Saturday, May 31, 2008

Indo-US relations, Casablanca figure at EWC Day

Indo-US relations, Casablanca figure at EWC Day
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Chennai: The annual day of the East West Center (Hawaii) alumni association in Chennai celebrated its annual day on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at the Madras Boat Club (founded in 1886).

The guests gathered at the StrokeSide hall of the Boat club were treated with a talk on the Indo- US nuclear deal, screening of the classic movie Casablanca, Cocktail and a very sumptuous dinner hosted by Mr PM Belliapa, the president and the alumni of the EWCA Chennai Chapter.

Frederick J. Kaplan, Consul, Public Affairs, Consulate General of the United States of America in Chennai, was the chief guest of the evening. Professor Gopalji Malaviya, Head of the Department Defence and Strategic Studies University of Madras and Randor Guy, the celebrated cinema critique were also the guest of honor of the evening.

Two glittering mementos that the EWCA Chennai Chapter received at the Hanoi conference for being the “outstanding chapter” among the entire EWC chapters spread over the Asia-Pacific region, were prominently displayed at the venue.

P M Belliappa, the president of the Chennai Chapter of EWCA, welcomed the guests and spoke about the importance of the EWC and the activities of the EWCA Chennai Chapter.

Professor Gopalji Malaviya presided over the talk “Indo-US nuclear deal a retrospect, and outlined the Indo- US relationship from the independence of the country. He especially mentioned about the Indo-US relationship that’s witnessed in 1960 and 70s and told that a sea change has taken place from then and now.

Delivering his keynote address Mr. Fred Kaplan said that United States and India are marching ahead in cooperation in various fields and future growth and development of relations between the two countries is very promising. Leaving aside, the energy issue which is just one aspect of it, the US Consul, said, there are positive indicators of cooperation in many areas like higher education, health, and security. He talked about the people-to-people cooperation and said that the two countries have an extraordinarily close relationship.

During the interactive session, Dr H K L Rao, and Fathima Muzaffer made their comments and observations. After that on behalf of the EWCA Chennai Chapter, souvenirs as token of appreciation were presented to Fred Kaplan, Gopalji Malaviya and Randor Guy.

This followed by cocktail to recharge the energy and after that Mr Randor Guy took over the floor to explain the off screen anecdotes of the movie Casablanca. He said even though he had seen Casablanca for the 45th time he was still excited to see it once again.

Mr K.B. Sankaran, a EWC member complimented Mr Randor Guy for his wonderful introduction of the movie. “There could be no other guy like Rador Guy. He is an encyclopedia on Hollywood movies,” Sankaran, said.

The EWC Alumni, Dr Syed Ali Mujtaba, Dr Rajamani, Dr H K L Rao, Mr K. B Sankaran Mrs Roopa Nagrajan, Mrs Vsanthai Rnganathan, and Fathima Muzaffer were present on the occasion. Many of them accompanied their spouse, relatives and friends. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and every one thanked Mr PM Belliapa, the president and the alumni of the EWCA Chennai Chapter for keep the banner of the EWC Hawaii fly high in Chennai.

The East West Center, Hawaii, is an internationally recognized education and research organization established by the US Congress in 1960 to strengthen understanding and relations between the United States and countries of the Asia-Pacific.

Through its programmes of cooperative study, training, seminars and research, the center works to promote a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific community. In the mandate of EWC to build a healthy society in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States government is its leading and valued partner.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He was a Jefferson Fellow in fall 2003, at EWC Hawaii He can be contacted at

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