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June 25, 2017

A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)

Issue: XV-9June 25, 2017
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GOPIO International together with the GOPIO Chapter of Durban in South Africa held a very successful and enlightening business conference for 2 and half days where attendees from many countries gathered to network, exchange ideas and come with suggestions to help South Africa progress to greater heights through Cooperation, Guidance and Entrepreneurship.

Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, Convention Convener and International Coordinator along with his team of volunteers did a wonderful job of planning, hosting and welcome of the delegates visiting from many countries. He had a line up of the Royalty and top Government officials who attended the various events and mingled with the guests.

GOPIO Durban Convention Team
Photo: GOPIO-Durban Convention team with (sitting l. to r.) Mr. A.V. Mohammed of Jumma Masjid Trust, Ishwar Ramlutchman and South Africa Member of the Parliament Aumsen Singh. 

May 19
Durban - For the GOPIO visitors from other countries, the convention started right at the airport. A delegation dressed in traditional Indian clothes received us with folded hands saying Namaskar. Pictures were taken in front of the Gopio banners announcing the Gopio convention and creating quite a stir among the onlookers. This was an excellent advertisement besides the television, radio and print ads, which had been running in Durban for weeks ahead of the summit.

Later the same afternoon, Dr. Shashank Vikram, the Consul General of India in Durban, invited the whole international delegation and prominent community members for high tea at the Indian Consulate and met with each one individually and welcomed us to South Africa.

As if that was not welcome enough a reception was held for all GOPIO members and local Indian dignitaries and business people to meet with the GOPIO visitors and local members at the hotel.

Welcome Dinner Group Photo
Photo above: Welcome Dinner Group Photo with dignitaries and GOPIO officials, from l. to r. GOPIO-Delhi/NCR President Dhiraj Ahuja, GOPIO Treasurer Kewal Kanda, South African Member of Parliament Aumsen Singh, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Indian Member of Parliament Dr, Udit Raj, GOPIO's Media Council Co-Chair Mini Guleria, GOPIO Exec. VP Noel Lal, Dhiano Das of Solarway GOPIO-Paris Nord President Mehen Poinoosawmy and GOPIO International Coordinator and Convention Convener Ishwar Ramlutchman

Among the many welcome greetings and addresses, the ones that hit the spot were by

a)    Mrs. Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi, member of Parliament for Minority Front in Durban, South Africa. She brought forward the point that Indian Diaspora needs to be recognized and appreciated for the success they have achieved in foreign countries. And that GOPIO is a wonderful platform for PIOs/ NRIs for such acknowledgement and appreciation.

b)    Dr. Udit Raj, Member of Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha) who was visiting from New Delhi, emphasized that today India is a land of opportunity under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. He also extended the invitation to all Indians living abroad to come to India and his doors will be open to help them.

c)    Dr. Thomas Abraham, chairman GOPIO from the US made a power point presentation tracing the journey of GOPIO since its inception 28 years ago mobilizing the community as an activism group looking at the human rights violations to a group which is involved in all aspects of community development and contribution to India and other countries. GOPIO has now launched GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) where the GOIPO members can successfully network and utilize their membership to meet with other likeminded business people and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

d)    GOPIO Executive Vice President Noel Lal quoted Prime Minister Modi extolling diaspora Indians to commit and contribute to the countries they live in.

e)    Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, Africa International coordinator and convener for the GOPIO Business summit finished off with a very emotional vote of thanks, specially to those who have traveled from far of countries to visit his South Africa. He thanked his team for their tireless work of last few months to put the convention together. He finished off with very important message," Let us all take something from this convention".
May 20

The Business Summit was inaugurated on time at 9 am.

People assembling for GOPIO Africa Business Summit in Durban, May 20, 2017
Photos above: People assembling for GOPIO Africa Business Summit in Durban, May 20, 2017. Deputy Mayor of Durban Mrs Fawzia Peer in the middle.

Many discussion panels were held covering the entire gamut of topics for helping Africa Grow Through Entrepreneurship and helping in the growth of Industries like Hotel and Tourism, Small Scale Industries, Micro Credit Financing to name a few.

Some of the local dignitaries who attended and spoke were Acting High Commissioner of India Dr. S. Janakiraman, Consul General of India Dr. Shashank Vikram, Deputy Mayor of Durban Mrs Fawzia Peer, and Mr. Ravi Pillay, MEC for Rural Development and Public Works.

