Advisors Dinner -December 15th, 2003
The Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston has the great privilege of having several well known dignitaries on their Board of Advisors. Some are Educators, some professionals and some entrepreneurs. These people give their time willingly to guide the Chamber and steer it in the right direction. Besides informal meetings throughout the year, once a year the Advisors and Directors get together to hear about the accomplishments of the past twelve months and to chart a plan for the next twelve. On December 15th 2003, all of them met at the Faculty House of Rice University to discuss the ï¿½Annualï¿½ Report.
The Executive Director of the Chamber, Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the guests and thanked the Advisors for their support and urged them to continue to help the Chamber grow. He made special mention of the fact that Dr. Peter Traeber of Baylor Medical
College and Ms. Jacqueline Waugh of Bio-Houston were also among the special guests present that day as was Dr. Anil Dï¿½Cruz of Tata Cancer Center of Mumbai.
The President, Mrs. Deepa Thakur thanked the guests for their presence and for being a part of something bigger than would be possible on their own. She mentioned that the Chamber had helped many businesses to grow financially, socially and globally. She said that the past year had been a ï¿½time of expansion and positive impact. New challenges and opportunities which came our way gave us the opportunity to show the world our strength, success and influence.ï¿½
Her presentation focused on all the activities and accomplishments of the past year. She stated that she would like each one of us to think of the Chamber as ï¿½Our Chamberï¿½ and not some distant business or Government. Its strength lies in each of us being committed to make the Chamber grow.
She talked about the Seven member Delegation from M.D. Anderson who visited Mumbai and Delhi to participate in a symposium on ï¿½Common Cancers in India, evidence based Managementï¿½ at Tata Memorial Hospital in March of 2003, as well as the visit by Dr. John Mendelsohn and Dr. Tom Brown, accompanied by members of the IACCGH Board in September/October to sign the historic Sister Institute Agreement between M.D. Anderson and Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai.
The next person who spoke was Dr. John Mendelsohn, who talked about his trip to India. This was his first trip and quite an eye opener. He was very impressed with the facilities and professionalism of both Tata Medical Center as well as AIIMS. The trip to Bangalore was also a fruitful one.
Dr. William Fitzgibbons of the University of Houston, who is a major factor in bringing together the U of H-St.Stephens College program, spoke about the program and what they expect to achieve. Five students from St. Stephens are at University of Houston currently and more students will be arriving in the next academic year. He said that Dr. Dinesh Singh of St. Stephens College is expected to visit Houston shortly when they hope to discuss future plans.
Subroto Mukerji, Secretary of IACCGH requested the Advisors to speak to the guests. Consul General Mr. Tayal, who was the first speaker said that a very strong relationship is being built between India and the United States. It is very slow, but steady and long term. Strategic thinkers and think tanks are now looking at India in a different light. The relationship has a political, military, educational, human and commercial content. The IACCGH is nurturing and fostering this commercial content.
He praised the work of the Chamber in the education, medical and IT fields and said that since Houston is the energy capital of the world, the Chamber should consider focusing on energy next. He is looking at the Chamber to give him information which would be helpful to the Government of India.
Mr. Bob Beauchamp spoke about his first visit to India recently and the growth of BMC in India in the last three years. He advised that from a technological standpoint, to concentrate more on supply fulfillment and infrastructure. He said that there are some very serious issues like wage inflation and currency valuation and without substantial returns, investments in India would have to be capped.
Dr. Ray Bowen who retired as President of Texas A & M spoke about his various involvements and mentioned that he is now a member of the National Science Board, which is the Board of Directors of the National Science Foundation. He said that the impact of the Chamber in the Greater Houston area has been dramatic and he would like to see the chamber continue to do the good work.
Dr. Malcolm Gillis of Rice University said that Houston can claim to be the birth place of the new filed of Nano, Bio Technology. He said that the first discovery of Nano Technology, Carbon 60 was made in Houston in 1985 at Rice University. He went on to talk about the subsequent developments in the field and the future of Nano, Bio, Information Technology & Bio Medicine. He said: ï¿½Birth place does not convey birth right. We have to work hard to have a birth right in the Technology that is going to be the most important in the world in the coming 30-40 years.ï¿½ He said that the City of Houston needs to come forward and start supporting this technology in our Medical Centers and Universities. He said that India can and should be a part of this unfolding revolution in Nano, Bio and Information Technology. Working together with Rice, M.D. Anderson and Baylor College of Medicine and University of Texas Health Science Center and various Indian institutions. He said ï¿½there are no upper limits as to where we might go in trying to shine the light of this new Technology on the future all over earth and I believe we have people of enough vision and imagination in Houston and in India to really make this work. Even after I step down on July 1st, I will continue to work hard to make sure we do this.ï¿½
Mr. Vijay Goradia said that he had accompanied the M.D. Anderson delegation to India and saw a side of the Chamber which he could not quite grasp, even though he has been involved with the Chamber since inception. He said that this Chamber is unique in that its Directors are completely selfless. They go out of their way to do what is best for their adopted country, the United States and India and spend endless hours to try to make it happen. ï¿½You, the Board members are very energetic and I have seen you in action. You are tenacious and you have the farsightedness of looking beyond the immediate and you have the cohesiveness to develop the consensus to move forward.ï¿½
He suggested that the Chamber should try to get many more people from the mainstream to participate more proactively in this Organization and get involved with the Board of Directors. He said that a few people who were associated with the Chamber seem to have lost interest and perhaps we need to find out the reason for their departure and to see what could be done differently. The other is to propagate all the good work this Chamber is doing to the mainstream so that they can also benefit, especially not just the companies which are based within the Greater Houston area, but beyond as well. There are a number of companies and Industries that are probably eager to do business with India and would benefit from the support the Chamber can give.
Dr. Randhir Sinha proposed the Vote of Thanks. He thanked the Advisors for their advice and said that with such Advisors supporting the Chamber, it could not go wrong. He thanked the President Mrs. Deepa Thakur and the rest of the Board who work selflessly.