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Obama names three Indians to panel for Asian Americans

Friday, September 17, 2010 02:44:40 PM, Arun Kumar, IANS

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Washington: President Barack Obama has named three Indian-Americans to the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a body to help them get increased access to and participation in federal programmes.

"Our nation will be well-served by the skill and dedication these men and women bring to their new roles. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead," Obama said Wednesday announcing the appointment of 16 members of the advisory body.

The three Indian Americans are Farooq Kathwari, Sunil Puri and Amardeep Singh.

According to the White House, one of the three, Farooq Kathwari, a Kashmir University graduate, is the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ethan Allen Interiors. He has been president of the company since 1985, and chairman and chief executive officer since 1988.

Kathwari serves on many non-for-profit organisations, including the chair of the Kashmir Study Group, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, director of the International Rescue Committee and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University as well as director and former chairman of Refugees International.

He holds a BA degree in English literature and political science from Kashmir University, an MBA in International Marketing from New York University, and also holds two honorary doctorate degrees.

The second appointee, Sunil Puri is the president and sole owner of First Rockford Group, Inc., a real estate development firm he founded in 1984. He also sits on a number of boards including the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and the Rockford College Board of Trustees.

Puri holds a BS in accounting from Rockford College. He has also pursued graduate work at Rockford College, London Business School, as well as continuing executive courses at Harvard Business School.

The third Indian-American appointee, Amardeep Singh is the co-founder and presently the director of programmes at the Sikh Coalition, the nation's largest Sikh civil rights organisation.

Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition in 2002, Singh worked as a researcher in the US Programme of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

While at HRW, he authored its report, "We Are Not the Enemy: Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Muslims, and Those Perceived to be Arab or Muslim after September 11".

Singh was also an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Race where he taught a course on the intersection of ethnic identity and the law.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the South Asian Bar Association of New York. Singh holds a BA from Rutgers University.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at






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