App’s data shows that the top suppliers of international applicants this year, in descending order, are China, India, Canada, Pakistan and Nigeria. Admissions experts point to India as a key source of growth.

Federal data show that a little more than 3% of the 16.5 million undergraduates in fall 2019 were international students. During the Trump administration, colleges worried that hard-line federal policies on immigration and travel from certain countries could drive away international students. “There was huge concern,” said Angel B. Pérez, chief executive of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. With President Joe Biden in office, he said, it appears those questions have receded.

“There is a little bit more optimism from enrollment managers,” Pérez said. As the pandemic eases, he said, “the infrastructure to get students to the United States is also coming back.”

Natalie Bitton, president of the International Association for College Admission Counseling, which is affiliated with the association Pérez leads, said she sees the beginnings of a rebound in demand for U.S. higher education. “Two major barriers have been lifted,” Bitton said. “One is the ability to leave their country and get visas. And the second is the testing requirement changes.”

For the University of California at Los Angeles, international applications for freshman admission have risen more than 30% since 2020 – to about 23,600. The surge coincides with the elimination of test scores as a factor in admissions. The UC system’s shift to a “test-free” policy, said Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, vice provost for enrollment management at UCLA, “has attracted applicants who may have had challenges accessing one of those exams.”

For NYU, international applications are part of its lifeblood. About a quarter of its 27,000 undergraduates in New York are international. The private university also has campuses in Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates. This year, international applications to NYU’s main campus in New York were up 15%, said Knoll-Finn, the NYU enrollment chief.

Like other universities, NYU stepped up its virtual recruiting during the pandemic because admissions officers were unable to travel much in person. Knoll-Finn said that has helped NYU draw a more diverse group of potential students. A more lenient admissions-testing policy was also a factor, she said. “We do think that being test optional has probably lowered a barrier for many students who might have a harder time getting to those tests,” Knoll-Finn said.

First Post-Covid Convention With Fashion Show, Dandiya Night, Rajasthani Dance, Celebration of International Day of Yoga on Riverwalk, To Make AAPI’s 40th Convention In San Antonio Unique

“Bienvenidos a San Antonio, Tejas!” Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention Chair and past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) welcomes the over 1,000 AAPI delegates in Texan style. “It is with great pleasure that I, along with the San Antonio -2022 Convention Team, welcome you to the 40th AAPI Annual Convention in San Antonio, one of the top 8th largest cities in the US, with a population of 1.3 million. I still have vivid memories of inviting you to San Antonio in 2014. This is going to be the 4th convention in Texas.”

Describing that the Convention is unique in many ways, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said, “This is going to be the first AAPI convention post-Covid Pandemic (Optimistic view from my vantage point). All of you are aware of the challenges of doing a Convention during Covid Times. But our convention team is working very hard to make sure that event is enjoyable and safe at the same time. The registration is happening as per expected. Alumni and specialty groups are encouraged to come. Besides cutting-edge CME by outstanding speakers, there are various non-CME lectures. Enjoy Tex-Mex and Indian Cuisine.”

“The Convention this year is one day short. It begins on Thursday, June 23rd with the Texas Style boots and belts with TexMex Theme,” informed Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer. “Please get your Sombrero (Mexican Hat) ready for a special evening organized by Texas Indo- American Physician Society (SW Chapter),” said Dr. Vijay Koli, Advisor to the Convention.

Dr. Kiran Cheraku, Co-Chair of the Convention says, “On Friday, a popular Fashion Show, Bollywood Dandiya Night, and colorful Rajasthani dance is awaiting you.”  “On Saturday with the Celebration of International Day of Yoga on Riverwalk, imagine 100’s people doing Yoga all around the Riverwalk,” pointed out Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Advisor for the Convention.

According to Dr. Rajeev Suri, President, TIPS SW, and Convention Co-Chair, “Saturday Evening will begin with the Presidential Banquet, which will be followed by a live show by Bollywood’s one of the best “Shan” Night. Sunday, we bid you “Hasta la Vista” with a closing ceremony.”

Dr. Shankar Sanka, Co-Chair stated: “The 2022 exhibit hall C is the vibrant nerve center of the convention. The unique layout offers maximum exposure to the pharmaceutical and commercial booth.” Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Treasurer of the Convention added: “The exhibition stage will have the performance to keep our audience in the exhibit hall to keep our booth supporters happy. The research pavilion will enable you to view the outstanding works of our students, residents, and fellows.”

Dr. Hetal Nayak stated, ‘The most unique part of the convention is our Yoga-based Wellness Package which is thoughtfully created with world-renowned speakers. This will be equally valuable for an advanced practitioner of yoga as well as a novice!!. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the theme of “Heal the Healers,” Convention Committee noted.

“Our speakers are some of the best names in Wellness and Yoga- Dr. Akil Taher, Eddie Stern, Dr. Kaushik Reddy, Dr.Ajeya Joshi, Yog Guru Sharath Jois, Drs. P Vij & P. Dedhia, Sadhvi Saraswati, Dr, Smita Mehta, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa. And do not miss the world-famous yoga workshop by Yog Guru Sharath Jois,” said Dr. KIRAN CHERUKU, Convention Co-Chair.

The confirmed Plenary Speakers are Dr. Jack Reseneck, AMA President, and Dr.Peter Hotez, Nobel Prize Nominee. Other confirmed guests are legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director, National Drug Control Policy, World-renowned spiritual leader Sadhvi Saraswati and Dr. Prem Reddy, CEO of Prime Health Services.

“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my Co-chairs, Kiran Cheraku, Shankar Shanka, Rajeev Suri, and Hetal Nayak, and unwavering administrative support from Venky Adivi, Convention CEO, Reddy Yelaru, and Ram Joolukuntla, Convention COO and Vijaya Kodali in AAPI office. My admiration and thanks to Anupama Gotimukula whose vision, engagement, and enthusiasm kept the team going. It was indeed a team effort by many more, to all, my heartfelt gratitude,” added Dr. Jayesh Shah.

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!” said Dr. Gotimukula. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

Gupta-Klinsky India Institute At Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University’s India Institute has been renamed to honor a transformational gift.

Noted businessmen and philanthropists Raj Gupta and Steven Klinsky made a joint $10 million gift to the multidisciplinary India Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Thus, the Institute will be renamed as The Gupta-Klinsky India Institute at Johns Hopkins University, or GKII. The purpose of GKII is to “mobilize Hopkins faculty, staff, students, and alumni in their research and partnership with government, academia, the private sector, and NGOs across India to advance human knowledge and develop bold, world-changing ideas.”

Indiaspora member Raj Subramaniam will be replacing FedEx founder Fred Smith as the company’s new CEO. Currently, Raj is the President and COO of FedEx. He will assume his new role as the CEO after Fred Smith steps down on June 1. According to the company, Raj will serve as both CEO and president, and Smith will become executive chairman. Smith stated that for the past several years, he recommended to FedEx directors that in the event that he died or was no longer able to continue as CEO, Subramanian should be named CEO. Raj is an Indiaspora Benefactor member.

The Gupta-Klinsky India Institute at Johns Hopkins University! Housed within the University’s Office of the Provost, GKII brings together the Johns Hopkins community – faculty, staff, students, and alumni – and a diverse range of Indian partners to improve society in India and beyond through research, education, policy, and practice.

According to statement by the duo on the website, “Our faculty comprise experts in medicine, public health, education, arts & humanities, business, economics, public policy, engineering, data science, and artificial intelligence.” And they went ton to add: “We work with India’s experts across government, academia, civil society, and the private sector to advance human knowledge and develop bold, world-changing ideas. Our current efforts are rooted in a rich history of impactful collaborations with Indian partners that’s nearly century old.”

INANY Invites Essays And Scholarship Applications

Indian Nurses Association of New York (INA-NY), the voice and representative organization of professional nurses of Indian origin and heritage in New York State is inviting participation in its annual essay competition, scholarship and nursing excellence awards.

The essay contest is open for all nurses of Indian origin or heritage in New York state.  The theme for this year is “Nurses make a difference”.  Grace Alexander, the chair of the Awards and Scholarship Committee said that the essay must not be longer than two pages, must be double spaced and without any identifiable information of the author.  A separate cover page with author’s name, credentials, contact phone number(s) and email address is to be submitted with the essay.  The submission is to be sent to [email protected].  The winner will be honored at the Nurses’ Day celebration of INANY on May 7th.

The Association also invites application for Undergraduate Scholarship from student members of INANY that reside in New York state.  Students must be enrolled in a basic nursing program with at least one more semester to complete.

Nominations are invited for Annual Student Scholarship for undergraduate and Associate degree nursing students of Indian origin.  The student must be a member of INA-NY. Application form for Graduate Nursing Student Scholarship can be obtained from inany.org.

Nominations for ‘INA-NY Nurse Excellence Award 2022’ are also accepted from INANY members.  The selected candidate will exemplify the very best attributes of Nursing profession, excelled in giving high quality patient care and demonstrated a commitment to professional nursing practice.

Dr. Anna George, the president of INANY cited that the Nurses’ Day celebration provides a forum for promoting and celebrating the nursing profession, nurses, higher education, health and wellness of individuals, families and the community.  She noted that the Association’s leadership and members have been vibrant in its mission through engagement in promoting continuing education, organizing community events and community services, as well as local and international charity initiatives.

Application forms for Scholarship and Nurse Excellence Award can either be obtained from [email protected] or from its website inany.org. For details, please contact: Paul D Panakal at: 347 330 0783.

Global Jobs Attract Indian Students To Foreign Varsities

Foreign universities, technical institutes and B-schools not only provide world class education to students, but also prepare them for high-paying global jobs which the Indian youth see as an easy way to fast-tract their career growth.

While countries like Russia, China and Australia are a popular choice for technical courses among the Indian students, a large number of them have also turned to universities in the US, the UK and Canada for programmes that will fetch them work permit for global technical jobs.

According to Canada’s Immigration Refugee and Citizenship data, the number of Indian students studying in the country has increased by a whopping 350 per cent between the 2015-16 and 2019-20 academic years.

As per data by the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the number of Indian students enrolling to universities every year has increased by 220 per cent. However, the percentage of Indian students in the US has declined by 9 per cent between 2015-16 and 2019-20.

Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), America’s Optional Training Program (OPT) and Britain’s New Graduate Pathway (GR) offer opportunities for good placements after postgraduation which are a major attraction among Indian students to advance their career.

Notably, Indian applicants have an excellent track record in approval rates for work permits abroad. In Canada, there has been an approval rate of over 95 per cent for the PGWPP in the past five years.

International education expert Karunn Kandoi told IANS that the US, the UK and Canada are the most popular destinations for Indian students for studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) or business management programmes.

“While 44 per cent of Indian students in the UK and 37 per cent in Canada have opted for business studies, the US is the first choice to study STEM courses. In 2020-21, 78 per cent of Indians studied STEM programmes in the US. It was the third highest rate among the top 25 countries to study,” he said.

According to a former professor of Delhi University, D. Sharma, universities in the US, Canada and Australia are not only providing modern education and global culture to its students but also excellent employment opportunities.

He also pointed out: “India has been leading the way in global talent development over the past 10 years and the trend of studying abroad remains more relevant than ever in the past two years, despite the constraints caused by the pandemic.”

An Indian student from a reputed B-school in Canada, Bhaskar Sharma, said: “Getting a permanent residency here is also a big goal for many Indian students after admission to an international university. Students sometimes also find it easier to achieve their goals abroad on the basis of their merit, especially when there is a need for special kind of technical knowledge in one field.

“For example, Canada’s health sciences and skilled trades are facing a significant labour shortage, while in the UK, the information and communications sector has the highest vacancy rate at 5.5 per cent.”

Indian students are also now turning to foreign countries to study medicine. However recently, due to the Russia-Ukraine war, around 18,000 students had to return to the country before the completion of their course.

Pawan Chaudhary, President of India’s Medical Technology Association, said: “Due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Indian students will find options to complete MBBS in any other countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Spain, Germany, Kyrgyzstan and the UK, where the cost of the course is low.”

Talking To Maya

Maya Varadaraj and Maya Shah will discuss Varadaraj’s latest solo exhibition, Accident Of Birth  on Saturday, April 9th, at 4:00 PM, at the Aicon Gallery and live on Instagram.

Varadaraj’s exhibition explores experiences as a South Asian woman brought up in a Hindu family, and how various biologies, societies, histories, and families inform womanhood.

Maya Varadaraj is an interdisciplinary artist, receiving her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design before completing a Master’s Degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Varadaraj’s work has been exhibited internationally at Vitra Design Museum, Museo Del Disseny Barcelona, Nature Morte, Sapar Contemporary, Salone De Mobile, Mana Contemporary, and Medium Tings among others. She has been featured in publications such as Juxtapoz, Platform Magazine, and We Make Money Not Art.

