In a year of countless accomplishments, India Abroad for the first time chose two Indian-American icons as its India Abroad Person of the Year.
United States Congressman Dr Amerish ‘Ami’ Bera, only the third Indian American to be elected to the United States Congress, was honoured as the India Abroad Person of the Year for Political Achievement 2012.
USAID Administrator Dr Rajiv ‘Raj’ Shah, the highest-ranking Indian American in the Obama administration, was honoured as the India Abroad Person of the Year for Public Service 2012.
The awards were presented by Preet Bharara, the first Indian-American US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the India Abroad Person of the Year 2011.The tenth annual India Abroad Person of the Year Awards gala, was a glittering event at The Pierre, the iconic Taj-owned hotel, in New York City. Hosted by Columbia University Chief Digital Officer Sreenath Sreenivasan -- who will shortly take over as Chief Digital Officer of the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art -- an unprecedented 13 awards were presented in eight categories during the evening. Four India Abroad Special Awards for Achievement 2012 were presented to the community's brilliant young performers: Deepika Kurup, Nithin Tumma, Rahul Nagvekar and Snigdha Nandipati. Deepika was adjudged America’s Top Young Scientist last year for her cost-effective water purification system and was a stellar attraction at the White House Science Fair. Nithin won the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search 2012 for unlocking potential pathways to breast cancer treatment. Rahul was the National Geographic Bee champion while Snigdha ensured the desi domination of the Spelling Bee as the fifth consecutive Indian-American champ. The India Abroad Award for Lifetime Service to the Community 2012 was presented to Dr Sambhu N Banik, the community’s go-to person for all events, political, social or cultural. Dr Romesh Wadhwani, the self-made billionaire founder of the Symphony Technology Group who is donating 80 percent of his wealth to charitable causes via his Wadhwani Foundation and The Giving Pledge, and Dr Natwar Gandhi, who brought the District of Columbia back from the brink of financial ruin as its chief financial officer, were awarded the India Abroad Lifetime Achievement Award 2012. Dr Marshal Bouton, who has just retired as President of the Chicago Global Council on Global Affairs, was presented The India Abroad Friend of India Award, which is awarded to Americans who enhance America's relationship with India. Dr Bouton has been a life-long champion of a better American relationship with India, rooting for India, regardless of the climate in Washington, DC.