The Embassy of India under the leadership of Ambassador Rao is demonstrably committed to fostering creative and innovative platforms for strengthening people-to-people connections and promoting an exchange of ideas across the two great democracies of India and the United States. So it was no surprise that Ambassador Rao decided to host an evening dedicated to the discussion of philanthropy in India, and the role of the American India Foundation (AIF).
On Sept 17th, Ambassador Rao welcoming esteemed philanthropists, leading entrepreneurs, policy makers and senior embassy staff at her residence, and spoke about the steady growth and progress India is making economically. She pointed out, “India continues to grow stronger economically and is growing relatively faster than many other economies of the world.” Highlighting the strong ties between India and the United States, she mentioned the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington D.C., saying, “The India-US strategic partnership is thriving and the two countries are collaborating in many areas. There is a very strong and well-represented India Caucus in the Senate and the House – just one among the many indicators of the increasing importance of this relationship between India and the United States.”
Ambassador Rao commended AIF’s transformational work and accomplishments throughout India. “The American India Foundation has chosen critical areas of education, health and livelihoods and has impacted close to 2 million lives,” she observed. She then encouraged the assembled audience to play an active role in furthering India-US ties through the vehicle of philanthropy.
Also in attendance was Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who enthusiastically declared, “Consider me the newest member of the American India Foundation family. I look forward to learning more and getting more involved in the great work that you are doing in India and the United States. I am very much looking forward to my first visit to India later this year.”
AIF Board Chair Lata Krishnan painted a picture with her personal experiences interacting with AIF’s beneficiaries in India. “I think of the young children working in salt pans or the millions of kids who have to migrate along with their parents and drop out of school,” said Lata. “The American India Foundation has been able to offer choices to millions of these children where there were none.” She urged the audience to engage with various AIF platforms and to push their support a step forward. AIF CEO Ravi Kumar expanded on this appeal, describing AIF’s new goal of reaching 5 million marginalized Indians with life-changing programs by 2018.