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America doffs hat to brand IIT

Washington, May 21: Americans from all walks of life are this weekend paying tributes to an institutional brand which has become the symbol of 21st century India.

The US House of Representatives has unanimously adopted a resolution which “honours the economic innovation attributable to graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology” (IITs) and the list of speakers at the global IIT alumni conference, which got under way yesterday, reads like a Who’s Who of America.

They include Larry Summers, president of Harvard University, Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, Ben Wu, the US assistant secretary of commerce, Jerry Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University, Rajat Gupta, senior partner of McKinsey, Purnendu Chatterjee, CEO of The Chatterjee Group, and Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America.

Through the weekend, they will rub shoulders with an equally impressive list of speakers from India, including Arun Shourie, the former minister for disinvestment, K. V. Kamath, managing director of ICICI Bank, M.G.K. Menon, chairman of the board of governors of Delhi IIT, and Sudeep Banerjee, HRD secretary to the government of India.

Complementing the rare Congressional resolution and the conference, the governors of Maryland and Virginia declared May as Indian American Heritage Month and IIT Graduate Month respectively.

The Congressional resolution “recognises the valuable and significant contributions of Indian-Americans to American society, honours the economic innovation attributable to graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology and urges all Americans to recognise the contributions of Indian-Americans and have a greater appreciation of the role Indian-Americans have played in helping to advance and enrich American society”.

The wording of the resolution and the gubernatorial proclamations in Maryland and Virginia, supporters of India hope, will go a long way towards negating the bad vibes created in the election year of 2004 over outsourcing of American jobs to India.

The last IIT global alumni conference was held in San Jose in 2003, when Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, was the keynote speaker. The meet attracts about 2,000 IIT alumni from all over the world.

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