GOPIO-CT To Honor Five Indian American Achievers At Its 11th Annual Awards Banquet

FTV News, Connecticut: The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)-Connecticut Chapter will honor outstanding achievers of the Indian American community in Connecticut and those provide service to the community or the society at large at its Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, July 8th at the Stamford Hilton Hotel, Stamford, CT starting at 6 p.m. Chief guest at the program is Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, Consul General of India in New York. Several dignitaries are scheduled to attend the event including Rep Jim Himes (D, CT 4th District), Stamford Mayo David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Connecticut State Senators Tony Hwang and Toni Boucher and CT State Assemblymen Dr. Prasad Srinivasan and William Tong.

Five Indian Americans are honored for their achievements in profession and service to the nation.  Ms. Ila Paliwal, a Greenwich resident will be honored for contribution and achievement in Performing Arts. Ila Paliwal is a classically trained Indian vocalist, songwriter and producer. She released her album NAVARATNA in 2015 at the Carnegie Hall to a sold-out audience. NAVARATNA celebrates India’s secular and festive spirit and is executive produced by legendary music composer AR Rahman. In 2015, She also released a video, HOLI celebrating the Indian ancient phrase Vasudev Kutumbakam. Through her music, Ila focuses to spread the message of Unity in Diversity.

Dr. Draupathi Nambudiri, a psychiatrist at the Stamford Hospital will be honored for her contribution in Medicine and Health Care. Dr. Nambudiri currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Stamford Hospital and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. She has been practicing psychiatry for over 30 years. She has been an active clinician, leader, mentor, and educator over the course of her career.

Dr. Rupendra Paliwal, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield will be honored for his contribution in Education. Earlier, Paliwal served as vice president for strategic planning, special assistant to the president for strategic planning, associate dean of the Jack Welch College of Business (WCOB), interim dean of the WCOB, associate dean for Academic Affairs and associate professor of finance. Prior to coming to Sacred Heart, he was a senior officer of the National Stock Exchange of India.

Captain Alpa Ladani, a distinguished 20-year Veteran of the Connecticut Army National Guard, will be honored for Service to the Nation. Captain Ladani was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Germany and Bahrain in a number of different capacities. Most recently, Captain Ladani served as the Executive Officer for Forward Support Base, Headquarters Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her awards and decorations include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, and Iraq Campaign medal with 2 Campaign Stars, amongst a host of other honors accrued over her lengthy time in service.

GOPIO-CT President’s Young Professional Achiever Award goes to Mr. Nitesh Banta. Born and raised in Stamford, Banta is a 2008 Harvard University Alumni who was selected for the well-known Forbes 30 Under 30 List in the New Venture Category. He is an active angel investor and is the CEO and co-founder of B12 which has been recognized as the hottest emerging startup by Nasdaq at the Founders Forum. Nitesh is a participant in the AI Xprize. In October 2016, Nitesh won the Rising Star Award for B-12.  In 2012, Nitesh co-founded Rough Draft Ventures, a student-run venture initiative where each student entrepreneurs can receive up to $25k to fund their new start-up.

Commenting on the award selection, GOPIO-CT President Anita Bhat said, “We select the awardees, who have made an impact in our society and/or those who provide outstanding service.”

GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham and Chairman of GOPIO-CT Awards and GOPIO-CT chapter has done a great service in honoring them and promoting Indian culture and values to the new generation.”

The awardees will be honored at GOPIO-CT’s Eleventh Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, July 8th at the Hilton Stamford Hotel in Stamford. The program includes dignitaries, entertainment and Bollywood DJ. For reservation or to buy tickets, call Anita Bhat 203-524-2935 or send an e-mail to