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NetIP 2002 - A Grand Success

Anoop Kumar

NetIP 2002 – A Grand Success. On Friday, August 30th, the New England Aquarium took on a new look when over 900 young South Asian Professionals gathered together at the inaugural session of the Network of South Asian Professionals 2002 Annual Conference. The conference covered a range of topics including technology, finance, education, politics, arts and community service. There were also several gatherings that provided opportunities for socializing and networking.

The conference began with an address by the former Governor of Massachusetts Michael S. Dukakis. The Governor commended all the contributions of South Asians in America and urged them to get involved in politics. “There is nothing more satisfying than public service. The South Asian community has shown such great leadership skills in the fields of science, technology, medicine and entrepreneurship. We now need you in the political arena”, said Dukakis.

“The rise of NetIP and its affiliated chapters including NetSAP and SAPNA reflects a general “coming of Age “ by young Indian-American professionals. With success comes the responsibility to remember and promote the Indian and Amercian traditions which define our identity “ says Nishith Acharya , the President of NetSAP – Boston, who was the Co-Chair for this conference.

There were several talks and panel discussions on Saturday. A talk by Dr, Rosabeth Moss Kanter who was the opening keynote speaker, was more invigorating than the cup of coffee on the Saturday morning at Park Plaza Hotel. Dr. Kanter who is the Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School spoke on the “Enduring Skills of Change Leaders". She started with a quote of Mahatma Gandhi, "You must be the change you want to see. “ Her talk focused on the seven classic skills of a Change Leader and ended her talk with by setting those points to rap music.

Dr Raju Kucherlapathi's talk, "Improving human health through Biotech and Medical Research", emphasized the role of genes in diseases and their treatment. Raju Kucherlapati M.D, is the professor and chairman of Molecular Genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. "Genetic variation is the cause for human diversity and biotech and medical research will provide drugs that are specific to a disease and a person", said Raju.

Dr. Vijay Kumar, Assistant Provost and Director of Academic Computing, MIT reported some of the MIT's initiatives to transform education and economy: Open Knowledge Initiative(OKI) and Open Courseware (OCW), I-Lab, etc. The popularity of the talk indicated as to how much South Asians value education and its development. " I was impressed by some of the questions asked during the presentation", said Vijay.

Dr. (Alex) Sandy Pentland, one of the most cited computer scientists in the world and founder of Media Lab Asia talked about Technology in 2020 and its applications in our lives and communities. Raj Sharma of Merill Lynch gave a fine talk on investment strategies.

The conference also featured many social activities. A popular one was the “ Mera Pyar Speed Dating Masala Mixer’ which provided a forum for social interaction between young men and women. Other activities included a cultural program and late night parties at the “Roxy “ and “Pravda” nightclubs. From the smiles on the participants faces and the high energy that you could feel in the room, it was obvious that the conference of young South Asian professionals was indeed a huge success.

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