Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) elected a new international executive council at a warmly contested election, conducted electronically for the first time, where 208 of the 223 international delegates from 21 countries cast votes, electing Mr. Niraj Baxi of Silicon Valley (USA) as its President. Other elected officers are: Mr. Noel Lal (Sydney, Australia) as Executive Vice President, Mr. Ram Gadhavi (New Jersey, USA) Vice President, Dr. Rajeev Mehta (USA), Dr. Pradip Sewoke (France), Mrs. Suman Kapoor (New Zealand), and Mr. Rajidre Tiwari (The Netherland) as International Coordinators. The election process was supervised by GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh who will continue in that position.
Formed in 1989 at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin, GOPIO has now reached most countries with a sizable Indian Diaspora population. Past GOPIO elections were generally held at its biennial conventions wherein only a fraction of the international delegates could participate. However, with new technologies being available, the present election was held electronically with a record participation by 93% of the international delegates.
With India at the threshold of accepting new technologies and business investment, the new team has come up with a motto, “GOPIO Means Business” so as to attract Indian Diaspora entrepreneurs and businessmen to take more interest in investing in India in all spheres, in business, philanthropy, education healthcare and social causes.
“With an investment and business friendly government in India, we see a lot opportunity for the Indian Diaspora to invest and actively participate in India’s development,” said President Niraj Baxi.
GOPIO Executive Vice President Noel Lal said that GOPIO would reach out all countries where we have the Diaspora presence.
Vice President Ram Gadhavi who has brought Gujarati Diaspora writers on a common platform in the US, plans to extend it to all Indian writers on a global GOPIO forum.
GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham, who also serves as the Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation said that GOPIO will increase its social and philanthropic activities in India as well as in countries with a large Indian Diaspora population.
Baxi further said that he would work towards making GOPIO the voice of any and all NRIs and PIOs and would take initiatives in growing GOPIO all countries and regions of the world.
“In all our internal and external activities, we want to bring about fairness, transparency and accountability; there are many challenges that lie ahead of us and we need good wishes and continued hard work from everyone,” Baxi continued.
GOPIO elected officers are as follows:
President – Niraj Baxi (Silicon Valley, CA, USA)
In 1984, Niraj visited various countries, becoming the first emissary of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), which sponsored the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in 1989. He coordinated NFIA and GOPIO organized the 90th Anniversary of Gadar in San Francisco. Niraj has served as Regional Vice President of GOPIO. Niraj has served in several positions at NFIA and became its President in 2003. He is also active in many civic, political and community service Associations. Professionally, Niraj is a third generation insurance and financial services professional.
Executive Vice President – Noel Lal (Sydney, Australia)
Originally from Fiji, Noel came into GOPIO at the 2000 GOPIO Convention in Zurich, Switzerland. Noel served as the Regional VP and International Coordinator for the Oceania region. Noel is also a current Trustee of the Foundation for Educating Needy Children in Fiji. A Justice of Peace in Australia, Noel is an engineer by profession is currently the Managing Director of South Pacific Engineering Pty Ltd.
Vice President – Ram Gadhavi (Wayne, New Jersey, USA)
For four decades, Ram Gadhavi has been involved in various community activities, starting with the India Cultural Society of NJ where he served as its Chairman, helped build the Gandhi Mandir, was Secretary/President of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA of CT, NJ & NY) where he organized the 1st India Day Parade, President of Gujarati Literary Academy of NA, Secretary of Bharatiya Vidyà Bhavan (USA), and as founding Co-Convener of the first GOPIO Convention in 1989. A chemical engineering project manager of Lummus Co., Ram, after retirement, started a home building and re-modelling company.
International Coordinator for North America – Dr. Rajeev Mehta (Piscataway, New Jersey, USA)
Dr. Rajeev Mehta is the Founder President of GOPIO-Central Jersey (and served in this capacity 2008 to 2012). He also served as Co-chair of the GOPIO Health Council (2010-2014), Co-Convener of the 2011 GOPIO International Biennial Convention held in New Jersey, and Chair of GOPIO Health Council 2014 onward. He has organized several health camps on behalf of GOPIO Central Jersey. He is a researcher, clinician and professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.
International Coordinator for Europe – Dr. Pradip Sewoke (Belfort. France)
Founder and President of GOPIO Belfort and Borders of East France (Switzerland, Germany), Pradip attended GOPIO International Convention in New Delhi and New York. Support the development of GOPIO Chapters in the francophone countries (Europe, Canada, Africa, Islands of Mauritius, Reunion, Antilles, etc.). Professionally, Pradip is an interventional cardiologist and Co-Director at Diaconat Clinic, Mulhouse, France.
International Coordinator for Oceania – Suman Kapoor (Waikato, New Zealand)
A founder President of GOPIO’s first chapter in New Zealand, Suman served as chairperson of GOPIO’s Women’s Council and Cultural council. She was conferred Uttar Pradesh NRI Samman Award in Jan 2016 and several other awards including Bharat Gaurav, Hind Rattan and NRI of the year (Times Now). She has been often referred to as GOPIO LADY in her local community, is very widely traveled globally and has participated in International conferences including PBDs in India, Europe, Australia, Fiji, etc.
International Coordinator-at-Large – Rajindre Tewari (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Rajindre served as Chapter president of GOPIO-Amsterdam followed by Country Coordinator, then EU coordinator, and later served as International Coordinator for Europe in the GOPIO Executive Council 2012 onward. Rajindre Tewari is the MD of an Investment Company with a strong focus on private equity & emerging market investments and chairs the India Business Council of the Dutch Council for Trade. As a Dutch PIO with roots in UP, he studied in Delhi, Antwerpen and Leiden, and comes from a family that was performing Seva for generations.
GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian and secular global organization with 65 chapters, over 200 life members in over 24 countries. It actively promotes the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.
Photo above: GOPIO 2016 Officers: From top left clockwise, Niraj Baxi, Noel Lal, Ram Gadhavi, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Dr. Pradip Sewoke, Suman Kapoor, Rajendre Tiwari, GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh