Desi Talk

6 November 24, 2017 CITY VIEWS – that’s all you need to know By Ela Dutt ew Jersey’s Governor-elect Phil Murphy, is already displaying his close connections to the Indian- American community which he courted during his election cam- paign. Barely a week after winning his seat to lead the state Nov. 7, Murphy has selected an Indian-American veteran, Lt. Col. Kamal S. Kalsi to his Transition 2018 lead- ership team, in the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, Nov. 13. Kalsi told News India Times he was “truly humbled by the brain power on the committee” which included four other members. Apart from Kalsi, Murphy’s Transition 2018 team, which was carried by numer- ous New Jersey media outlets, includes several other Indian-Americans and South Asian-Americans, including Jay Bhatti, co- founder of BrandProject, to his Government Technology and Innovation Committee; Balpreet Grewal-Virk, Ph.D, director of Community Engagement, Department of Population Health at Hackensack Meridian Health, to his Healthcare Committee; Ehsan F. Chowdhry, president, New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, to the Law and Justice Committee; ImamWahy-ud Deen Shareef, former senior advisor and director of logistics and industrial opportunities for former Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker, to his Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Kalsi is the president and founder of the Sikh-AmericanVeterans Alliance, a recent- ly-formed group. “The team I am in has a General Officer and other prominent people. I am a nobody. I am truly humbled,” Kalsi, an Army emergency medicine doctor, who served on the frontlines in Afghanistan, told News India Times. “We will be helping set the policy and agenda for military and veterans affairs based on Governor-elect Murphy’s broad recommendations,” Kalsi added. Kalsi has been outspoken about the need to make the U.S. armed forces more inclusive. “I pledged to build my administration to mirror the diversity, talent, and potential of New Jersey, and my transition will be no different,” Governor-elect Murphy is quot- ed saying in a press release. Murphy won by a 13-percentage point lead over his Republican opponent Kim Guadagno. “To a person, this transition is full of incredible talent and experience, and I’m thrilled to see them serve. Together, we’ll start the dif- ficult job of building a stronger, fairer economy that works for all nine million New Jerseyans,” Murphy added. “We need to make sure veterans from all generations – from those who served in the VietnamWar era to those who are return- ing from the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – have the care and support they deserve,” Kalsi said in a statement. “Knowing we are still a country at war, we will also work to make sure all New Jerseyans have the opportunity to serve our country.” Kalsi, the first Sikh soldier to receive a religious accommodation to wear a turban and maintain a beard in uniform in over a generation, added in a statement he sent out about his new appointment. He will continue in the U.S. Army Reserve at Fort Dix, N.J., and will work with Murphy’s team on his own time, Kalsi clari- fied. New Jersey Governor-elect Selects Several Indian-Americans To Transition Team By StaffWriter M ore than 200 guests attended the annual Washington, D.C. gala organized by the American India Foundation to raise money for fellowships. High profile guests including representa- tives from the diplomatic corps, business leaders and scholars, attended the gala held at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, Nov. 10. The event raised approximately $303,000 to support AIF’sWilliam J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India. During the event, AIF honored Pradman Kaul, president and CEO of Hughes Network Systems, for his leadership in technology, public service, and philanthro- py. The evening featured remarks from India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Navtej Sarna, AIF Clinton Fellow alumni Avan Antia (Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellow at National Institutes of Health) and Vikas Raj (Managing Director at AccionVenture Lab). Nishant Pandey, CEO of AIF, gave concluding remarks thanking gala Co- Chairs Mahinder and Sharad Tak, and Ranvir and Adarsh Trehan, as well as the AIF Young Professionals D.C.- chapter, who were instrumental in organizing the event. The event also highlighted the generous donation fromThe Hans Foundation to the AIF Fellowship Program. Paul Glick, direc- tor at the Hans Foundation, was present at the occasion. The AIF Clinton Fellowship is a volun- teer service programmatching young pro- fessionals from the U.S. and India with development organizations and social enterprises across India. Fellows support organizations at a crucial moment of scala- bility through collaboration, capacity building and skill sharing. According to the AIF, the “Clinton Fellowship is creating last- ing ties between the U.S. and India by strengthening the development sector and equipping the next generation of leaders to advance positive social change,” a press release from the organization said. Founded in 2001 at the initiative of for- mer President Bill Clinton following a sug- gestion from Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, AIF says it has impacted the lives of 3.1 million of India’s poor and aims to reach 5 million by 2018-2019. According to a press release, the organization’s mission is to ‘disrupt poverty,’ catalyze social and economic change in India, and build a lasting bridge between the United States and India, by engaging in high-impact interventions in numerous areas, with a particular emphasis on empowering girls and women. It works closely with local communities, non-governmental organi- zations, and governments to achieve these goals. High Profile Non-profit Raises $300,000 For William J. Clinton Fellowship For Service The Indian-American community met with New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, several times in the course of his campaign. (L-R) Mahinder Tak (Gala Chair), Pradeep Kashyap (AIF Board Vice Chair), Paul Glick (Director, Hans Foundation), Nishant Pandey (AIF CEO), Mugdha Gangopadhyay (AIF Deputy Director), Katja Kurz (AIF Clinton Fellowship Program Officer), and Alex Counts (AIF Senior Adviser). (L-R) AIF Board Vice Chair Pradeep Kashyap, AIF Honoree Pradman Kaul, HE Ambassador Navtej Sarna, Gala Chair Mahinder Tak. Lt. Col. Kamal S. Kalsi N News IndiaTimes