Mr. Inder Singh is the president of the Global Organization of
People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), an international body of NRIs/PIOs serving the interests of the globally spread Indian diaspora. In 1989, when Inder was president of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), then the largest national body of people of Indian origin in the US, the first Global Convention of People of Indian Origin was organised under the NFIA banner. At the end of the five-day convention, GOPIO was formed to network the global overseas Indian community and to monitor and address the interests and concerns of overseas Indians.
GOPIO was started as a delegate based organisation; one country, one delegate, like the UN. In 2001, Mr Singh was elected president-elect of GOPIO. He changed the organisation from delegate-based to chapter-based. GOPIO now has chapters in over 25 countries and has become more representative. During 2008, GOPIO opened several chapters in Australia and New Zealand.
In 2003, Mr Singh took over as president of GOPIO and since then, he has increased the activities of the organisation manyfold. GOPIO used to hold a convention once in three years but during the last five years, 10 international conferences have been organised. Through these conferences, GOPIO provides an active and well recognised platform for dialogue and discussion to the worldwide Indian diaspora.
GOPIO continually promotes awareness and understanding of issues of concern—social, cultural, educational, economic, or political—of the NRI/PIO communities around the globe. GOPIO News reaches over 50,000 people worldwide and has become a regular monthly feature.
GOPIO was the first organisation to ask for a PIO Card, Overseas Indian Citizenship and creation of the Ministry for Overseas Indians by passing resolutions and relentlessly pursuing such issues with the Government of India. GOPIO has also been pursuing for uniform admission fee at historical monuments.
In 2004, GOPIO campaigned for the rejection of the nomination of Situveni Rabuka as Fiji’s Ambassador to the US as he was responsible for the overthrow of the legitimate Indian-dominated government of Fiji. His nomination was not accepted and Mr Rabuka never became ambassador of Fiji to the US. At the objection of GOPIO and many prominent people, Trinidad and Tobago formed a high level committee to design a new insignia without the “cross” symbol in the Trinity awards which the Hindu nominees have been reluctant to accept. Many similar activities are listed at GOPIO website www.gopio.net.
In 2002, Mr Singh, with the support of some committed community activists in Southern California, organised a highly successful commemoration event, for the late Dalip Singh Saund, the first Indian American elected to the US Congress. As a result of effective awareness created by the publicity about the Saund commemoration event, a bill in the US Congress called for the placement of a portrait of former Congressman Dalip Singh Saund in the US Capitol Building or inside a House office building. India recognised Saund by naming one of the conference halls as “Dalip Singh Saund Hall” at the first Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in New Delhi in 2003.
Inder Singh is very heavily involved with another organisation, Indian American Heritage Foundation, which recognises and rewards talented Indian American High school graduates every year. The foundation has given scholarships worth thousands of dollars during the last 22 years to the Indian community’s most brilliant high school graduates in Southern California.
Inder Singh has spent many years of his life on issues dear to the Indian American community and for the last five years, to the diaspora. He has been a community architect, a social entrepreneur and dedicated and committed community activist. “Community involvement in the beginning was a social pastime; service for fellow NRIs/PIOs is a fulltime passion now,” says Inder Singh.