King Goodwill Zwelithini is being welcoemd at GOPIO-Durban Meeting  
Photos above Welcoming of KwaZulu-Natal King Goodwill Zwelithini: Left: King Goodwill Zwelithini with GOPIO Intl Coordinator Ishwar Ramlutchman; Right: King conversing with Acting Indian HC Dr. S. Janakiraman, Indian Consul General Dr. Shashank Vikram and GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham

In the afternoon, the business summit was honored by the presence of His Majesty the King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuZulu and her Highness. The King was pleased to be attending the summit and to be among Indians in particular. In his speech, he emphasized that ALL RELIGIONS should live together in harmony. South Africa, he said that today his people are called, "The Rainbow Nation".

Session with King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuZulu
Photo above left: Indian Consul General Dr. Shashank Vikram, Acting Indian HC Dr. S. Janakiraman, ing Goodwill Zwelithini, Her Highness, and GOPIO Executive VP Noel Lal; Photo above right: Session with the King. On rhe extreme right is GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham

Panel discussion 5 - Changing Africa Through Women Empowerment
Photo above: Conference Sessions in progress

This GOPIO International Business Summit, having taken place in the City of Durban, South Africa on Saturday, May 20th, 2017, and headlined on the conference theme, "Indiaspora Building Africa Through Opportunities Beyond Frontiers ", and inclusive off women empowerment and skills development in business, hereby resolves:
  1. To adopt the spirit of the Durban Declaration for Social and Economic Prosperity and Peace in Africa, in which GOPIO International and Global Diaspora Indians will foster closer relations and initiate new vistas of economic cooperation with stakeholders, governments. non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and institutions. 
Proposed by South Africa, Life Member, Marlan Padayachee, seconded by South Africa, Life Member, Michelle Michael, and unanimously passed by delegates. 
  1. Gopio International and the global business summit further resolves to call on the government of South Africa to facilitate new initiatives in business, investments, technology and education with the Diaspora Indians and to establish a close working relationship with Gopio International and its Chapters in South Africa for a partnership to contribute meaningfully and tangibly to the development of South Africa. 
Proposed by South Africa, Life Member Marlan Padayachee, and seconded by Mauritius delegate and unanimously accepted by the delegates.
  1. We hereby further resolve to thank and acknowledge His Majesty Zulu Monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini for his support of Gopio International's efforts and His Majesty's leadership and guidance to ongoing social and economic development and growth. 
Proposed by South Africa, Life Member, Marlan Padayachee, seconded by South Africa, Life Member, Michelle Michael,   and unanimously passed by delegates. 

Resolutions Session was presided by GOPIO International Chairman t Dr Thomas Abraham 

GOPIO Africa Business Summit - Concluding Session and Resolutions
Photo above: Some of the participants after pose for a photo after the concluding session.


VVIP list for the Gala dinner at the conclusion reads like who's who from the Durban area.
His majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini and her Highness, Prince MG Buthelezi MP, A.V. Mohammed of Jumma Masjid Trust and Deputy High commissioner of India Dr. S. Janakiraman and South African Member of Parliament Aumsen Singh.
The Gala dinner was a display of warmth, love and hospitality of the South African Indians. It seems the clock may have stopped for them, 3-4 generations ago when their ancestors landed in Durban as indentured labor on a ship. Today the success and their achievement is noteworthy and something to be proud of.

Indian Ladies at the Finale Awards Banquet of GOPIO-Durban Business Summit  
Photo above: Indian Ladies at the Finale Awards Banquet of GOPIO-Durban Business Summit

From lightening the traditional lamp to welcome speeches to fabulous array of dishes on the buffet table was a sight to be seen. Highlight was the plaques of recognition to professional and business achievers, the host committee team and the people who needed to be recognized for their service to the community and the growth of Indian heritage in general. The King was presented with the Life Time Achievement Award.
His majesty the King Goodwill Zwelithini himself stood on the dais and presented each and everyone with the plaque of recognition with a smile and handshake. He was seen having quite a chat with some of the dignitaries and visitors. In fact, he seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.

