Dr Sunil Chacko appointed Hony. Vice President, North America and Japan, GIF

Dr. Sunil Chacko, Professor of Health Sciences (Adjunct) at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, and International Scientific Committee Member of the Canadian National Centre of Excellence: Advanced Foods and Materials Network, was appointed as Honorary Vice-President of the Global India Foundation for North America and Japan, GIF, and shall oversee the North American and Far Eastern projects of the Foundation. CV

Dr. Chacko joined a meeting of the Foundation chaired by Admiral P. J. Jacob (Chairman, GIF) at the Naval Mess in New Delhi. The meeting was also attended by Prof. Omprakash Mishra (Member-Secretary, GIF, and Pro-Vice Chancellor, IGNOU), Ambassador Arundhati Ghose (Member, Executive Council, GIF) and Mr. M. Naidu (Treasurer, GIF). During his visit to New Delhi in August, Dr. Chacko also attended a number of important meetings along with Prof. Mishra.

(A) (B) (C)

(A): GIF Meeting at Naval Mess, New Delhi (from left to right: Ambassador Arundhati Ghose, Prof. Omprakash Mishra, Dr. Sunil Chacko and Admiral P. J. Jacob.

(B): From left to right: Prof . Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Mr. Oscar Fernandes, Dr. Sunil Chacko and Prof. Omprakash Mishra

(C): Mr. Sam Pitroda (middle) with Dr. Sunil Chacko (left) and Prof. Omprakash Mishra (right).

At a meeting with Mr. Oscar Fernandes (Honourable Minister for Labour, Government of India), who oversees a large number of hospitals serving India's workers, and Prof. Kiyoshi Kurokawa (Science Advisor to the Prime Minister and Cabinet of Japan), on the 4th of August, Dr. Chacko made a presentation on nutrition needs and aquaculture technology. Min. Fernandes responded positively to the ideas, and Prof. Kurokawa suggested that leading Japanese universities in aquaculture make presentations in India, in view of their world leadership of technologies on aquaculture of blue fin tuna. Prof. Mishra offered IGNOU to host presentations in India for this potential India-Japan university partnership.

At IGNOU, on August 6, Dr. Chacko read a paper titled “Food, Nutrition, Nutraceuticals, Adjuvants and Research and Development.” In a lecture chaired by Prof. Mishra and attended by Dr. Pankaj Khare (Director, International Division, IGNOU), Dr. Chacko presented research at the intersection of the pharmaceutical and food/nutrition sectors. He proposed a way to add value to the existing wealth of India, through herbal and other natural remedies. He advocated taking advantage of India’s unique regulatory framework permits ayurvedic and other natural medications to be available to patients and indeed the community in separate but co-equal frameworks with modern medicines. With examples of natural substances like fish peptides that can lower hypertension (also, omega 3 fatty acids to lower triglycerides and atherosclerosis, and natural adjuvants to cancer chemotherapy), he outlined confidence in economically boosting groups such as the fishing communities in India. In addition, Dr. Chacko firmly called for the use of the internet for data security and integrity and, for example, storing copies of the data daily in servers in another country to build credibility for the studies.

Finally, at a meeting with Mr. Sam Pitroda (Chairman, Knowledge Commission), the prospects of collaborating with Indians based in North America - with a view to expanding the GIF's scope - was discussed. Mr. Pitroda suggested that the Foundation undertake a definitive study of Indian think tanks in an effort to assess their strengths, gaps and weaknesses. He maintained that Indian Americans normally congregate for social networking, but there remains a great potential to harness these networks in building a cohesive infrastructure for the Foundation.