Global Citizen Forum Launches New York Chapter

NEW YORK (TIP): The Global Citizen Forum, New York branch was launched here on August 23. Addressing prominent members of the Indian-American community and representatives of some American think-tanks at the launch, at the UN New York Millennium Hotel, the founder and chairman of the GCF, Indian industrialist Bhupendra Kumar Modi said that the world today is not defined by countries, but by cities and metropolises, thereby heralding a big change in the world order.

Modi talked about laying the foundation of a new world order under India’s leadership, and promoting understanding between India, China and the U.S., under the leadership of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The world has changed rapidly in the past decade, and so have the people of India, Modi, said. “There is not a single city in the world where there is no ‘Little India,” he said, noting how the Diaspora has made its presence in every part of the world.

Bhishma Agnihotri, former Ambassador at Large, Government of India, in his keynote address congratulated B.K. Modi for taking the age old Indian message of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”- the whole world is a family – to every nook and corner of the world. He also said India had now an opportunity to be the world leader under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It was with this growing change in mind that Modi founded the GCF in January 2013 to create a world without boundaries. Modi, lived in New York City from 1999 to 2004, before moving to California and then to Singapore and is currently based in New Delhi. Modi is also the chairman of Spice Global, an Indian conglomerate headquartered in Singapore as well as the council and chairman of Asia Crime Prevention Foundation’s India chapter. He was appointed by the United Nations as the coordinator for the Indian subcontinent for the Millennium World Peace Summit. Modi became a citizen of Singapore in 2012 and ranks 23rd in the Forbes list of Singapore’s richest people.

A view of the gathering at the launch of Global Citizen Forum in New York on August 23, 2014.

On Feb. 17, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives issued a proclamation in appreciation of Modi’s efforts to promote deeper understanding between the two countries and congratulated him on his innovations and humanitarian efforts worldwide. Author of many books, including “One God, Hinduism – The Universal Truth” and “Performance – A Manager’s Challenge and Whispers of Peace”, Modi is essentially a man of ideas and vision. On the idea of establishing the forum, Modi said, one of the main reasons was to make sure that humanity remains the number one priority of people around the world.

“Over the years one has seen a change in the business and spiritual leadership”, Modi said, adding that what is lacking is political change. “One first needs to be a global citizen and then a citizen of his or her respective country he said. “How many take the world as a family,” he questioned. Elaborating on the concept of ‘one world,” Modi told the gathering that India, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, could be the answer to bring the world closer. Narendra Modi has taken Indian psyche, and is bringing changes according to that and is seen as a man of wisdom and has thus raised hopes for a global change, Modi said.

The philosophy of a global India, Modi said, is based on Gautama Buddha’s teachings, which expounded the virtues of compassion and giving. “When you give [something] to somebody, you receive more happiness than the man who receives it,” Modi said. While striving for being a global citizen, one should not forget the “poorest people” in the world, and should find ways in connecting with them, he warned. “Wisdom to see world as one, courage to go to any part of the world and live there, and compassion”are the three main qualities of a global citizen, he said. A film on Gautam Buddha was screened.

It depicted Buddha’s disillusionment with princely life and his search for enlightenment. The Creative Producer of the film which is telecast in episodes on a TV channel in India, Ms. Ridwana was also present on the occasion and spoke with the media about the making of the film. Some more notable guests at the event included Bhishma Agnihotri, former Ambassador at Large, Government of India, who was the keynote speaker, and Swami Chidananda Saraswati, president and spiritual head of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India, and co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) at the UNICEF Headquarters at the United Nations.


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