GOPIO Convention Awardees at the Durban Business Summit, May 20, 2017
Photo above: GOPIO Convention Awardees with King Goodwill Zwelithini and GOPIO officials at the Durban Business Summit, May 20, 2017

In his speech, he again reiterated his comments, "It is a great pleasure to have been invited to express my message of support to such a great celebration of unity among people of Indian origin that is kept intact by the leadership and members of the GOPIO organization of the people of the Indian origin. We are aware that inculcating a culture of unity is difficult enough in a classroom or a community but when unity such as the one achieved by the Indian community on a global scale as pioneered by GOPIO has to be celebrated, Ubuntu dictates that I express my support."
May 21
The highlight of the conference was a Visit to Mahatma Gandhi's Phoenix Settlement, hosted by Mrs. Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. The delegates got to see and read information they have heard about from the history books.

GOPIO Officials with Ela Gandhi and Dr. Udit Raj, MP at Phoenix Ashram
Photo above:
GOPIO Officials with Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter Ela Gandhi and Dr. Udit Raj, MP at Phoenix Ashram in Durban, South Africa. From l. to r. Dr, Raj, GOPIO EVP Noel Lal, Ela Gandhi, Michelle Michael, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and Mini Guleria.

GOPIO women with Mrs Ela Gandhi.  granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi
Photo above: GOPIO women with Mrs Ela Gandhi, Granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi Gandhiji's Phoenix Settlement Ashram  

Original pictures and depiction of Mahatma Gandhi's life has been recorded chronologically with very nice photographs and inscriptions on the walls. The delegation was served wonderful vegetarian lunch and a plaque of appreciation was given to Mrs. Ela Gandhi by GOPIO team.

Contact Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, Convention Convener and International Coordinator for Africa, Tel: +27-833578747. E-mail:


Do a Google search with the following keywords, i.e. GOPIO Durban Business Summit.


On May 25th, a GOPIO delegation was invited to the South African Parliament in Cape Town by the effort of South Africa Member of Parliament Aumsen Singh. While being present at the Upper House of the Parliament, i.e. National Council Provinces, Chairperson Thandi Modise welcomed the GOPIO delegation during the proceedings of the Parliament with a statement as follows which is entered in the proceedings of the Parliament.

Hon. Aumsen Singh Presenting SA Parliamentary Proceedigns Recognizing GOPIO

Hon. members: I am also aware that  we have an American delegation in our gallery. It is led by Chairperson of an organization called GOPIO. Dr. Thomas Abraham. You and your delegation are welcome to the South Africa Parliament.[Applause]

Photo: Hon. Aumsen Singh Presenting SA Parliamentary Proceedings recognising GOPIO to GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. In the left is GOPIO Life Member and GOPIO-CT Treasurer Virsh Sharma

Later, Chairperson Thandi Modise met the delegation in her chamber and discussed how GOPIO could help in South Africa's development.

GOPIO delegaiton Meeting with SA National Council of Provinces Chair Thandi Modise 
Photo above: GOPIO delegation Meeting with South Africa Parliament National Council of Provinces Chairperson Thandi Ruth Modise, From l. to r.: GOPIO Treasurer Kewal Kanda, Aumsen Singh MP, Chairperson Thandi Modise MP and GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
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GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting 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.
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and 2/3 of the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world, so as to network with people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have a chapter in your city, please visit the GOPIO website ( and get details of chapter initiation (visit This process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:
GOPIO Chairman - Dr. Thomas Abraham, Stamford, Connecticut, USA, Tel: +1-203-329-8010, E-mail:
GOPIO President - Niraj Baxi, San Jose, California, USA, Tel: 408-307-9845, E-mail:
GOPIO Executive Vice President - Noel Lal, Sydney, Australia, Tel: +61 417448293, E-mail:
GOPIO Vice President - Ram Gadhavi, Wayne, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-973-699-8582, E-mail:
Execuitve Trustee of GOPIO Foundation - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:
GOPIO's Global Ambassador - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, +973-39441956, India +91-9845756692, E-mail:
To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to:. GOPIO International, PO Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.


Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International (Stamford, CT, USA), (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur, GOPIO Media Council Chair (New York, USA)
Associate Editors: Layla Matthew (Bangalore, India), Ila Rosengarten (Denver, CO, USA) and Harry Walia (Australia)
Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA) 

Contributors for this issue: Ishwar Ramlutchman (International Coordinator for Africa, Durban, South Africa), Marlan Padayachee (Fife Member, South Africa), Aumsen Singh MP (Patron, GOPIO-Durban)

GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. 
Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:

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