New York, July6 (): Former Indian President Dr Abdul Kalam got a rousing welcome at the start of the inauguration of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin’s five-day convention here at the Hilton hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Lively women’s forum featured former journalist Ruchira Gupta, who is now working to rescue young girls from brothels; and NDTV reporter Barkha Dutt, who captivated the audience with stories of covering the Kargil war (see separate story).
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., gave a fiery address at the organization’s black-tie gala June 25, when incoming president Sunita Kanumury – AAPI’s first woman president in 12 years – formally took the reins from outgoing president Ajeet Singhvi.
On the first official day of the convention June 23, Singhvi introduced keynote luncheon speaker Kalam, 79, saying, “He has come even closer to his people after the presidency by taking up the root causes that Indian people face.”
Singhvi spoke of Kalam’s Right to Information act, which mandates that public officials must reply to complaints or queries within 30 days.
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India inaugurated the exhibition that AAPI had arranged and which featured booths from various companies as well as artwork by a number of well-known artists.
In his address to the large crowd of physicians and their families, he touched upon various subjects like events in his life and mission youngsters should follow to achieve success. He spoke of tasks that had given him happiness and bliss through the years.
Dr. Kalam said AAPI’s goal should be to work hand-in-hand with engineers to find a way to lower medical costs. There would be times when AAPI will face failure, but it is an art within itself to manage that failure and promote the health of the people.
The former President of India ended his speech with a simple question: “What is the one action that will make you great?” and encouraged the audience to give vision to their ambition. Dr. Kalam was presented with a plaque as a token of appreciation and unveiled two books on behalf of AAPI.
On June 25, the outgoing president Dr Ajeet Singhvi handed over the gavel to Dr. Sunita Kanumury signaling the change in leadership. Dr. Kanumury is the second women president of the organization in 29 years. In June 1999, an outstanding woman broke not a glass but a concrete ceiling to become the first woman president of AAPI. Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli – a woman of energy, vision and organizational ability. The concrete was again replaced by glass and it has taken a decade for women to be able to be at the helm and serve AAPI.