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GOPIO CHAPTERS INAUGURATED IN AUSTRALIA
GOPIO officially launched its chapters in Australia in Sydney and Melbourne last month in the presence of GOPIO International President Inder Singh who made a trip to Australia. GOPIO Sydney and Melbourne chapters were initiated after the visit of GOPIO International Chairman, Dr Thomas Abraham in February 2008 to all major Australian cities.
GOPIO Sydney Chapter Inaugurated on May 11th
At the Sydney Chapter inauguration, Indian Consul General Sujan Chinoy was the chief guest. Ms. Tanya Gadiel MP from Parramatta constituency & Parliamentary Secretary represented the Premier of NSW Hon Morris Iemma. Various community leaders were present at the launch including Mr. Raj Natarajan, President United India Associations (UIA) and Mr. Vish Vishvanathan, President of Federation of Australian Indian Associations (FAIA).
Mr Gambhir Watts, National Coordinator GOPIO opened the formal part of the function by welcoming all guests. The prominent speakers were Hon. Sujan Chinoy, Consul General of India, Hon. Tanya Gadiel MP State Member for Parramatta & Parliamentary Secretary representing the Premier of NSW Hon Morris Iemma, Mr Inder Singh, President, GOPIO International, Dr Rohitas Batta, President GOPIO Sydney Chapter, Dr Jagvinder Singh Virk, Chairman, GOPIO Australia Business Council and Lalli Sethu Ram, Senior Rotarian. Mr Noel Lal, Regional Coordinator GOPIO proposed vote of thanks.
Among other prominent guests included: Dr Monider Singh, President Punjabi Council of Australia; Dr Vijay Kumar, Vice President, UIA; Dr Narsimha Reddy, President Technocrats' Association of Australia; Dr. Balu, President Sydney Tamil Manaram and leaders of the various cultural, business and religious organisations.
Sponsors included: Government of India Tourist Office, Australia, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Australia, Nash Patel Good Guys, Castle Hill, Airsonic, GEMCO/TIC (Ajay Trehan), United Real Estate, Aus Home Loans, ACME Home Loans, Technocrats Association.
Media representatives included: Ms Meenu & Rajesh from Indus Age, Mr Rajwant Singh from Punjab Express, Mr Surinder Singh from Masala Newslines.
The dinner was organised in Parravilla Function Centre, Parramatta. After registration the invitees had networking and enjoyed the light music from Mr Vijay Jogia, and scintillating Indian dances presented by Shalini Patel's Ghunghru dance school. The master of ceremonies Ms Sunita Sethi hosted and coordinated the entire proceedings.
GOPIO International has established various councils:
§ Business Council § Cultural Council § Academic Council § Philanthropic Council § Human Rights Council § Health Services Council § Women's Council § Media Council § Youth Council § Tracing Our Roots § GOPIO - GOI Liaison Committees
GOPIO Business Council had supported the first two Global Entrepreneurs Conferences, the first organized by Singapore India Chamber of commerce in 1996 and the second organized by FICCI in New Delhi in 1998. GOPIO itself hosted the Third global Indian Entrepreneurs Conference in New York in co-operation with a dozen of Indian Chambers of Commerce from around the word in 2002 (http://gopio.net/2002_conference.htm).
The committee of the Sydney Chapter under the stewardship of Dr. Rohitas Batta (Chairman), Harmohan Singh Walia (Vice Chairman), Satish Rai (Secretary) and Mahavir Arya (Treasurer) will coordinate activities of common interest to NRIs/PIOs in Sydney.
Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney Inauguration on May 11th - GOPIO officers (International President Inder Singh, GOPIO Oceanic Regional Coordinator Noel Lal, GOPIO Australia Coordinator Gambhir Watts, GOPIO-Sydney President Dr. Rihiras Batta and GOPIO-Australia Business and Entrepreneuers Council Dr. J.S. Virk), digntaries (Indian Consul General Sujan Chinoy was the chief guest. Ms. Tanya Gadiel MP from Parramatta) and otehr community leaders and activists.
For more information on GOPIO Sydney Chapter, contact its president Dr. Rohitas Batta 0411478103, email@example.com
GOPIO Australia Business and Entrepreneurs' Council
Dr J.S. Virk took leadership initiative and started GOPIO Australia Business Council. Its committee is under the stewardship of Dr J S Virk (Chairman), Mr Paras Ram Punj (Co-Chairman), Mr Harjinder Singh (Vice Chairman) will work within objectives GOPIO International Business Council and provide a platform for Australian PIO businessmen and businesswomen to communicate and to develop networking, conduct business forums and create business opportunities for PIOs entrepreneurs
GOPIO Business Council is planning to organize a Global NRI/PIO Business Summit later this year in Australia and invite NRI/PIO businessmen and entrepreneurs from all over the world to join for this meeting. Contact: Dr Jagvinder Singh Virk, Mob. 0431 452 407, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO Melbourne Chapter
Mr Inder Singh earlier on 9 May 2008 officially launched the GOPIO Melbourne chapter at Windsor's Hotel in presence of the Indian Consul General Anita Nayar and other dignitaries. Mr. Karan Narula and his team were responsible for establishing the Melbourne Chapter. Contact: Karan Narula at email@example.com.
GOPIO Chapter in the Offing in Brisbane
On May 16th, Mr Parasram Punj hosted an initiation party of PIOs and dignitaries towards setting up a chapter in Brisbane. The same day earlier, President Inder Singh, Dr. Virk and GOPIO Brisbane initiators called on Mayor Paul Pisasale of City of Ipswich who extended invitation to GOPIO members to invest in the city.
