Elections were held for Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) recently and the new team was sworn-in on March 4th at a virtual Zoom ceremony. Veteran community leader from New York Mr Lal Motwani was elected the president. Motwani has been a Founder Life member of GOPIO since its inception in 1989. He was serving as the International Coordinator-at-Large and later as Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation in his last term.
Media and community leader Mr Umesh Chandra from Brisbane, Australia was elected as the Executive Vice President; Los Angeles area community leader Kewal Kanda as Vice President, New Jersey businessman Prakash Shah as Global Ambassador and former IBM official and community activist Ms. Jasbir ‘Nami’ Kaur was elected as the International Coordinator-at-Large.
Businessman Roger Latchman from Johannesburg, South Africa as Africa Coordinator; Engineering Entrepreneur Deo Gosine (Trinidad and New York) as Caribbean Coordinator; Real Estate Investor Ashok Madan of Southern California as North America Coordinator; former engineer Harmohan Singh Walia of Sydney, Australia as Oceania Coordinator and New Delhi businessman Dhiraj Ahuja as South Asia Coordinator were the additional 5 regional international co-ordinators to sworn in.
The election was conducted according to the GOPIO bylaws by a team of the Interim Committee which was appointed by the GOPIO General Body Meeting held on January 14th consisting of Mr. Ram Gadhavi (Wayne, New Jersey, USA), Mr. Mahavir Arya (Sydney, Australia) and Mr. Mridul Pathak (New York).
The ceremony started with a universal prayer song by Ms. Devika Gadhavi, a young professional working for the New York Times. Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO welcomed the participants from all continents and provided a brief introduction to the birth of GOPIO and many of its achievements in the last 34 years.
“GOPIO chapters around the world have been doing a lot of organizational groundwork in many countries to promote leadership in public service and the thrust have been to promote and involve the Indian Diaspora in the larger society and local communities wherever they live,” said Dr. Abraham.
In his acceptance speech, President Motwani said, “We will soon activate those regions which are not active now and we will get all the councils to become active again. We need many volunteers to get involved in the Councils such as Human Rights, Cultural, Academic, Women, Science and Technology, Youth and Young Professionals, Media, Health and Wellness, and on Seniors. We will officially launch GOPIO Chamber of Commerce (GICC) in different parts of the world.”
Lal Motwani has been termed a strong community leader, involved in several community groups and served as the President of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), Society of Indian American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA) and Alliance of Global Sindhi Associations. He was the Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation from Sept. 2021 to Jan. 2023.
An architect by profession, Motwani retired as the Assistant Director of New York City’s Housing Authority, Office of Facility Planning and Administration. Motwani has been able to leave his “mark” on a number of New York City landmarks, be it John F Kennedy (JFK) airport, LaGuardia Airport, World Trade Center, American Express, Port Authority of NY/NJ, City Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank and New York City Housing Authority, the world’s largest public housing facility housing 1/8 of the NYC population.