Expecting gains in Indian economy, GOPIO convention focuses on opportunities for country’s diaspora


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, New Jersey.

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 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. These resolutions 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 US.

Businessman Prakash Shah, the Executive Council, was the Convention Convener. Shah said at the launch ceremony, “Lauding the positive optimistic vision prevailing in India, presents an opportunity to invest in India which provides the best and biggest opportunity in the world.

The Bombay Stock Exchange has just crossed $4 trillion and has overtaken Hong Kong to become the third largest in the world,” he said. “While India needs the 35 million diaspora to invest, it is an incredible opportunity for the diaspora to prosper.”

GOPIO President Lal Motwani, who had earlier served as the Convener of the GOPIO convention in New York in 2016, said this major event was in the US after eight years. “This is a big opportunity for our vibrant community in the Tri-State Area and in the US to participate and help with this very important event for the 35 million strong Indian diaspora.”

GOPIO Chairman Thomas Abraham took the opportunity to talk about the history of GOPIO and its accomplishments since its formation in 1989, the implementation of the resolutions passed by the first GOPIO convention which included Dual Nationality and Voting Rights for NRIs.

The convention had five conference sessions: 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; and 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.
As part of the convention program, GOPIO arranged a trip to Capitol Hill in Washington DC on April 29 to campaign to the US Congressional Representatives on House HR 6542: “To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, to increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants, and for other purposes.”

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.

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, 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.”

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.

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