World Hindu Forum to hold second meeting in Bangkok in August
The World Hindu Economic Forum will convene its second global meeting in Bangkok this August."The mission of WHEF is to restore prosperity to the Hindu world, which represents one-sixth of humanity, thereby contributing to global prosperity and peace," Gautam Sen, a member of the organising committee and a keynote speaker at the event, said yesterday.
Sen, a retired lecturer at the London School of Economics and Politics, said at least 500 Hindu businessmen from 30 countries were expected to join the second global meeting of the WHEF from August 11-13, after its inaugural conference in Hong Kong last year.
From the 1st to 15th centuries, Hindus contributed more than 35 per cent of the world's economy. However, their share fell to just 1.5 per cent in the 19th century before recovering to about 4.5 per cent now, he said.
WHEF's objective is to help facilitate business relations and enlarge the footprint of Hindu business throughout the world. The non-profit organisation is constructing a global database of Hindu businesses and will open its office in New Delhi in two months.
It follows other religious businessmen such as Jews and Muslims as well as ethnic Chinese in establishing global networks.
The Hindu business community goes beyond India, since many are the third or fourth generations living outside that country and are no longer Indian by nationality, Sen said.
About 100 delegates are expected to come from Thailand, including executives from Lucky Group, Aditya Birla Group and Indorama Group as well as representatives from the India-Thai Chamber of Commerce (ITCC) and the Indian Embassy.
Shusheel Saraff, chairman of Saraff Group, a conglomerate with interests spanning diamonds and jewellery trading to property, energy and information technology, is president of the ITCC and a member of the WHEF 2013 organising committee.
Prominent speakers and panellists have been lined up, including Padma Vibhushan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India; Anil Kokodkar, former chairman of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre; Alfred Ford from Ford Motor; R Vaidyanathan, a finance professor at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore; Subhash Thakrar, chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Alpesh Patel from Oxford. WHEF will leverage the collective strengths of businesses, providing Hindu businessmen with valued assistance.
"For example, if Thais want to do business in Chile for the first time, we will have knowledge and the ability to support them, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. We will have a global reach and everything will be done at cost since we're a not-for-profit organisation," Sen said.
During the preparatory meeting in Kuala Lumpur last week, a few memoranda of understanding were sealed among Hindu businessmen, quickly demonstrating the benefit of networking, he added.