Maya Shah is an art advisor, curator, and cultural producer based in New York City. Trained as an architect, her collaborative design work as Project Director for the International Design Clinic, has been exhibited in the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale and the Museum of Modern Art as part of “Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanism for Expanding Megacities”.

As a specialist in Modern, Contemporary, and Emerging Art, Maya has held leadership roles at auction houses and art advisory firms in Philadelphia and New York City. She currently works with a vetted team of specialists in direct support of artists, collectors and institutions, providing a wide range of management, advisory, and curatorial services.

According to Maya Varadaraj, “This exhibition is a love letter to myself, my life, my family, and the moments that have led me here.  My work is analytical, though in this case, I’ve turned my focus inward. Experiencing all the aspects of womanhood, its glory, and its upset, has me analyzing the characteristic pain and tribulations tied so critically to being female. As women, our intense ordeals could, perhaps, be explained by our biologies, societies, histories, and families. In my particular case as a South Asian woman brought up in a Hindu family, a lot of my experiences can be made reasonable through philosophies from Eastern thought. Karma, for example, the belief that actions from the past or ancestral baggage lead to present experiences.

“An unexpected event last year shrouded my life in loss. This event was not the hardest loss I’ve ever felt, but it was certainly the most unique. Looking for solace, I recalled moments of joy, comedy, and memories that might give meaning to this inexplicable loss. These intangible moments became intertwined and indistinguishable from my reality – this occurrence of loss then, as a consequence, was not unimaginable. It became a sequential part of my life, my family history, and the culmination of this series of work.

“I mined my family photographs, selecting moments that could have been catalysts for my present life – a visualization of my karma if you will. Images of my parents as children, a survey of female family members, my grandfather active and alive. I pull these characters out of their setting and reposition them to serve me in my search for meaning. I use text to communicate with versions of these characters that no longer exist, but still play a vital role in shaping my identity. In these images, histories emerge in clothes, hairstyles, gestures, and habits. To determine the reasons and circumstances that have come to be. So here it is, an analysis of my Accident of Birth…”

12 CME Credit Hours On Healthcare Issues & Advances In Med Technology During 40th Annual AAPI Convention

“During the 40th American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions planned to be held from June 23-26, 2022 in the beautiful city of San Antonio, Texas, AAPI delegates will have a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI announced here today. 

The annual convention this year is being organized by AAPI’s Texas Chapter, headed by Dr. Jayesh Shah, who said, “The 2022 AAPI Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, experts in healthcare, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin. The CME Committee, chaired by Dr. Shweta Bansal with Dr. Deepak Kamat, Dr. Dharam Kaushik, and Dr. Jayasree Pillarisetti as members have done an excellent job in putting together an expert panel of speakers for the CME program.” 

“The CME sessions will provide comprehensive and current reviews and guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of various disease states to reduce morbidity and mortality and achieve cost-effective quality care outcomes, said Dr. Bansal. “At the end of the activity, it is expected that attendees will gain an understanding of the causation, diagnosis and the best clinical practices for the management of the diverse group of diseases discussed during this program.”

Dr. Rajeev Suri, Co-Chair of the Convention explained the planning and preparations being done by the committee.  “San Antonio has a rich tradition in AAPI Convention history of amalgamating academia with fun and wellness. Our CME committee has strived hard to plan an exceptional series of topics presented by leaders in the academic arena. We invite you to San Antonio to rejoice, to learn, to rejuvenate and rekindle your mind and your spirits.”

Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Chair, AAPI CME Committee, said, “While providing physicians of Indian origin an opportunity to come together in an atmosphere of collegiality, it will enable them to retrace and appreciate their common roots, culture and the bond that unites them as members of this large professional community.”

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect said.  

“Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospital staff,” Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT.

“AAPI Convention offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their fields and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services,” Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention added.

At the Plenary sessions, Dr. Jack Reseneck, President of American Medical Association will address the audience on “How to prevent Physician burnout – AMA STEPS Program,” while Dr. Peter Hotez, a pioneer in inexpensive Covid vaccine program will speak on “COVID 19 Vaccination Globally and Vaccine Hesitancy.”

“Healthcare Equity and Ethics” will be the major theme on the inaugural day of the Convention. Dr. Sivashanker will share his thoughts on “How to make health equity a routine practice and process”. Chiquita Collins, PhD will discuss on “Achieving equity by diversity in workforce.” Colleen Bridger, MPH, PhD will shed her insights on “Improving child health addressing inequities/disparities.” At the end of this session. Dr. Courand guide us with  “Developing resilience in current environment of inequities.”

Latest in The Chronic Diseases Management is yet another major topic that will be extensively covered during the discussion.  “New horizons for DM and cardiorenal medicine” will be covered by Dr. Eugenio Cersosimo. It’s a well-known fact that people of South Asian origin are more prone to cardiac disease. Accordingly, Dr. Alka Kanaya will share her expertise on “South Asian cardiometabolic health: New findings from the MASALA Study.” Dr. Eric Lawitz will address the delegates on “Fatty Liver Disease: A silent epidemic.” In addition, light will be shed on: “Chronic pain management during opioid epidemic.”

Contemporary/Digital Medicine will be covered during the CME on Friday. “Telemedicine: novel practices and policy changes” will be the topic led by Dr. Zeke Silva, while Dr. Satish Misra will enlighten the delegates about “Are we ready for Smart Apps assisted care.” “Artificial intelligence in Medicine” will be covered by Dr. Rajendra Singh, and Dr. Zeke Silva will educate the participants on “Reimbursement/Approval challenges with digital medicine.”

Breakthroughs in Medicine is other major area that the AAPI delegates will learn from the experts. Dr. Poonam Malik will enlighten the participants on “Gene editing and therapy: Success story for Hemoglobinopathies.” Dr. Sudha Sheshadri will focus her discussions on “A step forward in Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis care.” “Lipid management: present & future” will be discussed by Dr. Anand Prasad. “Immunologics in cancer and beyond” will be the topic covered by Dr. Shanmuganathan Chandrakasan.

Covid has brought the world to a standstill, impacting almost all areas of human life, and just as humanity is emerging out of this major health crisis, our CME session called “Aftermath of COVID Pandemic” is designed to help AAPI delegates prepare for uncertain future.  Dr. Thomas Patterson will discuss “Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID/Long COVID- what we need to know” while Dr. Theresa Barton will speak about “Long COVID in children.” The delegates will also be educated on crucial topics such as “Impact on future health care system and delivery” and “Preparing for future pandemic” by Dr. Ruth Berggren.

With the ever-changing trends in healthcare, AAPI delegates will be provided with education in the session called “Navigating Successful Medicine Practice in the US.” This session includes topic like “Physician Employment Contracts and Non-Competes: What you really need to know”. “Navigating ACOs: Regulations, Payment and Compliance” will be covered by Dr. Jay Bhatt. “Crucial conversations: supervising midlevel providers” will be addressed by Dr. Robert Leverence.

It’s a well-known fact that physicians of Indian origin excel in their respective areas of work and continue to play key roles in patient care, administration, academics, and medical research.  “The essence of AAPI is educational,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI, while describing the purpose of CME said. 

According to Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI, “That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields.” Dr. Krishen Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI, “Giving them a platform to celebrate their accomplishments, to be attended by over 1,000 physicians of Indian origin, the Convention will also provide a forum to renew their professional commitment through continuing medical education.”

AAPI represents more than 100,000 Indian American Physicians, who represent the range of physician specialties seen in the physician community at large with 61% in Primary Care, 33% in Medical sub-specialties and 6% in surgical sub-specialties. Medical specialty representation includes pediatrics, psychiatry, anesthesiology/pain management, cardiology, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, gastroenterology, pathology, endocrinology, nephrology, rheumatology along with many other fields.

AAPI is an umbrella organization that has nearly 200 local chapters, specialty societies and alumni organizations. For nearly 40 years, Indian physicians have made significant contributions to health care in this country, not only practicing in inner cities, rural areas and peripheral communities but also at the top medical schools and other academic centers. Almost 10%-12% of medical students entering US schools are of Indian origin. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, AAPI represents the interests of all Indian American physicians, medical students, and residents of Indian heritage in the United States. It is the largest ethnic medical organization in the nation. For more details and registration for the convention, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org and www.aapiusa.org

“Master of Arts in Happiness Studies” Announced By Centenary University In New Jersey

Centenary University in the state of New Jersey is launching what it called the world’s first “Master of Arts in Happiness Studies.” The first ever such program at the University level will “explore the implications of happiness for individuals, the workplace, and our broader society,” according to the college’s announcement. It’s set to launch virtually in the fall and will cost students $17,700.

Centenary, a private college in Hackettstown, New Jersey, with about 1,100 students, teamed up with the Happiness Studies Academy to create the happiness program. University President Bruce Murphy told the media that a variety of professionals could benefit from the program, such as human resource employees creating trainings for staff or CEOs incorporating lessons into their organizations.

Murphy said in his March 18th announcement: “This online, 30-credit graduate degree is an interdisciplinary program designed for leaders who are committed to personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal happiness. Grounded in science and research, this new degree will study happiness and resilience to prepare graduates to make an impact in a wide range of fields.”

“We were thrilled when Centenary University President Murphy and his colleagues were willing to take the leap, so to speak, and create and an academic field out of the fields of happiness, which is sorely needed in our world,” Ben-Shahar, who co-founded the Happiness Studies Academy, is quoted to have said.

The academy’s mission “is to lead the happiness revolution by educating leaders who are themselves dedicated to personal, interpersonal and communal flourishing,” according to its website.

“When we’re talking about happiness, we’re talking about cultivating resilience, the ability to deal with hardships, with difficulties, and there’s plenty to go around today,” Ben-Shahar told Fox News. “Whether you’re talking pandemic, whether you’re talking war, uncertainty, whether it’s on the economic level, the emotional level.”

“We need some practical advice, evidence-based advice to help people deal with difficulties,” he continued. The degree will incorporate aspects of various disciplines ranging from psychology, philosophy and neuroscience to finance and business to literature, religion and music.

“This fully online accredited MA in Happiness Studies focuses on educating leaders who are committed to the cultivation of wellbeing in themselves and others, to the fulfillment of society’s potential for both happiness and goodness,” the program’s website states. “Regardless of your area of interest and action … the rigorous ideas and evidence-based interventions that are part of the MA in Happiness Studies will help you bring out the best in your family, colleagues, clients, students and yourself.”

“Whatever profession you identify, there is a place – a very important place for happiness studies – for the science of well-being,” Tal Ben Shahar, a happiness expert and the director of the program, told the media. “The degree in happiness studies is relevant for essentially every field of practice,” Ben-Shahar said. He said the Happiness Studies Academy receives students from a variety of professions, including lawyers, doctors, therapists, teachers, coaches and managers.” 

Centenary has received 38 applications for the program since it was announced at the March 18 World Happiness Summit in Miami, Murphy was quoted to have said. “I see a lot of opportunity for individuals to be engaged, to take this master’s degree program, to get the certification and to go forth and do great things with it,” Murphy said. 

Indian American Kids-Led Trumbull Robotics Team Makes it to World Championship

Robolution 18366 is going to worlds! Team Robolution 18366 from Trumbull, CT is a robotics team is now all set to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge. FIRST Robotics is a worldwide robotics organization that inspires people to join STEM and pursue robotics in the future.

Incorporated in 1797, Trumbull town was named after Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Lebanon, Connecticut. Located 5 miles north from the Long Island Sound, among the most virant towens in the Fairfield County in the state of Connecticut, this vibrant community offers New England charm with extensive retail, outdoor recreation, and dining options. Known for its diversity, Trumbull has a fast growing Indian American community, which excels in academia with the students of Indian American parents rank among the highest in educational achiements.

The Trumbull Robotics Team is only an example of how the Indian American kids excel and exhibit their leadership and STEM skills, making Trumbull proud. The team consists of Aarav Parekh, Saihari Kota, Ayush Puthiyavettle, Tejas Puthiyavettle, Yash Permalla, Rithik Gunda, Pranav Kodakara, Chandini Kalidindi, Richard Xiong, Arnav Dadarya, and Sharvi Kulkarni. It’s of immense significance that of the 11 team members, 10 of them are of Indian origin.

Trumbull Robotics Team won the 1st 1st place at Connect Award, which “is given to the team that most connects with their local science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) community. We were recognized for helping our local community connect with STEM and actively helping our local community explore opportunities available in STEM.”

The Team won 2nd place at the Inspire Award, which is “given to the the team that best represents what the FIRST tech challenge is about, and is a role model for other teams competing. We were recognized for being strong contenders for several awards as well as having a detailed and informative engineering portfolio, which clearly explains our creative and thoughtful design process.”

