Awards Banquet and Fashion Show
Consul General Sanjiv Arora and Ken Stewart, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, attended the banquet. The fashion show showcased the work of upcoming designer Ritu Bansal, a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta.
The evening’s masters of ceremonies were Dr. Aarti Pandya, an eye surgeon based in Atlanta, and Nivedita Garabadu, a social worker and active participant in the community. Pandya initiated the evening by singing the national anthems of the United States and India— “Star Spangled Banner” and “Jana Gana Mana.”
Ani Agnihotri, program chair of UIBS, announced that the awards committee, overwhelmed by all the well-deserving nominees, had narrowed the categories to two: “Person of The Year” and “Company of the Year,” and also decided to give two awards in each category. The winners for Person of the Year Award were Dr. A.K. Pradeep of NeuroFocus and Dr. Sudhir M. Parikh of Parikh Worldwide, for their outstanding leadership and achievements. The Company of the Year Award for promoting business between the USA and India was given to NCR Corporation, the technology firm that is now headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, while the Distinguished Services Award was given to Idhasoft, Inc.
Commissioner Stewart noted that the summit was a great opportunity for the 300 attendees invited to the event to “learn a lot from business leaders about practices and (make) connections.” In a global economy, Stewart noted the importance of a U.S.-India partnership. “We have a great privilege to partner with India’s people, culture, and economy,” he said.
“ India and Georgia are in the wake of wide-ranging economic reform,” said Consul General Arora, and traced the connection between the two to the influence of Mahatma Gandhi on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Referencing the nine states in southern United States, Arora noted that they made up 27 percent of Indo-U.S. trade, with Georgia contributing one percent of the trade. “The trade counts for commodity trade and the service sector,” said Arora, who has been consul general since 2008. To questions about when Atlanta would get its own Indian consulate, Arora had a standard response: “Until the time it actually happens, yours truly and (my team) are at your disposal.”
The banquet concluded with the fashion show. Bansal’s line presented a juxtaposition of colors quintessentially Indian. The designer said her collection was inspired by the spirit and playfulness of Holi, the Indian festival that marks new beginnings and the harvest.
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