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Goan diaspora making global impact

From coaching top football clubs in Moscow to fighting racial abuse, the Goan diaspora is going places.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 13:47 IST

From coaching top football clubs in Moscow to fighting racial discrimination, from becoming Telugu film stars to heading $100 million tech firms, the Goan diaspora is notching up a range of achievements worldwide.

This point gets underlined in a listing put out here recently, even as the Goa government undertook its annual initiative to woo expats from the region.

Compiled based on information through up by cybernetworks such as Britain-based website goanvoice.org.uk and Goanet.org, the list of 101 'cybergoans' aims to "acknowledge the contributions by people of Goan origin, regardless of where they are located, and in what field they work".

Most are individuals or organisations that have been attracting attention in cyberspace in the past year.

Some surprise inclusions in the list are Miss Great Britain (Preeti Desai, 25), zedo.com CEO Roy De Souza, Symantec senior vice president Francis deSouza, Cognizant COO Francisco D'Souza, Dell Inc manager Andrew Fernandes, Kent bus-driver Ken D'Souza, meditation teacher Lygia Monteiro, campaigners against racism and more.

Till recently, Goa's Mariano Barreto was football coach of the noted Dinamo football club in Moscow. Ileana D'Cruz, of Goan origin, is currently making waves in the Telugu film industry.

Eight organisations listed included Toronto-founded BMX alumni network, the North America-based GoaSudharop.org that has been supporting social entrepreneurship back home: the GoaComputersInSchools Project/Knowledge Initiatives Trust, and Tanzanite Goans in Africa among others.

Others whose work is being recognised back home include those in the field of technology and entrepreneurship, making it big in the outside world.

These include Romulus Pereira, former CEO Riverstone Networks Inc; Francis deSouza, senior VP, Symantec, enterp messaging mgt group; Francisco D'Souza, COO, Cognizant Technology Solutions; and Andrew Fernandes, Dell Inc, US, manager, global business continuity.

One big name, often not recognised as having Goan roots, is the Far East-based AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, who has also been honoured as Malaysia's Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Other names of achievers of Goan origin include Citigroup Inc retired senior vice chairman Victor Menezes, Maryland-based realtor Francis D'Sozua, Canada's largest pension plan OMERS director Gerard Sequeira, Kenya Chartered Institute of Marketing president Chris Diaz, and Ottawa entrepreneur Anil D'Souza.

Other expats from this small region of 1.4 million also emerged as $9.9 million Lotto winners, lifestyle experts, and even artists in Aberdeen (Melanie Carvalho), meditation teachers (Lygia Monteiro) and MTV hosts in Germany (Collien Fernandes).

All least three Goans were also involved in fighting racial issues - Quantas ex-aircraft engineer William Gama (61), driver Clement Lobo (50) of Britain, and Bahrain housemaid Theodora Monserrate.

In the world of politics, Goa is also seen as having contributed to Kenya's second vice president (late Joseph Anthony Zuzarte Murumbi, whose father was Goan); assassinated Kenyan leader Pio Gama Pinto, the Queen's Privy Council member Keith Vaz, and candidates contesting elections in Canada and Australia.

In terms of top restauranters, executive chefs and people in the creative world, Goans have also contributed significantly. Frank Pinto, the executive coordinator of the UNDP Global Environmental Facility, is of Goan origin.

A special section of the listing looked at 'cyber pioneers' among Goans who founded initiatives that make a difference to how Goans communicate and are perceived by the outside world-Herman Carneiro (Goanet.org), Marlon Menezes (GoaWeb, GoaCom), Ulysses Menezes (Goa-World.com), Eddie Fernandes (GoanVoiceUK.org.uk).