Photo above: GOPIO officers with Mayor Payl Pisasale of City of Ipswich. From L. to R.: Dr Jagvinder Singh Virk (Chairman, GOPIO Australia Business Counicl), Paras Ram Punj (Co-chairman GOPIO-Australia Business Council), Mayor Pisasale, GOPIO International President Inder Singh, Umesh Chandra of GOPIO Brisbane
GOPIO plans to expand chapters in other cities in Australia. Contact: Gambhir Watts, National Coordinator, GOPIO Australia. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mob. 0413 880 881)
For details of GOPIO activities in the Oceanic Region (Australia, New Zealand and Fiji) contact: GOPIO's Pacific Regional Coordinator is Mr. Noel Lal who can be reached at +61-0413990184, E-mail: email@example.com
AACR FIFTH ANNUAL ROUNDTABLE CONFERENCE A GREAT SUCCESS
The Association of Americans for Civic Responsibility (AACR) kicked off its Fifth Annual Conference on Wednesday April 23, 2008 with most relevant topic of the time "Voter participation - The Ultimate Civic Responsibility". The event was held in collaboration with The Maxwell School of Syracuse University at its Paul Greenberg House at Woodley Park, Washington DC for "By Invitation Only" participants. The Conference had three leading topics: 1. Institutional Roles and Responsibilities in Encouraging Voting, 2. Increasing Voter Participation - Lessons from Around the World, and 3 Instilling the Notion of Participatory Democracy in America's Newest Voters - young voters and new Americans. The conference drew representatives from Democratic and Republican National Committees, academia, government, and corporations and civic leaders.
Chad Tragakis of Hill & Knowlton moderated the First Panel that included Peter Levin, Director of Center for Information Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, Stephanie Reeves, Director of Political Advocacy, American Speech-language-Hearing Association, Jack Markey, US State Department and Sara Raak, representing US Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Tragakis affirmed the institutional responsibility to ensure maximum public participation in exercising the civic responsibility of voting.
The Second Session was moderated by Dr. Michael Schneider, Director of Maxwell-Washington International Relations program. Panelists included Christian Hennemeyer, Director of International Foundation for Election Systems and Francis Skrobiszewski, Director of U.S Polish Trade Council. It was one of the rare occasions where the insightful discussions happened on US involvement in election systems around the world and informative reflection on unique features that evolved in the election process in new democracies in the Eastern Europe.
The luncheon speaker Frank Mickiewicz, Vice Chairman, Hill & Knowlton and former Press Secretary to Late Senator Robert Kennedy espoused the need for more informed electorate. He expressed concern on too much dependence by the young and new voters on the bloggers and opinionated news outlets. "The danger of shunning the traditional news media can cause the misguided news analysis and failure to get to the bottom of the truth. Voter's awareness of the issues that are dear to them may be clouded by the biased analysis from the modern news sources", he said. This session was moderated by Mr. William Beaman, Editor-in-Chief, Campaigns & Elections POLITICS.
During the lunch, the founder and the current President of AACR, Dr. Joy Cherian recognized the contribution of Dr. Michael Schneider, Mr. Chad Tragakis, and Ms. Pavlina Majorosova
Joseph Melookaran, former Commissioner of President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and AACR Advisory Board Member, moderated the third and final session. The participants included Dr. Piyush Agrawal, National Coordinator of GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) Parag Mehta, Director of Training, Democratic National Committee, Rich Beason, Political Director of Republican National Committee, Laureen Laglagaron, Policy Analyst, The National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Cesar Moreno, Executive Director, National Hispanic Leadership Institute, Alicia Menendez, Political Director of Training, Rock the Vote and well recognized media figure Jane Hall, Associate Professor at the American University. The discussion centered on the increasing voter participation by immigrant voters and young voters. All panelists recognized the positive effect of the current election cycle in the enhanced excitement and need for more outreach using innovative mediums. The panelists agreed that the traditional influence of news media is weakening and new mediums like blogging, text messaging and celebrity centered events are getting more traction.
Dr. Piyush Agrawal highlighted the roles played by the Indian American organizations in bringing the Indian Americans to the mainstream political process. "The law-abiding Asian Indians who are committed to playing by the book have carried this torch of civic responsibility in voting in the democratic society like ours in an honorable and productive manner" Dr. Agrawal said. He listed accomplishments from the first Indian American Congressman Dilip Singh Saund to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Satveer Chaudhury (MN), Kumar Barve (MD), Upendra Chivukula (NJ), Swati Dandekar (IA), Nikki Haley (SC), Raj Goyle (KS), and Jay Goyal (OH) in between as the testimony of the steadily progressing political participation. The panel opined that:
Concluding this most lively discussion Joseph Melookaran acknowledged that the rate of increase in the voter participation from immigrant voters does not match up with the fast increase in their respective population. Actual voting percentages in Asian and Latino communities are lagging behind the majority community and African Americans. 'Last election cycle over one million more Latino voters could have voted and over half million Asian Americans could have voted" he said.
MOIA ANNOUNCES KNOW INDIA PROGRAM
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has announced their next series of Know India Programme. The following is the schedule proposed for the next three Know India Programme (KIPs) to be organized by this Ministry:
1. Tentative Programme
9th KIP, August - September 08 in partership with Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, Dearline to apply - 30th June 2008 10th KIP, December 08 - January 09 in partnership with Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, 30th Sept. 2008 11th KIP, March 2009 in partnership with Punjab and Orissa, 31st December 2008
2. Duration of each of these programmes would be 3 weeks. Exact dates would be conveyed on receipt of confirmation from respective State Governments.
3. The participants are provided local hospitality e.g. boarding/lodging in State guest houses or budget hotels, per diem allowance of Rs. 100/- for out-of-pocket expenses, internal travel. They may be granted gratis visa by our Missions/Posts. After their participation in the Programme, one way economy class international airfare from their respective country to India is reimbursable to them by our Missions/Posts.
4. The content of the programme may include the following: (a) Visit and stay at a University/College/Institute. (b) Activities related to youth to be organized by NYKS. (c) Visit to Industries. (d) Visit to a village (e) Exposure to Indian media and Film Industry. (f) Presentations on the country, the constitution, political process etc. (g) Interaction with NGOs and/or organizations dealing with women affairs. (h) Calls on high dignitaries, which may include President, Ministers of OIA, Youth Affairs and Sports, Women and Child Development. (i) Visit to places of historical importance/Monuments. (j) Cultural events.
