GIS - October 29, 2012: The three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Mauritius Convention, which was attended by over 800 delegates from South Africa, Reunion Island, the US, the UK, Fiji, Trinidad & Tobago, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India and Mauritius, concluded successfully on Sunday 28 October with several recommendations.
The Convention, hosted by Mauritius from 26 to 28 October and organised by the Ministry of Arts and Culture in collaboration with the Indian High Commission, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, and the Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) focused on the theme Shared Roots, Common Destiny.
The Prime Minister, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, proceeded with the launching of the Mauritius PBD convention on Saturday 27 October at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre, Pailles, in the presence of the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs from India, Mr Vayalar Ravi, the Minister of Tourism from the State Government of Bihar, India, Mr Sunil K. Pintu, and other eminent personalities. In his inaugural address, the Prime Minister talked of the historical privileged ties of friendship and fraternity between Mauritius and India, with both countries sharing the same vision on a wide range of issues.
Dr Ramgoolam stated that a sustainable partnership between India and the Indian Diaspora requires that the PBD matures and evolves with time on the basis of the lessons learned while retaining its core element which is reconnecting communities and generations. He also suggested to participants that, beyond exploring and exploiting economic opportunities in India and the countries of the Indian Diaspora, transnational spaces that allow for Indianness to assert its place in the world should be created.
The Prime Minister asked for a change of focus of the PBD oriented towards the youth to ‘whom the future belongs and who represent our best assets’. He called for an enabling environment for a greater flow of young people from and to India. ‘With time, these flows can become a catalyst for institutional partnerships, strategic alliances and innovation. Getting the youth of both India and of the Diaspora to know each other better and to learn from each other is the foundation on which the future of PBD rests’, said Dr Ramgoolam.
For his part, the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Vayalar Ravi, stated that Mauritius is a role model for all developing nations in the areas of governance, social and economic progress and is a vibrant multiracial society that celebrates the diversity of different faiths, languages and ethnic backgrounds. Mr Ravi said that India is proud of Mauritius which through the spirit of openness and democracy has found the path to economic growth and progress. ‘Our present bilateral relations are dynamic, intimate, based on mutual respect, trust and benefit’, he added.
The conference led to a number of recommendations such as the setting up a PIO University in Mauritius, the extension of PIO Card facilities to Indian diasporas in Francophone countries as well as to people of Indian origin of up to the fifth and sixth generation living abroad, new models of cooperation to address several imbalances to trade, engaging youth in PBD activities as well as scholarships for Indian Diaspora youth in Indian universities. The recommendations will feature in a document that will be presented prior to the 11th edition of the main Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Kochi, Kerala, from January 7 to 9 2013.
PBD Mauritius 2012 witnessed several pre-Conventions, plenary sessions and discussions on various issues of interest and relevant to the Indian Diaspora namely culture, education, business, tourism, academia, science and technology, among others.
The Business Forum, held on Friday 26 October at the Hilton Resort and Spa, Flic en Flac, aimed at enhancing business ties between the Indian Diaspora and India and acted as platform for business leaders to network and forge mutually beneficial partnerships. On Saturday 27 October, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) welcomed the Conclave on Indian Diaspora, a one-day academic event that sought to articulate and address contemporary issues and challenges facing Indian Origin communities across the globe. Renowned scholars, academicians, thinkers and experts participated in the event.
The final day of the Convention was marked by the plenary session which saw the participation of eminent speakers, renowned in their respective fields. Talks and presentations were made on four thematic segments: Expectations and aspirations of Indian Diaspora from India; Role of youth in maintaining PIO links and cultural heritage in the modern era; Contemporary and future relationship between Indian Diaspora; and PIO entrepreneurs - success stories and India: Exploring business opportunities in the Indian Ocean. Several concurrent activities were also held over the weekend including an art exhibition showcasing the talent and oeuvre of several well-known contemporary Indian artists, an exhibition of Indian stamps put up by the Mauritius Post at the MGI, and a Film Festival commemorating the 100 years of Indian cinema and featuring several Bollywood and Bhojpuri films, shot in Mauritius.
The conference ended with a valedictory address by the President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Rajkeswur Purryag, on Sunday 28 October at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute. Mr Purryag highlighted the relevance of the conference, particularly in establishing vibrant links and contact between people sharing profound values and common interest. The President also expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Government of India for having given to Mauritius the opportunity to host such an event. He stressed the prominent place that India has in the hearts of the Mauritian people not only as the land of our forefathers but also because of the unfailing support and assistance provided by India to Mauritius throughout history.