The stage for holding the scheduled September 7-9 World Hindu Congress (WHC-18) in Chicago is almost set with the targeted general category registration of 1,800 delegates has been successfully completed before the end of June. Now the registration is open for non-North American special category which will be for 200 delegates, thus bringing about 2,000 delegates in total to the Hotel Westin in Lombard of Chicago, the venue for inaugural and plenary sessions. Delegates in excess of the number would be accommodated in the annex rooms with live streaming of the proceedings of inaugural and plenary sessions, according to Dr. Abhaya Asthana, president of World Hindu Council of America (VHPA), as the convener of WHC-18.
Dr. Asthana says the special registration is now open for co-hosts for WHC and for sponsors of all levels. “We have blocked seats for dignitaries and speakers. Accommodation for dignitaries and speakers is being provided in Hotel Westin from the rooms that have been blocked for the purpose. When we exhaust those rooms we will use the rooms in Embassy Suites,” he adds.
Among the prominent speakers, who have confirmed their presence and participation in the plenary session are: Param Pawan Dalai Lama; Dr. Mohanrao Bhagwat, Sarsanghachalak of RSS; Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Republic of Mauritius; Paramasivum Pillai Vyapoory, Vice President of Republic of Mauritius; Ashwin Adhin, Vice President of Republic of Suriname; Ma. Dattatreya Hosabale; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Head of Art of Living; Swami Swaroopanand, Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide; Sadhu Brahma Bihari Das, Head of BAPS International Relations; Pranav Pandya, Head of All World Gayatri Pariwar; Swami Purnatmananda, Head of Bharat Seva Ashram Sangh; Prof. S.P. Kothari, MIT Sloan School and chairman of WHC-2018; Raju Reddy, vice chairman of WHC-18; Chandrika Tandon, Chairperson of Tandon Capital Associates Grammy-nominated artist.
According to Dr. Sham Sheth, the host, among the forum-wise registrations, the Economic Forum tops with 456 delegates, followed by the Women Forum with 256, the HOTA (Hindu Organizations, Temples and Associations) Forum with 240 delegates; the Education Forum with 206 delegates, Political Forum with197 delegates and the Media Forum with 160. “We will try to balance the sessions based on the room sizes and traffic flow,” he adds.
Regarding arrangements for the comfort of guests and delegates from around the world, Dr. Sheth says, volunteers and office bearers of the respective committees are taking utmost and minute care. The arrangements include food, security, transportation, on-site registration, health and emergency medical needs, publications, audio-visual facilities, backdrops and decorations. They are concentrating on minute-by-minute flawless planning to provide utmost comfort to guests and delegates with a view to making their visit to the WHC-18 the best memorable experience they can ever have.
Dr. Asthana says that already delegates from over 45 different countries covering all the continents have registered. Some of the prominent countries in addition to the host country of the USA include Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Bangladesh, Fiji, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Norway, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Nepal, United Kingdom, Canada, and India. WHC-18 is a collective effort of over 100 different Hindu organizations from around the world. They have been very supportive in all aspects, particularly in delegate mobilization, publications, program content and publicity.
Further information about WHC-18 may be obtained at http://whc2018.worldhinducongress.org/
– Contributed by Mr. J.V. Lakshmana Rao, a Freelancer in Chicago