TORONTO, April 25, 2012 /CNW/ - Renowned author and speaker on human empowerment, Deepak Chopra, became the fourth recipient of Canada India Foundation (CIF)'s prestigious CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award, at a glittering Gala held at the Allstream Centre in Toronto. Among the more than 500 people in attendance were the Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Federal Minister of State (Sport), Honourable Bal Gosal and India's Consul General in Toronto, Mrs. Preeti Saran.
Deepak Chopra joins a select company of previous winners: Sam Pitroda - pioneer of India's telecom revolution, Tulsi Tanti - champion of green energy and leader in deployment of wind power and Ratan Tata - India's most respected industrialist and philanthropist. "We honour Deepak Chopra for his tremendous contributions to human empowerment and mind and body wellness. He embodies all that is positive in the Indian Diaspora and is a deserving recipient of the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award", said Ajit Someshwar, Chair of the Gala.
Delivering the Keynote Address, Premier McGuinty thanked members of Canada India Foundation and the prosperous Indo-Canadian community for making the investment and creating jobs, thereby lending shape to a strong economy and a caring society. Making a connection with India's first Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, he said, "When we see the life of service and joy, it is only natural that we think of Dr. Deepak Chopra". The Premier, who earlier had a private meeting with Deepak Chopra, quoted from Chopra's own sayings in his speech and congratulated him on receiving the award.
Representing the Government of India, Consul General Preeti Saran spoke of the event-filled Year of India in Canada the past year and thanked Premier McGuinty for spearheading the celebrations. Recalling the partnership of the Consulate with CIF on the Energy Forum in 2009 and Mining Forum in 2010, she added "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the CIF on their annual gala and look forward to working with them closely in building stronger India-Canada ties".
Minister Bal Gosal conveyed greetings from Prime Minister Right Honourable Stephen Harper and Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Culture, Honourable Jason Kenney, congratulating Deepak Chopra and lauding CIF for its contributions. Earlier, the evening had begun with a video message of greetings from His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.
After being presented with the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award, Deepak Chopra held the audience captive as he blended his personal experience growing up in India, the spiritual tradition originating from India's great sages and the great contribution of India's own ayurveda system of medicine to the well-being of people around the world. He announced that, as with previous recipients of the Award, the award money will go to a worthy cause, in his case, the Akshaya Patra Foundation, an organization based in India that runs a daily meal program for underprivileged children across the country.
Earlier, speaking on CIF's mission to promote greater participation of Indo-Canadians in the public arena, Rahul Shastri, National Convenor, CIF, said "The Indo Canadian community is comprised of many public minded and qualified individuals who yearn the opportunity to serve the community, the Province and the Nation. CIF must continue to seek changes in the status quo make-up within our public institutions such that they eventually become reflective of the society in which they operate."
The evening audience also enjoyed UK based Bhangra singer H Dhami, was held spellbound by the aerial dance performance of A2D2, and applauded the presentation of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Senator Asha Seth to two respected CIF Members Ramesh Chotai and Dr. V.I. Lakshmanan.
Other prominent political dignitaries present included Ontario's Minister of Government Services, Honourable Harinder Takhar, Co-Chairs of the Canada India Interparliamentary Friendship Group, MPs Patrick Brown and Devinder Shory, and Senator Con Di Nino. The strong presence of several of Ontario's major universities, each with its own India initiative, was highlighted when its senior representatives were invited on stage to present the award trophy to Deepak Chopra.
CIF is a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization established in 2007 to foster support for stronger bi-lateral relations between Canada and India; to educate Canadians on the changing face of India and to increase the participation of Indo-Canadians in the public policy process in Canada. CIF's founding members include entrepreneurs, senior Canadian business executives and top tier professionals.
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