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Inder Singh, President Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)

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Inder Singh – A Social Entrepreneur
3 Los Angeles associations recognized him with "Life Time Achievement Award"
or / and honored him with his continued support


Los Angeles, August 30, 2008
By Gary Singh

I attended four India Independence Day functions during this month and I had the opportunity of meeting with Inder Singh in three of the four events. I saw him being respected as a celebrity and felt interviewing the gentleman and write about his services to the community.

  • One in Artesia on Aug 9, 2008
  • 2nd in San Fernando Valley on August 16- India Association of San Fernando Valley recognized Inder Singh with “Life Time Achievement Award”
  • 3rd in Riverside on August 24- India Association of Inland Empire at their function in Riverside honored Inder Singh for helping them start and nurture the association and for his continued support during the last fifteen years.
  • 4th in Diamond Bar on August 24 evening- Federation of India Association of Southern California at their Diamond Bar banquet extended more respect to the founder Inder Singh than even to their chief guest at their function.

Inder Singh got involved with the Indian community during his university days in Los Angeles. He has continued his active involvement during the past over forty years even when his family and IT profession demanded every minute of his time. “And it has been a great journey and rewarding experience in life,” says Inder Singh

Inder Singh is currently the president of Global Organization of people of Indian Origin (GOPIO), an international body with chapters in over twenty five countries.

In 1989, the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), a national body of people of Indian origin in the USA, then headed by Inder Singh, convened the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Abraham, his predecessor. Never in the history, was any attempt ever made to bring mother India’s forgotten children settled in various countries, on one platform, under one banner. During the five-day convention in New York, delegates from twenty-two countries, including many community and political stalwarts of Indian origin settled in various countries, participated in the deliberations. At the conclusion of the convention, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) was formed. Fourteen years later, Government of India started organizing a conference of overseas Indians at a scale much bigger than what the NFIA volunteers had put together in New York in 1989 and named it Pravasi Bhartiya Divas which is organized annually now.

In 2003, Inder Singh was elected president of GOPIO and since then, he has been devoting almost full time to serve the global Indian Diaspora. During the last four years, he has visited many countries, met with Indian business and political leaders in those countries and has increased the number of GOPIO chapters by five times. GOPIO is highly recognized and respected body and has since inception lobbied for the rights, concerns and issues of the global Indian community. There are many accomplishments of this organization and are listed on their website

In 1984, Inder in his capacity as the convener of the 4th National Biennial NFIA convention, organized a highly successful meet in Los Angeles where cabinet minister N.D. Tiwari, U.S. Ambassador to India, John Dean, India’s Ambassador P.N. Kaul and San Francisco based Consul General of India participated during all the three days of the convention. U.S. Senator Garry Hart, two congressmen and local elected officials also addressed the convention. It was a major undertaking to bring many dignitaries and delegates and mobilize 3000 Indian Americans to attend the national convention, first in the West coast of the United States.

Inder has lobbied extensively for many issues dear to the Indian American community. While serving as president of the National Federation, he mobilized the Indian American community and successfully piloted nation-wide campaign against the supply of highly sophisticated military hardware, including AWACS to Pakistan. The Indian community educated the U.S. lawmakers about the danger of AWACS in the hands of Pakistan. Inder claims that it was victory for the community to see Pakistan’s failed attempt to get the desired military hardware.

In 1986, Senator Kennedy proposed drastic reduction in the immigration quota for Family Reunification provisions of the U.S. Immigration laws. Joining hands with other Asian national organizations, Inder Singh as the leader of the National Federation, mobilized the Indian American community against the proposed reductions, and convinced many U.S. lawmakers to keep the then family reunification quota intact. After long and hard struggle spanning over five years, the new Immigration Act retained the original quota of the Family Reunification provisions of the old law.

