Indiaspora hosts Annual Forum to discuss diaspora’s positive impact

Participants at the Indiaspora Annual Forum on October 13, 2023, in Austin, Texas. PHOTO: MNM Photography

Indiaspora, a non-profit advocacy organization, held its 11th Annual Forum on the theme, “The Indian Diaspora’s Positive Impact on Society” from October 13-15, 2023, in Austin, Texas.

Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, Consul General of India in Houston, Manjunath Chennerappa, Congressman Shri Thanedar (D-Michigan), and Ohio State Senator, Niraj Antani, addressed the participants and also took part in panel discussions, breakout sessions, and fireside chats.

The forum included informative presentations and engaging sessions from participants nationwide. It also nurtured valuable connections, a shared sense of progress, and bolstered a feeling of community and collaboration among Indiaspora members, highlighting the remarkable work they contribute to, the organizers of the event said.

Founder of Indiaspora, MR Rangaswami told News India Times, “Our annual forum creates a conducive environment for collaboration on initiatives that produce a positive impact on society, and the diversity of attendees across a variety of professions also allows for cross pollination of unique ideas.”

In his opening remarks, Governor Abbott highlighted the state as an excellent business destination with an expanding economy. He also noted the significance of the Indian diaspora in Texas, both for business and cultural contributions, expressing a warm welcome to the increasing presence of the Indian diaspora in the state.

From left, Sanjeev Joshipura, Anurag Jain, and MR Rangaswami with Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the Indiaspora Annual Forum on October 13, 2023, in Austin, Texas. PHOTO: MNM Photography

Consul General Chennerappa dwelt on the significance of Texas as well as adjoining Midwestern and Southwestern states in the relationship between the United States and India, emphasizing the ample opportunities, and how he attempts to enhance India-US ties during his tenure. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to US in June was a pivotal moment in the India-US bilateral relations, he said.

Executive Director of Indiaspora, Sanjeev Joshipura in his address noted Indiaspora’s mission to “Inspire and position global India diaspora as force for good.” As such, the organization is hoping to “convene diaspora leaders from several countries across various professions and to be a catalyst for positive social impact.”

According to Joshipura, Indiaspora’s main areas of focus are philanthropy and social impact, entrepreneurship and innovation, working with next generation of the diaspora, and expanding further globally. The organization is also starting to increase its focus on climate and environmental issues.

Congressman Thanedar, while giving his life story, highlighted how he surmounted challenges to ascend to the position of a lawmaker in US Congress. He talked about the demographics in his district and commented on the larger significance of the Indian diaspora in the United States, particularly its growing influence in the political sphere.

At the forum, plenary topics included, Making India the Global Leader in AI for Social Development; The Trust Currency: Fueling Philanthropy’s Future; Why Am I Investing in Brain Research, and Fireside Chats discussed on Faith, Politics and Community Engagement in America; Technology for Capitalism, and US-India relations.

The panel on US-India Relations moderated by Joshipura focused on deepening collaborations between the US and India in technology, trade/commerce and geopolitical (bilateral and multilateral) realms. The panel also looked at the future of the relationship as being replete with myriad and diverse opportunities and opined that the diaspora is a huge and important driver of US-India ties.

Discussions were also held on topics such as, Serving the Greater Good: Public Service and Philanthropy’s Vital Role; and Earning Stakeholder Trust. Breakout session discussions included investment and entrepreneurship, upskilling initiatives led by Indian-origin leaders, and members sharing their personal journeys and learning.

During his plenary address, Ohio State Senator Antani discussed the significant involvement of the Indian diaspora in diverse political spheres, and its subsequent impact from grassroots up. Antani stressed the importance of political engagement, irrespective of party affiliations. He also touched on Ohio politics sharing insights into his personal journey, and delved into the issues such as political redistricting, and exploring merits and drawbacks of potential solutions.



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