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NRI wins Spirit of Liberty award

Ramesh Gangolli of Seattle will be feted for his contributions to his ethnic heritage and community in the United States.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2007 16:08 IST
Indian American,Ramesh Gangolli,Seattle

An Indian American has been chosen for this year's Spirit of Liberty award for his contribution to his community.

Ramesh Gangolli, 72, who migrated to the US in 1963 and whose career is focussed on mathematics, will be honoured July 4 in Seattle.

Seattle's Ethnic Heritage Council gives away the Spirit of Liberty award every year to individuals who have made significant contributions to his or her ethnic heritage and community and whose work has benefited the larger community.

After coming over to the US, Gangolli became interested in volunteering in the Indian American community in Seattle. At that time there were only about 100 Indian families in the area.

He thought the music of South Asia could be a conduit for cultural understanding.

"I think there's a universality about music. There's always an audience for it, and it's a natural way for people to communicate as well as share their culture," the Northwest Asian Weekly quoted Gangolli as saying.

What began as an unnamed event - mini concerts mostly featuring musicians from India - turned into a respected concert series that has since 1981 staged more than 300 events of music and dance.

"I am glad he (Gangolli) was nominated, and I am glad people are finally recognising his contributions," said Alma Plancich, executive director of the Ethnic Council Heritage.

Gangolli grew up in Mumbai. He lost his left arm in a train accident at the age of 19. He finished first in his bachelor's examinations at the University of Bombay and won a scholarship to attend the University of Cambridge in 1957 to earn his masters.

He obtained his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961 and came to Seattle to teach mathematics a year later. He became a naturalised citizen in 1971.

For the past five years, Gangolli has been involved in a project that advocates better mathematics education in the Seattle Public Schools.

First Published: Jun 30, 2007 12:10 IST