Odia Diaspora Convention focus on Development back home

Published Date:   Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013

The Orissa Society of the Americas (OSA) in Chicago has recently conducted one of its biggest convention from 5th -7th July 2013 bringing together about 1300 participants from different parts of North America as well as Odisha. People who have contributed to the development of Odisha in different fields such as culture and development were also invited and honoured.

The first day of the convention was devoted to The Odisha Development. It began with a very thoughtful overview of what is going on in the name of development in India and Odisha, presented by Mr. Sam Pitroda, a cabinet rank minster of the Government of India. It was followed by a session on Invest Odisha in which entrepreneurs from Odisha such as Ayaskanta Mohanty, Satyabrat Ratha and Debasish Patnaik among others presented their projects followed by a lively discussion. The second panel was devoted to Higher Education opportunities for Odia students. Prof. Abani Patra of the State University of New York at Buffalo moderated it. The presenters were Prof. Richard Taub of University of Chicago, Prof. Usha Menon of the Drexel University, Philadelphia, Prof. Triloki Pandey of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Dr. Sukanta Mahapatra of New Jersey, Prof. Asit Pattnaik of University of Nebraska and Mrutunjay Suar of the KIT university, Odisha. It covered various subjects dealing with Higher Education and various opportunities available in the United States. The first day sessions ended with a report on the Buddhist Heritage of Odisha, an international symposium organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Odisha in last February. Prof. James Freeman of San Jose State University, California, was the keynote speaker in this session and it concluded with a viewing of a documentary film titled The Myth of the Birthplace of Buddha, made by prof. Freeman.

Sj. Dinanath Pathy, a versatile artist from Odisha as the Chief Guest and Padmashri Dr. Pratibha Ray as the Keynote Speaker, inaugurated this years OSA convention. They spoke well about the culture and heritage of Odisha and how the diasporic Odias can maintain it.

Various symposiums on issues such as Legal rights of NRIs and PIOs; Women's empowerment; youth entrepreneurship; Health, Body, Mind and Spirit; Champu, Chanda and Odissi vocal competition; poetry; entrepreneurship; Jagannath culture and tradition among others were organized. People in large numbers enthusiastically participated in these forums.

The important features of this years convention include: Vigorous participation by the young generation Odias and a very congenial atmosphere created by the positive synergy between the local chapter and the OSA national. Both young and old appreciated the cultural performances.

Input from Dr. Annapurna Pandey, President, Orissa Society of the Americas (OSA)

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