GOPIO Passes Resolution for Full Dual Nationality at the Convention

Feature and Cover GOPIO Passes Resolution for Full Dual Nationality at the Convention

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) celebrated its 35th Anniversary on April 26-28, 2024 at its Convention 2024 at Royal Albert Palace, Fords, New Jersey, USA. The convention focused on India’s Present and the Future and what role the Diaspora Indians can play in helping to realize this desirable future with a theme, ‘Opportunities for Diaspora Indians in India’s Big Manifest Future.’ The convention ended with General Body passing four resolutions including one demanding full dual nationality for Overseas Indian Citizens (OCI) card holders.

The convention was inaugurated with a lamp lighting ceremony on April 26th followed by a universal prayer song by GOPIO-Edison President Pallavi Belwariar and an invocation dance in Kathak style by Mitali Nirgude-Kaganeb. The chief guest was Guyana Ambassador to the USA, His Excellency Samuel Hinds, who earlier had served as the Prime Minister and President of Guyana. India’s Deputy Consul General in New York Dr. Varun Jeph delivered the keynote address.

GOPIO Convention 2024 being inaugurated with lighting of the lamp by Ambassador Samuel Hinds, Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph and GOPIO Officials

New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued a citation honoring the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) on the occasion of its convention and for its contribution to improve life in New York city. The proclamation was presented by Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs Dilip Chauhan who complimented GOPIO for its outstanding work for the benefit of the Indian Diaspora worldwide.

New York Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan presenting Mayor's Citation
New York City Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan presenting citation from Mayor Eric Adams. From l. to r.: Convener Prakash Shah, Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chauhan, Ambassador Samuel Hinds and President Lal Motwani

Ambassador Hinds fondly shared Guyana’s close relation with India and GOPIO, especially since the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan attended the first GOPIO Convention in New York and later inaugurated Second Global Convention held in New Delhi in 1992 as President of Guyana. Again in 1999, Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo inaugurated GOPIO Convention in New York.

Ambassador Hinds said, “President Jagan had high regard for GOPIO and was always seeking to support GOPIO.”  Dr. Jagan played a significant role in Guyana’s progress. “With oil discovery, Guyana will prosper rapidly,” Ambassador Hinds added.

In his keynote address, Dr. Jeph articulated the tremendous progress India has made in many arenas and currently being the 5th largest economy of the world and will soon become the third largest economy.

Dr. Jeph provided India’s growth, success and potentials with amazing statistics and said that India with 65% of youth has bright prospects.

Dr. Jeph said, “Indian Americans are playing pivotal role in the US economy with start ups and other business ventures, while being just over 1% of the population, your contribution in the economy of over 6%.”

“To the USA, we send brilliance and intelligence of the highest number of foreign students creating formidable future,” Dr. Jeph added.

Dr. Jeph complimented GOPIO’s initiatives to network and help new students from India and said that the Consulate would continue to cooperate in this effort.

The inaugural session started with a welcome by Convention Convener Prakash Shah, who also serves as GOPIO’s Global Ambassador. GOPIO President Lal Motwani said that since the new team was elected last year, the organization has been brought with more activities and restarting its newsletter GOPIO News.

GOPIO Chairman in his remarks said that since its inception in 1989, GOPIO had taken up issues of civil rights and human rights violations of the Indian Diaspora around the world and that Indian Diaspora communities have achieved political mainstream in many of the countrie with signficant Diaspora population.

Speakers at the Inauguration
Dignitaries and GOPIO officials at the inauguration, from l. to r.: Indian Deputy Consul |General Varun Jeph, Ambassador Samuel Hinds, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Lal Motwani and Prakash Shah

Dr. Abraham said, “The 35 million strong Indian Diaspora community is the fastest growing Diaspora community worldwide spread into 180 countries and we are remitting over $100 billion dollars every year which has helped India to reach a foreign reserve of over $650 billion and this flow will continue in the same level or more in the near future.”

There were nine conference sessions on Saturday, Aprill 27th at the convention which included how Indian Diaspora can participate in India’s big manifest as well as some on the Diaspora life and social segments.

