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GOPIO CT Honors Dinesh Paliwal And Sen. Chris Dodd

Press Release

In a packed ballroom at the Italian Center in Stamford on May 2, GOPIO Connecticut honored and celebrated a corporate CEO, a US Senator and a young pediatric diabetes practitioner, for their achievements and contributions to the community – Mr. Dinesh Paliwal, Chairman, CEO and President of Harman International; US Senator Chris Dodd, and Ms. Neesha Ramchandani, Pediatric Nurse Coordinator at Maimonides.

The elegant raspberry-themed event which included a cocktail reception, dinner, dance performances by local artists and live music, was attended by nearly 250 Indian-American community leaders, supporters and public officials – including US Senator, Chris Dodd, Ambassador Prabhu Dayal from the Indian Consulate in New York, US Congressman Jim Himes, Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, Mayor Michael Pavia, State Senator Andrew MacDonald, and former Stamford Mayor, Dan Malloy.

Also attending, were several members of the senior management team of Harman International, Gold Sponsor, and Stamford Hospital, Silver Sponsor of the event.

The 2010 “Indian-American Achiever Award” went to Mr. Dinesh Paliwal, Chairman, CEO and President of Harman International, for business building and turnaround successes at Harman and ABB. Since taking over at Harman he has been driving innovation and breakthrough technologies, expanding the company's footprint in emerging markets, and dramatically improving its cost structure. He has lived and worked in six countries on four continents. Mr. Rajat Gupta, Senior Partner Emeritus at McKinsey & Company, who introduced Mr. Paliwal, called him a “builder of businesses and teams, a person with great personal qualities, and I am honored to be his friend.” Paliwal who regards himself as a “global citizen” credited his team and his supportive family for many of his accomplishments, and lauded GOPIO-CT for the “great community work you have been doing. I am truly impressed.” He also thanked his wife Ila “who has been a true partner and source of strength” over the years. “I learned from her never to give up and to stick with it,” he said.

US Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and Co-chairman of the Senate India Caucus, was honored with a “Friend of India” award in recognition of his leadership in advancing economic and political cooperation between India and the United States, and his years of support to the Indian-American community. Senator Dodd thanked the organization for this gesture and said, “It’s great to be a friend of GOPIO Connecticut and India.”

“Americans of Indian descent have become part of the rich fabric of Connecticut and the United States and their contributions to our economy and our culture can be seen all across our state and our country,” said Dodd.

“India is a trusted friend to America and an important ally in addressing the global challenges that both our countries face,” Dodd continued. “I am honored to receive this award and have been proud to play a role in developing the relationship between our two countries. “I’m looking forward to continuing my work on strengthening US-India relations in the Senate India Caucus during my last months in the Senate – and beyond.”

Ambassador Dayal lauded the “contributions of the Indian-American community to the United States as well as to India.” He said he was “delighted to be part of the celebration in Connecticut honoring distinguished Indian-Americans and Senator Dodd as  a Friend of India.”

Guest of Honor, Stamford’s Mayor Michael Pavia spoke about the strength of diversity of the city of Stamford, and ways in which Indian-Americans have enriched the local culture and economy. “The Indian-American community embraced me in the very early days of my campaign, and I am grateful for their friendship and support,” he added.

The “Young Person of the Year Award” went to Ms. Neesha Ramchandani, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator. She is coordinator of the pediatric diabetes program at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. While the majority of her time is spent doing clinical work and diabetes education, she has been doing innovative research in pediatric diabetes technology and has presented her research all over the U.S., Europe and South Africa. “I was the first to use insulin pumps on children. I am proud to have accomplished so much and am honored to receive this award from GOPIO Connecticut,” she said.

Along with the awards, each of the awardees was presented with an official certificate of recognition byLt. Governor Michael Fedele on behalf of Governor Jodi Rell. He congratulated the awardees and thanked the community for the “many contributions they have made in enriching the fabric of Connecticut.” Certificates of recognition were also presented to the awardees on behalf of ConnecticutAttorney General Richard Blumenthal.

US Congressman Himes spoke fondly of his many visits to India, “I became an honorary Indian 20 years ago, when I first traveled to India. I fell in love with the country.  India is truly taking its place as a leader nation in the world. We are seeing levels of development there that finally speak to the heritage of commerce, that is so much of India's past. A democracy that will truly thrive and take its rightful place as a leader among nations.”

Connecticut State Senator Andrew McDonald said “Our country would not be rich and bountiful a place, but for the gracious generosity and philanthropic efforts of people who are giving tirelessly of their efforts.”

In welcoming the guests and dignitaries, Shailesh Naik, President of GOPIO-CT said, “We congratulate the 2010 awardees. They are an asset to the community for all that they have done and accomplished.” He thanked all the volunteers who helped make this event happen.

“The evening was a celebration – a celebration not just of the accomplishments of our awardees, but also a tribute to a strong and vibrant Indian-American community in Connecticut,” said Ravi Dhingrawho chaired the 2010 Awards Committee.

The audience was fascinated by the performance of Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Members of the studio performed a medley of ballroom dances over Western and Bollywood music. Anna Stenyaeva had the audience tapping their feet with her hula-hoops performance to the music of Jai Ho.

“We had the most wonderful evening. The food was absolutely delicious, and we don't usually relax and dance at most events, but we just had to get up on our feet with all of you last night.  So much fun,” said Carol Fedele, which summed up the feeling of many guests. Good conversation, great food and rhythmic Bollywood music by DJ Amrit – a celebration of the vibrant Indian-American community in Connecticut.

GOPIO-CT - Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. Working with other area organizations, it seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities to help create a better future. GOPIO is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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