Annual awards banquet was a sold-out event.
NEW YORK: The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)-Connecticut Chapter organized the ninth annual awards banquet, honoring outstanding achievers of the Indian American community in Connecticut and those who provide service to the community and/or India or to the society at large on Saturday, June 20th, at the Stamford Hilton Hotel, Stamford, CT.
Several dignitaries attended the event, including 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, conveyed best wishes from the Indian government.
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.”
This year, GOPIO-CT selected U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal to receive the Friend of India award. The senior U.S. Senator from Connecticut serves several important Senate committees. He said that he is honored to have been awarded the “Friends of India” award and is an avid supporter and advocate for dialogue and co-operation between largest (India) and oldest democracy (USA) for continued bilateral relations between them.
Tony Hwang who became the First Asian-Pacific American State Senator in Connecticut history said, “I appreciate the basic values of Indian culture and there truly is nothing more important than family.” Senator Hwang also complimented GOPIO-CT initiative towards Indian/Asian American Young Professional Network.
Moura Moynihan, Daughter of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, US ambassador to India, was full of praise of her Indian experience. She speaks several regional languages such as Tibetan, Hindi, and Urdu. She said that she valued the Indian culture and philosophy. Moynihan said, “It’s my favorite country in the world and it’s a very civilized country.”
Four Indian Americans were honored for their achievements in profession and community service.
Prof. Akhil Reed Amar was recognized for his achievement and contribution to Arts and Letters. Amar, the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2008 received the DeVane Medal—Yale’s highest award for teaching excellence.
Dr. Vinod Srihari was recognized for his achievement and contribution in medicine. A graduate of University of Rochester where he received BA and MD, Srihari, completed Psychiatry residency and research fellowship training at Yale before becoming a member of their faculty in 2005. Dr. Srihari is also an Associate Director of Yale’s Psychiatry Residency Training Program.
Nisha Arora, Co-founder of Indian Community Center (ICC) of Greenwich was honored for Community Service and Promotion of Indian Arts and Culture. Arora is the COO of ARCIM Advisors LLC, a commodities hedge fund in Greenwich. The organization also has a recurring seniors program and a children’s program teaching language, Bhartanatyam, tabla and Indian history.
Dr. George Joseph, Deputy Director of the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, was honored for his contribution to International Relations and Connecting India to the USA. He also supports Yale’s engagement, strategy, and visibility in South Asia.
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. She was previously an APAICS Fellow and then a Legislative Aide to Congresswoman Judy Chu and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).
The awards banquet was supported by Stamford Hospital as the Silver sponsor and HSBC as bronze sponsor.
GOPIO-CT embarked upon two new initiatives for the year 2015, a Student Scholarship Program and a Young Professional Network (YP).
Sanjay Santhanm chaired the scholarship committee with “Dollar for Scholar” a professional organization. The committee was successful in raising over $50,000 dollars at the Awards Banquet. Priya Gada, a senior from Stamford won this year’s 4-year $4,000 Student Scholarship.
In addition, Nisha Govil, as chair for the YP program, launched the first ever GOPIO-CT YP program in May 2015. She and co-chair Pradeep Govil have ambitious plans to grow the YP network in coming years.
GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham said, “GOPIO-CT chapter has done a great service promoting Indian culture and values to the new generation as well as promoting India to the larger society.”