Illinois Gov & Chicago Mayor to visit India

Ambassador Singh with Mayor Emanuel
Ambassador Singh with Mayor Emanuel

CHICAGO: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner indicated to Indian Ambassador Arun Singh that he would be paying a visit to India as soon as possible while extending a hearty welcome to the Ambassador during his recent visit to Chicago.

Ambassador Singh accompanied by Consul General Dr Ausaf Sayeed and Consul O.P.Meena had a detailed interaction with Governor Rauner and his high-level Economic Team. Ambassador Singh observed that the proposed visit would definitely enhance ongoing business and economic cooperation between India and the State of Illinois, which is the largest trading partner of India in the US Midwest, with a two-way trade of over US$ 2 billion.

He also touched upon the growing strategic convergence and expanding economic cooperation between India and the US, with bilateral trade in goods and services exceeding US$ 120 billion. He mentioned that Indian investments in US have grown significantly in the last five years, reaching US$15 billion and this has helped in the creation of 90,000 jobs in the US.

Besides Governor Bruce Rauner , Ambassador Singh during his visit from 27th to 28th August, had useful interactions with the Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel,

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Danny Davis, President of the Chicago University Robert J. Zimmer, President of the Art Institute of Chicago Dr Douglas Druick and Pradeep K. Khanna, Associate Chancellor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and several senior government functionaries, Illinois business leaders, besides prominent members of the Indian-American community.

Meeting with Chicago Mayor
Ambassador Singh was warmly welcomed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel at his office on August 27 wherein Singh briefed the Mayor on various economic reforms initiated by India which had led to unprecedented and attractive business opportunities for Chicago companies which covered a wide section of healthcare, infrastructure, renewal energy and education.

Extending an invitation to Mayor Emanuel to visit India, Ambassador Singh spoke about the historical connection between Chicago and India, recalling the visit of Swami Vivekananda in 1893 to deliver his landmark address at the Parliament of World Religions. Ambassador Singh agreed with Mayor Emanuel on the need to further strengthen the Sister City relationship between New Delhi and Chicago in the realm of healthcare, education, trade & commerce and art & culture.

CG Dr Ausaf Sayeed thanked the Mayor for his support to the International Yoga Day, ‘Eye on India’, ‘Ragamala’ and the South Asian Film Festival. Mayor Emanuel acknowledged that the shooting of Indian films had generated significant attention in Chicago. He said that he would be happy if more such film shootings take place in Chicago.

Mayor Emanuel accepted Ambassador’s invitation to lead a high-level trade mission to India in the near future.

Business Meetings
During his visit the Ambassador interacted with several entrepreneurs and business leaders of Chicago. On August 27 he addressed a Business Round Table hosted by the World Business Chicago in collaboration with the Delhi Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities International.

On August 28 he addressed CEOs of several US companies during a Business Round Table organized by the Illinois Chambers of Commerce in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

The Ambassador visited the Art Institute of Chicago and met with Dr Douglas Druick, President, Mr David Thurm, Chief Operating Officer, Art Institute of Chicago and other officials where he reviewed the Vivekananda Memorial Program for Museum Excellence and other India-specific programs of the Art Institute. Ambassador Singh also visited the Fullerton Hall where Swami Vivekananda’s plaque has been installed.

Meetings with Academicians
The Ambassador visited the University of Chicago (UC) campus and had detailed discussions with Robert J. Zimmer, President of UC, Ian Solomon, Vice-President and Dean Ms. Martha Roth on the ways and means of strengthening India’s educational collaboration with the University of Chicago.

He reviewed the functioning of the “Vivekananda Chair” set up in 2014 with an endowment from India’s Ministry of Culture in commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. He also conveyed his appreciation to the University for offering undergraduate program in several Indian languages including Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Pali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

In a separate meeting with officials of the University of Illinois from the campuses of Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, the Ambassador expressed his satisfaction with their longstanding ongoing collaborations with India, including with prestigious Indian institutions such as IIT (Kharagpur), GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology(Pant Nagar), Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya (Jabalpur) etc.

Community Outreach
During a reception hosted by Consul General Dr Ausaf Sayeed in honor of the Ambassador on 27th August, Ambassador Singh lauded the 100,000-strong Indian-American community in Chicago for their valued contribution to the State of Illinois and for acting as a useful bridge between the two countries.

Surendra Ullal

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