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Mitul Desai to lead US efforts to expand ties with diaspora


Mitul Desai

Mitul Desai, an Indian American international finance and law expert, has been brought in to State Department’s South Asia bureau to lead its efforts to expand ‘partnerships and engagement with the private sector and diaspora groups’ in the US.

Announcing the appointment of Desai at an India Donor Roundtable, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake said 'The US-India relationship has never been stronger,' thanks to the 'important role' that the Indian community has 'played in creating and strengthening these ties.'

'Indeed I have made it a priority for the South and Central Asia Bureau to expand our partnerships and engagement with the private sector and diaspora groups here in the US,' he said. Desai, who has been named Senior Advisor for Outreach, comes from a private sector career in international finance and law, where he worked on many issues, including global health, Blake noted.

'He also has extensive experience working with diaspora communities. I know he is very excited to work with you in his new capacity,' he said.

Desai received his BA in Chemistry and Philosophy at Rutgers University and his JD from the Boston University School of Law. He was born in Kankakee, Illinois, and lived in South Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania before moving to Succasunna, New Jersey, where he spent most of his childhood. His parents, Indirajit and Surekha Desai who hail from Gujarat, came to the US in the 1960s, when they were both in their early 20s. He has a younger brother, Amit.

Sohail Mohammed is New Jersey’s first Indian-American judge


Lawyer Sohail Mohammed

Lawyer Sohail Mohammed was sworn in as a Passaic County Superior Court judge at a ceremony that attracted a standing- room-only crowd including Gov. Chris Christie making him the first Indian-American and the second Muslim to become a state Superior Court judge in New Jersey. "The American dream is alive,” Mohammed told some 300 friends and family who packed the courtroom. “There are those who don’t think so,” he added. “But I am living proof. If you have a dream that dream can come true.”

The moment capped a long journey that began when Mohammed became a U.S. citizen in November 1986.

It took a significant turn when Mohammed - trained as an engineer - served as a jury foreman and stuck around after the trial for a long talk with Judge Robert J. Passero.

That conversation led him to pursue a career in law and to obtain a degree at Seton Hall University and go on to a career as an immigration lawyer.

It took another significant turn in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks when then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie turned to Mohammed to serve as a bridge between law enforcement and the state’s Muslim community.

First considered as a judge by Gov. Jon Corzine in 2006, Mohammed was nominated by Christie last September but got tangled up in Passaic County judicial horse-trading, as well as intense, speculative opposition by conservative bloggers.

Anant Agarwal named director of MIT’s Computer science Lab


Anant Agarwal

Anant Agarwal, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, has been named the next director of the university’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Agarwal succeeds Victor Zue, who served four years as CSAIL’s director. Agarwal’s appointment is effective July 1.

CSAIL is MIT’s largest interdepartmental laboratory, with 900 members and more than 100 principal investigators coming from eight departments. School of Engineering dean Ian Waitz, in a letter to the CSAIL community, looked forward to Agarwal’s “vision and enthusiasm as he takes on this important leadership role.”

Agarwal is currently the leader of the Carbon Research Group at CSAIL, which is dedicated to researching and developing operating systems and architectures for multicore and cloud computing.

Currently, the Indian American leads Project Angstrom, a multidisciplinary research endeavor uniting scientists from top universities and industry collaborators in an effort to develop a new multicore system and computational model for exascale computing. Agarwal is a founder and chief technology officer of Tilera Corporation, where the Tile multicore processor was created.

Additionally, he led the development of Raw, an early 16-core tiled multicore processor; Alewife, a scalable multiprocessor; and the VirtualWires project at MIT. Agarwal founded Virtual Machine Works, which was responsible for bringing VirtualWires technology to market.

Agarwal received his doctorate from Stanford University and his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras.

Shailen Bhatt sworn in new secretary of Delaware Dept of Transportation


Gov Jack Markell officiated the ceremony

Shailen Bhatt has been sworn in as the new head of the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Governor Jack Markell officiated at the recent ceremony, held in the DelDOT Administration Building here, with members of Bhatt's family, including his wife Neelam, as well as officials from the Federal Highway Administration joining management for the event.

Bhatt had been nominated by Governor Markell May 27 and confirmed by the state Senate June 8. He becomes the ninth Secretary of the Department of Transportation, and most recently served as associate administrator for FHWA in Washington, D.C.

In his initial statement upon being nominated, Bhatt noted that while the department faces challenges, he emphasized that opportunities are also ahead of DelDOT.

At the FHWA, Bhatt was responsible for setting policy and building relationships with members of Congress. Prior to joining FHWA, Bhatt was deputy executive director of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He holds a degree in economics from Western Kentucky University.

- [BY R. PADMANABHAN]

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