The first session on “GOPIO Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Worldwide Networking of the Diaspora Businesses,” was chaired by Convener Prakash Shah, who is also President First Growth Mortgage and Realty LLC. Speakers were Dr Vithal Dhaduk, who developed and sold Pharma Companies; Braj Aggarwal, President, Braj Aggarwal CPA PC, New York; Sunil Hali, Chairman, Radio Zindagi, Indian Eye, NDTV USA, New Jersey; Hotel & Realty Veteran Bhavik Shah and Falguni Pandya of Namaste Global.

Panelists at GOPIO Chamber of Commerce Business Session
Panel on GOPIO Chamber of Commerce and Networking Worldwide Diaspora Businesses, From l. to r.: Session Chair and Moderator Prakash Shah, Falguni Pandya, Bhavik Shah, Dr. Vithal Dhaduk Sunil Hali and Braj Aggarwal

During the Women’s Panel session titled “Diaspora Women Making A Difference”, GOPIO women shared their personal stories of contributions to their adopted homelands.  Rooted in Motherland India, five women, namely Soruba Rani Kuusto, Dr. Vimal Goyle, Dr. Rini Johar, Beena Kothari and Suman Kapoor of New Zealand, represented the diversity in membership across GOPIO.  Guided and mentored by the panel Chair and Facilitator J. Nami Kaur who is GOPIO’s International Coordinator-at-Large, they presented their vision for Diaspora engagement in India’s Manifest Future.

Women's Session Panel
Conference Panel Women – Session Chair Nami Kaur moderating the session. Panelists from l. to r.: Soruba Rani Kuusto, Rini Johar, Beena Kop0thari, Dr. Vimal Goyle, Ritu Chopra and Suman Kapoor

Session on “Medical and Health Issues and how Diaspora Indians can Participate in India’s Frontline Role in Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and other Health Areas” was chaired and moderated by Dr. Asha Samant, GOPIO’s International Coordinator-at-Large, Co-Convener GOPIO Convention-2024 and Associate Professor at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine (UMDNJ), Livingston, New Jersey. Speakers were Dr. Anil Diwan, President and Executive Chairman of NanoVirisides, Inc., Shelton, CT, who spoke on “New Frontiers in Drug Development;” ⁠Rakesh Grover, President and CEO, Carnegie Pharmaceuticals, LLC, Delran, NJ; ⁠Dr. Anurag Pande, Vice President, Scientific Affairs, Sabinsa Corporation, East Windsor, NJ; Dr. ⁠Jaya Daptardar, Chief Compliance Officer of Bridges Health Care and CEO of Active Ayurveda and Yoga LLC, as well as President of GOPIO-CT, Fairfield, CT and Hari Singh Panaser, Chairman, Global Indian Trade and Culture USA; VP, Coolsoft LLC and Global Business Consultant, Birla Soft, Monroe, NJ.

Panel of Medical Health and Pharma Opportunities with India
Speakers at Medical, Health and Pharma Opportunities with India – From l. to r.: Chair and Moderator Dr. Asha Samant, Dr. Anil Diwan, Dr. J.M. Daptardar, Dr. Rakesh Grover, Hari Singh Panaser and Dr. Anurag Pande

The Panel on the Emergence of India as a Global Powerhouse which was organized by The Indus Entrepreneur – NJ Chapter ( focused on the growth of the Digital Economy, Supply Chain and Manufacturing. The session moderator, Professor Suresh Kumar, President of TiE NJ made a powerful bull case regaining its spot among the top three global economies by 2047 and even moving up to the top 2 by 2075. He said that political stability, generation of mass employment by growth of manufacturing, and making the right geo-political alliances over the next decade will be key to sustaining the recent Indian success.  The other panelist included Anjan Lahari, CEO of Navikenz and ex CEO of Birlasoft who cautioned against overconfidence and complacency: Neha Shah, CEO of GEP – who emphasized the importance of digital supply chains; Naveen Puri, Founder of InnoPharma – who stressed in training the workforce and keeping them flexible to develop new skills as neede; and Sanyukta Kulkarni, Manager of Route Development (Indian subcontinent), DB Schenker Inc. who spoke on “Growth of Logistic Operations in India.”

