GOPIO seeks to build ties with Indian American academics in central Connecticut

iNDICA News Bureau-

Indian American and Indic academics from Quinnipiac, Yale, University of Connecticut, and University of New Haven came together on a pan-India platform for the first time at a meet-and-greet program April 22 at the Clarion Hotel in Hamden, Connecticut.

The event was organized by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Connecticut chapter (GOPIO-CT), with Quinnipiac University as part of its outreach to university faculty. GOPIO members and other community organization representatives had a networking reception at the event and an open-mike interaction followed by an Indian dinner.

After the networking meet-and-greet, the program began with a welcome by GOPIO-CT executive vice-president Prasad Chintalapudi who introduced GOPIO founder and chairman Dr Thomas Abraham. Dr Abraham spoke of GOPIO’s journey since 1989 and how the Indian diaspora, which was outside the political mainstream in many countries, changed over to the mainstream in countries with large diaspora populations.

He also spoke on the welcome dinner for new students from India at the UConn Business School at the Stamford and Hartford campuses organized by GOPIO-CT and said the organization hopes to do the same in the Hamden/New Haven area.

Dr Abraham said Indian American academics could play important roles in correcting misinformation on India and the Indian American community, as for example the statements by controversial University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax.

The program to reach the academics was initiated by GOPIO-CT board member Prof Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, who has been a Democratic Party candidate from the assembly district in Trumbull.

“It is a pleasure to have faculty members from Quinnipiac University, Yale University, the University of New Haven and from the greater South Asian community come together to discuss shared connections and opportunities for collaboration and we look forward to hosting future events that will incorporate students and continue to build programming that serves the local community and highlights the many important contributions of the South Asian community in Connecticut,” Prof Gadkar-Wilcox said.

Academics who participated included Prof Ravi Dhar, American behavioral scientist, expert in consumer behavior and branding, and currently George Rogers Clark Professor of Management and Marketing at Yale School of Management; Prof K Sudhir, James L Frank Professor of Private Enterprise, Management and Marketing & Director of the Yale China India Insights Program (CIIP), Yale School of Management; Prof Shyam Sunder, James L Frank Professor Emeritus of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Yale School of Management; Prof Ramesh Subramanian, Gabriel Ferrucci Professor of Computer Information Systems, Quinnipiac; Asha Rangappa, former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, senior lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and a commentator on CNN; Kamal Upadhyaya; professor of economics and business analytics, University of New Haven; Prof Narasimhan Srinivasan, associate professor of marketing, UConn School of Business; Prof Ewa Callahan, associate professor of Interactive Media and Design, Quinnipiac; and Prof Mohammad Elahee, professor of international business, Quinnipiac.

The Connecticut Association of Physicians of India (CAPI) was represented at the event with former president Dr Subbarao Bollepalli, Dr Veena Vani and Drs Raminder (Micky) and Rachna Walia. The program was sponsored by Wire and Plastics Machinery manufacturer Rakesh Narang and his wife Neelam along with Prof Wyn Gadkar-Wilcox, who is professor of history and non-Western cultures, at Western Connecticut University.

Many ideas were shared at the interactive session. Plans are afoot to continue this network and to organize a welcome dinner for new students from India in September in central Connecticut and at the UConn, Storrs campus.

Over the past 16 years, GOPIO-CT has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policymakers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future.

GOPIO-CT serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of the Indian diaspora through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create a dialogue with local communities.