5. Broad guidelines to be followed while making nominations for KIPs are as under:
(i) The Programme is open to youth of Indian Origin (excluding NRIs) in the age group of 18-26 years as on the first day of the month in which the programme is expected to start. We expect a fair mix of males and females. (ii) The total number of participants in any of the Programme may not exceed 40. (iii) The candidates should either be studying in the under-graduate level or should have completed under-graduation or equivalent. (iv) They should be able to converse in English. [They should have studied English as a subject at the High School level or should have English as a medium of instruction for under-graduate course] (v) They should have distinguished themselves in a particular field and should have abiding interest in India. (vi) They should not have participated in any previous Know India Programme or Internship Programme for Diaspora Youth.
6. Selected applicants are required to abide by the regulations of the Know India Programme as conveyed to them by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs or an agency nominated by it for the conduct of the Programme. They are required to offer their full cooperation in its smooth conduct, and they are not expected to leave the Programme mid-way.
7. In case a participant is found guilty of any misconduct or indiscipline during the course of the Programme, he or she would not be allowed any further participation in the Programme. Such participants would not be eligible for reimbursement of the one way international airfare from their country of residence to India. The one way international airfare from his/her country of residence to India would also not be reimbursable to a participant, if he/she leaves the Programme mid-way.
8. Complete application for the programme is to be submitted in the prescribed application form to the Indian Diplomatic Mission/Consular Post that covers the area of residence of the applicant along with photographs. Incomplete and unsigned applications, or forms not accompanied with photographs would be summarily rejected.
9. Details of the Programme would also be posted on the website http://knowindiaprogram.com/ or contact the Education Wing of Indian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
Since nominations are likely to be received from several countries and slots for the Program are limited, it may not be possible to accommodate all the nominations. Therefore, Consulate will not make any commitment to the applicants at this stage until they are finally selected by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, New Delhi.
For further information, applicants may visit the website http://knowindiaprogramme.com or write to Director (DS-1)/Under Secretary (DS-II), MOIA, directly at e-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org/ usds2@moia.
Candidates interested in participating in the Know India Program may download the application form from the above website and fill it in and submit it to the nearest Indian Consulate for processing.
VAISAKHI CELEBRATED AT NSW PARLIAMENT IN AUSTRALIA
Vaisakhi is an important day in Sikh Calendar being Birthday of Sikh Community. Tenth Master Guru Gobind Singh established order of Khalsa (the pure) in 1699 at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab India, by baptizing Panj Piara (the beloved ones) over 200 years after the origin of Sikh Faith by First Master Guru Nanak in 1469. Men were given the name as Singh (the lion) and women as Kaur (the princess).
Vaisakhi is also a great cultural festival celebrated in Northern India- when wheat crop is ready for harvest. Farmers dress up in bright colorful dresses and dance with the beat of drum. Sikhs celebrate this day by special prayers in Sikh Centres and organize cultural and sports festivals to mark the occasion.
Punjabi Council of Australia celebrated Vaisaki at the New South Wales (NSW) Parliament on May 8th afternoon at the historic Jubilee Hall of the Parliament and were entertained by melodious Sitaar- Vaadan & Tabla by Bhai Rashpal Singh & Pandit Ram Chander Suman. The program officially began at about 4.50PM with traditional Shabad Singing followed by National Anthem Australia and India by North Shore Sikh Youth Choir, Turramurra.
Punjabi Council of Australia Coordinator Dr Moninder Singh welcomed the dignitaries numbering over 200 including Hon. John Aquillina Leader of the House NSW Parliament, many Hon. State MPs, Dr Stepan Kerkyasharian Chairperson Community Relations Commission, Mr Sujan Chinoy CG Indian Consulate Sydney, Mr Inder Singh, President GOPIO USA, Mr SK Sharma IG Punjab Police & President Punjab Golf Association India, Mr Raj Natarajan President UIA, Mr Gambhir Watts President Bharti Vidya Bhawan, Mr Ejaz Khan President Pakistani Association, Mr Gajinder Kumar Director India Tourism Sydney. Mr Narsimhan SP, Director Lotus Forex, Ms Gemma Kingsford-Smith Rep Western Union, Representatives from Sikh Centres Parklea, Austral, Revesby, Penrith, Turramurra, all Cultural Associations, Sports Clubs, Media Representatives Mr SP Singh Masala Newsline, Navneet Anand Fiji Times, Amarjeet Khela Ajit Daily, Rajwant Singh Punjab Express, Sham Kumar and Harjeet Singh from Punjabi Radio, and Sponsors Mr Avtar Singh from Billu's Eatry & Mr Ramesh Sharma from Taj Indian Restaurant Harris Park and Mr KS Bajwa from Austech Institute. Punjabi Council of Australia also honored distinguished personalities from the community with Pride of Punjabi's Awards for their services to the community. The recipients are as follows:
Mr. Sandeep Kumar from Melbourne who is a well known Kabaddi player and will be the first person of Indian Origin to represent Australia at Olympics as part of Australian Wrestling Team was presented Gama Pehlwan Memorial Sports Award by Leader of the House Hon John Aquiliana MP. Earlier also Sandeep had took part at Baku World Championship in 2007 as member of Australian team. Besides Sandeep, Kabaddi Team of Dashmesh Sports Club Sydney (also known as Parklea team) who has won Annual Sikh Games championship four times in a row was presented Special Achievement Award by Hon Minister Barbara Perry MP who was representing the Premier Morris Iemma at the function.
Mr Naseeb Singh Grewal from Woolgoolga who is a Member of 22nd Annual Sikh Games Woolgoolga (Coffs Harbour) Organising Committee 2009, a known banana grower, Director Woolgoolga Neighbourhood Centre, member Sikh Temple Woolgoolga and a well known community worker was presented Bhagat Puran Singh Community Service Award by Hon Andrew Fraser MP Member for Coffs Harbour. Mr Grewal is near 80 and his father and grand father also lived in Australia which testifies that history of Sikh migrants in Australia is as old as white settlers.