Panel on Digital Infrastructure Supply Chain Logistics and AI
Panel on Digital Infrastructure, Supply Chain Logistics and AI – From l. to r.: Navneet Puri, Sanyukta Kulkarni, Chair and Moderator Dr. Suresh Kumar, Neha Shah, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and Anjan Lahari

There was a session on Diaspora Youth and Young Achievers and the role they can play in India’s Future and how GOPIO can facilitate their participation? It was put together and chaired by Ms Vasu Pawar, CEO/Founder of Step2StepUp Inc. and co-chaired by Bhavya Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner of ACE Consultants, New Jersey. The keynote address was delivered by Kunal Devmane from Mumbai, India, who was a keynote speaker at G20-India and author of Buffering to Streaming; Sutro Founder and CEO Ravi Kurani; Investment Management Expert Monica Arora; Grammy Award Winner and Audience Specialist Falguni Shah; Creative Music Genius Neil Nayyar; and Hotel & Realty Veteran Bhavik Shah.

Panelists of Young Professionals Session Being Honored
Young professional achievers recognized after their session. From l. to r.: Session Chair and Moderator Vasu Pawar, Ravi Kurani, Falu Shah, Monica Arora, Neil Nayyar, Kunal Devmane and GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. Not visible in the photo ae=re Session Co-chair Bhavya Gupta and Bhavik Shah

Session on “Technologies and AI, and other Innovations: How Diaspora Indians are leading Research and Innovations” was chaired by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, who is a Nanotechnologist and President of Innovative Research and Products in Stamford, CT. It was moderated by Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty who is Academic Advisor to Fashion Institute of Technology. Prof. Siddhartha Dalal, Professor of Professional Practice in Applied Analytics, Columbia University, New York, delivered the keynote address. Other speakers were: Kathirvel Kumararaja, President, Founder and CEO, DevJee, Inc., New York, NY, who spoke on “Bridging Traditional Wisdom and Modern Healthcare: Opportunities for Diaspora Indians in India’s Health Innovation Economy;” Abraham Pannikottu, CEO. American Engineering Group, Akron, Ohio, “India’s Opportunities and Challenges of AI in Défense Sector on Overseas Small Business Partnerships;” Dr. Kris Mani, President, NSR Technologies, Basking Ridge, NJ who spoke on “Nanotechnology and Other Technologies;” Dr. Jatin V. Mehta, CEO, MetaSense Digital Marketing, Philadelphia, PA, “Mastering SEO & Marketing with AI.”

Panelists of Technologies and AI Session
Speakers at the Conference Session on Technologies and AI, from l. to r. Prof Raj Vangapaty, Dr. Jatin Mehta, Convention Convener Prakash Shah, Prof. Siddhartha Dala, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Kathirvel Kumararaja, Abraham Pannikottu and Dr. Kris Mani

There was a GOPIO Academic Council Roundtable coordinated by GOPIO Edison President Pallavi Belwariar and was chaired by the Academic Council Chair Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta who is currently the Vice Chancellor Gujarat University. It was atte3nded by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and Guyana Ambassador Samuel Hinds. The Council discussed the role of academics in manifestation of future India, Student Start Ups with GOPIO Chamber of Commerce and future studies abroad programs for NRI and PIO students. It also did brainstorm on showcasing India to Diaspora and starting virtual and offline programs. Lastly, it resolved to create a Global Network for Academics.