Trumbull Robotics Team came 1st at Promote Award, “given to the team that is most successful at creating a video message for the public designed to change culture and celebrate Science, Technology, and Math. We were recognized for creating a unique and engaging video message about the topic: “what I would tell younger self about FIRST.”

Aarav Parekh of the Trumbull Robotic Team has the distinction of being on the Deans List Finalist. This award is given out to a student who are great examples of leaders who have led their Teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. Aarav Parekh was one of two students from across Connecticut to be selected as a Dean’s List Finalist. As a finalist, he has shown leadership within the team and community to increase awareness of STEM and robotics while displaying technical expertise.

“Team Robolution had a very successful day at the CT State Championship on February 26th, 2022, winning first place for both the Connect and the Promote Award and second place for the Inspire Award. In addition to the team’s achievements, junior Aarav Parekh was one of two individuals in the state nominated as a 2022 Dean’s List Finalist. Robolution’s success has qualified them as one of the two teams to represent the state of Connecticut at the FTC World Championship in Houston this April,” the Team’s website stated.

The Goals of the Team as outlined on the website includes: “Competitive engineering process; Improve outreach; Help people around the world; and, Efficient and reliable design with industrial engineering.  The Team of 11 members wants to “Prioritize learning, sharing our knowledge and experience with others.”

Reporting on the Outreach of the Team, the website states: “Impacted 300+ students in outreach events, including offering Online Java programming sessions; FLL team mentoring- T-MECHS; Discord collaboration with FIRST Teams; Trumbull Tutors; Teaching students how to use CAD; and Tutoring students about robotics and engineering.”

Why Your Student Loan Payments May Be Delayed

Federal student loan payments are supposed to resume in May, more than two years after they were paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the Education Department recently emailed unusual guidance to the companies that manage its $1.6 trillion student loan portfolio, throwing that timing into doubt.

Don’t reach out to borrowers about that May 1 deadline, the guidance said.

President Biden extends student loan payment freeze through May 1

The email, obtained by NPR and first reported by Politico, did not explain why servicers should go quiet about the deadline, nor did it say the deadline would change. But the order suggests that the Biden administration is considering another extension of the student loan payment freeze.

The department has a legal obligation to reach out to borrowers at least six times before the return to repayment, so telling servicers not to do this outreach, at a moment when legally it should be happening, means the administration can delay this decision only for so long.

That email comes just a few days after White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain hinted that the repayment pause could be extended, in an appearance on the podcast Pod Save America.

“The president is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he’ll extend the pause,” Klain said.

There’s pressure from the left to cancel student debt

Klain’s words — “what we should do on student debt” — are a clear reference to the elephant in the room for Biden: He pledged, as a presidential candidate, to cancel at least $10,000 in student debt per borrower, but his reluctance, so far, to do so has frustrated many in his party.

Biden now faces increasing pressure from his own left flank, with Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., recently tweeting, “Student debt cancellation is a racial & economic justice issue” and “@POTUS must #CancelStudentDebt” — a tweet that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., shared, adding, “Grateful to be in this fight by your side.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made things uncomfortable for Biden. After Klain’s comments became public, Schumer tweeted: “Today would be a great day for President Biden and Vice President Harris to #CancelStudentDebt.”

This pressure from fellow Democrats contributed to Biden’s last-minute decision in December to extend the repayment pause from Jan. 31 to its current date, May 1, even though the Education Department had already begun sending notices to borrowers.

In fact, over the past two years, the department has sent nearly 385 million emails alone to borrowers alerting them to approaching deadlines, only to see those deadlines evaporate half a dozen times when the Trump administration and then the Biden administration announced another extension. The result: confusion for borrowers.

Now comes this email to loan-servicing companies that appears to be an effort to prevent another raft of confusing borrower notices around another deadline that could evaporate.

There are risks to resuming repayment in May

There are big logistical and political risks to requiring tens of millions of borrowers to resume repayments in May.

Logistically, two mammoth student loan servicers, Navient and FedLoan, are winding down their federal contracts, leaving the Education Department to shift millions of borrowers to other servicers. That could make it harder for some to get the help they’ll need changing repayment plans or monthly payments — not the kind of frustration Democrats want lingering into an election season.

Which is the biggest problem with May, as anyone with a calendar will tell you: It is dangerously close to the midterm elections in November. Asking borrowers to resume repaying student loans ahead of those elections offers little political upside for Democrats.

Biden pledged to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt. Here’s what he’s done so far

What’s more, liberal Democrats who have been pushing for debt cancellation may see a return to repayment as Biden abandoning his campaign pledge, because it makes little sense to force borrowers — and the government — back into debt repayment and collection if cancellation is on the way. If, instead, Biden extends the deadline, even if he continues to avoid a decision on cancellation, the pandemic pause becomes an election-season asset for Democrats, rather than a liability.

“Joe Biden is the only president in history where no one’s paid on their student loans for the entirety of his presidency,” Klain said on the podcast, clearly test-driving a talking point for borrower voters.

And some borrower advocates who have pushed Biden hard on cancellation are already throwing their support behind another extension of the repayment pause.

“This is one of the rare cases where economics, politics, policy and common sense all push in the same direction,” said Mike Pierce, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, in a statement to NPR.

“When every other aspect of American life is more expensive in the wake of the pandemic, student loans don’t need to be. It appears that President Biden and Vice President Harris recognize this and will once again step up to protect people with student debt,” Pierce said in response to news of the department’s email to loan servicers.

Biden’s conservative critics argue enough is enough

When student loan interest and payments were first paused in March 2020, as part of the CARES Act, borrowers were in the vise grip of the pandemic and the pause enjoyed bipartisan support — as did moves to extend it, at least long enough for the economic effects of the pandemic to recede and for borrowers to get back on their feet.

Despite inflation hitting another 40-year high, hiring is rebounding. Critics of another extension also point out that the pause on interest and payments has cost the federal government, along with taxpayers, at least $95 billion.

This rumored extension “makes clear that the President is comfortable using the narrative of a permanent pandemic to advance [his] policy preferences behind closed doors,” Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina said in a statement to NPR. She’s the top Republican on the House Education Committee.

“Hardworking taxpayers are tired of having their backs broken by this President. Another repayment freeze only begets unfairness that is inevitably leveled at both taxpayers and responsible borrowers alike,” Foxx said.

In a statement to NPR, an Education Department spokesperson would not confirm that the repayment pause would continue beyond May 1, but wrote, “from Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has been committed to providing meaningful relief to student loan borrowers including the 41 million borrowers who have saved tens of billions as a result of the extended student loan payment pause. The Department will continue communicating directly with borrowers about federal student loan repayment by providing clear and timely updates.”

And yet borrowers eager to know when, exactly, they’ll be expected to resume repaying their student loans will have to wait a little longer.

Amrita University Is Now The 5th Best In India & Awarded With An A++ NAAC Grade

Amrita University is hogging the headlines. Yet again. This time, it has been for the A++ accreditation the highest it has received from NAAC, the national body that assesses Higher Education Institutions in India. Amrita is the youngest in the club. This recognition follows close on the heels of several others. In 2021, it was ranked the 5th best Indian university in the NIRF rankings. Additionally, the university was ranked 81st worldwide in the Impact rankings for the same year. And besides, in the QS rankings, Amrita has been rated as among the best universities in the world consistently over the years.

It’s interesting to see why the university has continually been grabbing the limelight since its inception eighteen years ago and why it has emerged as one of the most sought-after institutions within what certainly is a short span of time. In addition to the two more universities that are coming up in Faridabad and Amravati, six campuses, each in a different setting, now comprise Amrita University. One of them the headquarters in Coimbatore – is backdropped against the stately hills of the Western range. While the mirror-still backwaters of Kollam surround the campus at Amritapuri. The campus at Mysuru perches itself on the foothills of the Chamundi hills. And those at Kochi, Chennai and Bengaluru are framed by the silhouetted skylines of these cities in the distant horizon.

But if you step inside these campuses and peer into the minds of the people who work, teach and learn here, there is something that is distinctly common running through all of them. It is a set of values, beliefs, and practices, all at once.

You pick this up from what you see, whom you meet, and what you hear from the conversations you hold with them. “At Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, what we aim to produce is the synthesis of the education for life with the education for living,” points out Dr Venkat Rangan, Vice-Chancellor of the university. “We strive to bring the two together, to shape our students into people who balance competence in their profession with purpose in their lives,” he adds.

Such vision is brought alive through numerous on-ground practices. Take their Live-in Labs, for instance. In this program, the students choose to live in rural communities for a period of time typically several months to first identify and then understand the villagers’ problems, and later, to work with them, eventually arriving at solutions that are both innovative and sustainable in equal measure.

The result has not just been an experience that brings about a powerful transformation in the perspective that each participating student holds of the world. It has also been the lasting transformation of the lives of over two hundred thousand people in more than a hundred villages of India. Notably, over 400 international students from more than 40 international partner universities have participated in this program thus far.

Or consider another custom that sets this university apart compassion-driven research. “At Amrita, compassion is not a mere emotion. It is a path of action,” says Dr Raghu Raman, Dean, School of Business. “It is a theme that is driven by our Chancellor, and in turn, one that drives the vision and practices of the university. The objective is single-minded: social impact. And it runs through all our thrust areas of research in Science, Technology, Medicine, Ayurveda, Humanities and Social Sciences. Interestingly, it also aligns with several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the world at large,” Dr Raman explains.

Over 1000 scholars in more than 30 research centres at Amrita synergise diverse disciplines in their effort to develop solutions with real-world applications. From 2016-2021, around 59800+ citations and 12050+ publications were published. The payoff has been enormous.

The Wireless Sensor Network for Landslide Detection, for example, is a low-cost system that integrates knowledge from multiple domains earth science, communication & networking, analog and digital circuits, to name a few. The system has been designed to detect landslides twenty-four hours ahead of time. It has received a U.S patent, and the university, as a result, is now officially recognized as a World Centre of Excellence for Disaster Risk Reduction.

There’s more!

OceanNet offers low-cost internet connectivity for fishermen at the sea, even if they are 60 kilometres away from the shore. Multiple drug-embedded Nano Polymer Wafers have been developed and successfully deployed to treat brain cancer. Cocobot -the coconut harvesting robot has helped farmers with timely yield as much as it has helped regulate the price of the nuts. Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World (A-VIEW) is a multi-modal, e-learning platform built to provide an immersive e-learning experience that emulates a real classroom experience.

Further, The Amrita Center for Research in Analytics, Technologies & Education (Amrita CREATE) is an affordable educational technology initiative pioneered by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, exclusively focussing on UN SDG 4. Digital learning solutions like Online Labs, which use interactive simulations and animations, have benefitted more than 50000 teachers and 4 lacs learners, reaching over 12000 schools in 21 states. During the pandemic, when students could not access physical labs due to school closure, Online Labs to practice lab experiments was used by more than 34 lacs users. Also, to provide cost-effective diabetic care to the masses of India, which is witnessing a massive spurt in cases of diabetes, Amrita’s School of Biotechnology has developed a cost-effective insulin pump and non-enzymatic glucose sensors with US patents licensed to Wipro Technologies.

AMMACHI Labs conceived to impart vocational skill training for the rural Indian woman integrates advanced technologies like haptics into their courses, empowering those less privileged with better livelihood and greater dignity. The center has earned India’s first UNESCO Chair in Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality.

It is also notable that among the private players in the educational sector, Amrita has the largest number of collaborations with the leading universities around the world, continually attracting reputed faculty from among them, including from the envied Ivy League, and, as a result, reversing a brain-drain into a brain-gain for the country. Unsurprisingly, those who graduate from the university turned out to be among the most wanted in the areas they specialise in.

Top corporate houses of the world, including Google, Cisco, Microsoft and SAP, train their sights on Amrita when they scout for resources. As a result, 95% of the students are placed in leading MNCs, luring them with compensation packagesas high as Rs 65 lacs per annum.

“The world’s best companies look for the world’s best resources to populate them,” says Thejas Menon, alumnus and now employed as Production Manager at Tesla Inc. at Nevada in the US. “These are the days when employers look beyond the depth of your proficiency and into the breadth of your worldview,” Menon adds.

Amrita University is more than an Institution of Eminence. It is a 50,000-strong community of scholars, teachers and alumni that power social change.

And if you are looking for their collective motivation, it is easy to find it in the words of the Chancellor, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi: “Life and living are not the same. For living, we may need a job, money, a home, a car and other creature comforts. But for life, a complete life, you also need love, compassion, and maturity both in thought and in action.”

Click here to read more on programs, faculty competence, global university partnering, campuses, student community and Amrita University initiatives.

