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India Canada state dinner in Toronto

June 29, 2010

With Aditya Jha (right)

Last night, I had the great good fortune to attend the India-Canada state dinner at the end of the G-20 Summit in Toronto.  After getting through some protestors and some intense security, I finally got to the dinner and was delighted to find that Bollywood star Akshay Kumar would be our master of ceremonies.

It was so impressive to see so many Indo-Canadian leaders in one room, including Aditya Jha (whom we profiled here), and Hari Panday (who helped SAPP learn all about South Asian immigrant history in Canada from a philanthropic lens).  There were also others from the Canada India Business Council, the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce, all the universities in town, and many independent business owners.

I was also able to meet some of the leaders and donors from the Canada India Foundation, which last year entered into a landmark joint initiative with the University of Waterloo “for the advancement of Canada’s research capacity in studying the politics, economy and social conditions of contemporary India” that will rely heavily on South Asian philanthropists:

In a memorandum of understanding with Waterloo, CIF will contribute up to $2 million to launch the India initiative, formally named Chanchlani India Policy Consortium, under the CIF banner. The CIF contribution will help establish a $10-million endowment, with donations to be raised from government and other private sources.

Yesterday was the first bilateral summit between the two countries’ prime ministers in 37 years, and capped a series of talks that resulted in a civilian nuclear deal and various business and education agreements.  The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also announced that 2011 is going to be a “Festival of India” in Canada – here’s hoping SAPP can play a role!

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