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Never mind recession, Toronto conference will rock

August 28, 2009 17:48 IST

Among the speakers the Network of Indian Professionals, or NetIP, has lined up for its 18th annual conference in Toronto September 4 to 6 are Gurbaksh Chahal, 27, of BlueLithium, and Ali Velshi, chief business correspondent, CNN, who is originally from Toronto. His father Murad Velshi was member of the Ontario legislature a few years ago. Ali Velshi worked for television networks in Toronto too.

Ajay Chopra, chair of this year's conference, said he was excited and "very pleased with our content, with the team efforts and support of the community."

Chahal, a high school dropout, sold his first company ClickAgents for $ 40 million when he was just 19 years old.

BlueLithium is an innovator in the online advertising space. Velshi, Chopra said, " he is going to speak with our 850 young participants about the global financial climate and how to deal with the recession."

The main topics of discussions at this year's conference will be energy, Barack Obama and the changing world, technology on the go, breaking the glass ceiling, etc.

Businessman Chiranjeev Kathuria, who contested a United States Senate seat in 2004, will be amongst the speakers.

Manjit Minhas, 30, who owns one of the largest breweries in North America, will share her entrepreneurial experience too. NetIP has also invited Bilaal Rajan, 12, who has raised $ 5 million to help the poor children in African, Latin American and South Asian countries. Rajan travelled to South Africa in June and met Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Among the speakers is also Melanie Kannokada, a model and rising actress from New York. In 2007, she was crowned Miss India America.

Among the entertainment planned for the conference is 'Punjabi night in Canada' -- hockey night commentary in Punjabi.

"This is going to be a neat feature," Chopra said. "CBC has now entered the living rooms of South Asians and brought families together who sit down and watch hockey with Punjabi commentary."

This is the first time NetIP is hosting its conference in Toronto. Chopra insisted that the ongoing global economic meltdown would not affect the conference. The delegates, he said, "will see the power of the Indo-Canadian community in Toronto, in Canada."

Ajit Jain