The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) will recognize four individuals and two organizations for outstanding community service at its Convention 2024 celebrating its 35th Anniversary on April 26-28, 2024 at Royal Albert Palace, Fords, New Jersey, USA. They will be honored at the Finale Awards Banquet of the convention on April 27th.

The four individual awardees are: 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.

GOPIO Convention Awardees
GOPIO Community Service Awardees 2024: from l. to r.: Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, Dr. V.K. Raju, Dharmatma Saran and Lion Hina Trivedi

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.


The convention is focusing on India’s Present and the Future and what role the Diaspora Indians can play in helping to realize this desirable future. Convention Theme is ‘Opportunities for Diaspora Indians in India’s Big Manifest Future.’

The convention will start with a welcome reception/dinner inauguration on Friday, April 26th. There are nine conference sessions on Saturday, Aprill 27that the convention which include how Diaspora can participate in India’s big manifest as well as some on the Diaspora life and social segments. Honored guests at the convention include India’s Deputy Consul General in New York Dr. Varun Jeph, Ambassador Samuel Hinds, Guyanese Ambassador to the USA.

The conference sessions are, Diaspora Youth and Young Achievers and the role they can play in India’s Future and how GOPIO can facilitate their participation; Diaspora Women and their Growing Contributions in Various Sectors; Technologies and AI and other Innovations: Diaspora Indians Leading Research and Innovations; GOPIO Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Worldwide Networking of the Diaspora Businesses;  Medical and Health Issues and how Diaspora Indians can Participate in India’s Frontline Role in Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Medical Tourism and in Propagating YOGA and its Benefits; Emergence of India as a Global PowerHouse for Digital Infrastructure, Supply Chain Logistics, and AI: How US Business can Participate; GOPIO Academic Council Roundtable; Diaspora Languages and Literature; and Diaspora Indians Aging Gracefully.

Entertainers include internationally acclaimed comedian Dan Nainan, Grammy Award Winner for best Children’s Album in 2022 Falu Shah and Sarangi instrumentalist Kamal Sabri.

One could register for the whole convention or selective events such as the conferences, Welcome Dinner and Awards banquet at

Consul General in New York


Dr Neerja A. Gupta – First Woman Chancellor of Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India

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Dr. Neerja A Gupta is the Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Formerly Dr Gupta was the Vice-Chancellor of Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies, M.P., India prior to working as Principal of Bhavan’s College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. A doctorate degree in English, with 36 years of academic, research and administrative experience, she is the Chief Editor of Bharatiya Manyaprad, an international journal published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Dr. Gupta has been serving as Chairperson of GOPIO Academic Council since 2016.

Dr. Gupta has authored 22 books and has more than 60 publications. Under her guidance 27 students have successfully completed their Ph. D. She knows 9 Indian and 2 foreign languages. As a distinguished academician and administrator, she plays a key role as a designated member of several distinguished Board and Executive councils of various reputed Universities and Government bodies. She has completed several research projects funded by various national and international funding agencies.

She was the Principal Director of the team constituted on Jammu and Kashmir as special region by Ministry of Home Affairs and the finding were substantially used towards the abrogation of Article of 370 in Jammu and Kashmir by Government of India. She is a member of the Inter-Religious Dialogue Committee constituted by the revered Pope in Vatican City.

Prof. Gupta is the recipient of several prestigious awards including Woman Icon Award 2024 by G.S.A. Global Eye Magazine USA; Champions of Change Award – 2024 by the Lions Club International; Bharat Kirtiman Padak 2023 from World Books of Records, London; Aaj Ka Karmveer Award -2022; National Talent search Award –  2020; Bharat Manthan Award-2020; Atal Bihari Vajpayee Rashtriya Sanman in -2017; Shiksha Bharati Puruskar-2011; Best Multiple President-2001 by Lions Clubs  Dist. 323.

She has played an active role in disaster relief in Gujarat earthquake, Kashmir Floods, Sri Lanka Tsunami, and Uttarakhanda Flash Floods. Her theme paper on G-20 found a special mention by Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat on 29th January 2023 as the part of published book ‘India the Mother of Democracy.’

Dr. V.K. Raju M.D., F.R.C.S., F.A.C.S. – Great Service in Eradicating Childhood Blindness

Dr V K Raju M D F R C S F A C S – Great Service in Eradicating Childhood Blindness

Dr. V.K. Raju was born in Rajahmundry, AP, India. He is a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at West Virginia University, Adjunct professor at Wilmer Eye Institute and Johns Hopkins University. He is also founder and president of The Eye Foundation of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to realizing a world without childhood blindness in 30 countries.

Dr. Raju has been presented with numerous awards including, AMA Foundation Nathan Davis Excellence in Medicine International Award, Four Time Awardee by The American Academy of Ophthalmology, Martin Luther King Jr Achievement Award from WVU, Lifetime Achievement Award from the WV State Medical Association, University of Toledo Global Medical Missions Hall of Fame, President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Dr. Raju has published two books, seventeen chapters, and over 100 publications in scientific journals.


