President Abdul Kalam received the Hoover Medal today at Columbia University. It is America's most prestigious engineering prize for service to humanity. Former winners of the Hoover Medal have included presidents Carter and Hoover.
Below you will find my liveblog and background information on the award and event.
It was an inspiring, even fun event - thanks to his sense of humor and grasp of issues that affect us all.
The most memorable moment came when, in answering a question about how the world can be improved, he asked everyone in the audience to repeat after him his mantra that righteousness in the heart in the basis of peace in the world.
Asked to provide a message for students from India in US, he said he had two messages - one for those staying in the U.S. and for those returning to India. For those returning to India, his message: be an entrepreneur - don't go seeking a job. That's the spirit of America. For those staying on in America, he said you should serve the country you are living in.
LIVEBLOGGING on Tuesday, April 28.
10:40: The hall in the Rotunda at Low Library at Columbia is full. Ambassadors, Nobel Laureates (including John Nash of "A Beautiful Mind" fame), famed classical singer Pandit Jasraj and students in the audience.
Welcome by Dr. Thomas Abraham, chairperson of GOPIO - Global Organization of People of Indian Origin.
10:44 Introduction of Prof. P. Somasundaram, Columbia University and Vice Chair, Hoover Medal Board...
Says AK is "an avataar of this era to help the common people. A gifted engineer, a true visionary and humble humanitarian."
Discussing the many efforts of AK to uplift the poor via technology - including areas of telemedicine, and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas).
"Dr Kalam is a tireless champion of young people."
AK has received more than 36 honorary doctorates all over the world.
10:51: Dr. Gerald Navratil, Interim Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Columbia University.
says AK will be an inspiration for all the engineering students.
10:53: Ambassador, Prabhu Dayal, Consul General of India
says AK is a scientist, engineer, statesman and humanitarian. Befitting that AK is the first Indian and first Asian citizen to earn the Hoover Medal
10:58: Ms. Beatrice Hunt, Chair, Hoover Medal Board
handing over the medal right now. (Everyone stood up as the medal was being handed over, so the TV cameras at the back had to ask folks to sit.
11:01: President APJ Abdul Kalam speaks
When I see the height and beauty of this hall, I am reminded of a couplet written 2,200 years ago:
If you think high and your aim is high and you work for it, you are assured you will achieve whatever you want. The message for young students: I can reach the stars no matter who I am.
I would like to thank the board for the honor bestowed on me.
Society has to be dynamic to prepare itself to succeed in the future.
Man is fighting wars on all sides - terrorism to diseases.
Science and technology can help find solutions to a lot of these problems.
Discussing his PURA model, which provides rural connectivity. India is providing the connectivity vision. [See PURA presentation and details here from his website.]
His aim is to bring prosperity to the 700 million people in India's rural areas.
WE WILL AIM TO POST THE FULL TRANSCRIPT SOON.
11:57 session ends.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW...
This is a rare opportunity to meet President Abdul Kalam, as he receives America's most prestigious engineering prize for service to humanity. Former winners of the Hoover Medal have included presidents Carter and Hoover.
President Kalam, whose personal site is at http://www.abdulkalam.com/
A D V I S O R Y*
Media contact: Thomas Abraham, 203-569-7909, Innoresearch@optonline.net
*Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam*
*to Receive 2008 Hoover Medal*
*WHO: **Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam,
*president of India from July 2002 to July 2007, will be honored for
making high-quality, affordable healthcare more widely available in
India. Among his achievements:
* ●* instituting telemedicine to connect rural
clinics with state-of-the-art medical centers throughout India and
* ● *establishing the Society of Biomedical
Technology, an initiative that combined Indian defense technology and
medical expertise to produce low-cost devices, like coronary stents
and ophthalmic lasers
* launching a public-private enterprise to bring urban amenities, like improved roads and electric connectivity, to rural areas
*WHAT: **The Hoover Medal <http://www.asme.org/
recognizes outstanding, unselfish contributions by engineers to humanity
WHEN: Tuesday, April 28, 10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
*WHERE:* *Rotunda, Low Memorial
Columbia University <http://www.columbia.edu/>, Morningside Heights
Broadway at West 116th Street, Manhattan
Transit: 1 train to 116 Street/Columbia University
*MEDIA: *Media must RSVP to Thomas Abraham, 203-569-7909,