Cultural and children's programmes, seminars and discussions aimed at improving research and development in Orissa were the highlights of a three-day meet of overseas Oriyas in the US.
The 37th annual convention of the Orissa Society of Americas was held in Columbia, Maryland, at two venues - Sheraton Hotel and Wilde Lake High School - from June 30 to July 2, said Dhirendra Kar, vice president of the society.
"The convention was a showcase of Orissa's culture, performing arts and songs by the overseas Oriyas and artistes from the state," Kar said.
Besides, there were also discussions and seminars on the establishment of institutes of higher learning in the state, research and development of pharmaceutical and chemical facilities, bridging the digital divide, micro finance, basic needs and women's empowerment, he said.
A host of ministers and officials from Orissa, including Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Gadhei, IT Minister Suryanarayan Patra and chairman of Indo-US Parliamentary Forum Baijayanta Panda attended the inaugural function.
An address to the convention by Sam Pitroda, chairman of India's Knowledge Commission highlighting Orissa's development, was digitally shown to the audience.
The Orissa ministers in their addresses to the convention acknowledged the extraordinary interests of the overseas population in the state's culture and economic development and vowed to help them in setting up institutes of excellence.
"Children's programmes, Indian songs and dances were the highlights every night from 10 pm," Kar said.