Maneesh Media, International University of Vedic Wellness Present Book Launch At Women’s Day Celebration

Maneesh Media along with International University of Vedic Wellness unveiled a spectacular event to commemorate the International Women’s Day celebration and the launch of Maneesh Media’s new book, “India Calling 2022” on March 8th, 2022 at the Marriot in Hoffman Estates, IL. India Calling 2022 is a new book celebrating India’s Prime Minister, Modiji’s mother Heeraben Modi who is 102 years of age! This book also depicts the 113 magnificent foreign trips of the Indian Prime Minister Modiji and the outcome of those trips during his leadership

The International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world to honor the remarkable hard work and achievements of women in every field. This extraordinary event also acknowledged women’s empowerment by honoring the significant efforts of women to make the world a better place to live in. A life of dignity is the birthright of every woman. Women’s empowerment is key to advancing the development of every country. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and improved prospects for the next generation.

Dr. Mrs. Santosh Kulshrestha Kumar – Founding Executive Director, of Metropolitan Asian Family Services, Universal Metro Asian Services, and International University of Vedic Wellness, along with Mr. Chandmal Kumawat – Chairman of Maneesh Media partnered and made possible this historic event. Dr. Mrs, Kumar was named as “Mother Theresa of Chicago” for her dedication to fulfilling the needs of the downtrodden and her selfless community service for more than 40 years. Through her organizations, Dr. Mrs. Kumar has Established a proven successful multi, disciplinary pathway to the empowerment of Seniors Citizens over the past 30 years.

Mrs. Kumar has provided a broad framework for collective action for senior citizens to nurture their innate talents, enrich their groundbreaking ideas and engage in innovative experiences which has become a global model. She has achieved this by providing critically needed services to multiethnic senior citizen population especially the Indian diaspora with employment opportunities, creating more than 10,000 jobs per year, homecare services to over 10,000 homebound seniors mostly Indian diaspora every year by integrating state of art technology with a human touch in this digital age. Her model of service is being replicated in several parts of the world including India.

Mrs Santosh Kumar who established a global network and a functional platform, took painstaking efforts to propagate and promote India’s Prime Minister Modi New India in USA and India. Mrs Santosh Kumar motivated and sensitized the Indian Americans and the gatekeepers of minority communities in India to Prime Minister Modis Vision for Development of all. Mrs Santosh Kumar is a beacon of hope and lighthouse of service and care to the vulnerable Indian American Senior Population during this COVID 19 Pandemic.

International University of Vedic Wellness Center’s mission is to provide wisdom, peace, and stability through ancient knowledge, consequently, leading to a stress-free and pain-free lifestyle for all. Attaining this kind of lifestyle will aid in sustaining a more stable and peaceful world and avoid wars in the present time like the Russia/Ukraine War!!!

The event commenced with the lighting of the lamp by Dr. Mrs. Santosh Kumar, Mr. Neil Khot, Mr. Kishor Mehta, Acharya Rohit Joshi, Dr. Rakesh Asthana, Mr. Chandmal Kumawat and Ms. Marta Pereya. Roshita Pandey and Radhika Subramanian did a great job of compering. Dr. Mrs. Santosh Kumar began her welcoming speech by shedding light on the importance of women and encouraged every woman to stand for her rights. She soulfully thanked Mrs. Heeraben Modi for providing to the world such a treasure, Prime Minister Modiji! She praised Modiji for he lives the philosophy of ancient Vedas which believes that the whole world is one family living in Peace, Harmony, and Prosperity!

India To Get WHO Global Center For Traditional Medicine

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the establishment of the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (WHO GCTM) in Jamnagar, Gujarat. This would be the first and only global outposted Centre (office) for traditional medicine across the globe.

The cabinet signed the Host Country agreement between the Central government and the World Health Organization (WHO) to approve the establishment of GCTM.

The WHO GCTM will be established in Jamnagar under the Ministry of AYUSH. A Joint Task Force (JTF) is constituted for coordination, execution and monitoring of activities for the establishment of this Centre.

JTF comprises representatives from the government of India, Permanent Mission of India, Geneva and the World Health Organization.

Under the ambit of this, an interim office is being established in Jamnagar to execute the identified technical activities and planning of fully functional WHO GCTM.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghbereyesus, WHO Director General, had announced the establishment of WHO GCTM in India on the occasion of 5th Ayurveda Day on November 13, 2020.

“WHO GCTM would emerge as a centre of global wellness, bolster evidence-based research, training and awareness for Traditional Medicine,” said Modi.

The WHO GCTM would provide leadership on all global health matters related to traditional medicine as well as extend support to member countries in shaping various policies related to traditional medicine research, practices and public health.

The Ministry of AYUSH has collaborated with WHO on many fronts including developing benchmarks documents on training and practice of Ayurveda and Unani System, introducing a second module in the Traditional Medicine Chapter of the International classification of Diseases-11, developing apps like M-yoga, supporting the work of International Pharmacopeia of Herbal Medicine (IPHM) and other research studies etc. (IANS)

Engineers’ Organization And Northwestern University Host Event For Students

Northwestern University’s Master of Engineering Management Student Advisory Board (SAB) and the American Association of Engineers of India Origin (AAEIO) hosted an event on “How to Navigate your career in the post digital world.”

Prof. Mark Werwath, Northwestern University, along with  Azgar Ali, president of MEM Student Advisory Board (SAB) welcomed all guests, AAEIO board members and the distinguished panel. They talked about the need for increased collaboration between students, engineering communities and employers, according to a press release from Asian Media USA.

Gladson Varghese, founder and president of AAEIO detailed how important it was for young engineers to work together and collaborate with other universities, startups and corporate and get experiential learning. He also asked students to join the mission of bringing all engineers under one umbrella and asked them to join the Engineering Student Chapter. This event was the first of its kind for AAEIO collaborating with a university.

Consul General of India, Chicago, Amit Kumar was the chief guest for the event. He spoke of the need for increased global collaboration and some of the recent innovations that are transforming the world. For example, in India, Aristech is leading a revolution on how food storage can be improved, he noted.

Mohanbir Singh Sawhney, PhD, Associate Dean of Digital innovation, Kellogg School of Management was the keynote speaker for the event. He is also an Advisory Board member of the AAEIO. His talk was on “Product Strategy” where he informed the students about the need for product management and its interaction with engineers and how one should think about Product Management, its different career prospects, and how a student can be successful in this field.

Prof. Vinayak P. Dravid, Material Science and Engineering, talked about how research collaboration has made a difference. He also emphasized the need for more AAEIO kind of partnership.

Nitin Maheshwari, vice president, AAEIO, also a Northwestern graduate from Kellogg School of Management and an entrepreneur of Artificial Engineering (AI) based consulting, moderated a highly coveted and diverse panel of distinguished guests on the topic of “How to Navigate your career in post digital world.”

Other discussants included Nag Jaiswal, AAEIO Chair of Membership, Principal Architect, Salesforce and Rajinder Mago, ex-Navistar.

The AAEIO announced a Leadership Excellence Webinar to be held March 19. There was also a ribbon-cutting ceremony to symbolize increased partnership between AAEIO and Northwestern.

Upakar Foundation Inviting Student Scholarship Applications For 2022

Upakar Foundation based in Washington, D.C. has announced applications for its 2022 scholarships for citizens and permanent residents of Indian descent to help them attend higher education institutions.

According to 2015 data collected by the Pew Research Center, approximately 7.5% of Indians in the US live in poverty.  US Census Bureau data for 2018 set the poverty threshold for a family of four at $25,465, the Foundation said in a press release.

To date Upakar has awarded 179 scholarships for more than $700,000 to students who meet the criteria of being born in India or who have at least one Indian-born parent.

Upakar opened its application window this year’s Upakar Scholarships on March 1, 2022.  Applicants wishing to apply for a scholarship must submit their applications no later than April 30, 2022.  Full application criteria can be found on the Upakar website at upakar.org.

Upakar Scholarships are $2,000 per year for Scholars attending a 4-year undergraduate program, and $500 per year for Scholars attending a community college program.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Financial need is determined by the family’s adjusted gross income. Scholars must have attained a raw high school GPA above 3.6.  As long as a scholar’s GPA exceeds 3.3 in college, Upakar will renew the $2,000 annual scholarship for up to four years.  Upakar Community College Scholarships provide $500 per year for up to two years; and if the Scholar transfers to a 4-year program, Upakar will increase its commitment to $2,000 annually until the Scholar has received a total of four years of scholarship support.  Upakar Textbook Scholarships are one-time awards of $250.

Upakar has 24 Scholars attending their respective colleges in the 2021-2022 academic year, at various stages in their undergraduate degree programs.

Founded in 1997, the Foundation aims to  provide highly qualified college-bound Indian-American students with need-based tuition assistance so that they could graduate without a crushing burden of college debt, the organization said.

.India Is Deeply Disturbed And Anguished Over The Deteriorating Situation And Humanitarian Crisis In Ukraine: Consul General Dr. Swati Kulkarni

With Russia intensifying its offensive in its war against Ukraine, evacuation efforts by Indian authorities are underway to help Indian students and other Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine and nearby countries. On March 1, the Consul General of India in Atlanta, Dr. Swati Kulkarni, on a virtual briefing with Indian-American community leaders, said that “India is deeply disturbed and anguished over the deteriorating situation and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”

While informing community leaders about India’s efforts in Ukraine and in its neighboring countries, Dr. Kulkarni stressed that India wants its citizens to escape the conflict zone.  She appealed to Indian citizens to move to the Western border of Ukraine, stay put in shelters, and contact India’s local team to provide location details and coordinate on an evacuation plan. She expressed her deep condolences to the family of a 21-year old Indian Medical student, Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, who was killed in Ukraine.

Community leaders during the meeting appreciated India’s efforts, but also raised questions and concerns including why India has yet to take a firm position on the Ukraine issue. They raised questions around India’s decision to abstain from voting at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), lack of initiating a mandatory evacuation of its citizens prior to the start of the war, discrimination and harassment faced by Indian students at Ukraine’s borders citing media reports and social media posts, role of community leaders in assisting India respond to the crisis, India’s role in de-escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and how to respond to members of US Congress and local US officials about India’s stand on the issue of Ukraine. Community leaders have also requested Dr. Kulkarni to convey their concerns to the Indian Government to ensure the protection of Indian citizens.

Responding to their reactions, Dr. Kulkarni maintained that it is an evolving situation and that the Indian Government is currently undertaking various efforts to safeguard Indian citizens on the ground. According to Dr. Kulkarni, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been frequently chairing high-level meetings with Cabinet Ministers, and has already deputed four senior Ministers as his Special Envoys to various nations to oversee and escalate evacuations efforts. They include Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, to Romania and Moldova, Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, and Civil Aviation, Gen. V K Singh, to Poland, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, to Hungary, and Minister of Law and Justice, Kiren Rijiju, to The Czech Republic.

When asked about India’s stand at the United Nations, Dr. Kulkarni told News India Times, “India has taken a stand at the UN, when the UNSC moved resolution on the situation in Ukraine, and decided to abstain. Currently, humanitarian necessity for us is really paramount. The Government of India under ‘Operation Ganga’ is working relentlessly to ensure safety of every Indian national. Indian teams are working on the ground round-the-clock to oversee the evacuation efforts of Indian citizens in coordination with local authorities. India supports diplomacy and dialogue as the way out. India is ready to contribute to de-escalation efforts.”

During the call, she mentioned that Operation Ganga is being monitored closely by PM Modi, and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. The Ministry of External Affairs, which is consistently closely monitoring the situation on the ground, and through helplines and social media platforms, has so far handled over 8,000 calls and 6,000 emails. So far, the Indian Government has sent nine evacuation flights and has evacuated around 8,500 Indian citizens, mostly students. The evacuation efforts are still underway, it is expected that India will evacuate about 12,000 additional Indian citizens who are stranded.

She further informed that PM Modi has spoken with PM of Slovak Republic, PM of Romania, PM of Poland, President of Ukraine, and President of Russia in the last few days. He has also been in discussions with the President of the European Council, and President of the French Republic. During his calls, PM Modi thanked these countries for their assistance in permitting special evacuation flights from India, in addition to allowing Indian citizens to enter these countries without visas. The Indian Embassy in Ukraine, and neighboring Indian Missions in Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, and Hungary, have also been instructed to work round the clock to safely bring Indian citizens home.

Meanwhile, a representative of Sewa International, which is helping citizens on the ground, requested community members and organizations to join hands with them to raise funds, and help spread the word through social media platforms. He said that SEWA International has already helped 500 people return to India, and as many as 120 volunteers are flying into the zone to help out with relief and humanitarian efforts.

Sundar Pichai Unveils $100 Million Google Career Certificates Fund

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced a new $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund to prepare a skilled workforce for high-paying, high-growth jobs in fields like data analytics, IT support, project management and user experience design.

