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IITAGH Dances to a New Beat

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By Pratish Kanani

SUGAR LAND: The IIT 2013 Global Conference, held in December at the Hilton Americas in Houston, Texas, was organized by The IIT Alumni of Greater Houston (IITAGH).  This was the first IIT conference held in Houston and was a phenomenal success.  Previous conferences have been held in San Jose, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.  The conference was held over 3 days, attended by over 1600 people, had close to 100 speakers and moderators (including former President of Mexico Vicente Fox and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen), and included entertainment by Usha Uthup and Houston’s own Fab 5.

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Over 80 volunteers, both IITians and non-IITians worked tirelessly for over 18 months to make the conference a huge success.  As a token of gratitude for all the hard work, IITAGH hosted a volunteer appreciation dinner on Sunday, January 26 at Madras Pavilion.  The event was well attended by the volunteers and their spouses/significant others.

After some appetizers and networking, the group really bonded together once again as they worked to keep up with Mahesh Mahbhubani, the founder and artistic director of Naach Houston Inc. Mahesh walked the group through some of the latest Bollywood moves, carefully leading the new comers through the process, and then setting the pace for the group to follow.  It was great to see many folks get on the dance floor and have fun, not to mention getting a good workout before a big dinner.

The occasion also marked the handover of the role of the President of IITAGH from Witty Bindra to Pratish Kanani.  Witty was also the Chair of the IIT 2013 conference while Pratish was the Vice Chair.  “Over the last two years, Witty has set a new bar for the IIT Alumni of Greater Houston.  We have strong recognition and involvement within the Houston community.  I am looking forward to working with the IITAGH organization and building on this momentum,” said Pratish Kanani, the President of IITAGH.

During the light-hearted banter that followed, there was recognition of the IIT Kharagpur alumni that were heavily involved with the conference operational logistics, followed by other IIT campuses trying to one-up each other. The evening was a great success and gave everyone the opportunity to relax and catch up with friends.  IITAGH looks forward to getting everyone together for other events this year.

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