Well known media personality Mrs Harjeet Kaur Randhawa who has made exceptional contribution as Punjabi presenter at SBS Radio continuously for 15 years was awarded Surinder Kaur Memorial Cultural Award by Hon Wayne Merton MP who was Representing Leader of Opposition Hon Barry O'Farrell.
Mr Ajit Singh Rahi from Griffith who is a well known Punjabi Writer who has written several Poetry books, Novels and Story books was presented Surinder Singh Narula Memorial Literature Award by Hon Adrian Piccoli MP Member for Murrumbidgee. His latest Book Satluj Gavvah Hai about the life of great revolutionary Bhagat Singh was also released by Mr Sujan Chinoy CG Indian Consulate Sydney and other dignitaries. The celebration also included Bhangra by students of Kamaljit Walia. At the end Certificates of Appreciation participants and sponsors were presented by Hon Minister Paul Lynch MP. Mandhir Singh Sandha was Master of Ceremonies and Prabhjot Sandhu proposed vote of thanks.
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO UPPER NEW YORK CHAPTER INAUGURATED ON MAY 10, 2008
The newly established GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter was formally inaugurated at a prominent and well attended dinner event held on the evening of Saturday, May 10th, 2008 at the Elegant Rose Hall in the Bronx, New York. The inauguration occasion was also used by GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter as a commemoration of 170th Anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Guyana.
GOPIO of Upper New York chapter officers were introduced: Satruhan Sukdeo, President; Netram Rambudhan, Vice President; Rodney Gocool, Secretary; Premnauth Singh, Treasurer; Lloyd Lochan, Director; and Ramesh Budhram, Director. GOPIO of Upper New York chapter president Satruhan Sukdeo chaired the proceedings.
"Remembering Our Forefathers" was an expression of honored tribute and gratitude to those who made the first journey as indentured laborers from India to British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1838 aboard the Hesperus and Whitby. Ashook Ramsaran, Secretary General of GOPIO International, congratulated the chapter executives and membership on the inauguration of the chapter, conveyed greetings from GOPIO International Secretariat and "warmly welcomed the GOPIO of Upper New York chapter into the GOPIO family", pledged the support and guidance of GOPIO International and extended wishes for much success to the chapter's effort at outreach and community activities.
Prominent Guyanese born historian Dr. Basdeo Mangru, author of several books on indentureship and its role in Guyana's history, was the keynote speaker. He spoke about Rev. C. F. Andrews who generated "the indentureship report" which described the harsh conditions endured by the indentured laborers and the situation of Indian workers on the sugar plantations of Guyana. In his presentation, Dr. Mangru discussed housing, education, Indian marriages and other social problems faced by the Indian Community at that time. Dr. Mangru plans to publish a book based on the "the indentureship report" by Rev. Andrews.
After flowers were presented to all mothers in honor of Mother's Day the following day, Swami Sri Nithya Bhaktananda Swamy of the Nithyananda Center of Richmond Hill offered a prayer and discussed aspects of Indian culture and spirituality.
The planned community based activities that were announced are very promising and indicate the determination of GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter in addressing issues of interest and concern of the Indian community in that area. These include seminars on health issues and investments. GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter Is also organizing a golf outing on June 11, 2008 at the Dunwoodie Golf Course, Wasylenke Lane, Yonkers, New York (Tel: 914-231-3490). The theme will be "Remembering Sewsankar 'Papwa' Seegolum" and proceeds will be used for funding GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter community activities.
For more information on GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter, contact: Satruhan Sukdeo at E-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO CONDEMNS THE BOMBINGS IN JAIPUR
In a press statement issued on May 13, 2008, GOPIO condemned the bombings that took place on May 13 in Jaipur. The statement read as follows:
The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) expresses strong and unequivocal condemnation of the bomb blasts on May 13 in Jaipur that killed at least 60 innocent people and left many more injured. GOPIO considers this brutal and despicable act as unforgivable and unjustified criminal action directed to create fear among those who live peacefully and those who visit Jaipur.
"This is indeed a heinous act against humanity. GOPIO condemns this brutal and savage attack perpetrated against innocent citizens. We share the pain and anguish of our brethren and sisters in India, and extend our condolences to the families of the victims and offer prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured," said Inder Singh, President of GOPIO International.
GOPIO President of India K. N. Gupta states that, "we express the highest level of condemnation for this criminal act and implore the Government of India to take all necessary and expeditious steps to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent this brutality against innocent people in the future."
"We all grieve that such an inhumane and uncivilized crime has been perpetrated against innocent people in the land of our birth and forbears, a land where freedom has in itself been savagely wounded by the criminals", said Dr Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International.
GOPIO expresses deep and abiding concern for the victims of this national tragedy, their families, friends and associates. It is indeed a time of deep sorrow for India, a very nervous time for the people of Jaipur and citizens of India in general. "We are very confident that the people of India will survive this disaster and will retain courage, sense of dignity, pride, their values and their freedom. There is no doubt that a resilient nation as India, will overcome this brutal and senseless attack," said Ashook Ramsaran, Secretary General of GOPIO.