The goal, he said, is to enable ‘Social Finance’ to reach more than 20,000 American workers.

“This investment in America’s future has the potential to drive $1 billion in wage gains,” Pichai said in a statement late on Thursday.

Nearly 70,000 Americans have completed Google Career Certificates to date. “They are available to anyone, no college degree required. Seventy-five percent of graduates report seeing a positive impact on their career within six months, including a raise or a new job,” Pichai added.

He announced the fund at an event with US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Alejandra Castillo, and the CEOs of Social Finance, Merit America and Year Up.

“A sense of purpose and optimism is what brought me to America nearly 30 years ago. And it’s what drew me to Google and its mission to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” said Pichai.

Google’s digital skills program has also helped train 8 million Americans in all 50 states in the US. “We’ll invest Google capital and Google.org grants and provide our Career Certificate program. We’ll connect students to an employer consortium of more than 150 companies who are looking to hire workers with these skills,” Pichai noted.

It’s all designed around student success and they will receive all of this at no upfront cost, “and will only pay it back once they find a job earning at least $40,000 a year”. (IANS)

Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, Scientist, Researcher, Author, & Science Explainer To Deliver Keynote Address During AAPI’s 40th Convention In San Antonio, TX

“We are excited and honored to have Dr. Peter J. Hotez, an internationally-recognized physician-scientist in tropical diseases and vaccine development will deliver the keynote address during the 40th American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions planned to be held from June 23-26, 2022 in the beautiful city of San Antonio, Texas,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI announced here today.

Millions of doses of a new, cheap coronavirus vaccine will soon be available in India, thanks to the efforts and generosity of Dr. Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also the Co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pedi, and his team of researchers, who have made the new CORBEVAX inoculation, which was developed in Texas with decades-old technology and little support from the U.S. government, received emergency use authorization last month from India’s drug regulation agency.

Unlike other vaccines in the market, Dr. Hotez and his team “don’t own any intellectual property.” While describing it the “World’s Coronavirus Vaccine” Dr. Hotez and colleagues say CORBEVAX is cheap and stable and could be relatively easy to scale — will be key to addressing global equity gaps. “That’s all we know how to do is make durable, low-cost vaccines for global health,” Hotez said.

“The presence of Dr. Hotez, a University Professor at Baylor University, Fellow in Disease and Poverty at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy,  Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, Faculty Fellow with the Hagler Institute for Advanced Studies at Texas A&M University, and Health Policy Scholar in the Baylor Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and a True Friend of India at the AAPI Convention is a way for us, Physicians of Indian Origin to honor a legendary and celebrated champion of vaccines, who has developed vaccines for tropical diseases that afflict the world’s poorest people as he has devoted his skills, knowledge and experiences to help the world defeat COVID-19,” said Dr. Jayesh Shah, past President of AAPI and Chair of AAPI Convention 2022.

“AAPI is planning a historic convention in San Antonio to celebrate 40 years of AAPI that coincides with 75 years of India’s Independence. Excellent sessions and programs are planned!,” said Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the Covid 19 pandemic, and the 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr. Vijay Kolli, Advisor for the Convention. Accordingly, “some of the major themes at the convention include: Yoga and Meditation practices, Welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, A Personal Reflexology Session, Take home wellness routine, Ailment based yoga therapy sessions, Workshop on Spiritual well-being, Book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine, as well as a unique opportunity to visit first of its kind in San Antonio, Aum Ashram as part of the Wellness session,” said Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Advisor for the Convention.

Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer pointed out: “In addition to colorful entertainment, exquisite authentic Indian cuisine, esteemed yoga gurus and experts, who are planned to share their wisdom and leading the Wellness Sessions include: Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern,  Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and  Dr. Param Dedhia.”

Dr. Hotez has authored more than 600 original papers and is the author of five single-author books, and has served previously as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In 2011, he was awarded the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Health by the Pan American Health Organization of the WHO.  In 2017, he was named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the 34 most influential people in health care, while in 2018 he received the Sustained Leadership Award from Research! America.   In 2019 he received the Ronald McDonald House Charities Award for Medical Excellence.

An ardent champion of vaccines going up against a growing national “antivax” threat, in 2019, he received the Award for Leadership in Advocacy for Vaccines from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  In 2021 he was recognized by scientific leadership awards from the AAMC and the AMA. Dr. Hotez appears frequently on television (including BBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC), radio, and in newspaper interviews, including the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Convention offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin. The physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

Planned to have a limited number of attendance due to the ongoing Covid pandemic and taking into account the safety of the participants, including Physicians, Academicians, Researchers, and Medical students, “The annual convention offers extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” Dr. Gotimukula added.   For more information, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

As 3 Canadian Colleges Shut Down, Indian Students Stranded

The abrupt school closures prompted scores of students to flock to the Indian High Commission in Canada for assistance, as many of them had been forced to pay up thousands of dollars in fees without warning, only to have their education halted.

Following the abrupt closure of three colleges in Canada’s Quebec that has left thousands of Indian students in a major predicament, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa has issued an advisory for Indian students affected by the sudden change in the status of their educational institutions.

The three colleges — M College in Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke, and CCSQ College in Longueuil — soon after pushing up deadlines for tuition fees and requiring students to pay up hefty quantities all of a sudden, issued a notice to students earlier this month that they were closing altogether.

Canada’s CBC News reported that all three colleges — run by the same recruiting firm, Rising Phoenix International (RPI) Inc. — have filed for bankruptcy. The request for creditor protection comes a little over a year after Quebec began to investigate several private colleges, including M College and CDE College, for “questionable” recruitment practices for students in India.

The abrupt school closures prompted scores of panicking international students from India to flock to the Indian High Commission in Ottawa for assistance, as many of them had been forced to come up with thousands of dollars in fees without warning, only to have their education halted.

“The High Commission has been approached by several students from India who were enrolled in the three institutions,” said the High Commission of India, in an advisory released on Friday.

“In the event that they find any difficulty in reimbursement of their fees or transfer of fees, they may file a complaint with Ministry of Higher Education, Government of Quebec,” stated the advisory, assuring students that there were avenues through which they could attempt to recover their lost money.

The advisory noted that the High Commission has been in close contact with Canada’s federal government, Quebec’s provincial government, as well as elected representatives from Canada’s Indian community to provide support to the affected students.

The students were also informed that they are free to approach the Education Wing of the High Commission in Ottawa or the Consulate General of India in Toronto if they require immediate assistance regarding the issue.

In addition, the advisory warned against making payments to any institutions that don’t have their credentials in order. “Students should not make any payments or reveal their personal information to any unverified person/institution offering students visa on payment,” cautioned the advisory.

Comments According to the application for creditor protection by the RPI Group, unpaid tuition fees and refund claims from 633 students against the company are estimated at nearly $6.4 million.

US House Passes Bill With More Measures For Immigrants In STEM Fields Forbes

Amendments to a recently passed House bill will expand immigration opportunities for foreign-born scientists and engineers. If retained during negotiations with the Senate, the measures in the bill could become the most significant on legal immigration to pass Congress in more than 30 years.

Supporters of the provisions will argue that no bill promoting innovation can justify not including improved ways to attract and retain foreign-born talent. More than 70% of the full-time graduate students at U.S. universities in electrical engineering, industrial engineering and computer and information sciences are foreign nationals. Members of Congress have recognized that other countries are doing a better job than the United States attracting and retaining such talent.

House Bill: On February 4, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act 222 to 210 with only one Republican vote. In June 2021, the Senate passed a similar bill. There are enough differences between the two bills to make final passage uncertain.

Significant Immigration Provisions: On January 25, 2022, the House Rules Committee added Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s (D-CA) LIKE Act to create an immigrant startup visa and also an exemption from annual green card limits and backlogs for foreign nationals with a Ph.D. in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Because of the potential to provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs and top researchers around the world, these two additions, in the long run, might produce more innovations in the United States than all the other sections of the nearly 3,000-page bill. Both measures fund additional scholarships for U.S. students in STEM fields by charging $1,000 supplemental fees for those receiving a green card or status under the legislation.

As discussed here, the bill creates a temporary visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs who qualify and “Allows the founder to apply for and receive lawful permanent residence if the startup entity meets certain additional benchmarks.” The lack of a startup visa disadvantages the U.S. compared to other nations like Canada in retaining and attracting foreign-born entrepreneurs. The absence of a startup visa and the per-country limit caused Jyoti Bansal to wait 7 years for a green card before he could start AppDynamics, which grew to employ over 2,000 people and was valued at $3.7 billion when Cisco acquired it in 2017.

Exempting individuals with Ph.D.s in STEM fields from annual green card limits would relieve many from long wait times for permanent residence and (indirectly) reduce the decades-long waits for other highly skilled immigrants. The provision would allow U.S. employers to gain a significant competitive edge by offering the chance at permanent residence to outstanding researchers from around the world, including those early in their careers and engaging in cutting-edge work. (See here.)

Katalin Karikó, who produced the underlying research breakthrough that made messenger RNA possible for life-saving vaccines, could have benefited from a special green card provision for Ph.D.s. Karikó earned her Ph.D. in Hungary and toiled for years in America, first as a postdoctoral researcher, before her work became recognized as life-saving. Approximately 56% of postdoctoral researchers work on temporary visas, with many in biological sciences, medical sciences, engineering and research and development. The new measure would allow many more an opportunity to stay in and contribute to the United States.

“The America COMPETES Act also helps build our domestic STEM workforce and encourages start-up companies to establish roots here,” Rep. Lofgren said in a statement. “Individuals who earn STEM doctoral degrees from top research universities in the U.S. will be able to quickly obtain permanent residence and founders of start-up companies will have a chance to grow their companies here. These measures will help ensure that America is once again the number one destination for the best and brightest innovators and the next generation of entrepreneurs worldwide.”

Does The House GOP Understand Its Position On Immigration Aligns With The Chinese Communist Party’s Leadership?: If the Chinese Communist Party lobbied in Congress, it likely would have applauded a statement issued by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that called for removing the bill’s provision to bring more Ph.D.s in STEM fields to the United States.

Analysts who have studied China and its technology plans understand that the country’s leadership fears a more open U.S. immigration system able to attract high-level science and engineering talent. It would welcome removing from the bill measures to attract STEM talent to America.

“Chinese leaders understand the extent to which the United States benefits from international talent inflows,” writes Remco Zwetsloot in a report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They therefore celebrate America’s flawed immigration system and fear reforms that would improve U.S. talent attraction and retention. Commenting on U.S. retention of Chinese STEM students, the head of the CCP’s Central Talent Work Coordination Group has complained that ‘the number of top talents lost in China ranks first in the world.’”

Zwetsloot cites a Chinese artificial intelligence white paper that found U.S. immigration restrictions “have provided China opportunities to bolster its ranks of high-end talent.” Moreover, “The deputy editor of China Daily USA, a government newspaper, said that expansion of the U.S. employment-based immigration system ‘would pose a huge challenge for China, which has been making great efforts to attract and retain talent.’”

The evidence indicates removing the provision to provide more green cards for Ph.D.s in STEM fields would please the leaders of China and hurt the ability of U.S. companies to compete globally.

Ross Amendment Adds Health Professions: An amendment at the Rules Committee sponsored by Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC) added “health professions and related programs” to the STEM fields for which Ph.D.s are eligible under the bill to be exempt from the annual limit on employment-based green cards. The bill already covered physicians with a medical residency.

In a press statement, Rep. Ross elaborated on who would be added under “health professions and related programs” in her amendment by including a link to the Classification of Instructional Programs covered: “Expand the bill’s green card cap exemption for individuals with doctorates in STEM fields to include individuals with doctorates in these health care fields.”

Foster Amendment Adds Dual Intent For Many International Students: An amendment sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) provides international students on F visas in STEM fields with “dual intent.” That means a consular officer no longer will need to be convinced a student in a STEM field will not seek permanent residence in the United States. The Biden administration recently reversed restrictive guidance in the Foreign Affairs Manual—added during the Trump administration—that would have a similar effect to the Foster amendment. However, a law is more difficult than guidance for a new administration to change.

Manning Amendment Expands Eligibility For STEM Green Card Exemption: An amendment sponsored by Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) expanded the exemption from the annual numerical limit for green cards for Ph.D.s in STEM fields to include individuals with a master’s degree “in the case of an alien who works in a critical industry.”

What is a critical industry? “The term ‘critical industry’ means an industry that is critical for the national security or economic security of the United States, considering key technology focus areas and critical infrastructure,” according to the America COMPETES Act. The term “critical infrastructure” under 42 U.S.C. 5195c “means systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.”

In sum, like most new laws, regulation will define the scope of the provision, but it is likely to include several technology specialties.

