? India Canada Friendship Circle
ICFC Mission

ICFC encourages dialogue on India in a harmonious environment. The words "friendship" and "circle" in its name, convey an explicit desire to forge and maintain close ties among Canadians with an interest in India. The primary objective of ICFC is to enhance the profile of India in Canada through prominent speakers who articulate and interpret from their perspective the many facets of India's history, philosophy, scholarship, culture, industry, economy, arts and sciences.

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Sunday, October 1, 2017 (3:00 - 5:00 PM)

(Please arrive by 2:45pm)

Please Register for this Event by September 28th

at Rockcliffe Park Community Centre Hall
380 Springfield Road, Ottawa [at the intersection of Buena Vista Dr]

In Collaboration with The College of the Humanities, Carleton University
Tagore's Concept of Beauty
by Ms. Reba Som

Event Poster (PDF)

Synopsis: Rabindranath Tagore was a famous Indian poet. A well-known Tagore quote is as follows: Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. "Saundarya" or beauty, for Rabindranath Tagore was a deeply chastening experience and is an important part of his poetry and songs. He pondered deeply on the question of dekha or the act of seeing of the world around him. With each morning, he wrote, light came to him as a messenger bidding him to open his eyes to the world. It did the same with the bud that was blossoming, day after day, a petal unfolded and then finally the flower in full bloom looked uninterruptedly at the sun. Light to him was a metaphor of the infinite. We too, he wrote, were slowly unfolding to the message of the light but failed to realize that the final vision or param drishti could only be had when one could ease the conditioning of the mind that weighed heavily on one's eyes. The rational mind in the end was an obstacle. Only by detaching oneself and viewing the world as a mere spectator could there be the reward of a glorious sight of the world where nothing was trivial and everything was beautiful and unified. In one of his songs Amar Hiyar Majjhe Lukiye Chile, he sings: "You were hidden within the depths of my heart, but yet I could not see you." Reba Som will explore Tagore's metaphors which the poet richly finds in the world of nature around him. She will illustrate the talk with examples from his poetry and songs.

About the Speaker: Reba Som is a historian and a Tagore scholar. She was recently the recipient of the Nehru Fellowship which led to her research of Sister Nivedita. Among her many publications are: Sister Nivedita of Vivekananda, Penguin Random House, 2017; Rabindranath Tagore: The Singer and his Song, Penguin Books India, New Delhi, 2009; Gandhi, Nehru, Bose and the Making of the Modern Indian Mind, Penguin Books India, New Delhi, 2004; Differences within Consensus: The Left-Right Divide in the Congress, Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1995; Subhas Chandra Bose and the Resolution of the Women's Question, Centre for Women's Development Studies, New Delhi, 2002; Foundations of Education for Free India: Toward a Better Quality of Life, Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 1989. Edited by Prem Kirpal and Reba Som. Until recently she was Director of the Tagore Centre in Kolkata. She was a Consultant with the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Reba Som is a trained vocalist in the songs of Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam. An empanelled artiste of ICCR she has performed extensively in India as also in Europe, Canada and the United States. She has two CDs of the music of Tagore and Kazi Nazrul and scripted the documentary film on Tagore and Kazi.

The Special Guests and ICFC Board members at the September 17th Event. From left to right: Mr. Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament, Nepean; Hon. Deepak Obhrai, P.C., Member of Parliament, Calgary Forest Lawn; Mr. Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific, Global Affairs Canada; His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa; Dr. Elliot Tepper; Dr Nipa Banerjee; Dr. Steven Desjardins; His Excellency Vikas Swarup, High Commissioner of India to Canada; Ms. Ariane Gratton; Mrs. Malti Kesarwani; Ms. Roohi Ahmed; Mrs. Geeta Thakur and Ms. Ann Pollack. Special Guests and Former ICFC Speakers at the September 17th Event. From left to right: Mr. Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific, Global Affairs Canada; Mr. Joe Thottungal; Dr. Harsha Dehejia; His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa; Ms. Roohi Ahmed; Mr. Atul Aggarwal and Mr. Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan.

Individual Event Sponsors: Aditya Varan Singh Thakur and Hari Johri

ICFC wishes it Members and Friends
a Happy Canada 150!

Please join us for a Canada 150 ICFC celebration Sunday, September 17, 2017 (2:30 - 6:00 PM)

(Lecture begins at 3:00pm)

at Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport,
2400 Alert Rd, Ottawa

Given limited space please register by September 13th: Register here

Growing Ottawa through International Partnerships - Connecting with India
by His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa

Lecture followed by a Special Program Commemorating Canada 150 and ICFC with:

His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa

His Excellency Vikas Swarup, High Commissioner of India to Canada

Mr. Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific, Global Affairs Canada

Special Program: The ICFC lecture will be followed by a special program to commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary and honor ICFC's current and former volunteers, speakers, board members and friends. The High Commissioner of India to Canada, H.E. Vikas Swarup, will join the Mayor of Ottawa in celebrating this special occasion. Global Affairs Canada will also be represented at the event by Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific Mr. Donald Bobiash.

Event Poster (PDF)

Synopsis: In 2016, Mayor Jim Watson led a trade mission to India to attract investment for Ottawa businesses and build opportunities with 35 delegates in the areas of Smart Cities, technology, education and tourism. Mayor Watson will share insights from his trade mission, as well as his vision for growing Ottawa through international partnerships in innovation, industry and talent.

