Report by OD bureau, Seattle: The two day long 1st Washington State Summit on US-India Trade and Commerce recently concluded at the Seattle Center on September 28, 2012. The trade summit was one of the highlights of the Next Fifty celebration marking the 50th year anniversary of the Seattle Center and Seattle’s First World Fair. The Trade summit was organized by the Washington State and India Trade Relations Action Committee (WASITRAC) in collaboration with the Seattle Center Foundation, Consulate General of India in San Francisco, Foster School of Business, Port of Seattle, and the City of Seattle.
Noted Indian scholar and humanitarian leader Dr. Chandra Bhanu Satpathy, also known as Guru Ji was honored by WASITRAC with the “Building Bridges Across the Nations award” at the opening reception for the trade summit on Thursday, Sept 27th, 2012 at the Intiman Playhouse, Seattle Center for his immense contributions in connecting the whole world though his literary excellence and humanitarian endeavors. Mr. Debadutta Dash and Mr. H. Habib Co-Chairs of WASITRAC hosted the event beginning with a video message from Governor Chris Gregoire, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and greetings from the Execute Director for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Ms. Kiran Ahuja.
On this occasion, the City of Seattle recognized Guruji’s contribution in spreading the message of humanism, purity, love, compassion and tolerance as taught by Shi Shirdi Sai Baba. The recognition from the office of the Mayor, City of Seattle, Mike McGinn was delivered by Mr. Thao Tran. Later in the evening, Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen recognized Guruji on behalf of state of Washington noting that the message Guruji brings to the world comes at a time when events should cause us to reflect upon the need for greater humanity and compassion as taught by Shirdi Sai Baba. He said that the State of Washington and its citizens would welcome the future visits of Guru Ji in connection with the Sai Movement.
Consul General N. Parthasarathi and Washington State Lt. Gov. Brad Owen were the guest of honors and chief guest respectively who addressed the gathering on this occasion. Consul General congratulated Guruji for the award and wished him more such awards in future. This was followed by cultural program comprising of vocal renditions by Vasu Sundarraj of Swaranjali School of Music, Odissi by the students of noted Odissi exponent Dr. Ratna Roy, Bhratanatyam by Anwesha Das and a traditional Pacific Islanders dance presented by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. Eight year old Ritika from Nepal played a hymn on violin, composed by Guru Ji. Washington State representatives Phyllis Kenney, Paul Shin, and Jim Kastama also attended the trade summit.
In his acceptance speech, Guruji Dr. Chandra Bhanu Satpathy appreciated the efforts made by the organizers for bringing the communities together and thanked them for the honor bestowed upon him. He emphasized the importance of genuine collaborations and mutual understandings among nations with cultural, educational and need based initiatives to bridge the gaps. He further said, that the gaps can be filled by encompassing two vital principles in addition to existing models in planning ventures at all levels, first is to create happiness in the people involved in the processes; and second is to ensure maximum happiness among the maximum number of people for the maximum period of time for those who will benefit by the venture. He acknowledged the influence of spiritual perfect master Shri Shirdi Sai in his life. In his closing remark he thanked the organizers, City of Seattle and state of Washington for the honor.
The daylong event on September 28 was opened by an invocation by Guru Ji Dr. Chandra Bhanu Satpathy followed by a special address by Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott who was also the founder of the India caucus in the US House of Congress. He stressed on the importance of a long term US-India bilateral trade relationships for the overall development of two democratic nations and its citizens. Speaking on his opening keynote address, Consul General N. Parthasarathi highlighted the growing role of the Indian Diaspora in the US connecting with India through a cultural bonding and economic partnerships. As the closing keynote speaker, Washington State Lt. Governor Brad Owen emphasized the need of more vigorous collaborations between the two countries from the perspectives of cultural exchanges, educational tie ups, and partnerships on economic development. Both Congressman Jim McDermott and Lt. Governor Brad Owen highlighted their last visit to India in 2010 leading the Washington State trade delegation to the eastern State of Odisha.
The program was also attended by high level delegation from the states of Assam and Gujarat led by Mr. Himangshu S. Das, Secretary for Finance and Tourism for the Assam State and Mr. Ravi Saxena, the Additional Chief Secretary for Science & Technology for the State of Gujarat, respectively. State representative Jim Kastama and Phyllis Kenney joined the Gujarat delegation in their Vibrant Gujarat road show. There were three panel discussions featured in the trade summit covering wide range of subjects and speakers from all realms of life. Guru Ji Dr. Chandra Bhanu Satpathy's presentation on Mystique India, Eastern Philosophy, and Sai Movement was very well received by the summit attendees followed by the vote of thanks by the organizers.
Later on September 29, Guru Ji Dr. Chandra Bhanu Satpathy attended a community luncheon hosted by Shri Sai Cultural and Community Center at the activities room of the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS). Guru Ji visited the ACRS facility and had a brief meeting with its board president Debadutta Dash and its Executive Director, Diane Narasaki. Impressed by the programs and services offered by the ACRS to the under privileged members of the community, Dr. Satpathy congratulated ACRS on their works and commitments to the human services and expressed his desire to visit the facility again in future. Later on the day, he spoke about Sai Baba’s teachings on love and compassion for the humankind and asked everybody to live a simple life full of compassion.