GOPIO Announces Pravasi Bharatiya Community Service Awards

In conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2006

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has scheduled its Conference 2006 in Hyderabad on January 5th and 6th, in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2006. The theme of the conference is Global Indian Diaspora: Today and Tomorrow The conference will be formally inaugurated on January 5th at 7.00pm at the Manohar Radisson Hotel, followed by a reception and dinner. Prior to the conference inauguration, a scheduled GOPIO session will hear reports on NRI/PIO issues from different countries with large PIO population followed by a session on Mobilization of Indian Diaspora Resources for Common Goal. The first session will be devoted to the mobilization of the global NRI/PIO communities and resources for political, social and economic goals including developmental, philanthropic and educational activities of the NRI/PIO communities as well as India. Speakers include former NRI Commissioner and former External Affairs Secretary J.C. Sharma (New Delhi), Prof. Rajendra Prasad of New Zealand, University of Guyana Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. Prem Misir, Prof. Mohan Gautam of The Netherlands, Fiji Member of Parliament Dr. Ganesh Chand and Dr. Arjun Daluvoy of Los Angeles, USA. The session will be chaired by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and Co-Chaired by Prof. Chandrashekahr Bhat, Director of Indian Diaspora Institute at the University of Hyderabad. The second day of conference will start with in opening session with two speakers Prof. Parmatma Saran of New York and Prof. Madhav Nalapat of India speaking on the theme of the conference. This session will be chaired by GOPIO Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran. It will be followed by another session titled, Indian Diaspora: Opportunities in Business, Technology and Investments. The speakers are: Dr. B.R. Shetty, CEO and Managing Director of New Medical Center Hospital, Abu Dhabi; Ms. Koosum Kalyan, Business Development Manager/Africa Exploration and Production, Shell International Petroleum Company Ltd.; Yesu Persaud, Executive Vice President of GOPIO International and Chairman of Demerara Distillers, Guyana; Dr. Sudhir Parekh, President, Federation of Indian Associations, New York, USA; Prof. Krishna R. Dronamraju, Houston, Texas and V. Narayanan, Chairman Allfone Systems (Pvt.) Ltd. & President, ICM Computer Consultants, Chennai, India. This session will be chaired by GOPIO-Belgium Presidetn Sunil Prasad and Co-chaired by marketing professor Prof. Gan Bhukta of GIFT, Visakhapatnam.

GOPIO believes that the NRIs/PIOs have contributed significantly to the countries of their adoption as well as to India, and have added a special glitter to the resurgence of India, said Inder Singh, President of GOPIO. GOPIO believes that the destiny of the Indian Diaspora, in many ways, is intertwined inextricably with India. The NRIs/PIOs certainly, individually and collectively, have made numerous achievements in their adopted lands but they are bound to India by the umbilical cord of history, culture, heritage, and tradition. Since its inception in 1989, GOPIO has been organizing conferences and conventions in different parts of the world to mobilize the global NRI/PIO community. In 2004-5 alone, GOPIO organized five international conferences, in January 2004 in New Delhi, in March 2004 on Human Rights in New York, in October 2004 in Brussels, in January 2005 in Mumbai and in November 2005 in Brussels again. Besides providing a globally recognized platform for dialogue and discussion to the worldwide Indian Diaspora, GOPIO conferences and conventions continue to help bring the Indian Diaspora closer to mother India and strengthen the inherent bonds between mother India and the scattered Diaspora. The conference in Hyderabad on January 5th and 6th, 2005, is another of its continuing efforts to mobilize the global Indian community and facilitate their networking. The conference will conclude with the Awards Luncheon scheduled to be held at 1 p.m. on Jan 6, 2005 at Manohar Radisson Hotel. GOPIOs PRAVASI BHARATIYA COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS have been established to honor those NRIs and PIOs who have provided significant community and public service to the Indian Diaspora around the globe and/or to India. The awardees list for this year includes Baron Dr. Diljit S. Rana of Ireland; DR. B.R. Shetty, Chairman of New Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi; Ms. Sudha Acharya, Executive Director of the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), and Dr. Ganesh Chand, M.P. who was former Planning Minister of Fiji. Special recognition award will be presented to Pavan Kumar Darisi. The awards will be presented by Andhra Pradesh Governor Sushil Kumar Shinde. GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said, By honoring those who have worked selflessly for Indian Diaspora causes and India, we are providing exposure of such role models to the next generation. This will motivate more NRIs and PIOs to volunteer their time for community causes and India, Dr. Abraham added.

