India and its culture received some flattering comments from writers and lawmakers during the Ninth Annual Awards Banquet of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin that honored outstanding achievers from the Indian American community in Connecticut late last month,
The GOPIO Connecticut Chapter organized the Banquet to honor not just outstanding but those who provide service to the community and/or India or to the society at large. The event was held June 20 at the Stamford Hilton Hotel, Stamford, CT.
The sold-out Award Banquet was attended among others by Senior US Senator from Connecticut Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Jim Himes (D, CT 4th District), Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Connecticut State Senators Tony Hwang, and Toni Boucher, and author/actress Moura Moynihan.
Consul L. T. Ngaihte from the Indian Consulate, New York, conveyed best wishes on behalf of the Indian Government.
GOPIO-CT selected Senator Blumenthal, who serves several important Senate committees, was selected to receive the Friend of India award. Blumenthal said he is honored to get the award. He said he is an avid supporter and advocate for dialog and cooperation between India and the United States for deeper bilateral relations.
The guests included author/actress Maura Moynihan, daughter of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, US ambassador to India, was full of praise of her experience in India. She speaks several regional languages such as Tibetan, Hindi, and Urdu. She said that she valued the Indian culture and Philosophy. “It’s my favorite country in the world and it’s a very civilized country,” Moynihan said.
Praise about India also came from Hwang, who became the First Asian-Pacific American State Senator in Connecticut. He said he “appreciates the basic values of Indian culture and there truly is nothing more important than family.”
Four Indian Americans were honored for their achievements for professional and community service, including Akhil Reed Amar for his achievement and contribution to Arts and Letters. Prof. Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University teaching constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received the 2008 DeVane Medal— Yale’s highest award for teaching excellence.
Other awardees were Vinod Srihari, a medical doctor for achievement and contribution to medicine; Nisha Arora, co-founder of Indian Community Center of Greenwich, and George Joseph, Deputy Director of the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University for his contribution to International relations and connecting India to the United States.
Commenting on the award selection, GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani said, ‘We select the awardees, who have made an impact in our society and/or those who provide outstanding service.
GOPIO-CT President’s Young Achiever Award went to Moh Sharma who serves as a Policy Advisor for the House Democratic Caucus under Chair Xavier Becerra. The Awards Banquet was supported by Stamford Hospital as the Silver sponsor and HSBC as bronze sponsor.
GOPIO-CT has taken two new initiatives for 2015 – a student scholarship program and a young professional network. Sanjay Santhanm chaired the scholarship committee with ‘Dollar for Scholar,’ a professional organization. The committee raised over $50,000 dollars at the awards banquet.