The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) is a premier world body that has earned the respect of political, business and community leaders across the Continents and those involved should preserve its unique status, a top official said.
Sunny Kulathakal, Executive Vice-President and International Coordinator (Middle East) said that there was great scope and potential for the Organisation to grow in the South Pacific region through better coordination and consolidation of available resources and people.
“As a country accounting for a large and growing Indian Diaspora, New Zealand can become a truly representative of diverse cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. GOPIO is a unique body that provides a platform for the Diaspora to come together and celebrate their unity in diversity. This is also an Organisation that can effectively work together for the benefit of all communities in every country of its presence,” he said.
Mr Kulathakal was in Auckland on a private visit with his wife Elizabeth last fortnight and to catch up with a number of people including old friends such as this reporter.
He also attended a meeting of Presidents of a number of GOPIO Chapters in Auckland organised by the New Zealand Chapter President Alkesh Sharma at Sudima Hotel near the Auckland International Airport on September 7, 2013.
Mr Kulathakal said that Social climbers, attention gatherers, self-styled social workers and others with vested interests have no place in GOPIO.
“This is a non-political, non-partisan social and community oriented Organisation. We need leaders who understand the depth of our problems and possibilities. GOPIO’s strength should be in mobilising the human potential. We must attract the most ambitious and talented youth. The success of GOPIO should be on the foundation of dedication, courage, hard work and big dream. It should exhibit the courage to stand for something as in the formative years,” he said.
Known for his forthrightness, Mr Kulathakal does not mince words. Quoting his own article published in the GOPIO magazine released at the annual convention held in Kochi, Kerala on January 5 and 6, 2013, he said that the Organisation should reach its full potential and live up to its name.
“We must have breakthroughs in most of the countries. The list of life members shows that presently 90% is from US. If this trend continues, GOPIO will gradually morph into a regional organisation. What we need is a significant improvement of new members and chapters from all parts of the world. More grassroots level activities where GOPIO members can get involved and drive it forward should be the aim. Regional rivalries and tensions have to be fully ironed out. Persons with dubious reputation representing vested interests should be eliminated,” he said.
Mr Kulathakal hoped that New Zealand would be adequately represented at the GOPIO Regional Convention scheduled to be held in Sydney on November 8 and 9, immediately preceding the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) being organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (New Delhi) and Indian High Commission in Canberra from November 10 to 12.
“The Biennial Convention of GOPIO will be held under the theme, ‘The Indian Diaspora in Oceania: Growth & Opportunities.’ I have requested Mr Sharma and other officials to mobilise a sizeable delegation from New Zealand,” he said.
Indian Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said that the Regional PBD provided a platform for the Indian community in Australia and the Pacific to contribute to the relationship between the countries of the region and India.
“The purpose of the event is to reach out to the members of the community who are unable to participate in the annual PBD held in India from January 7 to 9. I hope that the regional PBD in Sydney will attract People of Indian Origin not only from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji but also from South East and South Asia,” he said.
The theme of the seventh edition of the annual regional event will be ‘Connecting for a shared future — the Indian Diaspora, India and the Pacific.’
Sessions will be devoted to bilateral business opportunities, skill development, technology, education and culture, Mr Ravi said.
The picture here shows Sunny Kulathakal (front row, third from left), Alkesh Sharma (to his left) and others, taken at the meeting of GOPIO members held on June 7 at Sudima Auckland Airport Hotel.