The fifth annual India Centre Awards Dinner is on Friday, Oct. 25 at Canad Inns Polo Park. This dinner is one of the many activities that the India Centre organizes throughout the year.
The India Centre aims to further the “pursuit of academic, business and community excellence” and is a partnership between the India Association of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg (U of W).
The centre’s board of directors is reflective of that relationship, comprising diverse representatives from academia and the business community. The chair of the board is Dr. Hugh Grant, dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the U of W.
Anupam Sharma, vice-chair of the India Centre, explains that this partnership came to fruition as a result of the changing needs of the Indian community in Manitoba.
“We needed an outward voice,” he says, to connect the community to businesses, to academia, to Canada and to India.
Founded in 2013, this institution organizes lectures, facilitates partnerships with businesses, produces research, celebrates culture and funds programs and bursaries.
“The India Centre is a place where the community meets the academy,” Sharma says.
“Part of our mandate is to celebrate India and to provide an analytical critique of it: the good, the bad and the ugly,” he says.
Sachit Mehra, manager and owner of East India Company Pub & Eatery and an India Centre board member, says this institution’s impact has been significant.
“The organization has just been an incredible launchpad for connecting our youth, our business community, our academic community,” he says, citing roundtables, seminars and other events where knowledge and ideas are shared.
The India Centre has also hosted high-level trade delegations from organizations such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). FICCI promotes Indian businesses through policy advocacy and worldwide outreach and networking.
For Mehra, the benefits of such initiatives extend beyond the local Indo-Canadian community to the entire economy.
“An organization like FICCI is putting Manitoba on the map, producing a contact locally that can lead to other events, other opportunities and other connections,” he says.
The keynote speaker and honouree at this year’s India Centre Awards Dinner is Jay Grewal, the president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro. The event serves as a fundraiser for current and future India Centre activities, including bursaries for students.
Sharma says that Grewal has a “compelling story and journey” that she will elaborate on during her keynote address.
Past honourees include Vikas Swarup (writer and diplomat), Bob Dhillon (businessperson) and Dr. Indira V. Samarasekera (academic and university administrator).
For more information on the India Centre, visit uwinnipeg.ca/india-centre.
Published in Volume 74, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 24, 2019)