E-4 Visas For Specialty Occupation Professionals From South Korea: An amendment by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) would add South Korea as a country from which the United States can accept, on a reciprocal basis, specialty occupation professionals in a new E-4 status. The annual limit is 15,000, though the experience with Australia is far fewer visas likely would be used each year.

The bill also includes immigration and human rights measures for Uyghurs and residents of Hong Kong.

Challenges in the Senate: Before the House-passed immigration provisions become law, they must overcome three challenges in the Senate. First, the bill will require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, meaning a compromise with Republicans in the Senate is necessary.

The Senate’s version of the bill passed 68-32 in June 2021, so there has been bipartisan support for the legislation. “Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), who was a lead proponent of the Senate bill, said the House measure would have to undergo large changes for a deal to be struck,” reported the Washington Post. “[Commerce Secretary Gina] Raimondo said that the most contentious of the numerous partisan disagreements over the House package concerned its trade-policy changes,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Second, it is unclear if there are Senate Republicans who will oppose the House-passed immigration provisions, but given Rep. McCarthy’s statements, that is a possibility. Third, it is unknown whether Senate Democrats will fight to keep the immigration measures. In the past year, most of the immigration energy among Senate Democrats has focused on legalizing individuals here without lawful status.

An optimist would say the time has come for change. The year 1990 was the last time Congress passed legislation that included legal immigration reforms as significant as startup visas for immigrant entrepreneurs and a smooth path to permanent residence for the world’s top scientists and engineers. A pessimist would take the opposite position: If it’s a good provision on immigration, it likely won’t become law. Members of Congress have the rest of the year to prove the pessimists wrong.

An Indian University Now Trains Future Bollywood Actors

World Design University (WUD) is India’s first university dedicated to educate students in the creative domain. Seated in the heart of the educational hub of India – Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Sonipat, Haryana – WUD plays the role of a harbinger of a revolution in the education system in India.

World University of Design introduces a 6-Month Certificate Programme in Film Acting in their academic session 2022. The programme will be headed by veteran trainer for aspiring actors Mr. Farrukh Naqi Azmi and will commence from March 2022 onwards.

The programme is aimed at providing extensive training to the candidates for a career in Hindi Bollywood Film Industry and has a limited number of 25 seats which will be allotted based on application and personal interview. Divided into 2 divisions comprising of 3 months each the candidates will first undergo intensive training in the first half and then feature in a full-scale Feature Film which will further be used to launch them as actors. The film will be produced and distributed by WUD itself. This is a unique offer that sets this course over and above other courses of shorter duration.

The 6-month acting course is  designed such that  students inculcate a sense of confidence and effortlessly act in front of the camera, get a good command over spoken language with a flawless dialogue delivery; master facial expressions, develop good body language and flexibility; develop the essential skills of observation, imagination, sense and emotion memories; ability to improvise; master movement with special focus on dancing abilities to improvise; and the fundamentals of action choreography.

As World University of Design sets foot into a new genre, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (Vice Chancellor, World University of Design) says, “Extremely thrilled and hopeful to add the course on Film Acting to our diversified menu of courses! More than that I am exhilarated to have someone as seasoned and skilled as Mr. Azmi boarded with us and flagged off this essential milestone in the history of the university. In the past we have witnessed students showing interest in the domain of film acting and I am very sure the seats will be taken soon.”

Peppered to handle his new role at World University of Design Mr. Farrukh Naqi Azmi says, “I have been training acting aspirants for more than 3 decades now in India as well as abroad but every time the whole experience feels new to me. Every place has its own dialects, speech formations and a certain way of life which needs to be gauged before the grooming, diction and the whole technique shapes up. So here I am, keen and waiting to start off the acting journey for new kids!”

While advancing its footsteps in order to provide a bright future to its students, the university will ensure that every student gets plenty of auditions each in Mumbai. WUD is not only making provisions for their students to be equipped with necessary skill-sets like make-up and video editing but also providing prospects to them to produce their own short films or music videos if they please.

About World University of Design: World Design University (WUD) is India’s first university dedicated to educate students in the creative domain. Seated in the heart of the educational hub of India – Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Sonipat, Haryana – WUD plays the role of a harbinger of a revolution in the education system in India. It is the torchbearer of breaking stereotypical educational patterns and has facilitated the shift of studies pertaining to design from being solely vocation-oriented to academic-oriented; thereby offering substantiated degrees (under section 2(f) and 22(l) of the UGC Act) to its students instead of mere diplomas and certificates.

Established in 2018, World University of Design is a young university offering a myriad of programmes at undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral levels across disciplines like Architecture, Design, Fashion, Communication, Visual arts, Performing Arts & Management. Equipped with the largest portfolio of design courses in India, the university offers a number of cutting edge programs in computers & design, transportation design, animation & game design, UI/UX, film & video, built environment & habitat studies, design management, art education, curatorial practice etc

India Prepares Roadmap For Indian Universities To Set Up Foreign Campuses

A federal Indian committee has been asked to “submit a framework/structure for opening of campuses abroad by Higher Education Institutes after examining the existing provisions for opening of offshore campuses” by March 17.

The Government of India has formed a 16-member committee comprising directors of seven IITs and vice-chancellors of four central universities to prepare a roadmap on the demand “from various quarters” to allow overseas campuses” of Indian universities. The development comes on the back of IIT Delhi’s proposal to open centers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The committee, headed by IIT Council Standing Committee Chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan, has been asked to “submit a framework/structure for the opening of campuses abroad by Higher Education Institutes after examining the existing provisions for the opening of offshore campuses” by March 17.

The committee members include directors of seven IITs — Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur, Madras, Kanpur, Guwahati, Dhanbad — and the vice-chancellors of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Banaras Hindu University, University of Hyderabad, and the Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. Its mandate includes drawing up the administrative, financial, and legal framework of the proposed overseas campuses.

The proposals, including that of IIT Delhi, will be placed before the committee. Among the highlights of IIT Delhi’s proposed overseas campuses are four-year undergraduate courses, an annual intake of up to 240 students in four branches based on SAT scores, and campuses spread over 100 acres that are close to major cities with good air connectivity.

The premier engineering school’s proposal marks its second attempt to expand abroad. Its previous attempt to set up a research academy in Mauritius under an agreement with the Mauritius Research Council had run into a controversy in 2014 following objections raised by the Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani.

IIT-D’s second attempt

The Centre’s move to set up a committee to prepare a roadmap for Indian universities to set up foreign campuses comes on the back of IIT Delhi’s proposal to open campuses in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Earlier, IIT-D’s attempt to set up a research academy in Mauritius had been objected to by then HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

“The operational safeguard required for insulating the parent institute vis-a-vis its offshore campuses from liabilities as per law of foreign country” is also among the terms of references of the Radhakrishnan committee.

A senior Education Ministry official said the committee has so far met once where discussions were held on whether the IITs should collectively start one campus abroad or should each IIT compete individually abroad.

“And why just IITs? Many other central universities have the necessary expertise to launch off-shore campuses. The committee will provide a roadmap. IIT Delhi is an institute of eminence and has an autonomous decision-making structure. But any proposal that involves funds will require the ministry’s approval,” the official added.

According to the structure outlined by IIT-D, the proposed campuses — which will be headed by directors appointed by the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Delhi centre — in Saudi Arabia and Egypt will have to be financially supported by stakeholders based in those countries, including their governments, the industry or philanthropic donors.

“An alternate model would be to set up the KSA campus [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] as a for-profit entity. This would have the advantage of attracting potential investors who could provide the capital needed to set up the campus. However, IIT Delhi has no experience in working with such a model and while it might be willing to explore the possibility this would not be its priority,” it said in the draft proposal.

In line with the National Education Policy, the Centre had last year issued guidelines allowing institutions of eminence such as IIT Delhi to open overseas campuses with the prior approval of the Ministry of Education and no-objection certificates from the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs.

“The campus would admit 60 students in each discipline each year and this would imply 240 students in each cohort and roughly 1,000 students and 60 faculty members on campus after 4 years,” says the IIT-D proposal. Students will spend their final year of the course in the Delhi campus, it adds.

Of the total faculty members, 60 per cent are proposed to be either Saudi-based or from Egypt. The recruitment of teachers, who will be expected to spend one semester every three years at the India campus, will be carried out by IIT Delhi.

The proposal includes the creation of “ultra-modern laboratories and classrooms”, dormitories, food courts, sports facilities, 150 apartments to house teaching and non-teaching staff on a 100-acre campus “close to a major city having good air links to Delhi.”

“The adjoining city should have good educational and medical facilities to cater to the needs of teaching and scientific staff that would be housed on the campus,” it pitches.

The Most Intelligent In The World Is Of Indian Origin

A 12-year-old Malayalee schoolgirl has achieved the maximum score possible in a Mensa IQ test, a feat achieved by only 1% of those who sit the society’s entry paper. Lydia Sebastian completed the Cattell III B paper supervised by Mensa, the society for people with high IQs, with minutes to spare at the sitting at Birkbeck College, London.

This Indian-origin girl (Parents & Grandparents are from Kerala) in the UK has achieved the highest possible score of 162 on a Mensa IQ test, outwitting physicists Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. The young girl’s favorite subjects include Maths, Physics and Chemistry and she has stated to the media in England that she wants to do something related to Maths in her career.

Her parents are from Kerala, her father Arun Sebastian is a radiologist at Colchester General Hospital while her mom Erika Kottiath is an associate director with Barclays Bank.

Lydia pressed her parents all year to allow her to take the intelligence test, which she finally took during her school break. Sebastian completely downplayed the super tough exam–going so far as to call it “easy.” “At first, I was really nervous but once I started, it was much easier than I expected it to be and then I relaxed, she said. “I gave it my best shot really.”

Arun said seeing his daughter score the highest possible score on one of the tough IQ test he was “overwhelmed”. He said: “Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking got an IQ of 160. To be honest, I didn’t really believe it.”

When asked whether she likes coming to Kerala she said that she has been visiting her Grandparents house in Kerala ever since she was a year and a half and loves living in Kerala. She may come back to Kerala after her studies and possibly contribute to the progress of kerala, the progress of India and of the whole world in turn.

Mensa is considered to be one of the oldest intelligence society in the world. It accepts only those individuals as members who score in the 98th percentile on an IQ test. The eligibility criteria to get the membership is to score at least 132 or higher only.

Share this with every Indian and let us be proud of our 12 year old Malayalee Girl.

Harvard President Vows To Fight Back US SC Move On Asian-American Kids

Hurting after the US Supreme Court announced a decision “that could put Harvard’s forty years of legal precedent at risk,” Larry S. Bacow, the university’s President, has warned that “colleges and universities could lose the freedom and flexibility to create diverse campus communities that enrich education for all”.

The SC has agreed to review a challenge to the consideration of race in college admission decisions, often known as affirmative action.

With three new conservative justices in the SC since its last review, the practice may be facing its greatest threat yet.

The court said Monday it would consider a pair of lawsuits alleging that Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC) discriminate against Asian American applicants.

“Our admissions process, in which race is considered as one factor among many, makes us stronger. It prompts learning in day-to-day exchanges in our classrooms and laboratories, in our residential houses, and on our playing fields and stages. Our students understand these truths and see them reflected in their interactions with their classmates. Diversity opens our eyes to the promise of a better future,” said Bacow, earlier Chancellor at M.I.T. and President at Tufts, in a “dear members of the Harvard community” mail reviewed by IANS.

“Harvard celebrates and nurtures individuality as intensely as this nation. Those who challenge our admissions policies would ask us to rely upon a process far more mechanistic, a process far more reliant on simple assessments of objective criteria. Each of us is, however, more than our numbers, more than our grades, more than our rankings or scores.

Ask yourself, how much have you learned from other people at this University? How much have you grown from conversations across difference? Would these conversations have been as rich if you had shared the same interests, the same life experiences, and — yes — the same racial or ethnic background as your fellow community members? This is why applications of any kind routinely go beyond mere numbers to include interviews, samples of work product, recommendations, and references. Narrowly drawn measures of academic distinction are not the only indicators of individual promise.”

“As the Supreme Court has recognised many times, race matters in the United States,” Bracow argued.

“I long for the day when it does not, but we still have miles to go before our journey is complete. Harvard will continue to defend with vigor admissions policies that were endorsed in the thoughtful decisions of two federal courts that concluded that we do not discriminate; our practices are consistent with Supreme Court precedent; there is no persuasive, credible evidence warranting a different outcome. Though I wish yesterday had turned out differently, I remain confident that the rule of law — and the respect for precedent that perpetuates it — will prevail.”

The SC is taking up two lawsuits filed by Students for Fair Admissions, a Virginia-based group, that says race should play no part in the admission process. The group is led by Edward Blum, a legal strategist.

The group argues that Harvard and UNC intentionally discriminate against Asian-American applicants.