Photo left Participants at the GOPIO
Photo left: Participants at the GOPIO Academic Council Roundtable, Right: Ambassador Hinds speaking at the session. Sitting are Session Coordinator Pallavi Belwariar, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and GOPIO Academic Council Chair Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta

A non-business session on ‘Diaspora Languages and Literature’ was put together by GOPIO General Secretary Ram Gadhavi. Scholars including Dr. Babu Suthar (Gujarati), Anoop Bhargav (Hindi), Ashok Vidwans (Marathi), Dr. Vasu Ranganathan (Tamil), Raju Thomas (Malayalam), and Dilip Chakraborty (Bengali) discussed diaspora writers and the status of their respective languages. While summarizing the session, Suthar highlighted three main issues, the debate surrounding the concept of ‘diaspora’ versus ‘transnationalism’;  the challenge of preserving Indian languages in the USA due to socio-cultural differences, with differing opinions on whether to prioritize language preservation or adapt to local culture; and the role of language in connecting individuals to their cultural roots and expressing shared experiences, exemplified by Suthar’s struggle to express himself in Gujarati following the 2002 violence. The audience also shared concerns about maintaining Indian language and culture abroad.

Discussion Panel on Diaspora Languages and Literature
Panel Discussion on Diaspora Languages and Literature – From l. to r.: Ashok Vidwans, Raju Thomas, Anoop Bhargava, Dr. Babu Suthar, Dr. Vasu Ranganathan and Dilip Chakraborty

A second non-business session on “Diaspora Indians Aging Gracefully,” was put together by Bharat Rana, President, Federation of Indian Senior Association of North America (FISANA) and President of GOPIO-North Jersey. The speakers were Mukund Mehta, President, India Home, Inc. and President, Indo-American Senior Citizen Center of New York, Queens, NY; Sudha Acharya, GOPIO Founding Co-Convener and Executive Director, South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), Flushing, New York; Anand Patel, Businessman and Philanthropist and Owner of Numerous Dunkin’ Donuts Chain franchises, currently serving as Board of Director of FISANA, Past President of FISANA and Currently Member of FIA Trustees; and Suman Kapoor, Hospitality Entrepreneur, GOPIO Waikato, New Zealand.

Convener Prakash Shah said, “We had the most successful Convention at a time that we consider is pivotal for India and for India’s 38 million strong Diaspora. We are dealing with an Outbreak but this time it isn’t an Outbreak of a Covid like disease but an Outbreak of Optimism!”

“We are very confident that with the infrastructure base having been built, India will rapidly evolve into becoming a net defense exporter and a multifaceted manufacturing hub in pharmaceuticals, automobiles, smartphones, semiconductors and aircraft among many others including continuing the high growth in service sector,” Shah continued.

Audience at the Convention
Audience at the Convention

All these conference sessions brought very interesting and useful knowledge as well as mastery of Indians in their specialized fields. The speakers and audience appreciated GOPIO’s vision and mission in planning such conference topics. Convention attendees agreed that right now India with its third largest Start-Up-Ecosystem and having already achieved 125 Unicorns is the best investment opportunity in the world and therefore especially attractive to the Diaspora Indians.

At the Finale Awards banquet, four individuals and two organizations were honoured with community service awards: Dr Neerja A. Gupta who is the first woman Chancellor of Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India; Dr. V.K. Raju M.D. who has been providing great Service in eradicating childhood blindness; Dharmatma Saran who has been named as the cultural ambassador of India to the world for promoting networking of young women achievers through his annual Miss India Worldwide Pageant and Lion Hina Trivedi of Chicago as a great community builder. Two organizations are also recognized, Heart and Hand for the Handicapped (HHH) for its great service to physically and mentally challenged children and South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) for its outstanding services to communities in the New York Area.

Community Service Award Presentation Ambassador Hinds GOPIO Officials and Awardees
Community Service Awardees with Ambassador Samuel Hinds and GOPIO officials. From l. to r.: Dr. Thomas Abraaham, Chitranjan Belwariar, Nami Kaur, Prakash Shah, Kewal Kanda, Gujrat University Vice Chancellor Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, HHH President Balaji Jilla, Ambassador Hinds, Lal Motwani, Eye Specialist Dr. V.K. Raju, Community Motivator Lion Hina Trivedi, Miss India World Pageant CEO Dharmatma Saran, Rajul Shah, SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya and Board Member Dr. Swarna Shah, Dr. Asha Samant and Jay Bhandari