In 2001, Inder with the support of some committed community activists formed Global Punjabi Diaspora, to recognize the contributions of Punjabis to their new homeland and to preserve and globalize their heritage and culture. He organized a highly successful commemoration event in January 2002, for late Dalip Singh Saund, the first Indian elected to the U.S. Congress. The event attracted many Indian “firsts” from North America, the first state senator, Satveer Chaudhary of Minesota, the first state assemblyman, Kumar Barve of Maryland, the first highest ranking presidential appointee, Dr. Joy Cherian, of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the first premier of a state in North America, Ujjal Dosanjh. In 2003, he organized “Tribute to pioneers, patriots and Gadar heroes” at the 90th anniversary of Gadar movement in San Jose for which former President K.R. Narayana came to USA for Valedictory address.

As a result of the awareness created by the publicity about the Saund event, Congressman Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) introduced a bill which called for the placement of a portrait of former Congressman Dalip Singh Saund in the U.S. Capitol Building or inside a House office building. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California) moved a bill which named a post office building, 'Dalip Singh Saund Post Office Building' in Temecula, Riverside County in California. Government of India recognized Saund by naming one of the conference halls as “Dalip Singh Saund Hall” at the first Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in New Delhi in 2003. At the state level in California, Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez moved resolution AJR 1 calling for an annual day of recognition to honor the late Dalip Singh Saund on Sept. 20, his birthday, for his outstanding achievement as the first native of Asia to be elected to the US Congress. Resolution AJR 1 officially became law when it was chaptered on July 6, 2005 by California Secretary of State. Inder may not be credited with all the recognition that the late Congressman Saund got but he is the author of the initiative and deserves credit for many recognitions that the “forgotten” first Asian Congressman has got after the commemoration event of January 2002.

Inder is probably the only Indian American who has chaired reception committees to officially host serving presidents of two countries, president of India, Giani Zail Singh, and president of the United States, George Bush, once in 1989 and then in 1991. No other Indian American has that distinct honor to date. He also facilitated reception at LA city hall for Prime Minister Mrs. Indra Gandhi.

Besides involvement with the Indian American community, Inder has held leadership positions in Asian community organizations. He co-founded the Asian & Pacific American Republicans Coalition which became an officially chartered organ of the California Republican Party. In 1991, he became member of the Asian Advisory Board of the Republican National Committee. He also served as National Co-Chairman for Asian Americans for Bush/Quayle ’92, National Honorary Chairman for Asian Americans for Bush/Quayle ’88 and National Vice Chairman for Asian Americans for Reagan/Bush ’84, and Co-chairman of Asian Americans for Simon for California Governor, 2002.

In 1992, Inder served on the Presidential Rank Review Board, an appointment by the White House to review and rank senior Federal Government executives for Meritorious Services Award. He also served as a Board Member from 1995 to 2001 and Vice Chair from 1998 to 1999 of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, a national body of Asian Americans with offices in most of the states in the U.S. with Asian population, catering to the needs of Asian seniors. For the premier of “Gandhi” movie in Southern California, he served as advisor to UNICEF.

In 1981, Inder founded Federation of Indian American Associations of Southern California, to celebrate India Independence Day and Republic Day on a large scale. The celebration of these two events has become an annual tradition in greater Los Angeles area. He also co-founded India Association of Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley) and encouraged and supported the formation of India Association of Inland Empire. Inder is president of Indian American Heritage Foundation which has been recognizing and rewarding excellence among Indian American High school graduates every year for the last twenty two years.

Inder Singh has been speaking and writing on Indian Diaspora and many of his articles have been published in some Indian newspapers in the United States. Two years ago, he spoke at a conference in North Gujarat University, Patan on “Punjabi Diaspora in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.” In January, 2008, he spoke on “Indian Diaspora in the US” at a conference in Chandigarh and his article has been published by Indian Express (US Edition) in 2008 India Independence Supplement. The article gives brief account of Indian community in the United States since the beginning of twentieth century and is strongly recommended to all those who want to know about their Indian American Heritage. It is also available at NRIPRESS website:

Inder Singh has spent many years of his life on issues dear to the Indian American community. He has been a community architect, a social entrepreneur and dedicated and committed community activist.

“Community involvement in the beginning was a social pastime; service for fellow NRIs/PIOs is a fulltime passion now”, says Inder Singh.



Inder Singh

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