Indian Consulate and GOPIO Manhattan Organize ‘Meet & Greet’ for Students from India


Students from different universities and colleges with Indian Consulate and GOPIO officials and speakers

Our Bureau
New York, NY

The Consulate General of India in New York in cooperation with GOPIO Manhattan organized the ‘Meet and Greet Students from India’ studying in the Northeast to connect them to the community and provide mentoring opportunities as well as to raise awareness of Consular services to students from the Consulate. Students from many universities in the New York area including Columbia, NYU, Tandon School of Engineering, Tauro, Pace, New York Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Univ. of Penn. and as far as Boston including Harvard and Babson participated in person and via Facebook Live.

The program started with a welcome by the Deputy Consul General of India Dr. Varun Jeph, who emphasized the unique and strong relationship between India and the United States, highlighting it as a comprehensive strategic partnership. He stressed the significance of the knowledge and education aspect, innovation, research engagement, and the role of international students in this partnership. Dr. Jeph invited the Consulate General of India in New York, the honorable Consul General Mr. Randhir Jaiswal to address the gathering.

CG Jaiswal said, “In the United States, the concept of a knowledge partnership is extensive, and while there are challenges, there’s a lot of positivity coming from India, such as the success of Chandrayaan and the historic visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Washington, resulting in new partnerships in technology and knowledge exchange. There’s a strong focus on supporting the Indian student community in the U.S. The speaker expressed well wishes for students studying and working in the U.S. and celebrating Diwali. He emphasized that the knowledge partnership extends beyond the student community.”

Consul General Randhir Kumar Jaiswal and GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph and Program Coordinator Bhavya Gupta addressing the students

Jaiswal added, “Over the past 20 years, three notable educational projects, including the Indian School of Business, Ashoka University in Haryana, and the upcoming “Passion” project, have emerged. The name “Passion” symbolizes the source from which knowledge flows. The speaker highlighted the growing number of Indian students studying abroad, contributing to India’s demographic dividend, and impacting global socio-economic and technological landscapes. The speaker welcomed the audience, engaged in conversation, and expressed gratitude for their presence.”

Following that, the host of the evening Ms. Bhavya Gupta, Founder of ACE Consultants and Secretary at GOPIO Manhattan, expressed pride in the large number of Indian students in the U.S. and hoped that the panel discussion would provide valuable insights to help these students adapt and succeed in the academic, social, and cultural aspects of American life. She mentioned the idea of the event is not only to come together and gain from the experiences and learnings of the accomplished panel but also to become part of the Indian American community, as an extended family. The discussion aimed to better inform and educate the students about their future in the United States.

Ms. Gupta then invited, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder and Chairman of GOPIO International and advisor to GOPIO Manhattan, which collaborated for the event, to address the gathering. Dr. Abraham said, “Around 50 years ago when I arrived in New York as a student at Columbia University, communication with our homeland was very limited and expensive. Making an international call could cost up to $3 and take a whole day to connect. Back then, foreign students were assigned host families. However, in today’s networked world, we are all connected through platforms like WhatsApp and social media. There are now 4.5 million people of Indian origin living in the United States, ready to support and guide you. Since 2018, we’ve organized a program to welcome new students with a dinner event in Stamford, Connecticut. We shared this idea to do a program in New York ‘ve had support from the Consul General of Indian, even though we had to skip 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in 2021 and beyond, we’ve resumed these welcome programs. This marks the fourth one, and we’ve invited students from colleges in the New York area, including some from Harvard. The United States is a fantastic country that provides opportunities for all. You can pursue any path, whether it’s a career in a large corporation, managing an investment fund, scientific research, teaching, or entrepreneurship. Personally, I’m involved in advanced materials and nanotechnology consulting, but my true passion has been building community institutions since I arrived in 1973. I’ve established seven such institutions in the last 50 years, including the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) New York I initiated in 1976.”

Speakers at the Panel Discussion L to R: Dr. Mohini Mukherjee, Debasis Sahu, Dr. Nilanjan Sen, Prashanthi Reddy Esq. and Suruchi Saini

GOPIO Manhattan Board Member Raj Panjabi introduced the moderator and panelists. Dr. Nilanjan Sen, Ph.D., CFA, a Professor of Finance) in the School of Business at the University of Albany, State University of New York was the moderator. He brought a wealth of experience from his role as the former Dean of the School of Business at the University of Albany, effectively bridging the corporate and academic realms. The panel also featured Dr. Mohini Mukherjee, the Executive Director of International Student Services at Rutgers, who offered insights into the academic perspective. Additionally, Mr. Debasis Sahu, Partner Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC), shared his corporate expertise, drawing from his over 25 years of experience in the United States. He shed light on what companies seek when hiring graduates. Ms. Prashanthi Reddy Esq. provided valuable guidance on immigration-related matters, guiding students on transitioning from F1 to CPT/OPT and ultimately to the coveted H1B status. Last but not least, Ms. Suruchi Saini, Founder Holistic Bonfire LLC, a Board certified licensed professional counselor and tele mental health provider, addressed the challenges of managing stress and anxiety, particularly in the academic context.

This report was prepared by NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering student Priya Kundu

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