From Manoj Padhi, Moderator-OSANet
The three day long convention of the Orissa Society of the Americas (OSA) concluded on 7th of July in Chicago. It was one of the most memorable conventions in a long time. A large number of people – about 1300 to 1400 from different parts of North America as well as Orissa attended it.
The first day of the convention was devoted to The Orissa Development. It began with a very thoughtful overview of what is going on in the name of development in India and Orissa, presented by Mr. Sam Pitroda, an adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations. It was followed by a session on Invest Orissa in which entrepreneurs from Orissa such as Ayaskanta Mohanty, Satyabrat Dutta and Debasish Patnaik among others presented their projects followed by a lively discussion. The second panel was devoted to Higher Education opportunities for Oriya 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, Orissa. 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 Orissa, an international symposium organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Orissa 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 Orissa as the Chief Guest and Dr. Pratibha Ray as the Keynote Speaker, inaugurated this year’s OSA convention. They spoke well about the culture and heritage of Orissa and how the diasporic Oriyas 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 year’s convention include:
Vigorous participation by the young generation Oriyas 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.
Three Oriya entertainers from India – Kuna Tripathy, an actor and comedian and a political satirist from Orissa, Krisna Beura, a Bollywood star singer and Sniti Mishra of SAREGAMAPA fame, participated in this event. They entertained the audience till the wee hours on every day during the convention.
I would like to commend Gyana Patnaik, the convener, Sushant Satpathy from the OSA national and all the members of the Chicago team for orchestrating this very complex event in a very smooth and flawless manner. Unlike some of the earlier conventions, the cultural programs this year were very well organized and the time management was exemplary. Food was excellent and plenty and gracefully served by volunteers with a smile on their face.
The newly elected OSA executives,Tapan Padhi from Dallas, Texas as the President; Sikhanda Satpathy, from Washington DC, as the Vice President; Sabita Panigrahi from Canada as the Secretary; and Prasanta Ranabijuli, from Dallas, Texas as the Treasurer were installed into their respective offices at the General Body meeting during the convention.
The next OSA convention in 2014 has been scheduled to be held at Columbus, Ohio.
Immediate past president, Orissa Society of the Americas, Annapurna Pandey has thanked every participant for success of the event