Press Conference held to announce April 21 CIF Award Gala

Canada India Foundation announces Award Gala on April 21, to honour Deepak Chopra with the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award

Toronto, Canada. February 22, 2012: The spacious and public rotunda of the Toronto Metro Centre formed the setting, as Canada India Foundation triggered off planning activities for its Annual Award Gala with a Press Conference to announce Allstream Centre as the venue of the Gala and renowned author and speaker, Deepak Chopra, as the recipient of the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award.

Welcoming the attendees, CIF’s National Convenor, Rahul Shastri, spoke of the origin and objectives of CIF as public policy focused organization, committed to stronger Canada-India relations. As the conceiver of the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award, Ajit Someshwar, past National Convenor and Chair of this year’s Gala, recollected the origins of the Award and the conversation between him and the Award’s primary donor, Vasu Chanchlani, who committed an endowment of $1 million for the fund, complemented by monetary commitments from several CIF Charter Members. “Apart from the obvious individual accomplishments, the main criteria for the Award recipient would be that he/she makes the global Indian diaspora proud”, he said.

Honourable Harinder Takhar, Ontario’s Minister for Government Services and Mrs. Preeti Saran, Consul General of India in Toronto headed the list of distinguished guests who attended the Press Conference. The event was moderated by CTV National News Anchor, Omar Sachedina and CP24 Anchor, Farah Nasser, who will also be the emcees for the Award Gala, scheduled to take place on April 21, 2012. Both Minister Takhar and Mrs. Saran spoke highly of CIF’s role in highlighting public policy aspects of Canada India relations through its numerous initiatives. Mr. Takhar hailed the 500,000 strong Indo-Canadian community in Ontario as the most successful Indian diaspora anywhere. Mrs. Saran reiterated her government’s commitment to the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) negotiations now taking place between the two countries, leading to an anticipated growth in bi-lateral trade from $5 billion to $15 billion.

Deepak Chopra will be the fourth recipient of the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award, after Sam Pitroda, Tulsi Tanti and Ratan Tata. A strong proponent of alternative medicine, he is one of the world’s most respected speakers and writers on human empowerment and has been recognized as one of the 100 Heroes and Icons of the century. As with previous Award recipients, Mr. Chopra will receive a trophy, on display at the Press Conference and custom designed for CIF, along with a cheque for $50,000, payable to a charitable institution of his choice. “The selection of the Award recipient is made by an Award selection committee nominated by CIF Members, who must make a tough choice among a number of eligible people of Indian origin around the world”, said Rahul Shastri.

The Press Conference also provided the opportunity for the advance announcement of the latest in CIF’s theme-focused public policy forums, the Canada India Agriculture and Food Processing Forum, scheduled to take place in Vancouver and Saskatoon on September 10-13, 2012. Manoj Pundit, who had co-chaired the previous two forums, Canada India Energy Forum 2009 and Canada India Mining and Metals Forum 2010, emphasized the need for forums such as these to bring forth public policy priorities for Canada and India into focus. He thanked Mrs. Saran and the Government of India for ensuring a high caliber delegation to both forums and said that he looked forward to an equally powerful delegation to the Agriculture Forum.

In addition to CIF Charter members, some of the other prominent attendees included Satish Thakkar, President of Indo-Canada Camber of Commerce, Douglas Goold, Director, Asia Pacific Foundation Canada and Vinod Munshi, President of the IIT Alumni Association. The event was covered by CP24 and Omni Television as well as a number of Indo-Canadian print media.

Individual and group tickets for the CIF Award Gala can be purchased online at the CIF website For event sponsorship and corporate table details, please contact Kalyan Sundaram at (289) 291-0277

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.