Close on the heels of his party’s impressive victory in Karnataka, Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday to kick off his three-city U.S. trip.
Among the highlights of the tour, which also includes Washington and New York, are a high-profile speech at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and two Indian American diaspora events in Santa Clara and New York City.
Gandhi will also speak at Washington National Press Club’s “Headliners Newsmaker” on June 1 on “the future of Indian democracy, freedom of speech, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”
Gandhi’s schedule will include engagements with universities, tech entrepreneurs, civil society organizations, media, and business and political leaders, Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC), said in a press release last week.
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“The purpose of [Gandhi’s] trip is to connect, interact and begin [a] new conversation with various individuals, institutions and media, including the Indian diaspora that is growing in numbers in the United States and abroad to promote the shared values and vision of the real democracy with [a] focus on freedom, inclusion, sustainability, justice, peace and opportunities world over,” said Pitroda.
“We are eagerly awaiting Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the nation’s capital,” Johnson Myalil, president of the Washington, DC, chapter of IOC told the American Bazaar. “The resounding victory in the Karnataka assembly elections has already energized the supporters of the Congress party throughout the United States, and Rahul Gandhi’s visit further adds to their enthusiasm.”
Myalil stated that, as the largest democracy in the world, developments in India are being closely watched by people worldwide, and there is a significant interest in the US to hear about Gandhi’s ideas for strengthening Indian democracy.
One of the notable events during Gandhi’s two-day visit to Washington is a dinner hosted at the Potomac, MD, home of prominent Indian American entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank F. Islam and his wife, Debbie Driesman.
Roughly 80 people, including members of Congress, business leaders, and experts on India from various think tanks, are expected to attend the dinner at Norton Manor, the impressive residence of Islam and Driesman, spanning over 40,000 square feet.
Islam, one of the most prominent Democratic Party donors and fundraisers, has hosted several notable top leaders at his residence in the past. Among them are former President Bill Clinton, President Joe Biden during his tenure as vice president, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, prominent members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, diplomats, as well as esteemed leaders from prominent think tanks and nonprofit organizations
“Rahul Gandhi is an important and critical voice in Indian politics,” said Islam in a prepared statement. “His recent, four months and 4,000 kilometers long Bharat Jodo Yatra energized his party tremendously. When I learned that Mr. Gandhi is visiting the United States, I thought it was important for us, Indian Americans and friends of India in the Washington, DC, area, to hear about his experience, ideas, and plans for the future of India. That’s why I am hosting him.”
Here is a rough schedule of Gandhi’s visit to San Francisco, Washington, and New York, collected from various sources:
May 30: Interactions with members of the Indian American community at Santa Clara Marriot, in Santa Clara, CA
May 31: Talk at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.
June 1, 11 am: Speech at the Hudson Institute
June 1, 2 pm: “Headliners Newsmaker” event, Washington National Press Club
June 1, 4 pm: Engagement at Carter Center
June 1, 6 pm: Dinner at the home of Frank F. Islam and Debbie Driesman
June 2, 9 am: Engagement with US-India Security Council
June 2, 11 am to 1:30 pm: Media engagements
June 2, 2 pm: Engagement with officials and congressional staff
June 2, 6 pm: Diaspora reception on Capitol Hill
June 4, 2 pm: Public meeting at Jarvis Center