Others recognized by GOPIO include Dr Vithal Dhaduk, Pharmaceutical Business in USA. developed and sold pharma companies; Sabinsa Vice President Anurag Pande, Businesswoman Poonam Khubani; AAHOA Past Chairman Bharat Patel; TV Asia Chairman and CEO Dr. H.R. Shah, Parikh Worldwide Media Chairman Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Indian Eye/Radio Zindagi CEO Sunil Hali, New India Abroad Publisher Rajeev Bhambri; Indian Panorama Editor and Publisher Prof. Indrajit Saluja, Emalayalee and India Life Editor George Joseph, Universal News Network editor Ajay Ghosh and Pravasi Channel producer Sunil Tristar. GOPIO Convention Co-Conveners Dr. Asha Samant and businessman Kenny Desai were also recognized at the convention.

Media Recognition to TV Asia ITV and Indian Panorama
Media Recognition, from l. to r.: Prakash Shah, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Prof. Indrajit Saluja of Indian Panorama, Dr. Sudhir Parikh of ITV/News India/Desi Talk, Ambassador Hinds, Dr. H.R. Shah of TV Asia and Lal Motwani.
Sunil Tristar being recognized
Recognition to media for their services to community and GOPIO. From l. to r. Dr. Thomas Abraham, Prakash Shah, Rajeev Bhambri of New India Abroad, Ambassador Samuel Hinds, Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph, Sunil Tristar of Pravasi Channel and India Life, Lal Motwani, George Joseph of emalayalee, and Sunil Hali of The Indian Eye and Radio Zindagi

The GOPIO General Body meeting on April 28th passed important resolutions, many of which are designed to accomplish and accelerate the Diaspora Participation in India’s high growth in its ‘Suvarna Kaal’. These resolution to Govt. of India include to grant full dual nationality to OCI card holders, make OCI at par with Indian citizens in doing business in India and provide Aadhar Card to NRIs who are citizens of India. A fourth resolution urged Biden Administration and US Congress to pass legislation to eliminate the backlog of Indians waiting for permanent residence in the USA.

Edison Town Mayor Sam Joshi, since he was out of town, joined the convention at its concluding GOPIO General Body session and offered all his help for GOPIO to move forward in Edison and nearby areas. GOPIO in turn told the Mayor Joshi that it would initiate some programs for needy including supporting soup kitchens in Edison.

GOPIO General Body Meeting Attendees with Edison Mayor Sam Joshi
GOPIO General Body Meeting Attendees with Edison Mayor Sam Joshi

The General Body also unanimously elected Dr. Thomas Abraham as Chairman of GOPIO International for the remaining of the current term.

The Convention was attended by many from around the World and from various parts of the USA. The entertainment included a Comedy Hour by the Internationally Acclaimed Comedian Dan Nainan on the first day and concluded with a superb performance of Sarangi and Ghazals by Ustad Kamal Sabri, a seventh Generation Maestro who was accompanied by Avinash Mistry on the Tabla. Grammy Award winner Falu Shah and GOPIO-|Edison President Pallavi Belwariar rendered some songs as well.

Entertainers at the Convention From l to r Avinash Mistry Ustad Kamal Sabri Dan Nainan Falu Shah and Pallavi Belwariar
Entertainers at the Convention From l to r Avinash Mistry Ustad Kamal Sabri Dan Nainan Falu Shah and Pallavi Belwariar

In the afternoon, GOPIO organized a special trip to the recently consecrated Akshardham Temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey for outside delegates. GOPIO, which is 4 Ps, the premier, pioneer, popular and purposeful, organization of Global Indian Diaspora was founded in world’s financial center – New York in 1989 as a non-political and secular organization. Since then, GOPIO has blossomed like a banyan tree with Diaspora in all continents with Life Members and chapters in 35 countries. GOPIO is regarded as the most influential and productive organization dealing and taking up issues concerning to global Indian Diaspora to various authorities and governments. Government of India closely follows GOPIO and seriously takes its suggestions.

Note: For more information or question, please call GOPIO Convention Convener Prakash Shah at 908-267-5021

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