Four Indian-Americans to join Biden’s President Advisory Commission on Asian Americans



President Joe Biden announced Monday, Dec.21, his plan to appoint four Indian-Americans as commissioners to the President Advisory Commission on Asian Americans.

The appointees will be a part of the Asian American, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) committee to advise the US President on ways of the public, private and non-profit sectors, and oversee advance equity and opportunities for the community, the White House said in a statement.

(Top L to R) Dr.Kamal Kalsi, Ajay Jain Bhutoria, Sonal Shah(botton L to R) Smita Shah.

The four potential Indian-American commissioners  — Ajay Jain Bhutoria, Sonal Shah, Kamal Kalsi and Smita Shah are named among the 23 advisory members listed by the White House.

As per the White House statement, the commission will be tasked with advising the President on policies to address anti-Asian xenophobia and violence and “ways to build capacity in AANHPI communities through federal grant making and policies to address the intersectional barriers that the said community women, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities face.”

The committee will include civic leaders from across the country and will reflect the “rich” diversity of AANHPI communities across the states.

Bhutoria, a Silicon Valley tech executive, on joining the Biden administration, told indica,  “I am very honored and humbled to have been appointed by President in his announcement on his intent to appoint me as Commissioner to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.”

“I look forward to working on the Commission to advise the President on ways the public, private, and non-profit sectors can work together to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for every Asian American,
Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community,” Bhutoria, who served as the National Finance Committee, Biden for President 2020 said.

Bhutoria is also a community leader, speaker, and author who has been recognized for his work. He is also an advocate for the South Asian and AAPI communities in areas of small business, educational opportunities, immigration issues, and technological advancement, White House said in its statement.

Another social impact and innovation person is an ardent community leader Sonal Shah. Based in New York, Shah is the founding Executive Director at the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University.

She is also the founding president of the Asian American foundation, starting the largest launch of a philanthropic effort to serve the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. Shah has served as a deputy assistant to President Obama and created the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

Dr. Kalsi is an emergency medicine physician from New Jersey. Kalsi served in the Army for 20 years and was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his contribution in caring for hundreds of combat casualties in Afghanistan. As per White House, Kalsi transitioned into the army reserves and now serves as a senior advisor of a Policy Vets and the value of the Truman National Security Project’s Defence Council. He also founded the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA) to promote diversity, religious freedom, and service.

Smita Shah, is an engineer, entrepreneur and civic leader serving as President and CEO of Chicago-based SPAAN Tech Inc. Shah served in various roles with the Chicago Plan Commission of M.I.T, the Museum of Science and Industry, After School Matters, Delhi Chicago Sister Cities Program, YPO, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She is a member of the board of MacLean Fogg Company and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago.

Apart from the four Indian-Americans, the appointees will also include notable US-based personalities, including President and Chief Executive Officer of International Community Health Services Teresita Batayola Dr. Kimberly Chang, who is a certified family physician with over 20 years of experience working with people affected by human trafficking and exploitation.

Other to-be commissioners include: Raynald Samoa, Naheed Qureshi, Ai-jen Poo, Robert Underwood, KaYing Yang, Simon Pang, Sarah Min, Kevin Kim, Daniel Dae Kim, Michelle Kauhane, Mia Ives-Rublee, Victoria Huynh, Grace Young, Kerry Doi, Emily Chen, Luisa Blue and Amy Agbayani.