GOPIO 2006 PRAVASI BHARATIYA COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDEE PROFILES

Sudha Acharya (USA)

Sudha Acharya has a track record of 32 years of community service. Ms. Acharya started her community service work as the chairperson of the Joint Committee of Indian Associations in New York in 1973. After the Joint Committee became the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), Ms. Acharya was its president 1983-84, later Vice-president and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA), the largest umbrella Indian organization in the US. In 1989, Acharya served as the Co-convener and Secretary of the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin when GOPIO) was born. Ms. Acharya represents the All India Womens Conference (AIWC) at the UN, worked on the Planning Committee for the NGO Forum for the Fourth World Conference on Women at Beijing in 1995, and later chaired the NGO Committee on the Status of Women for two terms 1995-1999. She was a Vice-president of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CONGO) and served as CONGOs Focal Point for the Review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action or Beijing plus Five in 2000. In 2000 Ms. Acharya was elected as the first president and currently as the Executive Director of the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to plan, provide, support and advocate for a continuum of programs addressing the social service needs of underserved South Asian and other immigrant communities in New York City. SACSS worked closely with the families of direct victims of 9-11. SACSS provides English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, parenting workshops, job preparedness, training and placement that are much needed services amongst the new immigrant South Asian community. A former project manager with Verizon in New York City, Ms. Acharya has been recognized with several awards including Gandhi Community Award and Union Square Award.

Dr. Ganesh Chand (Fiji)

Dr. Ganesh Chand, an Indo Fijian, holds a PhD from USA and has taught at the University of the South Pacific for 18 years and currently serves as a member of the Council of the University. Dr. Chand became a leading campaigner for democracy in Fiji, after the 1987 military coup and led numerous pro-democracy protests. In 1999, he was elected to the Parliament and became the Minister for National Planning, Local Government, Housing and Environment. He was re-elected to Fijian Parliament in 2001. In 2005, Dr. Chand established University of Fiji to cater to the needs of underprivileged students. Dr. Chand is an accomplished author. He is the publisher and editor of Fijian Studies: A Journal of Contemporary Fiji. He is also the founder of http://www.fijigirmit.org, a website dedicated to Indian indentured workers in Fiji.

Lord Diljit S. Rana, M.B.E. (Northern Ireland, UK)

Diljit Rana, a resident of Belfast since 1966 and managing director of Andras House, is a leading figure in the Indian community in Northern Ireland. He is India's honorary consul in Belfast. He has also been elected a member of the House of Lords. Dr. Rana has been involved with the overseas Indian community for a long time. He promotes business links between India and Northern Ireland and has been elected president of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce. He led a trade mission of 13 companies to India to explore business opportunities for Northern Ireland companies. Dr. Rana has been awarded MBE for his contribution to the economic regeneration of the city of Belfast through the development of hotels, restaurants, fashion shops and modern office accommodation. Diljit Rana has set up a charitable trust of Rs.50 million for a school and a college named Taxila, in his native village Sanghol, near Chandigarh . The new college is to provide world-class education and offer degree courses in collaborative linkage with the Ulster University in Northern Ireland. The university conferred an honorary doctorate on Mr. Rana who led a delegation of academics from the university to India to explore educational partnerships and help develop university links between India and Northern Ireland.

Dr. Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty (U.A.E.)

Dr. Shetty has been providing community services as Chairman of Abu Dhabi Indian School; President of Abu Dhabi Cricket Council and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Cricket Control Board; founder and president of numerous Indian business and cultural organizations; Founder Patron of Toastmasters International in the United Arab Emirates; Founder and Vice President of the Swiss Business Council and Member of the Executive Panel of Dubais Pharmaceutical and Health Equipment Trading Business Group under the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Dr. Shetty is the founder and Chairman of New Medical Centre since 1973. With six facilities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, the hospital chain treats one million patients a year. Dr. Shetty is also a successful businessman involved in currency exchange and financial services, manufacturing, trading and hospitality. Dr. Shetty is a recipient of many national and international awards, and distinctions for significant contribution to Pharma Industry. Recently Dr. Shetty has been conferred the highest honour of Government of Abu Dhabi Order of Abu Dhabi Award. He is the only Indian recipient of this prestigious award which is given for demonstrating his determination to help others despite all odds, regularly donating time, thoughts and talents for the betterment of people, leaving an indelible mark on the community. Dr. Shetty has said, Till my last breath, I shall continue to serve mankind with zeal and fervour.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION - Pavan Kumar Darisi (USA)

Pavan Kumar Darisi is the Founder & CEO of AMERICARx, a very successful online Pharmacy in the US. He is the first Indian to start Online Pharmaceutical Business. Darisi established the Darisi Seva Samastha, a charitable trust for the underprivileged and in 2003, he was elected President for the World Arya Vysya Mahasabha. It is through these two organizations, that Darisi has provided many years of dedicated public service. His compassion to help people and his philanthropic acts to support various community projects has made Darisi a role model for thousands in Andhra Padesh, India. Darisi has spent over 6 crores of rupees on community development works like building link roads and bridges, bus shelters, marriage & community halls, donations for ambulance vans, boring wells and for pumps for 30 Harijan colonies, and free medical camps in a number of less privileged areas in Andhra Pradesh. There are several road junctions named after him. Darisi has also donated money for construction and renovation of temple buildings in many places. For his humanitarian works, Darisi has been recognized and honored by many organizations and agencies.

The views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.

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