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December 2006 - January 2007


The International Punjabi Society Convention 2006

by Ravi Gidar

The prestigious Cafe Royal, West End, London was the venue for the annual dinner of the World Punjabi Organisation, European Division.

Pat McFadden MP, Minister of State, Cabinet Office was the chief guest together with other guests of honour.

The occasion also marked the inaugural event for their new President Mr RS Baxi, who welcomed the guests and in particular the guests of Honour, Mr. Madhav Chandra, Minister, Indian High Commission, London; Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz MP; Baroness Usha Parashar, CBE; Tarique Ghaffur CBE, Asst. Commissioner, Metropolitan Police & Sandra Hollis, Director, University of East London. The event was also graced by International Guest of Honour Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Global President, WPO.

The evening proceedings started with the lighting of candle by Respected Avtar Singh Shahji and Baba Avtar Singhji Bedi, visitors from India, who had joined the gathering to bless the occasion.

The newly appointed president, Mr Baxi in his address promised that that during his term the focus would be the promotion of diversity, the establishment of a UK centre for Punjabis and the creation of an educational fund to support post-graduate studies for Indian students in the UK. “Working with our Global President”, said Mr. Baxi, “my focus will be to work jointly with the Punjabis in promoting economic growth, prosperity and stronger Indo-British ties.’

Emphasing his line of action, Mr Baxi stated that the core Punjabi values of honesty, integrity, hard work and the pride of serving out country would take us to greater heights. The sky is the limit to our progress. “We do not believe in ‘glass ceilings’. He commended the work of Mr. Keith Vaz MP as a diversity champion for the Asian community; and pledged to support him “in promoting diversity awareness.”

Mr. Baxi, invited the chief guest, Mr Pat McFadden to visit Punjabi, especially the Mohali region which has been declared by the Government of Punjab as its own IT park. “Our Global President will have the honour of showing you around the Punjab’s own Silicon Valley.” Mr. Baxi emphasised the necessity of building an International Punjabi Centre in the UK under the banner of WPO, to establish, “A centre for the promotion of rich Punjabi heritage, cultural and family values as well as somewhere for Punjabis to network globally.”

Dr MS Duggal, Senior Vice-President, briefly announced the launch of an Education Fund with the first of the assisted scholarships to be set up at the University of East London.

Mr S.S. Baxi, Secretary Charitable activities, along with Mr Pat McFadden MP, presented two cheques to Sandra Hollis, Director, University of East London.The first one, for £2500 was destined for the first UK assisted scholarship for Post Graduate studies by Indian students & the second one for £500 was allocated to support the purchase of books for the newly built library at the University of East London.

Mr VS Sahney applauded the launch of the Education Fund in the UK. Sandra Hollis, on behalf of UEL thanked the WPO for establishing such a Fund for granting scholarships. The evening was also an opportunity for the WPO to thank its outgoing President Mr. APS Chawla for his services. To acknowledge his services to WPO, he was presented with an inscribed silver salva by the Global President Mr. Vikram Sahney.

The evening ended with sumputuous dinner, accompanied by musical entertainment.

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