About the Speaker: Mayor Watson has dedicated most of his career to public service in Canada's Capital. He was elected City Councillor from 1991-1997 and subsequently became the youngest Mayor in Ottawa's history with 82% of the popular vote. In 2000 he served as President and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission, a federal crown corporation. In 2003, he was elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean and appointed to cabinet as Minister of Consumer and Business services. Jim Watson returned to municipal politics and was elected Mayor of the City of Ottawa on October 25, 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

About the Special Guest: His Excellency Mr. Vikas Swarup joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986. In his career spanning more than 30 years, he has served in diplomatic assignments in Ankara, Washington DC, Addis Ababa, London, Pretoria and Osaka-Kobe. At Headquarters, Mr. Swarup served as Desk Officer for Southern Africa, US & Canada, Director (Pakistan), Director (Nepal & Bhutan) and Director in charge of the Office of the Minister of External Affairs (MEA). After serving as Joint Secretary United Nations (Political), he was appointed the official spokesperson of the MEA in April 2015 and in March 2017 became High Commissioner of India to Canada. Mr. Swarup is also the author of three novels: Q&A, which was adapted as the multiple Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire; Six Suspects; and The Accidental Apprentice. His books have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Sunday, May 7, 2017 (3:00 - 5:00 PM)

(Registration begins at 2:45pm)

at Rockcliffe Park Community Centre Hall
380 Springfield Road, Ottawa [at the intersection of Buena Vista Dr]

The Journey of a Canadian Diplomat through Northern India
by Mr. Scot Slessor

Event Poster (PDF)

Synopsis: Mr. Scot Slessor will speak about the ups, the downs, the joy and challenges of his time as Canada's Consul General to Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.

About the Speaker: Mr. Slessor (BA [Asian Studies/Anthropology], Saint Mary's University, 1986) joined the public service in 1986, serving first with the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission in Toronto as a manager of youth employment centres. He then left the public service to work in the private sector as a human resources consultant specializing in intercultural communication, indigenous and employment equity issues. Mr. Slessor re-entered the public service in 1993, working for the Canadian International Development Agency in China, then joined Global Affairs Canada in 1996 and retired from the public service in December, 2016. He has served abroad in China, Cambodia, Brunei, Jordan, India as Consul General and as Deputy Head of Mission in Afghanistan. At Headquarters, he created and managed the Youth International Internship Program and the Canada Corps, served as Deputy Director of the China Division, Director of the Centre for Foreign Languages at the Canadian Foreign Service Institute and as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Asia Pacific. He is married to Donica Pottie (current Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos) and they have one daughter.

Sunday, April 9, 2017 (3:00 - 5:00 PM)

at Rockcliffe Park Community Centre Hall
380 Springfield Road, Ottawa [at the intersection of Buena Vista Dr]

The Emergence of Technology and Mass Customization
by Mr. Nazim Ahmed

Event Poster (PDF)

Synopsis: Nazim Ahmed is an Ottawa-based entrepreneur who has successfully launched his own company and bridged the world of customized art with science, technology, and business on a world scale. Nazim will share his journey from the genetics lab to the digital world and how he expanded his unique products and vision to various markets. Nazim will also talk about the response to his companies in those markets, including what constitutes an ideal partner and interesting tie-ups that helped him build an international client base. He will also share some insights on efforts to do business in India, and will talk about e-commerce in India.

About the Speaker: Nazim Ahmed is the Co-Founder and CEO of CanvasPop, a personalized home decor company with offices in Ottawa and Las Vegas. With hundreds of thousands of customers in over 50 countries, CanvasPop sits at the crossroads of technology, social media and mass customization. Prior to CanvasPop, Nazim also co-founded DNA 11, a company allowing customers to turn their DNA into works of personalized abstract artwork. DNA 11 built its own one-of-a-kind lab dedicated 100 percent to crossing art and genomics. DNA 11 sold their unique products through the Museum of Modern Art in New York and was chosen to play a part of an episode of the popular TV Show CSI: NY. The company's client list is equally intriguing whereby they have sequenced the DNA of heroes, celebrities, and even animals such as the Bengal tiger. Nazim's companies have been seen in hundreds of publications including the New York Times, Wired Magazine and HGTV. Nazim holds an honors degree in molecular genetics from the University of Western Ontario and enjoys spending his time giving back to the start-up community as a mentor for younger entrepreneurs.

The content of, and views expressed in, the lectures and audience discussions are entirely those of the speakers and individual members of the audience.  ICFC has no responsibility or liability for any views expressed and comments made and interpretations thereof.
Please join us for an informative talk and networking over tea and snacks at:

Rockcliffe Park Community Centre Hall
380 Springfield Road, Ottawa
[at the intersection of Springfield Road and Buena Vista Drive]

You are welcome to bring family and friends to this event.
Admission: $10 per person [for non-members]
Annual Members of ICFC have pre-paid for all events.

MEMBERS: We urge you to renew your ICFC membership.

Members pay an annual fee of $45 (single) or $90 (family of 2), and enjoy the entire series of five events for one year. You may renew your membership online, or at an event. We accept both cash and cheque at the door.

Become an Annual Member of ICFC

Summary of 2017 Events
Date Speaker Topic
October 1, 2017 Speaker: Ms. Reba Som Topic: Tagore's Concept of Beauty [Event Poster]
September 17, 2017 Speaker: His Worship Jim Watson Topic: Growing Ottawa through International Partnerships - Connecting with India [Event Poster]
May 7, 2017 Speaker: Mr. Scot Slessor Topic: The Journey of a Canadian Diplomat through Northern India [Event Poster]
April 9, 2017 Speaker: Mr. Nazim Ahmed Topic: The Emergence of Technology and Mass Customization [Event Poster]