Examining six years of data at Harvard, the group found that Asian-American applicants had the strongest academics but were admitted at the lowest rates compared to students of other races.

It also found that Harvard’s admissions officers gave Asian-Americans lower scores on a subjective “personal” rating designed to measure attributes such as likeability and kindness.

A federal judge in 2019 upheld Harvard’s admissions practices, saying it was “not perfect” but passed constitutional muster. The judge said race-conscious practices always penalise groups that don’t get an advantage, but they’re justified “by the compelling interest in diversity” on college campuses.

An appeals court upheld the ruling in 2020.

The group brought similar claims against UNC, saying its process disadvantages white and Asian American students. A federal judge sided with the university last year.

In its appeal to the SC, the group asked the panel to review both cases and also to overturn the court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v Bollinger, which upheld admissions policies at the University of Michigan’s law school.

That cleared colleges to consider race if it’s done in a “narrowly tailored” way to serve a “compelling interest”. The group’s appeal argued that the Grutter decision “endorsed racial objectives that are amorphous and unmeasurable and thus incapable of narrow tailoring”.

US Supreme Court To Weigh Banning Use Of Race In College Admissions

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider banning the use of race in college admissions decisions, accepting appeals involving Harvard College and the University of North Carolina in what could be a transformational showdown for higher education.

The appeals seek to overturn decades-old Supreme Court precedents that let universities consider race to help create a diverse student body. Affirmative action is common at selective universities, though nine states including California and Florida ban race-conscious admissions at public institutions. The cases are likely to be heard in the term that starts in October.

Opponents are trying to take advantage of a Supreme Court that has become more conservative since a 2003 decision known as Grutter v. Bollinger reaffirmed that universities can take race into account. The Harvard and North Carolina policies are being challenged by an interest group set up to try to abolish racial preferences.

“Grutter is wrong, immoral, and unpersuasive, and has not aged well,” argued the group, Students for Fair Admissions, run by longtime preferences opponent Edward Blum.

Supporters say some consideration of race is crucial for creating student bodies that are racially diverse as well as highly qualified. The Biden administration joined the two universities in arguing that students of all races benefit from having diverse peers and urging the court to reject the appeals.

Although Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s majority opinion in the Grutter decision predicted that racial preferences would no longer be necessary in 25 years, Harvard says they are still needed.

“Universities across the country have followed this precedent in structuring their admissions processes,” Harvard argued. “And the American public has looked to this precedent for assurance that the nation recognizes and values the benefits of diversity and that the path to leadership is open to all.”

Students for Fair Admissions contends that Harvard penalizes Asian Americans during the admissions process, assigning them lower ratings on leadership and likability, while automatically giving preferences to Black and Hispanic applicants.

“Harvard’s mistreatment of Asian-American applicants is appalling,” the appeal argued. The group said the Ivy League college was engaging in “racial balancing.”

Harvard called those assertions “simply false,” saying it considers the race only of highly competitive candidates for admission and doesn’t penalize Asian-American applicants.

The college points to a federal trial judge’s findings of “no evidence of any racial animus whatsoever or intentional discrimination,” and no “evidence that any particular admissions decision was negatively affected by Asian American identity.”

The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Harvard policy in a 2-0 ruling. The case centers on the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s Title VI, which bars racial discrimination by universities that receive federal funding.

In the North Carolina case, the Supreme Court took the unusual step of bypassing the appellate level and agreeing to directly review a trial judge’s decision. U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs said the university complies with the Grutter ruling by using a “highly individualized, holistic admissions program that is narrowly tailored in that it considers race flexibly as only a ‘plus factor’ among many.”

Students for Fair Admissions said North Carolina has “workable race-neutral alternatives” for ensuring classroom diversity, such as setting aside seats for disadvantaged applicants and admitting the top academic performers at each high school in the state.

North Carolina Attorney General Joshua Stein said the university has already implemented race-neutral approaches and has repeatedly studied the feasibility of other steps. “Each time, the university found that no alternative would produce a student body about as diverse and academically qualified as its holistic, race-conscious admissions process,” Stein wrote.

The suit against North Carolina invokes both Title VI and the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which the Supreme Court said in 1978 impose the same legal test. That ruling, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, is best known for first upholding race-conscious admissions as a means of promoting diversity.

Blum’s group filed the Harvard and North Carolina lawsuits on the same day in 2014, saying it was pressing the cases on behalf of members who were denied admission and stood ready to transfer if possible.

The cases are Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 20-1199, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, 21-707.

SAT College Admissions Exam, No Longer Required By Many Schools, To Go Digital

U.S. high school students will use laptops rather than pencils and paper to take the SAT college admissions exam beginning in 2024, in a move to digitize the standardized test whose use has declined during the pandemic and as many universities no longer require it for admission.

Students who take the new digitized SAT – once a stress-inducing rite of passage for nearly all college-bound Americans – will have two instead of three hours to answer questions and will face shorter reading passages, College Board said in a statement on Tuesday. Test-takers may also use a calculator for the math portion to the exam.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, a vice president at the nonprofit organization that develops the test. “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform — we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible.”

For decades, high school students applying to college would sit in rooms with other test takers and a monitor, and use a pencil to fill in bubbles on a piece of paper corresponding to their answers on the multiple-choice test. The exam is made up of a math and a reading and writing sections and is scored on a 1,600 score scale.

In November 2021, College Board conducted a pilot program for a digital SAT in the United States and other countries. Four out of every five test takers said they found the digital version less stressful.

Starting in 2024, U.S. students will take the test using their own laptop or tablet, a school-issued device or a device provided by the College Board. As in the past, students must take to the exam at local testing sites.

The digital SAT test will be available to international students starting in 2023.

Questions about the effectiveness of standardized testing – along with the COVID-19 pandemic – have reduced the number of students taking the SAT in recent years. Many colleges and universities have dropped it as an admission requirement.

Some 1.5 million students in the high school class of 2021 took the SAT at least once, down from 2.2 million in the class of 2020 due to the pandemic, the College Board said. (Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by David Gregorio)

As Omicron Fuels Surge, U.S. Students Stage Walkouts To Protest In-Person Classes

Hundreds of students in Boston and Chicago walked out of classes on Friday in protests demanding a switch to remote learning as a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant disrupted efforts at returning to in-person education around the United States.

In Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district, the walkout came two days after in-classroom instruction resumed for 340,000 students who were idled during a five-day work stoppage by unionized teachers pressing for tougher COVID-19 safeguards.

Protesting students said they were dissatisfied with the additional health protocols the teachers union agreed to earlier this week, ending its standoff with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“I think CPS is listening, but I’m not sure they’ll make a change,” said Jaden Horten, a junior at Jones College Prep High School, during a rally at district headquarters that drew around a thousand students.

The demonstration followed student walkouts at various schools around the city.

About 600 young people from 11 Boston schools participated in student walkouts there, according to the school district, which serves nearly 52,000 pupils. Many protesting students returned to classrooms later, while others went home after taking part in peaceful demonstrations.

An online petition started by a Boston high school senior branding schools a “COVID-19 breeding ground” and calling for a remote learning option had collected more than 8,000 signatures as of Friday morning.

The Boston Student Advisory Council, which organized the walkout, posted a series of demands on Twitter, including two weeks of online instruction and more stringent COVID-19 testing for teachers and students.

The latest wave of infections has renewed the debate over whether to keep schools open, as officials seek to balance fears about the highly contagious Omicron variant with concerns that children could fall further behind academically after two years of stop-and-start instruction. The result has been a patchwork of COVID-19 policies around the country that has left parents feeling exhausted and bewildered.

Ash O’Brien, a 10th-grade student at Boston Latin School who left the building with about a dozen others on Friday, said he didn’t feel safe staying in school.

“I live with two grandparents who are immune-compromised,” he said. “So I don’t want to go to school, risk getting sick and come home to them.”

In a statement, Boston Public Schools said it supports students advocating for their beliefs and vowed to listen to their concerns.

Earlier this week, students at several New York City schools staged a walkout to protest what they said were inadequate safety measures. Mayor Eric Adams said on Thursday his administration was considering a temporary remote learning option for a significant number of students who were staying home.

Nearly 5,000 public schools across the country have closed for at least one day this week due to the pandemic, according to Burbio, a website that tracks school disruptions.

The Omicron surge appears to be slowing in areas of the country that were hit first. In the last week, the average daily tally of new cases has risen only 5% in Northeastern and Southern states compared with the prior seven-day period, according to a Reuters analysis. In Western states, by contrast, the average number of infections documented every day has climbed 89% in the past week compared with the previous week.

Overall, the United States is still tallying nearly 800,000 new infections a day amid record numbers of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Tamil Nadu Gets 11 New Medical Colleges, Campus Of Central Institute Of Classical Tamil

Tamil Nadu is getting 11 new Government Medical Colleges and a new campus of Central Institute of Classical Tamil in Chennai.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 11 new medical colleges in Tamil Nadu and a new campus of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) via video conferencing on Wednesday, January 12.

According to PMO, the new medical colleges are being established at an estimated cost of about Rs 4,000 crore, out of which around Rs 2,145 crore has been provided by the Union government and the rest by the Tamil Nadu government.

The districts in which the new Medical Colleges are being established are Virudhunagar, Namakkal, The Nilgiris, Tiruppur, Thiruvallur, Nagapattinam, Dindigul, Kallakurichi, Ariyalur, Ramanathapuram and Krishnagiri.

“Establishment of these medical colleges is in line with the Prime Minister’s constant endeavour to promote affordable medical education and improve health infrastructure in all parts of the country,” the announcement said.

The new medical colleges, with a cumulative capacity of 1,450 seats, are being established under the Centrally Sponsored scheme of ‘Establishing of New Medical Colleges attached with existing district/referral hospital’. Under the scheme, medical colleges are established in districts, which do not have either a government or private medical college.

The new campus of Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) in Chennai is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision to protect and preserv, Me Indian heritage and promote classical languages, PMO said.

The new campus is fully funded by the Union Government and is built at a cost of Rs 24 Crore. CICT, which was operating from a rented building so far, will now operate from a new 3-storey campus. The new campus is equipped with a spacious library, an e-library, seminar halls and a multimedia hall, it said.

An autonomous organization under the Union Ministry of Education, CICT is contributing to the promotion of classical Tamil by doing research activities so as to establish the ancientness and uniqueness of the Tamil language.

The institute library has a rich collection of over 45,000 ancient Tamil Books. To promote classical Tamil and support its students, the Institute indulges in academic activities like holding seminars and training programs, granting fellowship etc.

It also aims to translate and publish ‘Thirukkural’ in various Indian as well as 100 foreign languages. The new campus will provide an efficient working environment for the institute in its pursuit of promoting classical Tamil across the world.

AAPI Inaugurates Biochemistry Lab/Immunoanalyzer At AIIMS, Bibinagar, Telangana

American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) has been in the forefront, especially during the Covid pandemic with its numerous initiatives to address and help communities  in the United States and in India to overcome the impact of the deadly pandemic. The deadly pandemic, COVID-19 that has been instrumental in the lockdown of almost all major programs and activities around the world, could not lockdown the creative minds of AAPI leadership and its thousands of dedicated members.

In continuation of its efforts, during the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit in Hyderabad, AAPI donated immunoanalyzer at AIIMS, Bibinagar, Telangana, which does hundreds of tests every day. This is part of Covid relief efforts AAPI has taken over during the second wave of pandemic.

“The generosity of the members of AAPI and Indian community has been unprecedented,” says Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI. “I want to thank the AAPI fraternity, for not only contributing $5 Million towards Covid Relief Funds, but has spent hundreds of hours in coordinating and disbursing the vital medical supplies to the most needed hospitals across India. Thanks to the overwhelming support of its members that AAPI has raised almost $5 million in the past few months and has sent much needed medical supplies to India during the peak of the pandemic in India.”

Taking the lockdown and the social isolation as a challenge, AAPI leadership has creatively worked with the members to plan programs in educating and sharing knowledge on various timely issues affecting the healthcare sector and the people at large. In its efforts to help patients and medical professionals across the nation to receive the required support, training and supplies to protect and heal those infected with the deadly COVID-19 virus that continues to impact the entire nation, AAPI created a Help Line and had physicians participate and run COVID helpline.

AAPI coordinated with dozens of physicians including primary care physicians, ER, critical care and ID physicians, who see these patients on a constant basis, to help during this crisis. Questions are being sent by email and physicians answer them at the earliest convenience.

“AAPI has also collaborated with other national international and government organizations such as, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Indian Embassy in Washington, DC, National Council of Asian Indian Americans (NCAIA), GAPIO, BAPIO and Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association, in its efforts to educate and inform physicians and the public about the virus, to prevent and treat people with the affected by corona virus,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI.