GOPIO T&T CELEBRATES INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY WITH SEMINAR AND AWARDS CEREMONY
GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago, a Chapter of GOPIO International, commemorated the 163rd Anniversary of the arrival of Indentured Indian Immigrants to Trinidad & Tobago with the Indian Arrival Day Seminar and Awards Ceremony on Saturday May 10th, from 3 to 7pm, at Divali Nagar, Chaguanas. The Seminar and Awards Ceremony were free admission and open to all with refreshments served. Four hours of LIVE COVERAGE on RADIO SHAKTI 97.5fm, from 3 to 7pm and was broadcast four hours of INTERNET STREAMING AUDIO on http://www.hotlikepepperradio.com/cms
The program was opened by India's High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago, Shri Jagjit Singh Sapra, followed by the welcome remarks of Deosaran Bisnath, President of GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago Chapter. Speakers include: Ms. Hulsie Bhaggan (Alcoholism, the Disease of Addiction); Professor Ronald Marshall (Alcoholism in a Multi-Ethnic Setting); Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh (Alcoholism - medium for the Message); Dr. Raymond Ramcharitar (Indians & Democracy); Mr. Geoffrey Da Silva (Guyana - Diaspora Trade & Business); Mr Yash Pal Motwani, Second Secretary of India's High Commission to Trinidad (India - Diaspora Trade & Business); Mr Vinod Mooneram, Hon Consul of Mauritius (Mauritius -- Diaspora Trade & Business); Suriname Ambsaador Fidella Graande-Galon (Suriname -- Diaspora Trade & Business); Ms Kavita Vidya Ganness (Poetry: Children of India).
Recognition awards were presented to: Mr. Kamaluddin Mohammed; Mr. Ajeet Praimsingh; Professor Kenneth Ramchand; and Pandit Hari Prasad (posthumous).
GOPIO INITIATES TWO NEW CHAPTERS IN NEW ZEALAND
During the recent visit by GOPIO International president Inder Singh to Australia and New Zealand, GOPIO New Zealand Coordinator Jeet Suchdev organized a community leaders' meeting which was addressed by GOPIO President who encouraged them to become part of GOPIO family.
Harish Bajaj, another community leader organized luncheon reception for the visiting GOPIO officials. The luncheon meeting was attended by over sixty prominent people including Australian Member of Parliament and Chairperson of India Trade Group Richard Worth, Minister of Ethnic Affairs Chris Carter, District Judge Ajit Singh, GOPIO Pacific Regional Coordinator Noel Lal, GOPIO's North American Region Vice President Dr. Piyush Agrawal and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, a National Party candidate for the forthcoming election who is also the Deputy Chief Executive of India Trade Group. Many members attending the luncheon meeting expressed desire to open GOPIO chapters in Auckland and other parts of New Zealand.
GOPIO has initiated GOPIO Waikato under the leadership of Suman Kapoor and GOPIO Botany Downs, Auckland under the leadership of Rakesh Gupta.
DUTCH NAMED KNIGHT IN THE NETHERLANDS
Recently Mrs. Henna Mathura-Dewkinandan '(aged 57) was awarded with the knighthood of the Order of Orange-Nassau. She received this order for her extensive volunteer work. For more than twenty years Mrs. Mathura has been active in the afterschool support of Hindustani parents to help them with their social problems. She is the president of the Sarita foundation for 14 years and organizes various activities. Her main goal is to promote diversity in higher positions and to create more opportunities of day care centers so that women have a better chance to develop themselves. For the elderly people she has been active as the secretary of the Hindu Elderly People's Association.
In the 90's, Henna Mathura was famous for presenting a bilingual radio programme in which she treated topics such as domestic violence and parasuicide with the objective to move these issues out of the taboo sphere.
Currently Mrs Mathura is active at the Melania foundation, an international project for and by women in developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Apart from all her voluntary work, Henna is employed as a teacher and education project leader at the ROC Mondriaan.
SAMEER MISHRA WINS 2008 SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE CONTEST
Thirteen-year-old boy of Indian-origin, Sameer Mishra, won the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee contest, beating 288 children in the 8 to 15 age group. The 81st spelling bee competition was aired on the ABC television station on Friday May 30th. The magic word was "Guerdon", which means victory. The eight grader asked the judge for the definition of the word, and then confidently spelled it out correctly to the thunderous applause from the audience.
It was a shining moment for Mishra, whose fourth time for the championship was the charm. He carted off not only the engraved trophy, but also $30,00 in cash and $2,500 worth of US savings bonds from Merriam-Webster with a complete reference library. He was trained by his elder sister Shruti, who herself is a spelling enthusiast. Mishra, from West Lafayette, Indiana, had his parents and sister stood proudly behind him as he was awarded the coveted trophy Friday night.
The second place went another Indian-American 12-year-old Sidharth Chand, a seventh grade student. A total of four Indian-Americans were were among the last 12 who qualified for the final. Kavya Shivashankar, the favorite to win, was tied in the fourth place with four others. Janhnavi Iyer was in the 8th place. Mishra is a computer and video games enthusiast. He aspires to be a neurosurgeon when he grows up. In 2005, he competed and was placed in the 98th position. In 2006, he was at 14th place and last year he came in at the number 16th. The youngest to qualify to participate in the champions was 8-year-old Indian-American Sriram Hathwar. (Reported By Bina Mahabir)
11-YEAR-OLD WINS 2008 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BEE CONTEST
Eleven-year-old Akshay Rajagopal won the 2008 National Geographic Bee contest over a total of ten contestants who came from across the country. Students from fifth to eighth grades, age ranging from 10 to 14 years, competed in the contest. The Bee contest was held in Washington D.C. and was organized by the National Geographic Society. Nearly five million students take part in the National Geographic Bee contest each year.
Akshay, a sixth grader, took home $25,000 in college scholarship and a life time membership of the National Geographic. He attends Lux Middle School in Lincoln, Nebraska. The final question which cinched Akshay's victory was: The urban area of Cochabamba has been in the news in recent years due to protests over the privatization of the municipality water supply and regional autonomy issues. Cochabamba is the third largest conurbation in what country? Answer: Bolivia.
Akshay, who likes Science and Math and whose hobby includes collecting coins, is considering a career in cartographer, but he has enough time to think about that. For now, he enjoys studying the globe.
He said, "I get to learn about the world and how it works, which is cool." This was the 20th year for this contest which is moderated by "Jeopardy" host, Alex Trebek. (Reported By Bina Mahabir)
FIVE INDIAN AMERICAN STUDENTS SELECTED AS PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS
Five Indian Americans are among 139 outstanding high school seniors selected as the 2008 prestigious Presidential Scholars for demonstrating academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership and contribution to school and community. They will be honored in Washington DC from June 23 to 27.