Dharmatma Saran – Cultural Ambassador of India to the World and Promoting Networking of Young Women Achievers

Dharmatma Saran Cultural Ambassador of India to the World and Promoting Networking of Young Women Achievers

Originally from Patna, Bihar, Dharmatma Saran has been in the Unites States for over 50 years. Promoting Indian culture in the USA and around the world has been his passion.

From 1981, serving as the Chairman of Public Relations of Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) which organizes the biggest India Day Parade outside of India, Saran laid the foundation of cultural activities of FIA since its inception in 1978.

Also, as Past Chairman of International Cultural Committee of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Saran contributed to the cultural activities of GOPIO since its inception in 1989. He is also a Founding Member of GOPIO.

With this experience, Dharmatma Saran Started the first international Indian pageant “Miss India Worldwide” which has affiliates in over 35 countries. He has brought a new dimension to pageantry as his pageants promotes Indian culture, traditions, values and performing arts. With his wife, Neelam Saran, he travelled to over 35 countries to start Indian pageants. Often referred as “India’s Cultural Ambassador to the world”, he is solely responsible for starting Indian pageants in various parts of the world.

Saran has judged many pageants including being the first NRI to be invited to judge Femina Miss India (Times of India Group) in 1992. Recipient of various awards around the world for bringing international Indian community on one platform through pageantry including Shiromai Award 1996 presented by P.A. Sangma, the then Speaker of India’s Lok Sabha, and Bharat Gaurav Award from Sanskriti at The United Nations in 2017.

Saran commands a great respect and adulation from his past contestants and winners as well as from his State and National Directors in the USA and around the world.

Lion Hina Trivedi – A Great Community Builder

Lion Hina Trivedi – A Great Community Builder

Lion Hina Trivedi, is a formidable force in both business and social activism. With a rich tapestry of experience and a plethora of accolades under her belt, she exemplifies dedication and leadership. As President of the GOPIO-Chicago Chapter and the Gujarati Pragati Mandal, Vice President of AIGC, and Past President of FIA Federation of Indian Associations, Past President AIA IL Chapter and the Chicago Indo US Lions Club, she has served more than 36 organizations and has been at the forefront of community-driven initiatives. Hina’s contributions have been recognized globally, earning prestigious awards such as the President’s Gold Medal, Melwin John’s Fellowship Award, MAFS Metropolitan Leader’s Award, and the US-Canada Fellowship Award. Her commitment to social causes extends across borders, collaborating with numerous NGOs worldwide and championing women’s empowerment through various social groups. Notably, Hina’s linguistic prowess, fluently conversant in nine languages, facilitates her bilingual services to those in need. Her dedication shines through her decade-long participation as a delegate at Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas, further cementing her as a stalwart in the international Indian community.

Heart and Hand for the Handicapped (HHH) – Great Service to Physically and Mentally Challenged Children

Heart and Hand for the Handicapped (HHH) – Great Service to Physically and Mentally Challenged Children

Heart and Hand for the Handicapped (HHH) is a not-for-profit tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization that raises funds to support differently able children with physical and mental challenges such as polio, cerebral palsy, autism, Down’s syndrome and blindness and other vision problems in India and the US. HHH was founded in 1971 by five South Asian ladies who wanted to make a difference in the lives of differently able children in India. The organization is run by volunteers who lend their expertise in different areas.

HHH is an organization that serves the ideal of philanthropy and adhere to the highest standard of professional practice, treating everyone with respect and dignity. Over the years, funds have been donated to over 200 organizations in India and over 25 in the United States. HHH’s expense ratio per IRS filing is less than 15% of the revenue. Organizations that receive HHH’s grants must meet or exceed our rigorous standard for qualification and align with its mission. HHH raises funds through annual dinners, walk-a-thons, direct mail solicitations, United Way and corporate matching programs. HHH also accepts donations of stocks and bonds.

South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) – Outstanding Services to Communities in the New York Area

South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS)

For 24 years, South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSSNY.ORG), based in the heart of Flushing, Queens, has been providing critical services and programs to improve the health and well-being of the South Asian and other underserved immigrant communities in New York City.

SACSS was established in 2000 at the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) conference at the Kerala Center, after leaders of local nonprofits and public officials discussed creating a social service organization that focused on the needs of the South Asian community.

Today, SACSS stands out as a vibrant community hub, uniquely reflecting the diverse communities it serves through its multilingual staff that speaks 20 languages. It serves as a comprehensive gateway, offering a variety of culturally and linguistically appropriate services, including healthcare and mental health counseling, senior support, a weekly food pantry to combat food insecurity, English language classes, and computer classes for workforce development, “Stitch with SACSS” a women’s economic empowerment program, immigration assistance through a legal clinic, a youth leadership program, and civic engagement.

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

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