“As always, AAPI has been in the forefront, rising to the need of the hour. After our initial donation to AIIMS, Bibinagar, Telangana AAPI is planning to donate immunoanlysers to all AIIMS across the country. As you may remember, AAPI had donated ventilators and high flow oxygen equipment to AIIMS in the past,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Clinical Professor of Medicine and AAPI Secretary said.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, president of AAPI along with Dr. Satheesh Kathula, AAPI secretary, and Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Chair, Chair, Covid relief committee participated in the inauguration of biochemistry lab/Immunoanalyzer at AIIMS, Bibinagar, Hyderabad. Later on they planted trees in AIIMS Vatika, Bibinagar and named one of them “AAPI”.  For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s Historic 15th Annual Global Healthcare Summit In Hyderabad Concludes With A Commitment To Continue Efforts For Preventive Healthcare In India

AAPI Urges Government Of India To Appoint An Expert Panel Of Nationally Recognized Experts In The Disciplines Of Preventive Medicine And Primary Care

(Hyderabad: January 7, 2022) The 15th edition of the annual Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) USA concluded here today with a commitment to continue efforts to preventive care in India and to collaborate with the federal, state and local governments, healthcare and technological industries, as well as with several not for profit organizations to help India make health delivery accessible, affordable and efficient.

“During the 15th annual Global Healthcare Summit, organized in Hyderabad, India from January 5th to 7th, 2022, physician leaders from the United States and India had an opportunity to brainstorm and explore ways to focus on the theme, “Transformation of Healthcare through Telehealth and Technology usage during this post-Covid Era,” and have recommended possible ways to plan and implement preventive medicine that will save resources and precious human lives,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI.

Towards this end, while offering to collaborate with the Government Authorities, “AAPI is urging the Government of India  to appoint an expert panel of nationally recognized experts in the disciplines of preventive medicine and primary care,” she added.

The GHS 2022 was inaugurated by Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, who addressed virtually the hundreds of participants from the United States and India at Avasa Hotel in Hyderabad on January 5th.

“With numerous initiatives, AAPI has come a long way since its inception and has proved to be beneficial not only to Indian-origin American Physicians, but to Indian healthcare as well,” Mr. Naidu observed. He urged the medical fraternity and told them, “as you seek excellence in human health and well-being, do not forget the power of a kind human touch when treating your patients.”

Expressing regrets for not being able to be present in person due to the ongoing pandemic, Mr. Naidu told the hundreds of delegates in a recorded inaugural message stated that the Indian origin physicians in the United States have gained a formidable reputation and that several of them occupy the top administrative positions in the country. “They are among the most successful ambassadors of India’s value systems.” he said.

The Vice President complimented AAPI for its services in India – for raising $5 million during the second wave of the pandemic, for its ‘Adopt a Village’ program among its other initiatives.

The groundbreaking Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) organized by AAPI in collaboration with the Government of India, BAPIO & GAPIO, as well as Host Alumni Chapters, including OGKTMA, ATMGUSA, KAMCOSA, and GMCGA, was packed with programs that were treat to the hearts and souls of every participant.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI GHS 2022, said, “This GHS held in amid the fears of Covid pandemic, and following strict Covid restrictions, has promised to be one with the greatest impact and significant contributions towards harnessing the power of international Indian diaspora to bring the most innovative, efficient, cost effective healthcare solutions to India.”

“We thank all the AAPI Members who are sparing their valuable time to come over to Hyderabad in order to attend this event, despite the ongoing situation of the existence of Omicron and travel restrictions. We really appreciate this gesture of courage and confidence displayed by you on behalf of Local Organizing Committee, for braving odds and attending the 15th Annual AAPI GHS, Hyderabad. This is highly admirable,” said Dr. D. Dwarakanatha Reddy, India Chair, AAPI GHS 2022.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect f AAPI said, “We have made great strides in helping people to live longer, however, people are spending too many years in poor health, and these gains in health not felt equally across society. We need to focus on the rising levels of obesity, mental illness, addictions, age-related conditions like dementia, and a growing, ageing, and diverse populations, We also need to be aware of cyberbullying, pervasive misinformation and other harmful social media influences affecting our youth.”

“AAPI is collaborating with Global Teleclinics (GTC) to carry out this project in 5 states including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana,” said Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI. “It will be expanded to other states in India eventually. The tests will include CBC, HbA1C, lipid profile, creatinine, pulse oximetry, measurement of blood pressure, height and weight. 150-200 people are screened in each village in one day. There is an opportunity to screen a total of up to 15,000 people in 75 villages across 5 states,” he added.

Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI, pointed out, “India, thus needs to redouble and continue its efforts and dedicate resources to tackle these perennial challenges. Many of these projects and programs need regular funding, and management of resources. We are grateful to dozens of AAPI members who have committed to serve India with an ongoing commitment.”

“AAPI is here 365 days a year with the launch of the AAPI India Foundation. With the goal that every Medical student in India should have a Post Graduate seat and that every family in India  is under the care of a Post Graduate Family Medicine Physician,” Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair, AAPI Global Education Committee and AAPI Board of Trustee said.

Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, US Coordinator of the GHS said, “An excellent 3 hour CME sessions with renowned speakers from around the world, Poster/Research contest and Med Quiz that was attended by a record 1,500 Medical students from several states in India, breath taking cultural events, interactive roundtables, clinical practice workshops, and meet-the-expert sessions, Women’s Forum by internally acclaimed successful women from India and the US, were only some of the major highlights of the Healthcare Summit.”

The topics for CMEs broadly covered the recent advances in Medicine. Workshops on Medical Education and Reforms in India, Psychiatry, Palliative Care and Diabetes as well the seminar on Lifestyle Medicine led by world renowned leader and founder of Life Style Medicine, Dr. Neil Bernard were educative and offered new awareness on trends in medicine and healthier living. The Tuberclosis Awareness Seminar focused on recent advances in the TB epidemic.

Dr. Seema Arora, the Chair of AAPI National Women’s Committee, along with Dr. Meher Medavaram, Dr. Malati Mehta and Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda organized the Women’s Forum with a panel of “Women Who Inspire” from all walks of life who have achieved extraordinary feats in each of their phenomenal lives.

Dr. Tejaswini Manogna, Miss India-Earth 2019 and the title of Divine Miss Earth India 2019, who was the keynote speaker and part of the much popular Women’s Forum said, “Woman is defined by her courage and self-confidence.” She told her fellow women to “Speak up. Do not suffer in silence. Be bold and brave to voice your opinion. If a woman can lead at home, she can lead the world.”

The CEO Forum, chaired by Dr. Joseph Chalil had a galaxy of CEOs from India and the United States, who shared their insights into the challenges and opportunities for making healthcare affordable, using modern technology and scientific research, Sangita Reddy, Joint MD of Apollo group of hospitals and incoming Chairman of FICCI shared her passion for the care of the masses, using technology to reach out. She praised AAPI’s efforts to help India through its Healthcare Summits in making policies in healthcare delivery more effective.

“AAPI, under the guidance of President Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, would like to collaborate with the Healthcare leaders in proposing the creation of an Indian Preventive Task Force (IPTF). We envision a great future for our country with the direct result of complex interactions at this forum with your assistance, guidance, and experience,” said Dr. Joseph Chalil.

“January is #CervicalCancer Awareness Month! In coordination with the local organizers of the GHS, AAPI is donating funds for the HPV Vaccination, a total of 200 doses of the vaccine for 100 children from the state of Telangana on January 9th,” said Dr. Meher Medavaram, an organizer of the program. “AAPI’s this new initiative through education and awareness programs, is aimed at help save millions of lives in India,” she added.

Indian Idol Keshav Kumar entertained the audience on Jan 5thnight during the gala.

The grand finale was the colorful rendition of the classical Indian dance forms, representing several states in India brilliantly choreographed by Mona Lisa, an internationally acclaimed Indian Dance Maestro. Dr.  Amit Chakrabarty, past Secretary of AAPI delighted the audience with his impromptu live music extravaganza.

The Pre-Tour of the GHS 2019 took the delegates to the serene Kanha Shanti Vanam, located in the suburbs of Hyderabad. Magnificent in its conception and design, tranquil in its atmosphere, Kanha, blending the beauty of nature with sprawling facilities gave an inspiring experience to AAPI members an opportunity to learn to relax and meditate, through the Heartfulness movement.

AAPI delegates and local GHS organizers had a unique and once in a lifetime experience, when they were treated to a royal reception at the fabulous Falanama Palace of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

The guided tour of the royal palace built in 1897, live Qawali by local artists at the palace for AAPI delegates and a memorable sit down royal dinner at the world’s largest Dining Table  with 101 Guests were some of the most amazing moments in life for the participants.

During his address to the AAPI delegates on Jan 6th, DAAJI inspired the audience with his enriching address focusing on modern day life, the stressors and the challenges, while offering insights into how stress relaxation, meditation and cleansing would help human beings lead a peaceful life.

“The next edition of the Global Healthcare Summit 2023 will be held in Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh in the first week of January in 2023,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI announced.

“With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI will continue to make a positive meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India,” Dr. Gotimukula said.  “AAPI has made significant contributions towards addressing several issues affecting the healthcare system in India,” she added. “AAPI is pleased to announce that the National NMC of India has communicated to the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) of its intent to be the national agency for accreditation of all the medical colleges in India,” Dr. Gotimukula said.

Appealing to the Government of India to appoint a panel of nationally recognized experts in the disciplines of preventive medicine and primary care; Adopt A Village Program in 75 villages, Cervical Cancer Vaccine Camp for 100 girls in Hyderabad, Establishing AAPI India Foundation; Efforts by AAPI Global Education Committee Advocacy of National Medical Commission (NMC) on WFME accreditation for ECFMG eligibility for Indian Medical graduates and successfully mobilizing NMC leadership and engaging and motivating Medical students in India through research contest and Med Quiz as well as the CMEs by highly acclaimed international speakers are only some of the tangible outcomes from the GHS 2022,  Dr. Gotimukula stated with pride. For more details, please visit:  www.aapiusa.org

“Heart Health Awareness And Community Bystander CPR” Program Organized By Indian Consulate in Chicago

During the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) week, the Chicago Indian Consulate organized a Heart Health Awareness and Community ‘Saving Lives’ Bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) program at the Indian Consulate in Chicago on December 15,2021.

The Indian American community-focused program was jointly developed by Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, Chairman of the Board of  Chicago Medical Society and Founder of the Chicago Medical Society Community Bystander CPR project “SMILE” (Saving More Illinois Lives through Education) in association with Dr. Srinivas Ramaka, an eminent Cardiologist from Telangana, India. The program was attended by several members of the Indian diaspora, leaders of Medical Organizations, and Diplomats of the Indian Consulate, staff, and families.

Inaugurating the program, Honorable Consul General Amit Kumar spoke on the importance of Indo-US healthcare partnerships to reduce morbidity and mortality due to heart disease and the major role of the Indian diaspora in strengthening these affiliations through jointly developed innovative projects. As an example, he referred to the Heart Rescue India (HRI) project, recently implemented successfully with Indo-US collaboration, involving the University of Illinois College of Medicine and UI Health, Chicago, and Ramaiah Medical College in Bengaluru with a grant from Medtronic. He congratulated the Indian Physician community for their ongoing contributions to the Indian and US Healthcare sector.

In his address, Hon’ble Member of Congress Danny K. Davis stressed the importance of taking care of one’s health. He commended the significant role of the Indian American doctors in contributing to the general health and well-being of US communities. In a virtual message, Honorable Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi congratulated the Indian Consulate and Dr. Vemuri Murthy for organizing the program and their efforts to enhance outcomes after cardiac arrests among the communities.

Consul General Amit Kumar, Congressman Danny K Davis, PBSA Dr. Bharat Barai and Dr. Vemuri Murthy released the community bystander CPR Informational brochure in three languages – English, Gujarati, and Spanish for the Indian and US communities. Brochures in other Indian languages will be available soon.

Dr.Murthy gave a presentation on Global Heart Disease, Heart Attacks and Sudden Cardiac Arrests with a special focus on Indians and Indian diaspora in the USA. He spoke of the  programs needed to improve the survival and outcomes during cardiac emergencies via. community awareness, prevention, early recognition, and timely intervention. He also brought to the attention of audience the need to seriously address “Women’s Heart Health” issues. A Hands-only CPR demonstration and training of the participants followed.

Efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and promote “Healthy Heart” lifestyles is essential. Heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem. South Asians are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age. Heart attacks strike South Asian Men and Women at younger ages, and as a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group. They tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups.

Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy, an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine @ The University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA and Visiting Professor in India, is an Advocate of Resuscitation education, training and research in USA and India.His current work involves Cardiac Arrest Registries and Cardiac Health-promoting Projects with Indo-US collaborations.

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