Announcing the awards, US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said the scholars represent the great gift "we have in our nation's youth. Their academic achievement and their spirit of leadership and service will ensure their success in the 21st century knowledge economy.
The 139 Presidential Scholars include one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico , and from US families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts. A 29-member Commission on Presidential Scholars appointed by President George W Bush selected the scholars based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.
This years Indian American scholars are as follows: Ravi N. Shankar, Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park, Florida; Pranoti Hiremath, Ishna A. Sharma, Roswell High School, Roswell, New Mexico; Mythili K. Iyer, Lawrenceville High School, Kendal Park, New Jersey ; Ruchir F. Shah, Barrington High School. Barrington, Rhode Island and Anisha Gulabani, Eastlake High School, Sammamish, Washington.
The Washington DC program to honor the 2008 Presidential Scholar is hosted by the Presidential Scholars Association.
VENTURE STRATEGIST JOHN KAPOOR DONATES MILLIONS TO UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO
Venture strategist and scientist John N. Kapoor-founder, chairman and CEO of E.J. Financial Enterprises, Inc.-has given $5 million to University Buffalo and recently he increased that sum to $10.8 million.
Kapoor's generosity will help strengthen the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences' research core, provide resources to create a state-of-the-art instrumentation center and fortify the pharmaceutical-science faculty. The gift is considered a leadership gift in UB's $250 million campaign-the university's first national-international campaign, the first university-wide campaign and the first to be alumni-driven, with campaign volunteer leaders from all over the country. It is the largest gift ever given to the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Born in 1943 in India, Kapoor received his undergraduate degree in pharmacy from Bombay University and dreamed of coming to the United States for graduate work. Financial support from UB enabled him to earn his doctorate from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1972.
Kapoor began his corporate career on Grand Island as general manager for Lyphomed, a unit of Stone Container Corp. He was named president of the division in 1980, and in 1981 he bought the company for $2.7 million-becoming chairman, president and CEO, and renaming the firm Lyphomed Inc. During his years managing Lyphomed, Kapoor increased sales to $172 million from $4 million. He sold Lyphomed and used $40 million of the profits to form E.J. Financial Enterprises Inc., which invests in health-care startups.
E.J. Financial Enterprises is invested in at least two dozen companies whose products range from opthalmics to experimental gene therapies for cancer and AIDS. Among these are Option Care Inc., the nation's largest publicly traded franchiser of home health-care and drug-therapy services; Structural Bioinformatics Inc., which uses gene-sequence data for drug discovery and design process, and Tech India Ventures Inc., in India, a pharmaceutical marketing and distribution company.
Kapoor also is a partner in the Texas Biomedical Development Partners (TBDP), formed to provide funding and commercialization resources for selected biomedical technologies within the University of Texas System.
In 1987, he established the John Kapoor Graduate Fellowship in Medicinal Chemistry Fund in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and received the UB Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was awarded a SUNY honorary doctorate in science during UB's commencement last May.
TWELVE INDIAN AMERICAN STUDENTS WIN GOLDWATER SCHOLARSHIPS
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has awarded 321 scholarships for the 2008-2009 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the US. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,035 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred eighty-nine of the Scholars are men, 132 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Thirty-three Scholars are mathematics majors, 227 are science and related majors, 52 are majoring in engineering, and 9 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.
The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
Goldwater scholarships have been a stepping stone to the most prestigious fellowships in the country. Golddwater scholars have gone on to claim Rhodes scholarships, Marshall awards and National Institute of Health fellowships.
The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.
In its twenty-year history, the Foundation has awarded 5,523 scholarships worth approximately fifty-four million dollars. The Trustees plan to award about three hundred scholarships for the 2009-2010 academic year.
This year's Indian American recipients are: Vikram Agarwal, University of Texas at Austin; Rajeev Anchan, Creighton University; Prabir Singh Grewal, Cornell University; Neil Bharat Patel, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD; Vinay Ramsesh, University of North Texas; Ritika Samant, University of Delaware; Aakash Kaushik Shah, Ursinus College; Shrenik Nitin Shah, Harvard University; Aarti Sharma, University of Illinois at Chicago; Arunan Skandarajah, Vanderbilt University; Swarup Sai Swaminathan, Columbia University and Pratik Talati, University of Alabama-Birmingham.
INTEL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AWARD GOES TO INDIAN AMERICAN STUDENT SANA RAOOF
The Intel Foundation today announced top winners of the world's largest pre-college science fair, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair presented by Agilent Technologies. Natalie Saranga Omattage of Cleveland, Miss., Sana Raoof of Muttontown, New York and Yi-Han Su of Chinese Taipei were selected from more than 1,550 young scientists from 51 countries, regions and territories for their commitment to innovation and science.
Raoof's research provided new insight into how a better understanding of mathematical knot theory could help resolve classic biochemical problems. Specifically, her work focused on the Alexander-Conway polynomial invariant for chord diagrams to help prove how to classify molecules on a structural basis.
In addition to the three $50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award winners, more than 500 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair participants received Scholarships and prizes for their groundbreaking work. Intel awards included 18 "Best of Category" winners who each received a $5,000 Intel scholarship and a new laptop featuring the Intel® Core™2 Duo processor.
IBM RECOGNIZES FOUR INDIAN AMERICAN PROFESSORS WITH FACULTY AWARDS
The following Indian American professors have received the coveted IBM faculty awards.
Dr. Amar Gupta, Thomas R Brown Chair in Management and Technology at the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management. Prof. Gupta is receiving this award for the second year in a row. Dr. Supriyo Datta, Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University; Dr. Ravishankar K Iyer, director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is a George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professor of Engineering; Dr. Charanjit Bhatia, Temasek Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
AIR INDIA OFFERS $549 ROUND TRIP TICKET FROM NEW YORK TO INDIA
For North American residents, Air India has offered a Special Economy Class fares of $549 to $808 from New York's JFK International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport for selected dates (excludes June 13 to July 13) from June 1st to October 31st. Departure taxes airport security and other fees, and fuel surcharges (ranging from approx. $411 to 511) not included. Sale ends June 20th. Call Air India at 800-223-7776 or visit www.airindia.in AUSTRALIAN INDIAN DR. BANDYOPADHYA HELPS TO FORGE UNSW AND INDIA NANOTECHNOLOGY COOPERATION
UNSW's Faculty of Science will team with Indian counterparts in two major research projects in the field of nanotechnology, following a funding announcement by the Federal Government.
The projects are part of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund's $7 million collaborative science initiative, announced by Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr.
The Australia-India Strategic Research Fund is Australia's largest bilateral research fund, providing $20 million over five years for collaborative research projects. The Fund aims to facilitate and support science and technology research cooperation between the two countries.
A team led by Dr Sri Bandyopadhyay from the School of Material Sciences and Engineering, will receive $1.55 million to research a wide range of cutting edge applications for nanomaterials converted into nancomposites in the fields of electronics, coatings, fuel cells and clean energy.
He will work alongside Professor Martin Green from the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Silicon Photovoltaics and Photonics, the School of Materials Science and Engineering's Professor Aibing Yu and colleagues from the University of Queensland, ANU and Flinders University.
The project is one of only two to receive "top-down" funding. India considers UNSW a world leader in nanotechnology and its applications in solar cell and clean energy.
A second project led by Nagarajan Valanoor, also from the School of Materials Science and Engineering, will receive more than $320,000 to look at hybrid magnetoelectric nanostructures and how to optimise their performance.
The announcement follows a visit to UNSW in January of a high-level Indian delegation led by the Science and Technology Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal.
Earlier, a team led by Dr Sri Bandyopadhyay from the School of Material Sciences and Engineering, of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia will receive $1.55 million, from the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, to research a wide range of cutting edge applications for nanomaterials converted into nancomposites in the fields of electronics, coatings, fuel cells and clean energy.
AISRF is Australia's largest bilateral research fund, providing $20 million over five years for collaborative research projects.
Contact: Prof. Dr Sri Bandyopadhyay, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org GULF MALAYALEES' RIGHTS VIOLATED
Kerala's Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran has said that many Malayalis working in Gulf countries were victims of serious human rights violation by their employers. Releasing the Amnesty International's annual report here on Wednesday, the Revenue Minister said he had personally seen the inhuman conditions in which many Malayali emigrant workers lived in various Gulf countries while on a visit as part of a quasi-official delegation from Kerala. They had to work in blistering hot sun and spend the nights in small and overcrowded rooms only to return to work early every morning, he said.
The situation was worse in the jails where 80 per cent of the inmates were persons who had landed there for no fault of theirs. On a personal interaction with inmates in some jails, facilitated by the country governments, he had found that many of them had been duped by persons promising them jobs and other benefits. He had also seen groups of persons in all these countries ready to offer all possible assistance to their unfortunate fellow men and women.
The work of organisations such as Amnesty International had great relevance because the world over the state itself was proving to be a violator of human rights. Such rights violations were both organised and dispersed and called for greater awareness among the people about their rights and ways to resist violations.
Although there was no mention of any specific instance of human rights violation from Kerala in the 2008 Amnesty International report, the State was not immune from the problem.
Kerala had lofty political cultural tradition, mechanisms to fight rights violations and sufficient laws, but there have been several instances of human rights violations in the State as well. Of particular importance was the violation of the rights of children and women. This trend can be reversed only by mobilising public opinion. Non-governmental organisations have a major role to play here, Mr. Rajendran said.
Amnesty International Kerala coordinator P. J. Josy chaired the meeting. K. C. Sunny, Head, Department of Law, Kerala University, received the report. P. Jayasree welcomed the gathering.
SURINAME CONFERENCE ON DEVELOPMENT OF EAST INDIANS IN CARIBBEAN
A conference on "The Development of the East Indians in the Caribbean", organized by Leo Club Campus and supported by OHM, was held at the IGSR Building (Staatsoliegebouw), University of Suriname on Saturday, 24 May 2008. The conference commemorated the 135th anniversary of the first arrivals of Indians as indentured laborers from India to Suriname.
The conference was opened by H. E. Hon. S. Sardjoe, the Acting President of Suriname. The Key Note Speech on Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean was delivered by Prof. Brindsley Samaroo of Trinidad. Other speakers included: Prof Tota Mangar of University of Guyana (Historical Perspective and Guyana: Social & Economic Development); Hon. Maurits S. Hassankhan (Suriname Historical Perspective); Dr Sham Binda (Suriname Social & Economical Development); Prof. Brindsley Samaroo (Trinidad Historical Perspective); Dr. Suredj Mangroo (Trinidad Social & Economical Development). Closing remarks were made by Suriname's Minister of Education.
GOPIO's Regional Caribbean Vice President Amb Krishna Nandoe Nandoe spoke of the participation of others from the Caribbean region saying "Their contribution today to this seminar is a demonstration of friendship, good will understanding and South - South cooperation". He concluded with the hope "that this seminar will contribute in strengthening the fundamentals of a just society, a society that places integrity, fraternity and social justice at the heart of its existence". (Reported By Krishna Nandoe)
ISSUE OF PROFESSIONAL LICENSING FOR NRIs AND PIOs IN INDIA
Letter from: Dr. Rita Sikka, New Delhi, India
I am writing to GOPIO in hopes of drawing awareness to the trials and tribulations of Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), who have moved back to India to make it their permanent home. I am a trained and qualified dentist, registered and licensed to practice in Canada. I hold a Canadian passport as well as an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) registration card. I moved to New Delhi, India to make it my permanent home, following my marriage to an Indian Citizen in June 2005.
I have been fighting a long drawn and exhaustive battle, in and out of court, to obtain my registration and license to practice dentistry in India since September 2005. It started with my initial approach to the Dental Council of India for recognition of my degree. Following a detailed review of my documents and credentials as well as details of the degree program offered at the University of British Columbia (including admission, academic, clinical, and evaluation requirements), the DCI put forth a recommendation to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MH&FW), in favor of recognition of my degree as equivalent to a BDS degree from any University in India. However, the MH&FW declined the recommendation stating that registration as a dentist may only be granted to an Indian Citizen as per the Dentist Act 1948, and since I am only an Overseas Citizen of India, I do not qualify. In response to this decision by the MH&FW, I sent repeated correspondence to them to clarify the fact that the definition of an Indian Citizen has evolved greatly since 1948; that following the 2003 Amendment to the Citizenship Act, the definition of an Indian Citizen now includes the wider pool of Overseas Citizens of India, as well; that in view of new Acts of Parliament coming into effect, old and outdated Acts become obsolete and should be rendered ineffective. A prime example is the recent judgment passed by the Supreme Court in reference to the Rent Agreement Act .The court ruled that in view of changing times and present circumstances, the original Rent Agreement Act from the 50's is no longer relevant or applicable and, therefore, should be considered invalid.
However, despite my repeated efforts, I did not receive any response from the MH&FW. Feeling sidetracked, I decided to file a writ petition in the Delhi High Court to fight for what I thought was my right as an OCI. That petition has been dragging out in court for the last two years. The three ministries involved viz. MH&FW, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have neither denied me my registration, nor are they willing to grant it to me. The MOIA states that it needs clearance from MHA and MH&FW; MH&FW states that it has no objection to OCI doctors working here but will only grant registration after it has amended the Dental Act 1948; MHA states that OCI professionals working in India can be a security threat or can commit a criminal offence and escape any legal consequences. The three Ministries have been requesting repeated extensions in court under the pretext that Governmental policies and proceedings require time. The facts in this matter are as follows:
1) The OCI Scheme came into effect in the year 2003 following an amendment to the Citizenship Act 1955 (viz. Citizenship Amendment Act 2003). As per Section 7B(1) of this Act "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, an overseas citizen of India shall be entitled to such rights as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf." This Act also empowers the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) to notify the benefits to be enjoyed by Overseas Citizens of India (the MOIA does not require approval from any other ministry, as it so claims) 2) The MOIA has been spending huge amount of money in organizing the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas every year since 2003 in order to increase awareness of the Indian Diaspora to the benefits of the OCI scheme and to draw their investments into India. Our respected President, Prime Minister and Minister of MOIA have been making repeated claims and promises of parity between NRIs and OCIs, and unobstructed right to employment for OCIs in the private sector. We (OCIs) are not required to register with FRRO or to obtain a separate work visa for employment in India. 3) The security concerns raised by the MHA are also unsubstantiated as there are thousands of foreigners residing and working in India. They drive with international driving licenses and operate commercial vehicles and aircrafts. Any one of them could easily get into an accident causing injury to an Indian citizen, and potentially flee the country. In the absence of any extradition treaty with their respective countries of citizenship, the Indian Government cannot try them in a court of law. However, this concern has not caused the MHA to ban foreigners from entering India, or gaining employment here. 4) A meeting of Committee of Secretaries was held on January 13th, 2007, to address the various issues raised by the various Ministries in relation to the notification of benefits to OCIs, particularly OCI professionals viz. doctors, lawyers, architects, chartered accountants, etc. After detailed discussions, the Committee arrived at the following decisions:
i) MH&FW would issue necessary notification allowing OCI dentists/nurses to register under the Indian Dental Act and the Indian Nursing Act, and the right to practice in India thereafter. ii) MOIA would consult D/o Legal Affairs and formulate a procedure by which the obligations of the OCIs can be legally enforced by the Government taking into account the issues raised by MHA/DIB (Department of Intelligence Bureau). iii) MOIA would prepare a note for the Cabinet wherein a proposal for giving all the rights exercised by the NRIs to the OCIs will be made with a provision that the exceptions would be notified by the MOIA separately based on national interest, security, strategic considerations in consultation with the MHA and other concerned Departments. 5) It is now 2008, five years after the OCI Scheme was implemented and over a year after the Committee of Secretaries gave their decision favoring OCI doctors working in India. The Central Government, under section 7B(1), has yet to notify rights/benefits to be granted to OCIs.
At my last Court hearing on April 8th, the Judge claimed with vindication that "Rita Sikka is not an Overseas, Citizens of India, but is actually an "Overseas Citizens, of Indian origin". As such, he said: "She is a Canadian citizen. She should pack up her bags, go back to Canada and try to earn a living there. If she does not get employment there, she can live off of welfare that the Canadian Government provides for its citizens." When Honorable Judges, who have been entrusted with upholding the law of the country, start to voice such biased and discriminatory, not to mention derogatory and humiliating, opinions in a public court of law, then what can one expect from the people and Government of that Country. In the past three years of dealing with various Government Departments and Red Tape Bureaucracy in trying to get my registration, I have had many disappointing moments. However, hearing a Judge of an Indian High Court speak of OCIs in such a manner was the most heart shattering experience of them all. I felt as if my heart has sunk down to the floor.
I request my brothers and sisters, OCIs like myself, to raise a voice in demand for Rights and Benefits that are duly ours. There are several OCI doctors who are in the same boat as me, and thousands of OCI doctors who are waiting to come back to their homeland in hopes of reestablishing themselves and their families here. I request them all to be aggressive and play a proactive role in trying to push for Notification of Policies, Rights, and Benefits for OCIs, which in turn will determine the success of our futures in India. Pressure on the Indian Government from Overseas Organizations like yours, who have been established to uphold the professional rights of NRIs/OCIs, should have a much greater impact than a single OCI doctor (like myself) fighting the entire system from within the country. (Note from the editor: NRIs and PIOs in similar situation are requested to contact GOPIO President Inder Singh at email@example.com. GOPIO News also welcomes response from NRIs/PIOs on similar issues. Please send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org).
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (www.gopio.net
) and get details of chapter initiation (visit http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.For more information, contact: